Time travel through Italy - April 2012
Show in Schio
Photo © Angela Vicedomini
Poor Rob accidentally went to the wrong UK airport, so had to wait until next day for luggage to arrive in Italy
Steve amidst the statues of Florence
Steve in picturesque Schio
From an Etruscan sunset to a Roman spring, Italy is full of things to celebrate and explore. Touring there never feels like work...
Every time I visit Italy I fall in love with the place. Emotional defences are lowered. Men kiss each other as naturally as shaking hands... the world as it should be. You want to be a time traveller? Visit Italy, anywhere! You'll get drunk on the place before touching a drop of booze...
Italy is an on-going event in itself, its pageantry displayed on just about every street corner. Our first stop Florence was stunning... the Ponte Vecchio, Michelangelo's David, and the city vista seen from the surrounding hills are enough to seduce the unwary Brit into submission. Cypress trees stand sentinel over the Tuscan hilltops. Nearby Fiesole has ancient Etruscan ruins that pre-date Roman conquests with a gentle magic that quickens the spirit.
The tour itself began as it continued, with attendance and enthusiasm as high as ever, and we were constantly buoyed up by a special sea of smiles with Vania Santi of Sergio Fornisari's Blue Sky Agency as our ever attentive host and friend. The Viper Club where we had our first gig at first felt like "the old dance hall on the outskirts of town", but then transformed magically in the evening into what felt like the most happening place in the city! This was 18 April 2012, exactly forty years after the first Genesis gig at the Piper Club in Rome. From Piper to Viper...
Rome followed with a visit to the centre for an interview with Sergio Mancinelli of their own Radio Capital, which was really enjoyable. Although that evening I was beset by some kind of bug, I defied the dodgy health demons and threw myself into the show, which went off like a rocket... the audience too was fabulous.
The converted cinema venue at Cortemaggiore was like an outtake from Nuevo Cinema Paradiso. I could see Alfredo and Toto, mentor and magician in partnership. I recommend you see the film and I warn that you'll cry along with the audience as it both parodies and glorifies the passion for film, first love, frustration, resolution, grief and challenge – a microcosm that perfectly captures the Italian spirit through the brilliant director's eye, with Morricone's seductive score. The imaginary homage to cinema became a tribute to music as we climbed up to the gods' table in the old projection room to eat our food.
Beautiful Schio that harks back to ancient times at the foot of the Alps is like visiting an old friend. It was great to be back at the lovely hotel close to the equally wonderful theatre, where we again enjoyed a tremendous gig with equally warm reception. It was also great to see Sergio Fornasari who came to the show and joined us for breakfast. Extraordinary Schio is dominated by a huge church tower with the thunderous sound of bells to rival the might of Lee Pomeroy's bass pedals, forged in the same fire, deafening but inspiring against that unbelievable mountainous backdrop.
And so on to Genova... that city of amazing contrasts where architectural history walks hand in hand with its modern mechano counterparts and in the docks stand proudly looking out on the expanse of the Mediterranean Sea. The place has a strong dynamic. The lush theatre presented its tremendous diversity through its many posters, including one of the young Nureyev who had danced there. I once saw him literally fly from one side of the stage to the other at the Palladium when he was in his god-like prime... The extraordinary show at the Teatro Politeama in Genova ended the unforgettable tour on a real high...
What an incredible travel through time, and how special to be greeted by so many friends along the way. A very big thank you to Vania, Sergio and Alberto and all at Blue Sky for organising the shows and for making it all such an incredible experience. Jo and I give thanks as well to Denis for his tireless driving, to all the promoters, Brian Coles, band and crew, our dear friend Nick Clabburn who did the merchandise, to all our very special friends and the fans that we met along the way.
An enthusiastic audience in Rome
Photo © Vania Santi
Jo, Steve and Vania near the Ponte Vecchia, Florence
Steve enjoying Feisole
Nick and Amanda, Florence
Encore! Genova show
Photo © Enrico Rolandi