PFM (Premiata Forneria Marconi) had been around since 1970. Initially, their albums had only been available via import from their label in Italy, Numero Uno, which was an RCA imprint. Their music was largely inspired by several UK bands at the time; Genesis, Van der Graff Generator and King Crimson, but they added another dimension to the goings on; a technical proficiency with Classical leanings and a very tight rhythm section. With the added influences, along with synthesizers, they quickly established themselves as one of the pivotal bands of the Progressive Rock movement in Europe and the UK. As far as the American market was concerned, for the first two years they were considered musicians-musicians and those collectors of imports loaned their precious discs to FM stations and word of mouth got around in the U.S. But leave it the Big kids On the Block, Emerson, Lake and Palmer to take it to the next step. When ELP formed Manticore Records, the first band they signed was PFM and their third album, Photos Of Ghosts was issued, with newly recorded English lyrics supplied by Pete Sinfield, as their debut album.
This concert, which was somewhat unfortunate as the band were the last to play and had to cut their set short due to time restrictions, catches them as they were becoming very popular with UK audiences. I remember when they finally came to Los Angles and did a stint at the Whisky, confounding executives at Atlantic (Manticore’s U.S. distributor at the time) – their presence (not to mention some pretty high cholesterol but thoroughly unforgettable Pasta Carbonara at 4 in the morning) gave a much needed shot in the arm to the music scene. Certainly not embraced by everybody (critics were on the fence), they nonetheless were extremely influential with scores of musicians coming up at the time.
They were, and still are, cornerstones of a movement that has yet to be fully examined.
Here they are at Reading on August 26, 1973.