Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Deep Purple, Jesolo 11/12/2009

The third time (2003 in Rome and 2007 in Pordenone) for me seeing Ian Gillan and the boyz, this time in the seaside resort of Jesolo, just a hop, skip and a jump from Venice. Rather nice too their “Palazzo del Turismo” where about 3,000 die-hard fans (and even 11 year-olds as one of the goalkeepers I coach in Udine was also there!) showed up to see one of the former great hard rock-metal fans of all time, now going on their 40th year of concerts. This great little concert was again brought to us thanks to the folks over at!

Gillan, always bare-foot on stage, was joined by bass guitarist Roger Glover, drummer Ian Paice (albeit with a wee bit of belly), guitar wizard Steve Morse and Jon Lord’s valid stand-in, Don Airey. They opened up with the powerful “Highway Star”, followed by the rest of the songs that are listed in the picture taken by friend and fellow photographer Francesco Zanet (more great pics by Francesco on his web site: and obviously their all-time hit, “Smoke On The Water”, unquestionably THE rock world’s most famous opening guitar riff and the one that fans worldwide have been merrily listening to for close to 40 years now! Even though the show only lasted about 90 minutes I think it was enjoyed by all those present, for the simple fact (as can be seen by the pics), that first and foremost Gillan and Co. are STILL enjoying themselves on stage after all these years! And that’s worth the price of any ticket, right?

On a personal note, I brought along in my rather heavy camera bag a book by Dave Thompson on their extraordinary career (correct me if I’m wrong but I do think that at one point in the 1970s they had entered the Guinness world book of records as the world’s LOUDEST band, with some 100,000 watts of music!). At one point, as I was directly underneath the stage taking pics, I waved the book in Glover’s direction, who looked at me rather strangely (as though to say, “Ok, we’ve got a photographer here who actually goes around with a book on our lives”!). I waited after the show outside to get an autograph. The two Ians and Steve piled into a van for their next gig (in Rome the day after) but both Roger and Don were still inside the centre. It was already 12.30 am and I had a 90 minute drive back to Udine, plus it was getting a wee cool outside, so I gave up and came home. A pity because Glover comes across as a really nice guy in Thompson’s book.

On a final note instead, RAI, Italy’s state-run tv network, on December 14th mentioned their Rome show and how those “oldies” out there are still calling up the fans. They also mentioned Led Zep, the Stones, and get this, of all bands, even AC/DC (who, much to my immense joy, will be in Udine on May 19th, 2010)!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Corrado Guzzanti, Palasport, Udine 06/11/2009

Roman-born Corrado Guzzanti, a comic, impersonator, actor and the son of an Italian senator (his father is the nephew of a former Italian political minister—it all runs in the family in Italy!), put on an entertaining show which lasted close to three hours in Udine’s small Palasport arena.

The show, thanks to the folks at and, was rather entertaining. The 44 year-old comic, who was also joined on stage by his kid sister Caterina (another sister, Sabina, has basically been “eliminated” from public tv by Italy’s Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi for her constant political satire attacks against him!), as it started out with Guzzanti imitating Italy’s finance minister, Giulio Tremonti. He’s also good at imitating other well-known Italian personalities, also from the world of religion.

He was also joined on stage by his side-kick, Marco Marzocca, who plays the part of a priest who gets a phone call (during a talk-show) from the same caller, who never quite understands the topic of the talk-show and always confuses things! And kid sis Caterina is superb in her imitation of Mariastella Gelmini, Italy’s education minister who has a problem or two with speaking proper Italian. Entertaining social and political satire, indeed.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Lenny Kravitz, Tarvisio 29/07/2009

So how many people out there know that 45 year-old New York-born Lenny Kravitz is the son of a woman who once starred in “The Jeffersons”? Probably not too many, including yours truly!

Kravitz hit the “No Borders Festival” in the northern town of Tarvisio on July 29th with his “Let Love Rule Tour”. He played to a packed house (the “house” was actually the town`s quaint main outdoor square) with about 4,000 fans (gosh, how strange too, most of the fans were women!), many also from neighbouring Austria (which is actually right next door to Tarvisio, about 90 kms north of Udine) and Slovenia.

As one of the official accredited photographers for this concert we only had two songs in which to be able to take our pics. Some artists are pretty laid-back about it while others, such as Madonna, have pretty rigid rules regarding official pics (in her case we were allowed 3 songs. Ditto for David Byrne). But for Kravitz we only had 2 songs and only to the right of the stage (his left) with some particular orders, such as only shots regarding the left side of his face (Joe Jackson was even worse as we could only take side shots and no frontal ones, according to his strange manager!). As with Bryne who for the first 3 songs had poor lighting, we noticed the same for Kravitz’s show: awful green lighting which went on and off like strobe lighting. Was it just a mere coincidence or did his staff do it on purpose? As the second song was up and we had to leave the area directly under the stage, Kravitz`s management used much better lighting. I think, and I don`t exactly know why (perhaps some bad run-ins with photographers around the world?), but some artists have to be real pricks with photographers, as in the case of Kravitz! And seeing that I was right under the stage, I had placed one of my cameras on one of the speakers. As soon as Kravitz hit the first chord with his guitar, my light pants and t-shirt literally started swaying back and forth because of the air movement which came out of the speaker. Ahh, my poor eardrums!!

The show? He started in (it was to have started around 9:30 pm but he didn`t hit the stage until about 9:50) with “Freedom Train” and then followed up with “Bring It On”, “It Ain`t Ove`Til It`s Over”, “I Belong To You”, “Believe”, “Dancing `Til Dawn”, “I`ll Be Waiting” and “Fly Away”.

But the song that I was instead waiting for, and which he obviously played, was “American Woman” which is taken from the song track of the movie “Austin Powers II: The Spy Who Loved Me”. This was especially nice to hear because as many may (probably) know, the original version of this rather anti-American song (it was actually banned from the American airwaves in the 1960s. Just imagine back then some of the lyrics: “American Woman, stay away from me….and your war machine…”) is from that great Canadian band, The Guess Who, who just happen to hail from my hometown, Winnipeg (the Guess Who were unquestionably Canada`s most famous band of the 1960-70s until B.T.O. arrived on the scene)! The concert ended with “Are You Gonna Go My Way”.

While perhaps not THE most popular musician on the planet, lest we forget that Kravitz also once played on Mick Jagger`s solo album, “Gid Gave Me Everything”. Indeed a wee bit of a prima donna (as one can see from the pics), but all-in-all, it wasn`t such a bad show considering he played for only about 90 minutes (and with only 2 measly songs for us photographers)! And for the first time in 197 concerts Kravitz at one point took his daughters digital camera (we had a young girl next to us taking pictures so we presume it was his daughter or relative) and began going down to the crowd and taking pictures as a memento of his last concert on this three-month tour. Lucky him as the lighting for HIS pics were certainly better than what we had!

Blog Archive

Personal information

Some of the rather interesting churches in Italy and around the world.