Francesco De Gregori and Lucio Dalla finally got together again for another go at the road 30 years after Banana Republic, the pair's previous event-of-the-year tour and live album. The inevitable CD/DVD that documents the tour, teasingly titled Work in Progress as if hinting at a further collaboration, is a fairly predictable affair, but then again that was probably what the estimated 150,000 people who attended their concerts all over Italy demanded of the two iconic singer/songwriters. All in all, you get almost 30 songs, almost all of them certified classics, with more than half coming from the mid-'70s to early-'80s period that saw the two artists frequently working together, plus plenty of backstage material on the DVD. Since most if not all of these songs have been featured in countless compilations and live albums by either Dalla or De Gregori, there are few surprises in store. What makes Work in Progress a little different -- and certainly more interesting -- is that both singers share the mike in many selections, so listeners get a rare chance to hear each artist performing the other's tunes. For instance, De Gregori's superb reading of Dalla's "Com'è Profondo il Mare" is a minor revelation, as it reveals how closely attuned both songwriters were in the late '70s -- their careers often differ greatly before and after then, so this is by no means an obvious fact. While only two songs are repeated from the Banana Republic track list, there are some curious parallels between the 1979 and the 2010 albums, which may or may not have been intended. Banana Republic included two new songs, the title track and "Come Fanno i Marinai," that are virtually duplicated in theme and style in the two new 2010 songs, "Gran Turismo" and an Italian cover version of "Just a Gigolo," respectively. Work in Progress being a double album, it adds one more new song, the opening "Non Basta Saper Cantare." The only track recorded in the studio, it is as beautiful a ballad as you could expect from Lucio Dalla and Francesco De Gregori, enough to make fans pray they will fulfill the promise implicit on their second reunion title and eventually deliver an entire album of new compositions.
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AllMusic Review by Mariano Prunes
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2