It doesn't happen often that prog-fans can enjoy an Italian prog-band in the Netherlands.
Especially if such a band has been around as long as Le Orme, founded in the mid sixties.
Next to great bands as PFM and Banco this band must be considered one of the pioneers in Italian progressive music.
Unfortunately there is no member left from the original line up although from the longest living line up from the seventies and eighties
(Dei Rossi, Tagliapietra and Pagliuca), drummer Michi Dei Rossi is still in the band. Both composers from that era,
keyboardist Tony Pagliuca and bassist/vocalist Aldo Tagliapietra, left the band in the nineties and 2009 respectively.
In the mean time keyboardist extraordinaire Michele Bon joined Le Orme in the early nineties.
Just around a crowd of around 100 people showed up to see this incredible band and they would not be disappointed! The oldest member of the band,
drummer Dei Rossi, frequently came to the front of the stage to explain a bit about the band and what they were going to play.
Unfortunately most of his talking happened to be in Italian and it seemed nobody could understand a word he was saying.
It didn't matter that much because this evening was all about music.
The band played a varied mixture of their huge back-catalogue, but luckily many of the songs dated from the era Collage (1971) to Contrappunti (1974).
Since the line up changed and Bon came to replace Pagliuca, the band released an album called L’infinito (2004).
I believe they played the title track from that album.
As already mentioned the original singer,
bass player and acoustic guitar player Aldo Tagliapietra left in 2009. For a while the band moved on with Jimmy Spitaleri as vocalist,
but recently the band found Fabio Trentini, a highly qualified bass player living in Germany.
He is well known as the producer of records by the Guano Apes among others. In my opinion his modest stage performance,
his playing and his vocals are an incredibly valuable addition to the band.
Even more because at times his voice comes remarkably close to Tagliapietra's vocals and for my ears his voice is the better one.
Michele Bon didn't look like the old fashioned keyboard wizard at all. With a modern short haircut and his glasses with a white frame,
he looked more like synthi-pop keyboard player from the eighties or even a member of a Ska group. At his disposal he had five keyboards,
among others a moog and his self built guitar simulating keytar. In spite of his mighty Hammond C3 not being on stage,
Bon managed his instruments extraordinarily well and the sound of the replacement for this Hammond came really close to the C3.
Drummer Dei Rossi, obviously the main man on stage currently, had the looks of a hippie from the sixties.
With his impressive and voluminous bunch of hairs on his head he was undoubtedly the eye catcher.
His drumming -in spite of his age- was very convincing and even his solo performance was both funny as well as original and musically quite okay.
Although the fans in the audience asked for the Italian lyrics, Fabio's answer was 'we haven't rehearsed the Italian version' so one song was sung in English,
a language Fabio obviously mastered quite well.
So nonetheless the highlight of the evening must have been the rendition of one of their absolute masterpieces Felona E Sorona from 1973.
The lyrics had been written by Van De Graaf Generator's Peter Hamill and even after 40 years,
this peace stands the test of time and can be considered a real classic.
As an encore the trio played Dave Brubeck's Blue Rondo A La Turk and although the balance in the sound wasn't perfect all evening (drums being a bit too loud),
overall, Le Orme left a great impression and I have been told there are plans to get the trio back to the Netherlands next year.
The circumscription the "Italian EL&P" seems to be correct to this day.
One could state the current line up of Le Orme is no more than an extremely good tribute band,
still the fact remains that both the authenticity as well as the quality with which the his trio performs all these classic songs
is perhaps even better than the original members performed those pieces in the seventies.
Maybe a comparison to Genesis members stating that The Musical Box performed their songs even better than the original band did.
I can only hope that if Le Orme would be returning to The Netherlands, Belgium and Germany,
there will be more people coming to their shows because they definitely deserve a larger audience.