Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Rome, day of the show

We had breakfast at 9 am on the hotel rooftop terrace before walking the 1/4 mile to board the “hop on hop off” sightseeing bus.

Breakfast panorama small

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It was still very hot, but as we’d made an early start, we were able to sit on the top deck of the open top bus. We got off at the 2nd stop—The Coliseum. This was somewhere that Ole had wanted to visit since he used to read the Asterix books when he was a kid. I don't think he was disappointed at all. I’ve been in it three times now, and it still leaves me in awe when I try to imagine when it was built and just how it must have been built!

View from the sightseeing bus                    Ole being Spartacus!                                  Probably one of the earliest walls!!

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After getting a drink outside the Coliseum and a short walk to nowhere, we waited at the bus stop to “hop” back on. We carried on the whole of the bus route passing lots of amazing building and sights without getting off until the last stop.

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We got off at the Pantheon, had a look around, and then stopped in at a restaurant for a drink and some lunch, followed by my one and only cup of Gelato the whole time I’d been in Italy!

We’d arranged to meet up with a few people at the Hard Rock Cafe later on in the afternoon and started the walk back to the hotel to chill out for an hour. Half way back we decided to take the rest of the 5 minute journey in a taxi.

It was great to see Johan and Anders at the Hard Rock. I also got to see one of my Italian friends, Rocco, who I’d met last time I was here. Glenn had been complaining of an upset stomach earlier on in the day, and, as he put it, he had had trouble getting off the shitter before coming back out! Stuart was already at the Hard Rock when we got there and had also been complaining of a bad stomach, but the two couldn't think of anything they had eaten the same that could have caused the problem. (Later on in the day at the show Stuart had to leave the gig half way through due to not feeling well at all!)

Stuart, Glenn, Ole, and I took a taxi out to the venue. Frank, Dora, and a couple of others followed behind shortly, and upon arrival at the venue we proceeded to pick up tickets at the box office. The gig wasn't due to start till 9:15, and it was only 6:30. I hung around outside waiting to meet everyone else while Stuart, Ole, and Glenn headed in to get good places on the floor.

I met Anders and Johan first, then Frank and Dora arrived, and then Mike, Fran, and Ray. We all chatted outside the venue for a good couple of hours before heading in to find our places. Michael told us how he, Fran, and Ray had received a police escort just to pick up their tickets at the box office! I mean, seriously, you couldn't make this stuff up what they have been through and doing this past week!

Anders and Johan                                       Few of the pre show group                         Ray and Fran ready to go to the show

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Upon entering the venue we had an incredible view of the wall and the area behind it—a unique view not normally seen at most venues.

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The stadium was a fantastic venue built for the Rome Olympics, and I believe has a capacity of 85,000 when totally full! I’d guess that by the time the show started there were 68,000 people there to watch the show! I don't believe it was totally sold out, and there were a few people outside selling tickets and still tickets available online on the day of the show.

I wanted to take the whole show in again and sat at the side where I was able to see the whole of the floor area and the people in all the level all around the stadium

Ole took some pictures from where they were stood on the floor, and it looks like they had a fantastic place. Thanks to Ole for the pictures below.

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The same new Spartacus graphics came on after the pre show music tracks, and the reaction of the crowd even this early on was amazing. They went crazy screaming, shouting, chanting clapping—you name it they did it—anything they could do to show they were ready for the show!

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The plane was mounted real high up on the back of the roof tonight, and the timing was just right as it hit the wall making the flames and smoke erupt behind the wall. I think that point was the loudest of all the music, explosion sound effects, and crowd screaming I have ever heard. It truly was totally deafening, even where I was. I can’t begin to imagine what it must have sounded like on the floor. Phil, Ole, and Glenn said afterwards it was absolutely incredible! Phil and Laila had gone in early to get a place near the rail, Stuart, Glenn and Ole had gone in an hour or two later, but made their way through to Phil and Laila by Glenn shouting out “Move to the side, I’m a Dr, let me through!” They all found each other eventually! I didn't know until after the show, but Stuart had to leave at intermission due to him having a bout of food poisoning! He thinks he may have caught it at the restaurant we ate at the night before. I’m just glad the bathroom wasn't in Bangladesh and that he made it to the one in the stadium!

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The crowd sang most of the words to Another Brick, Mother, and a few others. The PA sound was incredible tonight, very loud but crystal clear. Robbie's vocals sounded amazing. It was like the guy was sat right next to me while he was singing—you could even Hhear his sharp intakes of breath during his singing. he was the best I’d ever heard him. Dave K’s sound was just the same, too. The guitar squeaks on Young Lust and the clarity of his notes were incredible. You can hear the crowd singing a little in the video below, but nothing gets it across just how loud they were all around the arena. Take a listen at 5:30.

The show went pretty much with incident apart from, again, Roger having problems with his mic at the beginning of Nobody Home. It sounded like they forgot to fade his mic up, and we missed hearing the first couple of lines before Roger had a go at the sound crew saying “About time guys.”  This was the second show in a row that he had had problems at this part of the show, and even though tonight he had a spare mic, which he swapped to as soon as he realised, it was obvious they hadn't faded it up as the replacement mic wasn't audible either. (You can hear this on the video below.)

The crowd during the second half, and especially Run Like Hell, were amazing. Every hand in the arena was in the air clapping in unison with Roger. The pig came out as usual and stayed around in the air until the wall fell when it was lowered to the ground and ripped to pieces by the crazy Italian fans.

There was a new “tweak” to the animations tonight that I’d not noticed before. During The Trial when the animated wall spins around 360 degrees, and as the wall come back around and meets the other wall projections, there was a little “whisp” of animated dust as the two pieces meet. I'll try grab a video of it in Oslo in a couple of weeks.

Of course, after the wall came down there was the obligatory Italian singing of Ole, Ole, Ole, which Roger joined in with. This is incredible to hear, and it makes the hairs on my arms stand up just thinking about it now! Roger commented  after Outside The Wall, “This is why we like to come back to Italy.” Listen to the crowd on the video below from 5:15 onwards.

I did a runner the second the guys walked off the stage—ran like hell to the end of the street by the venue entrance and jumped in a taxi. I’d said goodbye to Mike, Ray, and Fern at Intermission, and from what they said then, they were enjoying the show a lot! 15 minutes after I got back to the hotel, Ole came into the room and  headed downstairs to the pizza restaurant outside the hotel to have a final drink with everyone before we all went our separate ways in the morning.

I have to say that Rome was THE best show I've seen. I’ve now seen this show 128 times, and tonight was the best of them all, The crowd, the sound, the performance, and the people made this my favourite show of them all. It’s not over yet, though! I’m now home for a couple of weeks, unless I find a cheap flight to Frankfurt or Prague, and then its out to Oslo for the two indoor shows there and the outdoor show in Gothenburg.

A few more pictures from the show:

Pictures from sightseeing:


  1. Roger was so happy I was there he started to sing me a song !!!



  2. What about Warsaw? Are you going to see that one? U can fly to Lublin airport (is about 200km from Warsaw) - I can help you with transport. Or directly to Warsaw.

  3. Thank you for the offer, however i have to fly too Germany for a wedding and cannot make the Warsaw show, sorry