Saturday, July 27, 2013

UK to Padova

 
I arrived at the Padova station at 2:30, walked the 20 minutes to the hotel, and checked in. As I was checking in, my friend Frank who had flown in from Phoenix came down to the lobby. Had a quick chat and arranged to see him and his girlfriend Dora, who had flown over from Hawaii, at the meet up bar at 5 pm.
The weather here was hot. VERY hot. And the humidity was very high—something people from the UK are not used to at all!
My friend Alberto was hosting an exhibition at a conference centre in the town, so I took a short taxi ride to the exhibition and had a look around. Alberto had headed out to pick up his parents from the station, because they were coming for the show, but I met with the other people that organised the exhibition who were all very passionate fans from Italy. I was surprised to see so many of my photographs were on show, and they looked excellent blown up to a larger size!
 
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They’d done a really good job of showing things that all related and had several unique items—including a full brick from the show in London where Gilmour played, plus the original “Pink” from the 1980 shows!
 
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Gerald Scarfe had done a Q&A with an audience earlier in the day, and my good friend Glenn Povey had also done a short talk with the audience.
I headed off to the bar to meet up with everyone, and, of course, Glenn, Phil, Dave, and Laila were already there lining up beers on the table! Stuart and Ole arrived next, then Frank and Dora, a few guys from Yeeshkull turned up to say hi, and then my friends Michael, Fran, and Ray who had flown in from Florida arrived! The 3 of them had flown over to Rome on Monday and were only planning on doing the Rome show and then flying home. However, he e-mailed me earlier to say they were getting the train up from Rome to Padova, seeing the show, and then getting the 4 am train back to Rome, of course filling the few hours between the end of the show and their train with a few beers! I’ve no idea if they made it, but we’ll see when I get to Rome later on today! Kevin, Philippe, and Georg arrived later, and it was great to catch up with everyone over a “few” drinks—well, 250 Euros worth!
 
Glenn & Phil discuss cocktails!                  Some of the group                                     Kevin and Frank
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Fran, XXX, Michael, and Georg                Ole and Stuart                                      Fran and Ray
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Around 7 pm, four or five of us headed out to get the shuttle to the venue from Glenn’s hotel. The rest of us had a few more drinks(including a free bottle of wine that the bar gave us for spending so much in such a short amount of time!) We then all walked to the taxi stop to get taxis to the venue. I’ve been in Italian taxis many times, but this was an experience like no other!! How on earth Kevin, Ole, Stuart and I got to the venue alive, I will never know! In fact, more to the point, how we got there without taking anyone else out on the road is a mystery to me! The guy was nuts—he was all over the road, honking at anyone and everyone that got in his way. Start is fluent in Italian and was chatting away to him in the front seat. Start lived in Rome for  nine years, so I guess he was used to it. However, when we arrived at the venue even Stuart said the guy was mental! As we got out of the taxi Kevin asked one of the security staff where we would be able to get a taxi after the show. I said, “Kevin, turn around.” As he did he saw a sign no more than 18 inches away from his head that couldn’t make it any clearer!
My three friends from Florida needed tickets for the show, and they wanted standing tickets. Georg had one spare, so now they needed two. Kevin set to “work” as soon as he arrived, and within minutes he had secured two tickets for little money, and everyone was set for the show.
The bootleg T shirt and merchandise is crazy in Italy, and even before the show there are stalls and stalls set up outside the venue selling everything you can think of with Pink Floyd and Roger Waters written on it! We all hung around for an hour taking in the atmosphere as the show didn't start till 9:15. Apart from the pre show meet up, for me, this is one of the best times—just hanging out before a show with friends all expectant of what's to come, some having never seen the outdoor show before and some even not having seen the show at all. This is what makes all the travelling around and meeting people fun for me. I love this shit!
 
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Kevin and I had seats for tonight's show I had also been given a couple of seats by my friend Chris who was in the USA. He was due to come over to see the shows, but because of problems with his back, he had arranged to have the tickets signed over to me with Rogerwaters.com. Unfortunately, after 30 minutes of trying to sell these outside the venue for Chris, we found so many people had tickets that we didn't even get any offers and the tickets went unused. So sorry Chris. These big shows have big attendance, and the more people at the venue, the more tickets there are for sale outside, and the cheaper they are! Scalping is perfectly legal in Europe, and as I've said before to friends that come over, don't ever worry about getting tickets before the shows—there's always plenty around outside.
 
Click the picture below for larger panorama.
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Everyone else had floor tickets for tonight, and as much as I do like to be on the rail for the show, I’d been awake and travelling for just over 20 hours, and the floor was jam packed with probably 30,000 people, so I was more than happy to sit down for one show and take in the projections from a decent distance. Stuart messaged me to say they had so far made it up to the soundboard and Phil, Glenn, and the others had made it to within 3 or 4 rows from the front right in front of Dave K.
 
View of the stage from Stuart’s camera       Glenn and Laila having fun!                           Glenn checking out Phil’s BO!!
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The shows started with something different tonight. When the I’m Spartacus speech came over the PA, the words I’m Spartacus were projected onto the wall in white text. It was then projected many times over in all different languages! It worked very very well, and its probably the biggest new addition to the show for some time.
 
 
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The pyros were as awesome as we have now come to expect at these outdoor venues, with fireworks not only onstage, but also off to the top of the stage roof too.
 
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The crowds in Italy are always good, especially when it’s general admission, and they are standing on the floor. Tonight was no exception. The applause and cheers as the airplane crashed through the wall was tremendous. The Italians are ever so passionate about their music and show it in how loud they cheer and applaud.
As hard as it was for me to see this show from so far back (well further back than I’m used to!), it was great to see the new projections fully and be able to appreciate them how they are meant to be appreciated. I’m still impressed with how bright and how much better these new projectors are, and therefore how much more details is seen on the wall.
 
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Roger had some serious problems with his microphone during Nobody Home. It was constantly cutting out, and he tried three or four times hitting it hard on the end to fix it, but to no avail. He then resorted to holding the microphone out towards the crowd to sing the lyrics for him!
The crowd were amazing for Run Like Hell—following every clap in unison with Roger—and when he told them to clap louder, they did. I still think this is just like a warm up show for how the crowd will be in Rome!
 
 
The pig came out during “Flesh 2” and stayed out until the wall came down. Then is was lowered and slaughtered by the crowd—ripped into to “take home sized pieces” by the Italian crowd.
 
 
The battery on my cell phone had gone flat towards the end of the show, and the chances of finding Phil, Glenn, and everyone else from the floor was pretty slim, so the second the band left the stage, I ran like hell to the taxi stand and jumped right in one. Within 20 minutes of the show ending, I was back in my hotel room! Ole came back to the room around 2:30 am, and he and Stuart had walked the two or three miles back from the venue! I later heard it took Frank and Dora a 45 minute wait in line for a cab, and Phil and Laila had to walk Glenn back to his hotel, but that's another whole blog post in itself!! Trips are never dull when Glenn is around!

1 comment:

  1. Hi simon i'm happy that you've visited the exhibition but i'm really sorry we didn't met, anyway i want to thank you again very much for your stunning photos, i hope you've appreciated the ones i've choosen and the way i've exhibited them. We had really great times during "outside the wall" meeting david appleby, my old friend glenn povey and one of our heroes, mr gerald scarfe! I'll remember all these great days for ever in my mind and my heart. Thanks again for all and keep on floyding! Alberto

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