BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO: NO PALCO (2003)
1) Prologo #1; 2) R.I.P.; 3) Il Ragno; 4) Cento Mani, Cento Occhi; 5) Quando La Buona Gente Dice; 6) Canto Di Primavera; 7) La Caccia / Fa# Minore; 8) Moby Dick; 9) Non Mi Rompete; 10) Come Due Treni Intro; 11) 750,000 Anni Fa... L'Amore; 12) Traccia I; 13) Traccia II.
Hey, another live album — bet you didn't see this one coming. Then again, what a better way to celebrate the band's 30th anniversary than with a major live extravaganza, staged in the heart of Rome itself, with a swarm of friends, old and new (some of which are allegedly big names on the Italian stage), and a setlist that makes it pretty clear that the Eighties and Nineties never really happened? And why not release it as an official CD if the performances are generally flawless, and if Nudo already showed so clearly that re-recordings of the «old shit» are so inherently superior to whatever new shit they could try to come up with?
In any case, No Palco is at least interesting in that, for the last bunch of tracks, the band is joined on the stage by brother Gianni, doing a solo piano instrumental (ʽCome Due Treniʼ) and taking on the key role in ʽ750,000 Anni Faʼ and both of the ʽTracciaʼ pieces. Additionally, Mauro Pagani, one of the founding fathers of Banco's chief competitors, Premiata Forneria Marconi, makes a guest appearance on ʽNon Mi Rompeteʼ and ʽCanto Di Primaveraʼ, contributing violin parts, and even the band's old drummer, Pierluigi Calderoni, sits in on a few numbers. Meaning that the whole thing does qualify as a celebration of sorts, and is worth picking up if you are in serious love with the band.
The setlist is actually quite clever, evenly spread between most of the band's classic period up until 1979 — the only song from a later date is ʽMoby Dickʼ, an excellent choice to remind us of the band's only moderately worthwhile album from their creepiest decade of work; it is preceded by a piano instrumental (ʽLa Cacciaʼ) that seems to be new, and, additionally, ʽQuando La Buona Gente Diceʼ is expanded from its original length to become a jam session, with all the keyboard and guitar players taking turns to prove the world that Italian rock music is nothing to joke about. (Well, that still won't stop us from... ah well, never mind).
Other than the general «superfluousness» of the record, there is nothing to complain about — the setlist is respectable, the players gel perfectly, DiGiacomo remains in the finest of all possible vocal forms (his range seems invulnerable to age, and his energy and self-confidence only seem to increase), and the audience is genuinely enraptured — on ʽNon Mi Rompeteʼ, they go totally against the message of the title and interrupt the singer with such verve that he just steps away from the mike and lets them handle the first verse. Corny, but touching.
Overall, No Palco («No Stage» — excessive arrogance or heart-melting idealism?) was such a success that the band would repeat it ten years later, with Quaranta released in 2012: I have not heard that one, since (a) there are only so many BMS live albums one can take and (b) the tracklist includes ʽNudoʼ, which is not a good sign, but fans should probably take note. In the meantime, let us close the main book on BMS with a modest thumbs up to No Palco, unless the old boys garner enough strength and ambition to master another studio recording before finally heading for the great gig in the sky (with Darwin in person as MC, no doubt). But hopefully, they won't be that silly.