The third time (2003 in Rome and 2007 in Pordenone) for me seeing Ian Gillan and the boyz, this time in the seaside resort of Jesolo, just a hop, skip and a jump from Venice. Rather nice too their “Palazzo del Turismo” where about 3,000 die-hard fans (and even 11 year-olds as one of the goalkeepers I coach in Udine was also there!) showed up to see one of the former great hard rock-metal fans of all time, now going on their 40th year of concerts. This great little concert was again brought to us thanks to the folks over at www.azalea.it!
Gillan, always bare-foot on stage, was joined by bass guitarist Roger Glover, drummer Ian Paice (albeit with a wee bit of belly), guitar wizard Steve Morse and Jon Lord’s valid stand-in, Don Airey. They opened up with the powerful “Highway Star”, followed by the rest of the songs that are listed in the picture taken by friend and fellow photographer Francesco Zanet (more great pics by Francesco on his web site: www.zanetphoto.com) and obviously their all-time hit, “Smoke On The Water”, unquestionably THE rock world’s most famous opening guitar riff and the one that fans worldwide have been merrily listening to for close to 40 years now! Even though the show only lasted about 90 minutes I think it was enjoyed by all those present, for the simple fact (as can be seen by the pics), that first and foremost Gillan and Co. are STILL enjoying themselves on stage after all these years! And that’s worth the price of any ticket, right?
On a personal note, I brought along in my rather heavy camera bag a book by Dave Thompson on their extraordinary career (correct me if I’m wrong but I do think that at one point in the 1970s they had entered the Guinness world book of records as the world’s LOUDEST band, with some 100,000 watts of music!). At one point, as I was directly underneath the stage taking pics, I waved the book in Glover’s direction, who looked at me rather strangely (as though to say, “Ok, we’ve got a photographer here who actually goes around with a book on our lives”!). I waited after the show outside to get an autograph. The two Ians and Steve piled into a van for their next gig (in Rome the day after) but both Roger and Don were still inside the centre. It was already 12.30 am and I had a 90 minute drive back to Udine, plus it was getting a wee cool outside, so I gave up and came home. A pity because Glover comes across as a really nice guy in Thompson’s book.
On a final note instead, RAI, Italy’s state-run tv network, on December 14th mentioned their Rome show and how those “oldies” out there are still calling up the fans. They also mentioned Led Zep, the Stones, and get this, of all bands, even AC/DC (who, much to my immense joy, will be in Udine on May 19th, 2010)!