In 2011, I wrote a review about a DVD called The Best Of 2Days Prog (see review), a compilation of the 24th edition of Veruno September Music Festival held in the city of Veruno, Italy. It featured footage of live performances of bands like Gazpacho, Pendragon and Moongarden. These discs gave me great pleasure, because they provide the opportunity to watch a number of progressive rock bands playing live that you normally won't see on a DVD. However, the quality was less good than most regular DVDs, though I still felt it to be a good choice to release this footage.
A year later a second DVD has been released by the same record company to celebrate the 25th edition of the Veruno Festival. This time it's called The Best Of 2DaysProg+1 because the festival lasted for three days instead of two. Originally this double-DVD was meant to be a private release to reward the members of the collective that organized this big prog rock festival early September, 2011, just like the DVD that was released a year earlier. Once again they gave other fans of progressive rock the opportunity to get hold of this release. This means that I got the chance to watch the footage of this 25th edition containing performances of the Friday shows called 'The night of Italian progressive rock' and the Sunday shows called 'Plus Day'. They skipped the Saturday shows called 'The night of metal prog' with Methodica, Riverside and Anathema, amongst others.
The first disc lasts for 64 minutes and holds only the Italian acts that performed on the first day. The first 27 minutes are for Il Tempo Delle Clessidre. They attained quite an achievement with their eponymous debut (see review). I highly recommended this album to people enjoying the music of the seventies made by bands as Genesis, Yes, PFM, ELP, Banco and Le Orme. During this performance I noticed that they're capable of presenting their music live on stage professionally. The band members use different masks to visualize their music with weird rituals. Especially keyboardist Elisa Montaldo draws the most attention. Not only her playing, but also her presentation on stage lifts the show to a high level. Unfortunately only two tracks from their debut have been recorded for this DVD, but their performance made me decide to see this band myself one day.
Next are Arti E Mestieri with two special guests: Mel Collins on saxophone and flute and David Cross on violin. The music of this thirteen-minute performance is strongly related to King Crimson. That was probably the reason for inviting two former members of this band to support them on stage. Finally a new line-up of Goblin ends the first disc. They are now called New Goblin. Obviously, they played their well-known song Profondo Rosso during the 22 minutes that are included on this disc. The set list includes a drum solo as well, but people who know me a bit better know that drum solos aren't my favourite parts of concerts. I had rather seen some additional footage of another piece they had performed.
The second disc lasts for 74 minutes and covers the third day of the festival. It starts again with two Italian bands. The Alex Carpani Band haven't been around that long. They only got ten minutes to impress the viewers. Behind the drums I spotted a well-known face, namely Marco Fabbri from The Watch. Also guitarist Ettore Salati has already made a name in the prog rock scene. He used to play in The Watch as well, but nowadays he's a member of The RedZen and SoulenginE. People who are familiar with The Alex Carpani Band know that Carpani's keyboards mostly dominate the music, so only occasionally you can enjoy Salati's fine guitar parts. Strangely enough only two songs of the debut Waterline were filmed. One of them is the strong instrumental track Reclaimed. The second Italian act is Maxophone. They only recorded an eponymous album in 1975. The band split up, but reformed in 2005. During their 25-minute show only one track from that album can be enjoyed, namely Elzeviro (Six Against One). The song contains excellent keyboard playing with a nice sample of a church organ and a fine guitar solo. On the second track Isola I noticed strong musicianship as well, but this time the piano attracts all the attention and another perfect guitar solo can be enjoyed.
Next is the first international act. Agents Of Mercy is a side project of guitarist Roine Stolt (The Flower Kings). Due to the lead vocals of Nad Sylvan some people compared the band to the early line-up of Genesis with Peter Gabriel. Well, I could mention all kinds of influences, but during the twenty minutes of footage I hardly noticed any influences of Genesis. The synthesizer and guitar solos on Journey had nothing to do with the old Genesis. Maybe Nad Sylvan tried to copy Gabriel's act at the end of Supper's Ready. Instead of holding a neon-light in his hand, he raised a sword up during The Fading Ghosts Of Twilight.
The band that looked most professional on stage is the German outfit RPWL. Three songs can be enjoyed during the 27 minutes they got on this DVD. All these tracks are accompanied by film projections at the back of the stage. The first two songs Sleep and Stranger are the most enjoyable, because these tunes feature strong guitar and synthesizer solos. The last track Roses is the usual encore. It's a rather simple and melodic composition to sing along with. RPWL ends this rather entertaining DVD. The makers of this release probably learned from the mistakes they made last year. This time all performing artists are much better filmed and it looks as if more cameras were used. The close-ups of the musicians are of a better quality as well and that also applies to the overall sound, which is just perfect for private use.
Compared to the last year's release, it's obvious that this DVD scores a higher rating. All was done more professionally and therefore I have to compliment those who were responsible for it. The previous DVD got a score of three stars, but this time four stars are appropriate. Maybe next year they get the highest score of five stars. Who knows!
**** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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