With the tour fast moving towards its final stages, the desire for exploration and general sightseeing activity is all but diminished and when your hotel room has a balcony and the sun is guaranteed, it’s a no-brainer. When we assemble outside the hotel to leave for the venue, the guys ask “how was your day…did you get out?” No, I very much got IN. My hotel breakfast cheese and tomato omelette was delivered swiftly and the coffee, as always in Italy was perfect and I laid out on my balcony and enjoyed the day. Italy is an incredible country. They really do everything well, the clothing, the architecture, the engineering, the arts, the design, the food…ahh the food.
The journey through the city to the outskirts of the city to the venue was long and chaotic, as any Italian city drive can be with lunatic scooter riders cutting up cars left right and centre. There are a lot of accidents in Rome and as we rode in the elevated luxury of the Range Rover fleet, I noticed that every car in Rome has some sort of dent or scratch on it…at the very least.
We arrived at the venue quite late for another late show and once the bags were dropped off in the dressing room, we headed for the feeding department. The venue for today is a racecourse. Chris and Dave were busy cooking away in the usual cauldron of smoke and sweat, serving up delicious bespoke food for a hungry crew. The temperature in the makeshift kitchen was well over 100ºF. Dave was at the stove cooking steaks and the heat coming off that thing was incredible. I feared for the integrity of my camera for this shot..
Kerry and the crew boys had their work cut out today as NONE of our radio frequencies were available. As is often the case in countries such as Italy, there is so much unauthorized airwave usage that finding clean frequencies can be a challenge. Kerry Lewis (our monitor man) spends sometimes many hours each day ensuring when show time comes, we have clear frequencies for our in-ear radio packs. Today was as bad as I’ve known it and Kerry had to use a local system meaning we were on unknown receiving packs. Some were worse than others, mine kept cutting out but one soldiers on. Italian shows are always ‘eventful’.
We retired to the dressing rooms in the coolness of the main grandstand and whiled await the 2 and a half hours until showtime. I had heard there was little or no public transport to this venue so was expecting the crowd to be slow coming in. This was the case, but in the half an hour run up to show-time they certainly made a lot of noise. Supposedly 10,000 strong and the vast majority standing, it promised to be quite a night. We finally took to the stage at 9:40 and when we stepped out and launched into the first song, they went utterly nuts. This was different from any show so far on this tour. The sea of smiles cheered every solo and waved and applauded yet were silent during the most delicate moments in our set. We left the stage energized by the Roman welcome and headed back to the hotel where the bar was the late night setting for several rounds of delicious drinks. Mark’s long-time friend and photographer Fabio Lovino was a guest at the show and I chatted to him about amongst other things, photography late into the warm starlit night.