Artist: Daemonia
Date of Show: November 9th, 2002/ Progwest
Reviewed by: Elias Granillo Jr

Which brings us to Daemonia's first appearance in America! On a very rainy Saturday, being the 9th of November, 2002, Claudio, Federico, Bruno and Titta brought their show to a humble stage in a quaint little theater called Seeley-Mudd Auditorium, in Claremont, CA. And they proceeded to burn up that stage! The best, most honed act brought to ProgWest this year, Daemonia showcased virtually every bit of material found on their pair of CDs, and then some.

The entire set went off without a hitch; I have seldom seen a band so polished, so rehearsed-especially with a venue so small, were anything to happen, one would see it. There was plenty of playful onstage antics between Bruno & Federico involving poses and facial expressions-always good to see band members having some serious fun, and those two were the guys to disprove such an oxymoron. Bruno was a man on fire, his heavy metal guitar style lending a serious edge to the Goblin tracks. "L'alba dei Morti Viventi," the obvious opener as per Live...Or Dead, became portentously huge through large stage amps; kudos must go to Daemonia's soundman, as Claudio's keyboards were never drowned out by the guitar, bass & drums (it pays to bring your own tech!). Claudio ad-libbed concise intros to the majority of the pieces, graciously bridging the gap between artist and audience. After a great delivery of "Demoni," Claudio performed a medley of the "Halloween" and "Tubular Bells" (read: The Exorcist) themes, the former fleshed out significantly beyond its origin, with an intro transposed two octaves downward, it seemed. After that, Claudio switched gears to Keith, as in Emerson: the somber solo piano of "Inferno" segued into "Mater Tenebrarum" (full band).

The band continued to plow (literally!) through classics such as "Opera" (feat. a beautiful solo courtesy of Bruno), "Suspiria" (with Claudio's processed vocal on the intro), and "Tenebre." Then came a surprise: the title track of Nonhosonno! That was quite unexpected, and greatly relished, as it houses a haunting, unforgettable piano melody. Another new track came in the form of a treatment of a different sort of "classic," namely J.S. Bach's "Toccato & Fugue In D Minor," which Claudio said would be on the new Daemonia CD. This is a timeless piece, and there's nothing like hearing it performed with synthesizers, guitar, bass & drums. Daemonia also took us to a "School At Night" where we encountered a "Mad Puppet," after which we would be cast into "Profondo Rosso," one of Goblin's most famous themes. In this case, it's the thunderous bassline which holds as much prominence as the chords played on the organ-those introductory bass notes nail down such an ominous, dreadful tone, I cannot imagine the track being without it.

Surprise Number Three! As if things just couldn't get better.a certain track not on either of Daemonia's releases so far was performed, another of Goblin 's most famous. And that track was "Zombi." I couldn't believe it when Claudio said (paraphrasing) "I dedicate this next one to zombies, everywhere!" The band charged into the militaristic intro, as powerful as intro as that to Stravinsky's "Firebird Suite." Claudio performed the main (non-drumkit) percussion part via synthetic tones on his keyboard, in perfect sync with the groove laid down by Federico & Titta. In all, the band performed close to twenty tracks. I'm not sure if they truly weren't expecting to be called out for an encore, but we, the audience, would simply not give up. The curtains drew back, the band smiling, and Claudio posing the question to somebody in the front row, "Any preference?"-but not before some not-very-subtle humor involving his playing the opening chords of Van Halen's "Jump"! The band launched into their encore, a familiar piece of music. In fact, very familiar - it had already been played that night! It turned out they were doing "Phenomena" for the second time. Not that this reviewer minded one bit.

To say Daemonia's performance was a dream come true is an understatement. This reviewer has been a fan of Goblin's music for close to twenty years, and I thought the occasion to experience it live would never come to pass, short of spending a small fortune for a plane ticket to Italy. Thanks must publicly go out to the organizers of ProgWest for making this happen. Perhaps Daemonia can pay us another visit again-perhaps the memories of the applause & shouts of enthusiastic festgoers and the sale of every single CD of Live.Or Dead they'd brought with them will make it so.

Reviewed by Elias Granillo Jr for on November 18th, 2002

Daemonia setlist from PW'02 Looks something like this, for the most part (track references are from Daemonia's live CD, Live...Or Dead):

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