Thursday, April 2, 2009

America, Pordenone 27/03/ 2009

The first thing that struck me at America’s concert (I had seen them some 15 years ago in a circus tent in Rome!) was the rather poor stage setting: the band basically set-up their wares with absolutely NO backdrop. In fact, the backdrop of Pordenone’s small but very functional sports forum consisted of local advertisements (milk, software and what-not producers)! Founding members Gerry Beckley and Dewey Bunnell (the third being Daniel Peck) could have at least put up a large black curtain. It would have made the concert seem like a real concert, and not a high school band recital.

The other thing was the crowd, only about 1,000 people and many being from the 1970s/80s generation. The band actually formed in 1967 with the name Daze (a folk-rock genre) but later changed it’s name to America in 1970-71 when all that was left of the original quintet were Beckley, Bunnell and Peck. Pordenone’s performance came some twenty years after their first appearance in the same town. While listening to their music some nice memories of growing up in Canada came to my mind as we’d drive around town, hoping as ALL (male) teenagers to get lucky with some cute girl. Their music would be blaring on the car radio, such as “Ventura Highway”, “You Can Do Magic”, “Don’t Cross The River” and perhaps one of their favourites and nicest songs, “Sister Golden Hair” (a tune that I’d listen to on the couch while trying to desperately make out with a new girlfriend!).

The concert lasted about two hours and also included some hits from their new album, such as “Ride On”. There were also some Beatles’s oldies such as “Eleanor Rigby”. The connection between the American band and the Fab Four from Liverpool? In 1974 the group went to England as their music was in a slump and asked the Beatles’s historic producer, George Martin, to give them a hand with the album “Holyday” which gave them a no. 4 hit in the US charts, “Tin Man”. The Mamas and Papas’s old hit “California Dreaming” also rang through the hall of the sports forum that night.

Beckley and Bunnell ended their show with “Sister Golden Hair” and probably everyone’s favourite, “A Horse With No Name”. The two were backed up by William Leacox on drums (with the two for the last 31 years), Michael Woods on guitar and keyboard and Richard Campbell on bass. An ok concert, but nothing to write home about (all pics by M. Rimati).

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