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(240 min 2DVD, Black Widow Records / Afraka)
Prolusion. The Italian band OSANNA was formed back in 1970, and was a popular band in their homeland, especially in the first half of that decade, but broke up in 1979. In 1999 Osanna reunited, and has been an active recording and performing unit since then. "Tempo" is their most recent production, a small book with a double DVD set, which was produced by the Italian companies Afraka and Black Widow.
DVD-1: Live in Naples (130:00)
TRACKLIST: Primo Tempo: 1. Rosso Rock 2. Pazzariello / Piergiorgio 3. Fuje 'a Chistu Paese 4. Intro Animale 5. Mirror Train 6. Taka Boom 7. L'Uomo 8. Ce Vulesse ce Vulesse 9. ‘A Zingara 10. Oro Caldo 11. L'Amore Vincera' di Nuovo 12. Introduzione 13. Everybody's Gonna See You Die 14. In un Vecchio Cieco 15. Vado Verso una Meta 16. Theme One Secondo Tempo: 17. Preludio 18. Tema 19. Tempo / Dianalogo 20. Spunti Dallo Spartito 21. To Plinius 22. My Mind Flies 23. 13° Cortile / Tempo 24. Posizione Raggiunta 25. There Will Be Time 26. Per la Strada 27. Fiume 28. Fuje 'A Chistu Paese 29. 'O Culore 'e Napule 30. Fuje 'A Chistu Paese Extras: 31. Backstage 32. Rosso Rock Video LINE UP: Lino Vairetti – vocals; guitars; harmonica Irvin Vairetti – vocals; piano, keyboards Sasa Priore – organ, keyboards Pasquale Capobianco – guitars Gennaro Barba – drums Nello D’ Anna – bass With: David Jackson – saxophones, flute Sophya Baccini - vocals &: A few more singers
Analysis. One aspect of music DVDs I tend to not describe in minute detail is the specific style explored by the band or bands featured on those productions. At least as I regard a production of this kind, the main buying audience will be people familiar with the band already, and the greater majority will be existing fans. As far as Osanna is concerned they are an Italian band, and as many other bands from that country they tend to explore a fairly broad stylistic palette, ranging from harder edged compact progressive rock driven by guitars to symphonic oriented excursions of a gentler nature, with quite a few excursions into jazz rock to boot. I'll leave it to fans to further elaborate on that description, but for those not familiar with Osanna this might be considered a rough guide to what this band is about, at least when describing the 2013 edition of the band. Image quality is one of the most important aspects of any music DVD as far as I'm concerned. And in that department "Tempo" is a production of the highest quality. The video footage is nice and detailed, and the color balance is as good as you can expect it, considering that this is live footage taken at a setting that involves moving lights, colored lights and lots of people and objects projecting shadows. Which means that some odd colors will appear from time to time, this due to the setting rather than the quality of the recordings. In this case I found the quality to be impressive, and I'll add my exclamation marks to a superb editing of the footage taken as well. Multiple angles, plenty of close-ups as well as full stage shots, overhead shots and just about anything you could ask for. This is a superb and truly professional production in this department that doesn't leave much to be desired, if anything. The sound quality is just about as important on productions of this nature, and again we're dealing with a high quality, impeccable capture of a live performance. Crisp and crystal clear sound, with a fine, warm sound and what my ears would describe as a perfectly balanced mix. What avid audiophiles might have to say about this I don't know, but as far as I'm concerned I can't really see how the sound quality of this concert could have been any better. The final detail I tend to focus on when it comes to live DVDs is the performance by the band, and then first and foremost with an emphasis on how entertaining this is to watch. In this case my impression is that the band, alongside the various guest performers, gave a really good show as far as performance is concerned, with a lot of entertainment value too. While I have seen concert footage with more of an inspired and charming band interaction, I understand that this version of Osanna is a fairly recent one, and as such the personal chemistry a long lasting band will naturally project when performing will still be out of bounds for this band. But main man Lino Vairetti makes up for that easily. He is a natural front man at this concert, the visual focus and the main vocalist, and very much a band leader and ceremony master. Watching him perform has great entertainment value in itself, but also some of his musicians and especially some of the guest performers come across as people having a truly good time on stage. Sophya Baccini can be mentioned as one of the latter that had a striking presence on stage. The additional features don't add all that much to this live DVD, but then again they don't have to. With an almost two hour long concert that comes across as a strikingly professional, high quality production there really isn't a need for much extra material to add value to this DVD set, and the book that contains this DVD as well as the second one is a superior extra product in itself, featuring the band's history in Italian and English, as well as a foreword in both languages, plenty of pictures of the band and the guest musicians. An extensive credits list also a detail that merits a mention. Just about the only complaint I can lodge against this DVD is the DVD menu itself, which in my experience was a bit on the primitive side. Still, it is functional and you'll only ever want to hit the play concert or play extras button anyway, so this is a case of aesthetics rather than function as such.
DVD-2: Osanna Story: 20 video clips 1971-2009 (110:00)
TRACKLIST: 1. L'Uomo (from "Speciale Pop" - TV Koper, 1971) 2. L'Uomo (from "Speciale tre Milioni" - RAI, 1971) 3. L'Uomo (from "Stasera Si" - RAI, 1971) 4. L'Uomo (from "Domenica Insieme" - RAI, 1971) 5. Money (from "Speciale tre Milioni" - RAI, 1971) 6. Non Sei Vissuto Mai (from "Amico Flauto" - RAI, 1972) 7. Animale Senza Respiro (Live in Rome - RAI, 1972) 8. Variazioni 1 / 2 (from "Tutto è Pop" - RAI, 1972) 9. Oro Caldo (from "Adesso Musica" - RAI, 1973) 10. Be - In / Naples (from "Adesso Musica" - RAI, 1973) 11. 'A Zingara (from "Domenica In" - RAI, 1978) 12. L'Uomo (from CD "Taka Boom" - 2000) 13. Ce Vulesse Ce Vulesse (from DVD live "Uomini e Miti" - 2001) 14. Oro Caldo - Fuje 'a Chistu Paese (from DVD "Uomini e Miti" - 2001) 15. There Will Be Time (from "Concerto per l'Epifania" Naples - 2009) 16. L'Uomo (from live in Savona - 2009) 17. Landscape of Life (from live in Savona - 2009) 18. Everybody's Gonna See You Die (from live in Savona - 2009) 19. Solo Uniti (from live in Savona - 2009) 20. Sogni d'Oro (from live in Savona - 2009) LINEUP: Various line-ups of Osanna between 1971 and 2009
Analysis. The second DVD in this set is one that primarily will be of interest to avid fans of Osanna I suspect. Twenty video clips from just about all stages of the band's career, some of them what I'd describe as vintage rock videos, sporting band footage from some location or other with a song as the soundtrack. Others are studio performances where the band mime to a playback, others again live in the studio or live on stage performances. The quality of the video footage ranges from low quality to typically professional made material, where the majority is of the latter although the film itself testifies to being both old and extensively used previously on some occasions. The most interesting aspect of this video collection from my point of view was to witness how Osanna has developed over the years. The first few years with a flute and folk flavored sound caught in the middle of Jethro Tull, hippie improvisations and material with more of an avant-garde feel to it, onwards to the late 1970's and Osanna now exploring a more straight forward kind of material, exchanging their more flamboyant costumes of the earlier days with clothing and hairdo's of a more contemporary and conventional nature. Some of the material recorded from the first few years after Osanna's return in 1999 documents a band that appears to explore fairly safe and conventional grounds to a greater extent than more sophisticated material, and it is intriguing to hear how they sound safe and fairly complacent in some of those shots. Another intriguing detail about the material featured from 1999 and onwards is the subtle change in front man Lino Vairetti. He is the front man and visual focus just as much on these clips as he is in the 2012 concert, but he appears to a greater extent as a member of the band in these older shots, fulfilling his role as the front man. The difference between that and his role as a more defined master of ceremonies in the 2012 concert is a subtle one admittedly, and probably emphasized by the difference in impression one gets when comparing individual clips to a full concert experience, but it is still an intriguing one. Still this second DVD doesn't add all that much to the entertainment value unless you are a dedicated fan of Osanna. If you are, this DVD will most certainly entertain you though. As with the first DVD there are some menu issues on this disc, and in this case not limited to aesthetics. The DVD will go back to the wrong menu at times after watching individual clips. This isn't more than a very minor annoyance, but still one that shouldn't be present in a production that otherwise is so impressive.
Conclusion. If you are a fan of Osanna, "Tempo" is a production that should be placed fairly high on your list of material to purchase. The main DVD, documenting a splendid concert from 2012 in a high quality manner, is the principal reason for that. This concert is captured in all its glory, in a truly professional manner on all levels, and the concert itself is an entertaining watch too. The dedicated fans will enjoy the foreword, the detailed credits and the history of the band featured in the book that is a part of this production, and the 20 historical video clips on the second DVD are a nice supplement that should intrigue their core fan base. A superb package, and one that comes with my highest recommendations.
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