Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Roger Daltrey, Trieste March 18, 2012

Roger Daltrey, the former front-man of one of the all-time greatest rock bands in the world, The Who, still had it in him for a 2 hour+ show in Trieste, Italy. Old rockers never died, they just keep knocking the socks off of rock&roll aficionados out there! That was indeed the case for Roger Daltrey—at 68 years old and still in splendid shape—the former singer of one of the all-time great rock bands in the world, regular “Chernobyls” of rock music, The Who (memorable was how guitarist Pete Townshend would destroy on stage his guitars or how the late, great drummer Keith Moon would do the same with his drum kit, and the odd hotel rooms too)!

Indeed a treat for this correspondent as he saw The Who way back in 1977 in Canada and then again in an epic performance in 2007 in Verona’s Arena with Pete Townshend by Daltrey’s side and Zak Starkey on drums (n.b. Zak is Ringo Starr’s son. He once said that he never thought that his old man was a great drummer, but instead admired Keith Moon. And there he was that night sitting right in Moon’s place!).

Crisis, so what crisis? Tickets were a whopping 115.00 Euros, and yet die-hard Who fans were on hand to watch this great artist perform for more than 2 hours, dividing his great show into two parts: part one were songs dedicated to The Who’s epic “Tommy” rock opera while part two included some golden oldies from Daltrey’s old band (see below for set-list details).

No Moon, Townshend or Entwistle to back Roger this time, but a great five-piece band which also included on guitar a fellow by the name of Simon Townshend, yes indeed, Pete’s brother (same voice and almost same looks as brother Pete too). Another great treat for all those present at Trieste’s wonderful “Rossetti” Theater!

Not a quitter by any means (that evening in Verona a major thunderstorm hit the outdoor arena. The concert was suspended for 1 hour. In the meantime, Roger’s vocal chords gave up on him because of the cold and humidity. For the rest of the show he had basically lost his voice, but as Freddie (Mercury) once sang, “The show must go on”!, and Daltrey managed to sing, whatever he had left in his throat, right to the very end of the show with The Who’s greatest song, “Won’t Get Fooled Again”!), Daltrey, moved by the fans’ affection, left them with a small romantic song on, of all things, a small ukulele. Kind of funny as at one point he even forgot the words to the final song, but we forgave him as he was very, very "simpatico"!!!!!!

Friday, March 16, 2012

A very enjoyable two-hour show by Giorgia in front of 3,000 adoring fans

Giorgia Todrani, simply known to many fans as “Giorgia”, played for the very first time in Udine last night. The “Carnera” arena (for boxing aficionados out there, Primo Carnera, a mountain of a man and also a home-grown boy in the Friuli area of Italy, remains to this day Italy’s only heavyweight boxing champion. He won the title in 1933 and subsequently lost it to the devastating Max Baer) was sold-out with a crowd of 3,000 people made up of both young and old fans.

The 41 year-old singer, who originally hails from Rome (she started singing in clubs at 16 years of age), is perhaps one of the closest things that Italy’s has to an Afro-American version of the late, great Whitney Houston (just one of Giorgia’s idols) and to Italy’s “Grande Dame” of pop music, Mina.

In town to promote her latest album, Dietro Le Apparenze, Giorgia’s entrance on the stage was like an alien that had just come out of a space ship, all dressed up in suit made of small shimmering lights, unquestionably a first for many artists. She was backed-up by a funky seven-piece group, including two great vocalists.

Some of Giorgia’s own admirers have been the likes of Herbie Hancock, Sir Elton John (she’s been the only Italian singer who has sung together with Sir Elton during one of his Italian concerts. He said of her: “She’s got one of the nicest voices in the world”!) and Canada’s very own troubadour, Michael Buble’. Giorgia’s also sung together with another Italian great, Andrea Bocelli and managed to even captivate audiences many years ago during Big Luciano Pavarotti’s highly popular show, Pavarotti & Friends, when she sang Queen’s Who Wants To Live Forever. Her own personal success in Italy and also abroad (the Netherlands and Canada) has helped her sell so far 6 million records. But one of the highlights of her career was back in 1995 when in Rome’s St. Peter’s square she sang the Ave Maria in front of the old Polish pope, Wojtyla.

Giorgia’s fine mixture of pop-jazz-soul-blues-reggae-funky, together with a touch of rock music, has also been part of several Italian movie soundtracks. Many of these same movies have been highly successful at the box office, no doubt an attraction also for those fans in Udine who certainly went away with their money’s worth after a solid two-hour performance by this fine (and also rather beautiful) Italian singer!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Jovanotti, Trieste March 2nd, 2012

Truly an exceptional and moving concert by Lorenzo Cherubini, aka Jovanotti

Lorenzo Cherubini, better known as simply “Jovanotti”, rocked and wooed some 6,000 fans at the PalaTrieste arena in Trieste during a very, very moving moment for many.

The concert, which was part of his “Ora Tour” and which was brought to us by Azalea Promotion, had a very special significance for both Jovanotti and to all those present: tragedy struck on December 12, 2011 just prior to the start of that very same concert when part of the massive stage came tumbling down. Not only were some stagehands injured but also a poor 19 year-old student, Francesco Pinna, was killed as he was trying to earn a few euros by working at the very same event. Stunned and saddened by the loss of someone who was helping to make his show a great success, Jovanotti suspended for several months his Italian tour until Friday night’s show.

The way that Jovanotti started his show was unquestionably pure mayhem: emerging from a cloud of white smoke he literally “attacked” the ramp that extended from the main stage at a speed worthy of Usain Bolt! But it didn’t end there as once at the end of the ramp he hopped and bopped around like a wild and crazy kangaroo, a scene for the average photographer that was exceptionally difficult to photograph (only Iggy Pop beats Jovanotti in terms of NOT standing still on stage)!

Halfway through the exhilarating performance the 46 year-old Roman-born Jovanotti (his nickname comes from a stage name that he himself had chosen at the beginning of his career, “Joe Vanotti”, but the printer had made a mistake for the promotional posters that had to be used in a local disco. The name on the posters came out instead as “Jovanotti”, and so the nickname has stuck ever since) did what many expected him to do: he gave a small speech and asked all those present to observe a minute of silence (Pinna’s entire family was also on hand right below the stage). An incredible sight to see as immediately the entire arena fell so silent that even an atom could be heard dropping, let alone a pin! For this correspondent now at 249 concerts it was certainly a FIRST to see such an outpouring of affection and respect for the loss of such a young life and to also see an entire arena fall completely silent.

But as we all know, rock and roll life must certainly go on and Jovanotti, for both Pinna’s family, for the local fans and no doubt for himself too, put on a totally wild and crazy non-stop concert full of incredibly wild hip-hop/rap/pop/rock music (this for a man who had also been present some years ago at the “Live 8” event, “Make Poverty History”, a follow-up to the epic “Live Aid” extravaganza which took place in 1985 in both England and the U.S.).

But high-energy music wasn’t the only thing up Jovanotti’s musical sleeve as he also performed a moving ballad called Baciami ancora from the soundtrack of an Italian movie, not to mention one of his most famous hits, L’ombelico del mondo. Joined afterwards by the rest of his band on the ramp Jovanotti also took the time to pay his respects to a fellow musician, Lucio Dalla, one of Italy’s most popular artists who died just the other day in Switzerland of a heart attack on the eve of his 69th birthday, with a cover version of his song, Caro amico ti scrivo. Again, this also brought down the PalaTrieste with an outpouring of admiration and respect from all those present.

Whatever you do, if Jovanotti comes your way, DON’T miss him!

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