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PFM: Live in Japan 2002 (DVD)

There has been a recent proliferation of live concert DVDs from just about any artist who has ever stood before a microphone. Frequently, the budget constraints are all too obvious, but here is a sterling example of how a concert DVD should be done. At two hours and fifteen minutes, PFM deliver the goods in a no frills performance in front of an appreciative audience of adoring fans. Recorded at the Club Citta in Kawasaki Japan, this group of old guys is absolutely on fire. Mainstays Franco Mussida on guitar, Flavio Premoli on keyboards, Patrick Djivas on bass and crazy man Franz Di Cioccio on drums and vocals are ably assisted by Lucio Fabbri on violin and keyboards. Rounding out the lineup is Piero Monterisi on drums while Di Cioccio takes center stage to sing. I confess that I have only heard Serendipity from the more recent PFM catalog and I didn't know what to expect in terms of a setlist or indeed how the band would actually sound. I was more than pleasantly surprised to discover that most of the concert is comprised of material from their classic early seventies albums. From the unmistakable opening notes of "La Carozza di Hans" to the final encore of "La Luna Nuova", it is difficult to pull the DVD out of the player. While the band provide faithful renditions of classics like "River of Life", "Out of the Roundabout" and a gorgeous "Impressioni di Settembre", they love to jam as well. In fact the highlight of the concert is the closing "Tokyo Violin Jam", featuring a slice of Rossini's "William Tell Overture", just like in the old days!

What makes the concert such is a joy is that the band are having fun on stage. Though there's a lot of gray hair, they all play with plenty of youthful vigor. Franz Di Cioccio emerges from behind his drum kit to sing most of the lead vocals. Admittedly, he is a little awkward as a front man, but his enthusiasm carries him through the frequent goofy stage gestures. However when he's behind the drum kit, I am reminded that he is one of the great underrated drummers of his era.

The picture quality is superb and the Dolby Digital 5.1 surround mix is clean and clear. Unfortunately, there's no DTS track but frankly I don't miss it much. Also accompanying the concert is a short documentary that focuses on the band's journey to Japan. Alas, the dialogue is in Italian and there's no subtitles, which brings up the only real caveat: the DVD is only available in the PAL standard. If you live in North America and you don't have a code free player, you are out of luck. But PFM Live in Japan 2002 is such a wonderful DVD that it may just be worth your dollars to make the upgrade.

Track Listing

  1. La Carozza di Hans
  2. Rain Birth(Intro to the River)
  3. River of Life
  4. Photos of Ghosts
  5. Peninsula
  6. Out of the Roundabout
  7. La Rivoluzione
  8. Suonare Suonare
  9. Promenade the Puzzle
  10. Tokyo Piano Solo
  11. Dove...Quando (part two)
  12. Dove...Quando
  13. Il Banchetto
  14. Dolcissima Maria
  15. Maestro Della Voce
  16. Si Puo' Fare
  17. Mr. 9 Till 5
  18. Scary Light
  19. Tokyo Electric Guitar Jam including Altaloma 5 till 9
  20. Tokyo Violin Jam (part one)
  21. Rossini's William Tell Overture
  22. Tokyo Violin Jam (part two)
  23. Impressioni di Settembre
  24. E' Festa (Celebration)
  25. La Luna Nuova (Four Holes in the Ground)

Added: May 27th 2004
Reviewer: Steve Pettengill
Related Link: Official PFM Homepage
Hits: 6037
Language: english

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