Sunday, July 22, 2007

Damien Rice | Cannonball (Live-Unplugged) | Rome

Damien Rice is known to hate people recording his shows because it's distracting - rather than really watching the gig people are watching through a camera. I understand exactly what he means – I never take cameras to events because I don't want to miss a second of the event and know how distracted I'd be if I were fiddling around with a camera or my phone etc. However, I confess, I'm secretly always hoping that somebody else has filmed at least a couple of songs and that I'll find them on youTube the next day!! Hypocritical? Yep! Maybe so, but here's that unplugged Cannonball anyway!

Photograph of Damien Rice performing Cheers Darlin'

Damien Rice @ Auditorium, Rome ("But I'm not a miracle and you're not a saint...")
Originally uploaded by FlaturStrákur

Just found this great triple image on Flickr of Damien's theatrical performance of Cheers Darlin' at the Auditorium on 19 July, 2007.

Damien Rice | The Auditorium, Rome | 19 July, 2007

If you enjoy Damien Rice's music you just have to see him live...there are no two ways about it. His performance in the open air Cavea at the Auditorium in Rome on Thursday night was staggeringly good. A consummate musician and performer who moves with ease from guitars to keyboards, he manages to add something indefinable that turns the live event into a truly magical evening. Certainly, the vulnerability expressed in his soul-laid-bare lyrics really comes into play when the guy is singing in front of you, but what really catches you by surprise is just how much more intense every song sounds live; four years down the line numbers from his debut album 0 still sound fresh, and really felt, whereas newer songs from 9 (like opening song Rootless Tree which he played solo at the piano) are instant classics.
As the final song of the main set Damien stepped away from the microphone and sang Cannonball totally unplugged. Rome audiences are not usually good at sitting quietly without chattering through concerts (or movies for that matter) but you could have heard a pin drop as the entire Cavea fell silent and leaned forward to listen...and then sang ever so gently along. Wonderful.
The closing song of the encore was another delight. Throughout the concert Damien had hardly said two words other than mumbled and barely audible introductions of band members. He introduced the song Cheers Darlin', however, with a very funny monologue about a drunken evening in a pub and a failed attempt to pick up a girl; he then proceeded to sing the entire song as if he were drunk, smoking and drinking red wine and staggering off stage to ecstatic applause.
Another personal favourite theatrical moment for me was the song reached its crescendo, we were treated to some simple but very effective lighting effects – suddenly the Auditorium had become a swirling snow scene! The audience gasped in child-like wonder...
The full set list as follows – (thanks to Nine Crimes, excellent Italian Damien Rice fan site)
1. Rootless Tree (Damien solo on piano)
2. Volcano
3. Insane
4. I Remember & Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)
5. Dogs
6. Delicate (Old Tomatoes intro)
7. Me, My Yoke & I
8. Accidental Babies
9. Eskimo
10. The Blower's Daughter
11. Cannonball (unplugged)
12. Coconut Skins & percussion jam with band
13. Sleep Don't Weep
14. Cheers Darlin' (with monologue)

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Scissor Sisters | Comfortably Numb | Live in Rome

Great clip of Comfortably Numb, Scissor Sister's genial Pink Floyd cover, filmed at the Auditorium in Rome on Tuesday

Scissor Sisters | The Auditorium, Rome | 17 July 2007

...and a fabulous time was had by all! People had turned out in very small numbers (staggering when you look at the eBay haggling for seats in the UK) but what we lacked in numbers we made up for in enthusiasm! (Ricky Martin was also playing to sellout crowds in Rome that night throwing Roman gays, no doubt, into a quandary...)
So yes, we were at the Auditorium again this week, our favourite concert venue, although the outside space at the Cavea - a kind of open air amphitheatre - which is used during the summer months lends itself less well to rock concerts. In fact, Jake Shears & Ana Matronic both mentioned how weird they found the place - the stage is very large and set well back from a seated audience... Except, at a Scissor Sister's party nobody stays in their seat for long - anybody not up and dancing after a couple of songs were challenged directly by Ana "Are you from the Press?...Or are you Swiss?"!!
Scissor Sisters arrived in Rome in a year that has seen the increasingly vocal and oppressive anti-gay stance of the present Pope and the hopeless and ineffectual attempts by the Prodi government to instate some kind of real and workable civil partnerships law for gay couples. Scissor Sisters' anecdotes about Pope Joan, the only woman pope, and their suggestion that we try to imagine what the world would be like if the pope were a transexual , couldn't have been better timed! God bless Scissor Sisters and all who sail in her!
The encore was a rapturously applauded I Don't Feel Like Dancin' and they closed the night with a brilliant Filthy/Gorgeous although for some strange reason it's Jake's falsetto in Tits on the Radio - dedicated to Fellini at the concert - which is still going round my brain two days later!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Monday, July 9, 2007

Oh Jim from Lou Reed's Berlin

Footage taken at the Auditorium on Friday 6 July, 2007

Lou Reed's Berlin | The Auditorium, Rome | 6 July 2007

It's taken me a few days to be able to psyche myself up to writing a few words about Lou Reed's performance on Friday night in the Santa Cecilia concert hall at the Auditorium in Rome. Much has been said and written about this long over due presentation of the 1973 album Berlin which was panned by critics at the time but is now being performed throughout Europe and pretty much stunning audiences everywhere.
So... does it live up to the hype? Well, yes it does - Lou Reed and his band (which included the New London Children's Choir and members of the London Metropolitan Orchestra) gave what was very nearly a perfect performance of an incredibly harrowing album, played right through from bleak beginning to very unhappy ending against the back drop of Julian Schnabel's set designs and his daughter Lola Schnabel's filmed images that echo the story of Jim & Caroline in the songs whilst never intruding.
Stand out moments were Men of Good Fortune; Caroline Says II; the extremely upsetting The Kids with Lou Reed more speaking than singing the line They're taking her children away, complete with its crescendo of children's cries of Mommy; the haunting suicide song The Bed; and the hypnotic finale Sad Song. The audience reaction was ecstatic and the stomps and cheers were rewarded by stunning encore performances of Sweet Jane, Satellite of Love and Walk on the Wild Side. Am hoping for a live album of this event...

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Patti Smith Live | The Auditorium, Rome | 3 July 2007

Brilliant footage of Because the Night from the exhilarating concert last night by Patti Smith in the Cavea at Rome's Auditorium. This was the song that saw a rush to the stage of fans of all ages and as the the film shows at the very end, even babes in arms!
This was a date on the European leg of the Twelve Tour to promote her latest album of twelve cover versions that she effortlessly makes her own. Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit was nothing short of genius, with other favourites being Are You Experienced by Jimi Hendrix; her reworking of Bob Dylan's Changing Of The Guards from his underrated 1978 album Street Legal; and White Rabbit which included a very funny introductory monologue.
As outspoken as ever, however, she saved the Rolling Stones' Gimme Shelter for the encore, presenting it as an anti-war anthem (a Palestinian flag was draped over an amplifier for the entire set) before closing the night with an electrifying version of Rock 'n' Roll Nigger from Easter.

Monday, July 2, 2007

MotoGP 30 June 2007 | Assen | Final 10 Laps

Pure genius...! Valentino Rossi started from 11th place on the grid to win in what has to one of the most exhilarating MotoGP races I've ever seen. Watch out for the moment he finally makes his move on Casey Stoner with four laps to go. This film is from the Italian TV coverage - on the day of the race the commentators were actually on strike so the footage is blissfully free of inane chatter...

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