On the cover of the first DVD-release of the Italian prog rock band Mangala Vallis, we see a space shuttle shaped as a trunk hopping between several European cities to collect concert footage. The six musicians of Mangala Vallis are on board of the shuttle accompanied by a boy who chose to become a werewolfÖ Together they collected some stuff certainly worth watching. However, most of the footage has been shot with only one camera and that doesnít look very professional to me. Itís a shame that bad amateur footage is sometimes used as bonus material on several concert DVDís. Fortunately, this is not the case with the material on this rather low-budget release. Drummer Gigi Cavalli Cocchi and his fellow musicians must have collected a lot of material from fans in the past, but they only picked out the images suitable for a larger audience.
The first fifty minutes were shot at the Prog Decennio Festival in Zoetermeer, The Netherlands. I witnessed this strong performance myself. However, the band played a lot longer than the fifty minutes on this DVD. They probably would prevent this DVD from duplications. Most of the tracks have been taken from the bandís second album Lycanthrope. However, from their strong debut album The Book Of Dreams we can enjoy The Journey, Is The End The Beginning, A New Century and Days Of Light. The latter two have been included in the footage from the Zoetermeer gig and the other two are excerpts from the Fidenza Show in Italy. The overall sound on this disc is very good with fine close-ups of all the musicians. Just too bad that they couldnít film keyboardist Enzo Cattini in a proper way so that you can see how heís playing his synths. The band also used a couple of tricks like double vision and images alternating between black-and-white and colour to obtain a more professional look.
Luckily, Mangala Vallis included the PFM-song Traveller as an encore. Bernardo Lanzetti also sang this piece on the original PFM-recordings. You can witness another PFM-classic on the almost ten minute long footage of the bandís performance at the Prog Sud Festival in Marseille (2006) and a far too short clip of Impressioni Di Settembre. Thereís also an interview with bassist Riccardo Sgavetti and Mr. Lanzetti in France. The latter is talking about record companies and the way they Ďfuck upí the music businessÖ The most professional recordings have been filmed during a TV-show in Milano, Italy. In general, the old black-and-white movie effects are quite good. You can see the band doing a short sound check, but you also get a close look at the strange glove Bernardo used in order to give his voice special effects during The Mask. On The Transparent And The Obscure, Daniela Galliís doing some fine background vocals.
The bandís performance at the Teatro Magnani in Fidenza in 2005 has been filmed with just one camera continuously from the same spot. The thirty minutes of this performance are in black-and-white. That is not the Ďusualí black-and-white, but the kind that matches very well with the colours of the clips taken from Carl Zeman ís Adventures Fantastiques. Those clips, shown during several instrumental passages, feature elements that might have been taken from the old novels written by Jules Verne. The DVD ends with two videos that tell something about the story of Lycanthrope. On the menu, this segment is called Lycantropus Ducalis. The first video, The Boy That Howls At The Moon, has black-and-white images including the musicianís clothes. Itís nice to see that the band used a real mellotron and a MiniMoog to make it look more realistic. The second video, The Mask, is in full colour and is nothing more than a masquerade indeed. After the final credits, the trunk of old souvenirs from the days keyboardist Enzo Cattini was still a band member, is empty. Letís hope that shortly the same crew of astronauts will collect more footage from other cities around the world. As far as Iím concerned, the material on this DVD was very entertaining.
*** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen), pictures by Arthur Haggenburg
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