Goblin at The Opera House: Recap & EP vinyl Review

October 19, 2013 | By | Add a Comment

Oh, relax. We can glue it all back together again.

It was literally a week ago that legendary Italian prog-rock band Goblin performed at The Opera House, gracing Toronto during their first ever North American tour. As keyboardist Maurizio Guarini said during a short break in the performance, ‘I promised I’d bring him, and I did!’ pointing to fellow keyboardist Claudio Simonetti, arguably the band’s best-known member due to his solo work and ongoing collaborations with director Dario Argento.

The band’s makeup has changed since its formal debut as Goblin with their score for Argento’s Deep Red in 1975. One audience member shouted out “Cherry Five!”  – the band’s prior name – to Simonetti during a break, and Simonetti’s reply was an impromptu jazz crooning of the name. (Simonetti’s sense of humour was also in play when the band returned for an encore, and the keyboardist played the first bars of Van Halen’s “Jump.”)

The evening started off with a roughly 40 min. set by Secret Chiefs 3, who spun some very creative versions of famous film themes.

I didn’t notice Marvin Gaye’s Trouble Man – probably because I’ve only heard it a few times – but there was a Latin version of Ernest Gold’s Exodus (very tongue-in-cheek, and very well done, especially the trumpet solo), an edgy metal version of John Carpenter’s Halloween theme, and perhaps most interesting, what sounded like a fusion between the roving fire truck music from Bernard Herrmann’s Fahrenheit 451 and the skittering through the streets music from Herrmann’s The Day the Earth Stood Still.

The performance volume was very high, and it seemed Goblin may have asked the mixer to knock down the levels a bit to ensure some for the finer nuances of Guarini and Simonetti’s keyboard solos remained audible once Goblin took to the stage just after 10:35pm.

The band’s programme was an intertwining of soundtrack and non-film work, including a track from Back to the Goblin, generous material from their superb Roller album, and (I think) some material from Il fantastico Viaggio del Bagarozzo Mark.

Among the film music themes, Deep Red earned some cheers, but perhaps the biggest hits were Tenebre (with Simonetti performing the electrified vocals, which seemed to motivate several in my corner to dance a very merry jig), Phenomena, and Dawn of the Dead / Zombie [M] – arguably the crowd’s favourite.

Also worked in were main themes from Sleepless (the post LRT ride / face-smashing kill music was used instead of the opening train kill theme), plus timeless favourite Suspiria for which audiences were urged to accompany Simonetti in a throaty chant of ‘La-la-la.’

In terms of a performance assessment, every band member – keyboardists Guarini and Simonetti, guitarist Massimo Morante, bass guitarist Bruno Previtali, and drummer Titta Tani – was in solid form. The two newer members (originally hailing from Simonetti’s own Daemonia band) matched the quality and complexity of solos in the original recordings. As one audience member remarked, ‘I’m surprised they stuck so close to the original versions – most bands don’t’ do that, and don’t do it so well in a live setting.’

With a sound a little edgier and heavier, both the sonic waves from bass guitar and drums managed to pass through my abdomen; can’t imagine the effects on those standing right by the stage and speakers.

The joy from my stance went beyond just seeing them live in what may be a once in a lifetime chance. Definite highpoints were seeing which keyboardist played my favourite solos (especially the more complex rhythms), and specific guitar parts. I was really impressed with Previtali’s bass work – he delivered a warm yet hard sound – and drummer Tani was a natural fit with his own style.

Goblin’s month-long tour – 19 days total – continues this weekend to Oregon, California, and Texas before they wrap. Also part of the tour is a live performance of the Suspiria score set to picture, which the band had done in Melbourne, Australia, back in July. Given the upcoming Suspiria performance is at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, I wonder if the film print will be cut, uncut, or the restored version locked away by the hoarding Weinsteins.

I didn’t bring a camera to the concert because I figured there would be more enough images floating around the web. Actually, there were many taping the concert with their iPhones, and one guy with a big, bright iPad, so those who missed the concert can see samples on YouTube with sound in Distort-O-Vision.

Red, isn't it?

I did get my hands on the limited 4-track EP, pressed by Death Waltz Recording Co. on pristine red vinyl. Now I see why their platters sells out fast – there is no surface noise.

I did use a conventional Sony turntable to play the LP – my vintage Marantz is in need of a major overhaul – but the music was piped through a vintage Marantz receiver, so everything sounded very warm. A  review of the EP – New Goblin: Tour 2013 EP [M] – is now up.

Coming next: reviews of four action scores from La-La Land Records – Jerry Goldsmith’s The Challenge, James Horner’s Patriot Games, Alan Silvestri’s Red 2, and Shirley Walker’s Turbulence.

And soon after: another set of scans for International Independent Video Store Day, featuring a full issue of the trade magazine Canadian Video Retailer, packing exciting articles like “Love, Laughter, Horror and Bullets: Choosing the Most Popular” and “What To Do If Your Store is Raided.” No, really; these are real articles, circa 1986.




Mark R. Hasan, Editor
KQEK.com ( Main Site / Mobile Site )

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