This first Paolo Conte live collection is an ideal introduction to one of Italy's most unique performers. Recorded both in Italy and in France, a testimony to Conte's established transnational appeal, this recording constitutes an excellent summary of the first decade of his career. Although he only gathered the courage to start his solo career after working ten years as a professional songwriter, Conte is a natural showman and his music, with its strong music hall influences, is clearly made for the stage. Always a perfectionist, for this outing Conte surrounds himself with a cadre of Italy's finest sessionmen: bassist Ares Tavolazzi, drummer Ellade Bandini, guitarist Jimmy Villoti, saxophonist and bandleader Antonio Marangolo, and keyboardist Mimmo Turone. All of the above (plus producer Renzo Fantini) had frequently contributed to Conte's studio recordings and were thus perfectly in synch with his musical vision. Appropriately, the husky vocalist-stomping pianist and his band never miss a step, as they positively enjoy themselves nonchalantly breezing through 18 classics from the Conte repertoire. All of his best-known songs are here, including "Genova per Noi," "Via con Me," "Bartali," "Un Gelato al Limon," "La Topolino Amaranto," and "Onda su Onda." As a bonus, there is also the first appearance on a Conte album of "Azzurro," a 1968 hit for Adriano Celentano written by Conte and Vito Pallavicini. As an introduction to the artist, Concerti, or any other Conte live album, is arguably better than a greatest-hits package and, in fact, this record functioned as such until the first official Paolo Conte compilation appeared in 1992. The only caveat with Concerti has to do with its compact disc edition, since the sound of the 1989 digitally mastering is rather dim. In addition, this album was originally released as a double long-player, and the CD version loses two great tracks, "Sono Qui con Te Sempre Più Solo," and "Dal Loggione."
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AllMusic Review by Mariano Prunes