Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Pooh, Udine 18/12/2012


One of Italy’s longest-surviving pop/rock groups, the Pooh, played in front of an all sold-crowd in Udine.  Italian pop-rock group The Pooh (“I Pooh” in Italian, no relation apparently to Winnie) played in front of a full house in Udine’s “Giovanni da Udine” theater.   

The group, originally from Bologna, formed way back in 1966.  
The Udine concert was the last one of their recent Italian tour and also featured a 25-member orchestra.  Longevity and amazing enthusiasm for good music is the key word for this band: a three-hour concert which included a set-list of nearly thirty songs. 

The group is made up of three original members: Roby Facchinetti on vocals and keyboards; Dodi Battaglia on vocals and Red Canzian on vocals and electric bass.  Drummer Stefano D’Orazio, who joined the band in 1971, left in 2009.  He was replaced on drums by Englishman Steve Ferrone in 2010 (who has played with the likes of Eric Clapton, Bee Gees, Tom Petty and George Harrison). 

The band’s influences have included Pink Floyd, Genesis, the Beatles and also the Bee Gees.  They’ve also taken home 15 golden discs plus 47 platinum ones and have performed live a whopping 4,500 times.

Their very last encore was a song which dates back to their very first years as a band, “Piccola Katy”, a favorite with all Pooh fans out there.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

English bluesman John Mayall entertains fans, Padua, Italy 10/12/2012

A very spritely 79 year old John Mayall (born in 1933) is still amazing audiences with his great blues music.  Mayall’s group touched down at Padua’s wonderful Geox Theater, thanks to the folks over at Zed Live promotions, in front of a several thousand die-hard blues fans.  His 90-minute show was preceded by Italy’s rather unique group, “The Cyborgs”, with welder’s hats and all. 

Mayall was once famous for his “John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers”, a band that once included some pretty illustrious musicians, such as Eric Clapton, John McVie, Jack Bruce and a very young Mick Taylor, who had played from 1967-1969 with Mayall’s stellar band (it was thanks to Mayall’s suggestion that Taylor would then go on to play for 5 years with the Rolling Stones).  Back in 1964 Mayall’s band had backed up another great bluesman, John Lee Hooker, during his British tour.  Excerpts from his very first album in 1964 were also played in Padua.

A rather epic reunion took place on July 19th, 2003 during Mayall’s 70th birthday with special guests Clapton and Taylor and Chris Barber, the man who had brought the blues to England from the U.S., all on the same stage too.  And in recognition of his role as the “father of British blues”, Mayall was appointed in 2005 “Officer of the Order of the British Empire” (OBE).  

In Padua Mayall was backed-up by some mighty fine musicians: Rocky Athas on guitar, a dazzling Greg Rzab on bass and Jay Davenport on drums.  A first indeed as after the show Mayall actually stuck around with his band to sign autographs for his many fans. 

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