Wednesday, March 20, 2019

FM: "The Italian Job"

Rating: Live
Label: Frontiers 2019
Review by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom

"The Italian Job" - sheer class from the opening note to the last? Absolutely. Steve Overland is still the man and the voice really hasn't changed much since the eighties. The rest of the grey gentlemen: Jim Kirkpatrick (guitars), Merv Goldsworthy (bass), Jem Davis (keyboards), Pete Jupp (drums), are solid and provide great musicanship, if only a bit too safe and robotic. To be completely honest. They hardly move around at all on stage and they're not THAT old, you know. Mick Jagger to the rescue?

FM are a bit like the full English breakfast on a Monday morning, as you roll out of bed, they hit the stage with black pudding, bangers, bacon, baked beans, mushrooms, tomatoes, and egg everything in sight. You'll end up satisfied by all the soul food, but... do people really need all that fried stuff at 7 a'clock? Sure they did. Back in the days and around the year of 1886!! People worked hard in the coal mines, woods, or fields. Nowadays? 12 hours hardly at work infront of the PC screen, facebook every 10th minute? I don't think so, chubby. Try the continental.

Certainly, the FM set had been updated as the first rhythm of "Black Magic" seems to at least please parts of the audience. There's no holding back from the pack when Steve get his six-string out and they burst into "I Belong To The Night", one of those all-time best AOR tunes. The three grey gentlemen (Steve, Jim, Merv) stand briefly together in the traditional rock pose as they play "Let Love Be The Leader". They hammered on a piece of AOR something as if there were no tomorrow on "Killed By Love" and the front row do the sing-a-long during the new(ish) track (recorded live in Italy/Milan, April 2018). It's mostly the yeah-yeah's. However. The audience - definitely at full swing as they even pick up the old 'ole-ole-ole' chant and we're not talking about Man United.

"Love Lies Dying" merely second to the Strangeways tune and it's a friggin' great little semi-ballad. The four last numbers are all golden oldies and "Bad Luck" never sounded this good in the studio? Canned backup vocals? It's no doubt a good fun live CD/DVD package if you're the long time fan. Nothing extra, bonus, or interviews to be found. Still. I dare anyone to not smile/grin along to the music as they end the show with "Other Side Of Midnight". Simply ask Jem. He's clearly delighted and happy-all-over at finding himself upfront with the rest of the gang (sorry Pete!).

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