Giovedì, 25 febbraio 2021

Milano, 4 luglio 2008

Kaveh RastegarVai alla versione in italiano

Painted on the sidewalk near our hotel are outlines of bodies. Walk a few steps and you see the outline of Marylin Monroe and the edges of her dress near a vent by a building, a few steps later it's Placido Domingo, Bruce Lee and Mother Theresa. It reminds me of an artist, a woman in Denver where I'm from. When I was a kid, I would see that many of the dumpsters and trashcans around the city would be painted by her with bright colored ostriches and dinosaurs. I'm in Milan and I'm not sure which neighborhood we're in. I've been here a handful of times now but it's always been to play. My band Kneebody recorded an album here and I have played shows but it's always been a quick couple of days here. This time, I hope that I can actually take out a map for a change and figure out where I am!

The day of the show was like any other day. During the week of rehearsals at San Siro, everyone was talking about how they were afraid that it would rain. I woke up late in the day. I'm still not used to the time change from Los Angeles, and I'm not trying to force it. Luckily it was very sunny and hot. The day was really spent like any other day. I wandered around, found food, found coffee (!!!) and waited. That is a lot of what being on tour is like. Learning to wait. Practicing waiting! In the States we say: "hurry up and wait". For a concert like this, I think that the art of waiting is not so subtle…it's hard to not jump around and hit your head on the wall. There is no adjective for the feeling. "Anticipation" really doesn't sum it up. How can you ignore that later in the day you will be playing, exercising, emoting for such a large group of people? Also, you can't help but wonder: "Am I prepared? Do I really
know these songs? Is all of my gear together? Am I forgetting something?!!!!". But like anything else, as a human (or as an animal), you adapt and life continues along…soon it's 5 in the afternoon and the van is here and it's time to go to the stadium.

Kaveh RastegarI rode in a van with Jose and Niccolo. On the radio we heard "Centro Del Mondo". We were rocking and rolling in the car, singing along and also shaking our heads a little in disbelief. It's like I'm being prepared and shaken out of my comfort zone; everything and everyone is reminding me that this is a really big deal! Jose told me about his first show with Luciano in the Colleseum in Rome. It was such a big moment for him. During the concert, when he looked into the crowd and spotted his girlfriend Yuna in the middle of all the people, he was overcome with emotion and couldn't help but cry.

When I was a kid the first the big stadium show I saw was Eric Clapton at Mile High Stadium in Denver. That's where the Denver Broncos played! I was fourteen and I remember watching the show and getting into the music. I had been playing bass for a few years then and I couldn't wait to hear some of the songs that I was jamming with my friends at school. Would he play Cream songs? Derek and the Dominos? I don't think I ever wondered if any of those guys up there on stage were freaking out that they were playing for such a crazy huge packed house!

Anyway, through Milan traffic (crazy driving!!!), we finally made it. San Siro was there. A castle, a fortress, a temple, an analogy, a symbol… San Siro is the show that everyone I knew around Ligabue was always talking about. With all of the fans I met, all the guys in the band, it was always "Wait till San Siro, then you'll see….". In the parking lot under the sun, people were making their way in. Dressed or undressed for the summer, the people looked relaxed and psyched! Inside, we all made our way to the dressing room unloaded all of our stuff and started waiting! Yes, there was about another three hours or so to wait and think with the sound and feeling and volume of the people just outside the door.

Anyway, time passed like it does and soon it was minutes before we had to start. We were doing the pre concert ritual, just the band in the room together. And that's when it hit me. My breathing got shorter. It must have been the way that the first person to fly ever felt before taking a jump off a cliff. It was danger. And it was pure excitement. Fede, having experienced this kind of thing many times before looked at me with wide eyes and said "Adrenaline!". I kept saying "Oh my God, this is crazy!!!". There is no way to hide the excitement that you feel when you're about to play a concert in front of 70 thousand people! We gathered together with our arms around each other and Luciano told us that he believes that music is about love and that we should feel and share the love while we perform. When he talks about music, his eyes are wide and piercing. We shouted and yelled together in a huddle. Then we made our way to the
entrance of the stage. It really did feel like a dream. People aren't supposed to do this.

Soon there I was, on stage. People everywhere!!!!! For the first song I had to remind myself to breathe and remember the chords I was playing…remember to listen! To be honest I could only look out to the first few hundred people out in front of the catwalk. If I looked up to see everyone else, I would get dizzy. For the beginning of the concert, it's all about getting used to our surroundings and feeling comfortable. Eventually everything else took over and I felt like I had more control over the music I was playing and could really participate with everybody. Looking out at everyone, it's like all of the Ligabue shows I have played in the past. Everyone knows the words (I'm still learning them!!!). Everyone is singing and there is so much emotion. There is a moment during the show that is more emotional than others. I can see people in the crowd weeping. I look to Jose to see if he is. He is right next to me with a giant grin on his
face. By the second half of the concert after a couple of breaks, it feels like the first moments of the show happened weeks ago.

It's quiet right now in my hotel room but I can still hear the sound of everyone. Today was the culmination of my experience in Ligabue's band so far. It really seemed like a different world; and I feel really lucky. Tomorrow, I'll wake up, look for coffee, walk past the outlines of Maria Callas on the sidewalk and play there again.

Martedì, 15 luglio 2008