The 2005 Nearfest pre-show headliner was the Italian Progressive maestros- PFM. They were fantastic!
Here's a brief overview of the set:
PFM- headlined Progressive Legends Showcase and simply blew away the audience. Though the sound mixing was very heavy (they were one of the loudest bands of the festival),. Franz Di Cioccio was ultimate showman getting a usual stodgy prog audience involved. (for the uninitiated, Nearfest audiences rarely pump their arms, scream and never dance in the aisles, they listen, enjoy and absorb the sounds). His drumming was of the extremely high caliber and the replacement for the ill Flavio Premoli was amazing. Franco Mussida was given a lot of highlight time on acoustic and electric guitar, providing beautiful passages and solid solo work. The band began their killer set by playing two songs- `River of Life' and the title track to their debut album- Photos of Ghosts in Italian- the first time I have never heard them in their native language, The band received numerous standing ovations and you could tell tell that they gave their all and clearly were humbled to play at NF. A powerful and beautiful set finished off by their classic song- Celebration. During the song, Electronic violinist Lucio Fabbri was talking digital pictures of Franz on drums- they were having a great time (as was the audience).
The band members were very nice people to talk to, they even liked the drawing. Not shown is the backup keyboardist who signed it on the opposite page and drew a cartoony keyboard.... not very good, but he could really play! Thanks for the memories, in my wildest dreams would I ever believe I would see PFM play. By the way, PFM is the only Italian band to break the American top 100 ever. Today, with the American music/ crap that people like (and think is good (yeah- right- be ignorant)... if PFM was a new band- they wouldn't have a chance... except in a underground prog movement.
The drawing was done from a small picture off the internet, I did it in school during my prep after I luckily got tickets (Nearfest usually sells out in 30 min. each year). I did this before my accident and the tinnitus.