The Italian progressive rock band Premiata Forneria Marconi, better known by the abbreviation PFM, were one of the headliners on the first Prog Exhibition Festival. Together with special guest Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull) on vocals and flute they gave on the 5th of November 2010 a superb concert at Teatro Tendastrisce in Rome. The audio and video of this performance had already been released as part of Prog Exhibition - 40 Anni Di Musica Immaginifica (see review). This release contained seven CDs and four DVDs. On the third and the fourth CD you can enjoy the complete concert. The images of this performance can be seen on DVD2.
In my review I stated that the band performed a lot of classic material like fine versions of Il Banchetto, Harlequin, Out Of The Roundabout, Impressioni Di Settembre, La Carrozza Di Hans and É Festa. Keyboardist Gianluca Tagliavini and violinist Lucio Fabbri in particular made sure that the old material still sounds perfect. The contributions of Mr. Anderson on flute concern the well-known Jethro Tull pieces Bourée and My God. Well, once again I found this concert a very entertaining performance! The aforementioned release contained so much music that it was impossible to give a proper analysis of the audio recordings. Now with the release of the same concert on a double-CD called Live In Roma I'm able to tell a bit more.
The nucleus of the band consisted of Franz Di Cioccio (vocals, drums, percussion), Patrick Djivas (bass) and Franco Mussida (vocals, electric and acoustic guitars). The usual guest musicians on stage were Lucio Fabbri (violin, keyboards), Gianluca Tagliavini (keyboards) and Piero Monterisi (drums). Both discs contain almost 45 minutes of music providing a cross-section of the complete oeuvre of PFM. I was really surprised by the fact that the original Italian lyrics that later on were translated in English by Pete Sinfield were now performed in the original versions. Good examples are É Festa (Celebration), La Luna Nuova (Four Holes In The Ground) and Impressioni Di Settembre (The World Became The World). However, the songs that were originally sung in English performed by Bernardo Lanzetti remained unchanged. Only this time they were performed by Franco Mussida or Franz Di Cioccio who made it sound differently from the original versions. Good examples are Harlequin and Out Of The Roundabout.
If you expect to listen to a band that sounds similar to the way they sounded in the seventies I have to disappoint you. The band always sounded differently on all concerts performed in the past and that also applies to this performance. There is and there always was room for improvising and the use of different keyboards − no MiniMoog this time − and different arrangements changed the music in a slightly different direction. However, it's still recognizable and above all very enjoyable. The well-known classic PFM-pieces are well-performed and make me even more anxious to witness them live on stage! But also the less known tunes like the instrumentals La Terra Dell'Acqua and Cyber Alpha 3.1 both taken from Stati Di Immaginazionethe (2006) are worthwhile listening to. That also applies to the sing-along tune Maestro Della Voce, with a nice bass intro, and the Jethro Tull-medley including Intro Bach, Bourée and My God.
Especially the contributions of Ian Anderson to this album make it a collector's item for many fans of both Jethro Tull and PFM. The collaboration between these musicians works very well and certainly lifts this album to a higher rating. Live In Roma once more proved that Premiata Forneria Marconi are still a fantastic live outfit!
****+ Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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