Franck Carducci &
The Fantastic Squad
The Answer Tour 2021

November 7, 2021 - 't Blok, Nieuwerkerk a/d IJssel (NL)

Franck Carducci from France is a well known face at 't Blok in Nieuwerkerk a/d IJssel. The people from the Progfrog organisation already noticed at an early stage his musical talents and showmanship. Therefore he and his amazing live band already climbed the stage four times at this very cosy venue in the Netherlands. The fifth time would have been taken place last year. But we all know what happened. Due to the Covid 19 virus all concerts had to be cancelled or to be postponed to a later date. When it was safe for Franck to do some new concerts
Franck Carducci and Mary Reynaud (►more pics)
it was obvious that 't Blok would be one of the venues to visit. So a fifth time would take place after all.
For this fifth concert Carducci brought many new faces on the stage compared to the shows he did earlier in the Netherlands. An almost new line up was presented and therefore the act for this Sunday afternoon show was presented as Franck Carducci & The Fantastic Squad.

Next to Franck only Mary Reynaud remained in the band. I guess without her presence the band would be totally different. Besides her fantastic vocal performances she always brings a lot of extra show effects to the stage. Something we can't miss at all. Otherwise the audience would have missed her erotic moves with the Theremin during the only brand new song, titled The Betrayal Of Blue. A song about ecology and how man treats the planet badly. We also would have missed out her belly dance with the laser lights on her hands during a short version of A Brief Tale Of Time. Or we could not hear The Angel. A song on which she wears the neon light wings. And what about missing her well known act as hooker Alice during the performance of Alice's Eerie Dream? So thank God she is still there to entertain us. She even played on the acoustic guitar to help out on the extra guitar parts. An all round musician without any doubt.
Theremin Laser fingers Angel Alice

Instead of two guitar players Franck has this time around only Barth Sky at his disposal. This is a really talented guitar player who made his instrument play for two. It really looked easy the way he played all the difficult guitar parts the former band members did before him. So well done I'll have to say.

  Cédric Selzer Toff 'Crazy Monk'
Also new is keyboard player Cédric Selzer. He looks a bit like a brother of Barth. Same kind of long hair, moustache and beard. This is also a very talented musician. With only one keyboard in front of him he is there to give the band a full orchestral sound sometimes. How he will develop in the future nobody knows. But for myself I have no doubts that he might be very important for the band in the years to come.

Many musicians have already sit behind the drum kit. All male just like Franck's fellow countryman Toff 'Crazy Monk'. Who is always present when his friend is at 't Blok. And this time around to help out during Rock 'n' Roll. The Led Zeppelin cover done during the encore. But to do the rhythms during this piece of music was at first not easy. Because most of the drum kit had to be rebuilt up again. It appeared that the bands current female drummer Léa Fernandez is left handed and Toff is right handed. So the cymbals, snare drum etc had to be replaced. But in the end it was OK and did we hear an excellent version of this classic Zeppelin tune. That one of Toff's replacements knows how to hit the drums the right way I noticed during the whole concert. With a lot of energy she played the right parts during the for me well know songs. She is also a great addition to the band and made me forget all of her predecessors. So thumbs up for Léa.

That Franck Carducci himself is the only original band member compared to the bands first line up is very obvious. Franck Carducci & The Fantastic Squad would of course not be the same without this very talented and wonderful person. He is of course the brain and mastermind behind the whole musical concept this musical unit
Franck Carducci (►more pics)
stands for. Sure there is probably some input from the other band members. But I guess he is the architect of what is created on the stage. The captain of this wonderful musical ship so to speak. He writes most of the songs and does most of the lead vocals. Always there to play the bass guitar and let others stand in to the spotlight to do their solos on the guitars and keyboards. It's always great to see him jump around with his Fender bass with the Union Jack flag on the body. Or to see him move around with his awesome Shergold double neck bass/ twelve-string guitar. A heavy weight instrument which is not easy to carry. But he does it during every live show. His stories in between the performed songs are always very entertaining and sometimes even very hilarious. The most famous of them is of course the introduction to the most classical piece he has ever written. Namely the earlier mentioned Alice's Eerie Dream. Wearing weird and outrageous costumes is also something he doesn't avoid. Like for example on Asylum or Slave To Rock' n 'Roll. Playing the role of a rock star is something which was in his DNA the moment he was born. Wearing make-up and polish on his finger nails is something he does not do to look better but to be even more a real rock star. He is of course also the one who chooses the songs for the setlist.

Well the setlist for his fifth concert in Nieuwerkerk a/d IJssel had of course more songs taken from his last studio album The Answer (see review) compared to his last concert in this venue in 2018. A simple reason for that. The album wasn't released at the time and came out one year later. But songs like The After Effect, Slave To Rock' n 'Roll and On The Road To Nowhere could already be enjoyed. The last two titles also appeared now on the setlist. On The Road To Nowhere was of course done acapella and could be enjoyed during the encore just like Slave To Rock' n 'Roll. A song on which Franck is again the rock star and Mary the groupie. Now I could enjoy great live versions of the title track, Asylum and Beautiful Night. Asylum had a surprising ending with a Beatles cover tune. Namely The End from the Abbey Road album. It was beautifully done with a short drum solo by Léa! Strangely enough the last title was by Carducci alone. Using Barth's electric guitar to accompany himself. Well known pieces, which now become real classic Carducci songs, enjoyed in full splendour. Songs such as Closer To Irreversible, Mr. Hyde & Dr. Jekyll and Torn Apart. It's obvious that some of my favourite Carducci songs were left out. Songs such as Achilles, Artificial Paradises and The Last Oddity. But you can't always get what you want as The Rollings Stones once sang. But without those classical Carducci pieces the whole show was still amazing and a breathtaking experience once again.

With this new band line up they managed to come up with an extraordinary live show. As always words cannot describe what the audience saw during the fifth Carducci concert at 't Blok. Just amazing. Franck and his fellow musicians nailed it again. Thanks Franck for giving many people so much pleasure again. And also thanks to the amazing Progfrog team for bringing the only true progressive rock theatre back to the Dutch stage!

Henri Strik (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)

Live video

Henri, Eden & Roel Strik

(Love Is) The Answer (7:38)

Asylum/The End Live (12:02)

The Betrayal Of Blue (10:47)

A Brief Tale Of Time (excerpt) (5:24)

Setlist Franck Carducci:

(Love Is) The Answer
Closer To Irreversible
The Betrayal Of Blue
Mr. Hyde & Dr. Jekyll
A Brief Tale Of Time (excerpt)
Beautiful Night
The Angel
Torn Apart
Alice's Eerie Dream
Asylum/ The End
Slave To Rock' n 'Roll
On The Road To Nowhere
Rock 'n' Roll

Pictures Franck Carducci by Arthur Haggenburg

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Click on the picture to enlarge.


Line up Franck Carducci:

(left to right)
Mary Reynaud:
percussion, acoustic guitar, Theremin, lead and backing vocals
Léa Fernandez:
drums and backing vocals
Franck Carducci:
bass, double neck bass/twelve-string guitar, lead and backing vocals
Barth Sky:
electric guitar and backing vocals
Cédric Selzer:
keyboards and backing vocals
Toff 'Crazy Monk':
drums on Rock 'n' Roll

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