My first encounter with the captivating Classic Italian Prog was in the second half of the Seventies, when I stumbled upon the album The World Became The World (1974) by Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM), I was blown away, as an eager adolescent who wanted to explore also non-UK progressive rock. In 2016 a prog dream came true watching PFM in the Dutch prog music friendly venue Cultuurpodium Boerderij (see review). And now, anno 2023, I got PFM its new album The Event Live In Lugano to review, full circle!
This live record features two special guests: the very talented Matteo Mancuso (born in 1996) on guitar and Barock Project member Luca Zabbini on the mighty Hammond organ. It contains 16 tracks, spanning the time between the first album Storia Di Un Minuto from 1972 until their latest effort, the acclaimed I Dreamed Of Electric Sheep/ Ho Sognato Pecore Elettriche (2021).
For me PFM is a great example of a band that rises to the occasion on stage (like Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Santana, Yes and Rush, to name a few), also on this live album the sound is more powerful than in the studio, and often the songs are extended, and deliver more extra work on keyboards and guitars, including improvisations. The skills of the band members are excellent, the interplay is awesome and drummer Franz Di Cioccio has a very pleasant voice (especially in Italian). The three members on keyboards and three on guitar give PFM a very lush sound, and the heavy guitar parts of guest Matteo Mancuso are an extra dimension.
The orchestral sound in the dynamic and varied Mondi Paralleli.
From dreamy with wonderful native vocals, fragile electric guitar work, an intense violin and electric guitar sound and tender piano to halfway a slow rhythm with rock guitar and cheerful violin, then gradually more lush with Hammond and Minimoog, and in the end a fiery guitar solo in Il Respiro Del Tempo.
Spectacular work on a wah wah drenched violin, swirling Hammond, flashy Minimoog with pitchbend and heavy guitar solo in the exciting instrumental Transumanza Jam.
The ballad Impressioni Di Settembre that features twanging guitar and beautiful violin and vocals in a dreamy atmosphere, halfway fat Minimoog flights and inspired vocals, how compelling, goose bumps!
A blistering guitar solo with wah wah in the varied and tastefully coloured (Hammond, electric piano, acoustic guitar) La Carrozza Di Hans.
Impressive guitar play in the instrumental Cyber Alpha.
Between classical themes on the violin and heavy electric guitar in the instrumental La Danza Dei Cavalieri Con Il Potere Dell'Amore e Gli Amanti Di Verona.
Virtuosic work on guitar, piano and drums and great interplay in the eclectic Mr 9 till 5.
A wah wah drenched violin sound and propulsive drum beats in Violin Jam, as a prelude to the Ouverture William Tell, what an exciting rendition, with the focus on the violin.
And finally the cheerful Minimoog flights in the swinging 'crowd pleaser' Celebration, again goose bumps!
Wow, what a band!
**** Erik Neuteboom (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
Where to buy?
All Rights Reserved Background Magazine 2023