Le Orme

In Concerto

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In 1974, Le Orme were at the crest of their success wave. The album Felona e Sorona had opened the doors to England, while at home in Italy they were one of the top live acts. A live album was in order, one of the first (if not the very first) ones by an Italian rock group. Like almost every other live album from that era, In Concerto is flawed: the sound quality is bad -- keyboard-led rock trios translate terribly on record -- and the track selection questionable. Casual listeners turning to this live album in the hope of a best-of collection will be disappointed. Collage, Le Orme's first album in a progressive rock vein, is over-represented with "Sguardo Verso il Cielo," "Era Inverno," and the title track, while Uomo di Pezza and Contrappunti are ignored, and only the final section from the concept album Felona e Sorona is included. However, fans will want In Concerto for the side-long "Truck of Fire," which didn't appear on a studio album. Sadly, it is side-long only because of the inclusion of an overindulgent drum solo; still, it is a strong song, similar in style to the material released on Contrappunti. And "Sguardo" and "Collage" breathe easier without the orchestra underpinning them on the studio recordings -- the latter proves to be a crowd-pleaser and a showcase, not unlike Premiata Forneria Marconi's anthem "E Fiesta." In Concerto is an odd, unbalanced live album, and definitely not a summary of the band's first progressive rock phase.

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