Sunday, August 16, 2009

My Love Will Not Let TURIN Down!

Crutches!! That's it... we'll rent crutches!! Rachel loved the idea!! We picked up our rental car and programmed the navigational system... and off to the Olimpico di Torino, but first crutches. When we got to the pharmacy we found that is was 50 euros to rent (for a week) but it was only 25 euros to buy them. What a deal!! Just hurry!! We got queued up late... but it could have been worse... I had #124... damn... oh well... but my concern was Rachel... she couldn't stand for 3 hours... and I needed to make sure that she'd be okay so I could escape into The E Street Band for 3 hours... I spoke with Graham about handicapped seating... hoping I wouldn't have to stay with her... lol... I wanted to try for a good spot in front again. Thankfully they moved her to the special soccer handicapped seating, where she had a great seat on a platform above the crowd just behind the pit... security was much more adamant about us not running and the queue is walked slowly into the venue. It was amazing... so opposite Roma's entrance... and I got a spot off to the side... Clarence's side again... but farther off center. It wasn't the best spot but it was front row... on the rail... it could have been much worse. Right before they let us in... Corrado and his friend told me about their idea for the Drive All Night signs... this time they would put three Drive All Night signs in three separate envelopes... marked with #1, #2 and #3. Then they paid a child to hand Bruce the envelopes so that Bruce wouldn't suspect any trickery! lol What a great idea!! He handed me another of the printed off Drive All Night signs. As I sat waiting for the show the guy next to me asked what song I wanted most... (he spoke very good broken English!) and I told him that (besides FOR YOU which he played in Dublin) I had been following Bruce around for 2 years hoping for My Love Will Not Let You Down... and that's what I really wanted to hear... and I looked at my sign... and I thought... why not... and I turned my Drive All Night sign over and asked the girls making their sign on a big water float if I could borrow a marker... and I made my sign... one like the one I was holding when Bruce shook my hand in Greensboro... (remember?) The one with a heart as the O in LOVE... but I only had one color... so it was all black and very generic... and very plain. He wasn't going to play it anyway... but what the heck... would plain be good enough? The lighting guys came out and taunted us once more... the show was about to begin... I gasped... a tour premiere... LOOSE ENDS!

The crowd was lovin' it... these crowds were unlike any of the crowds I'd seen in America... the energy was so high... and the love tangible... there was no judging of the set list here... just a hunger for more... "every body's got a hungry heart" the crowd sang... before another dramatic Outlaw Pete... Bruce switched up this time, replacing Seeds with another premiere, Murder Inc... followed by Johnny 99 and American Skin... and then it was time to RAISE YOUR SIGN!! I was so far away from the stage... way down... but not far enough to be at the end where he would stop for signs... it was hopeless but I held it up anyway. He stopped about 3 people down from me and grabbed the floatation raft from the girls before walking past me... as he headed toward the end catwalk he glanced down at my sign and looked straight at it... but he kept walking... like he wasn't interested in it... I was disappointed but not surprised... I held it up one final time as he passed me heading back toward the stage... not so much as a glance... I threw it down on the floor between the stage and the pit... and took my mind off it as they premiered another with Traveling Band! Then Bruce opens an envelope with a request in it: Drive All Night!! The crowd cheers but Bruce shakes his head no and goes for the #2 envelope! OH NO!! He opens it: Drive All Night!! He knows he's been tricked and he rips open envelope #3: Drive All Night!! He looks at us like we are nuts as he counts it off our 4th premiere!!

Amazing!! There was such an amazing vibe going on... a connection... bond of love... between Bruce and the traveling fans... who followed Bruce throughout Europe... Drive All Night was for them!! On to the next request: Two Hearts... which seemed to speak louder than usual on this warm Italian night... sometimes it does feel like it was planned for me to roam empty hearted through this land... but not tonight... I was surrounded by not only 2 hearts that understood... but thousands... what a great time we were having... so much so that I hadn't even realized that there was no sign for the next request... but as the opening notes rang out to the 5th premiere of the night, the girls who had loaned me their marker turned to me & we screamed in each others' faces! It was my request! Thank you, Bruce!

I chose this video to share because amazingly enough... this is where I stood... the filmer must have been right behind me as this is my view... and pretty close to what I heard... LOL That bass amp in front of me was soooo loud... it pounded through me... thankfully Max & Garry were in sync with my heartbeat!! Tonight in Turin, Bruce and his E Streeters did NOT let us down!! Bruce gave us 6 premieres in all including My Hometown... and one "extra" that had us breathlessly waiting for more as Bruce offered us tiny taste of the old days when he teased us with a hint of a "sad eyes" insert during Backstreets... Bruce was definitely feelin' it!

On the way out one of the "crew" gave me Clarence's copy of the set list!! I had come so far... and waited so long... and got both of my requests... in Europe!! I left Torino floating on cloud 9... What's left for Udine?

Did I say, "Thank you!" yet? Well...

Monday, August 10, 2009

Workin' On A Roma Dream

When in Roma... do as the Romans! And that is exactly what I intended to do... but would we be able? I took a minute to "warn" Rachel and Maaike how physical it can get in the Italian pit... and how essential it is to get to the rail... not so much to see Bruce as it is to breathe!! We were up for the challenge! When we got to Stadio Olimpico I didn't see anyone around so I spent about 2 hours walking around the place... looking for the queue... finally fatigued in the hot sun I went to the fountain and submerged my shirt in water and then put it back on... then I picked a spot where I could see "most" of the gates and laid out under the tree. As I looked around I noticed that everyone was laying down under the trees... it was siesta time... just in time! When I woke up I noticed 2 ladies who appeared to be checking gates... I invited them to wait with me and we put our name on a makeshift list... just then I see Corrado with the "official" list... I was relieved to see him working out "details" with the head of security... they looked very serious. I listened as they discussed the situation with so much passion... what I could understand was that the man in charge was telling him that if he/we respected his request that he, too, would respect Corrado's list/us. I felt like I was in a scene from The Godfather!! But what was his request? I couldn't follow the words... so I waited for Corrado to explain. There were diplomats and important people going to be there the night before the show and he didn't want us on the property... or anywhere in sight. Corrado looked concerned... he told us to meet in the garden at Piazza Mancini across the street... where we added our names to his list. We got #7,8 and 9... Tony had beat us to Roma and got #6... and Sara and Miki, two beautiful ladies from Roma, and Angelo were #3, 4 & 5... and Samantha and Sarah from France had #10 & 11... So now Corrado's job for the next two days was to keep any and all Bruce fans away from Stadio Olimpico... a near impossible request! The next day we showed up for roll call and got the good news that because of the situation we wouldn't have roll call again till 10pm... so we had all day to see Roma!! Sara walked us over to the bus depot and showed us where to go and what bus to take... so we jumped on a bus and headed to the Vatican... it is so beautiful. I wish I could have seen it without the huge amounts of people... but I imagine only Bruce could get to do that!! lol
(PLEASE, click on all the images for amazing close up views!)

After dinner and a little wine and/or beer... we went back to the hotel for a cat nap before roll call. When we returned we found that the list had grown immensely... and I saw more familiar faces. It was especially good to see Anna and Renzo... the woman and her husband who were so kind to me in Milan last year! They had come planning to camp out but decided to take a room at the same hotel as us. Martino led roll call and then announced the time for the next one... 10am? Wow... a whole nights sleep? Sweet dreams!! And sweet they were... ;) The next morning we made it back to the garden with a little time to spare and Michaela (Miki) treated us to croissants and Italian coffee... it came in a little bottle and was hot and we poured it into little bitty cups... 2 sips of coffee that equaled in strength that of 2 cups of American coffee. It was delicious... and the croissants were wonderful... yum! Thanks again, Mik & Sara! We didn't need to be back for the next roll call until 7 or 8 pm... I can't remember now. So off to the Vatican again... or nearby, where Rachel had spotted a Footlocker... she wanted to buy a new pair of shoes... and so did I! Running shoes! lol The Pope still no where in sight... so we blessed our own shoes and headed to the Spanish Steps where "Roman Holiday" was filmed. How perfect!! Then it was time to grab a nice hot meal so we found another "Restorante" and again found only bread products... bread with pizza sauce and cheese... some with salami and cheese... everything was bread based... same as the last 2 "Restorantes." So we ordered... you guessed it... bread!! We laughed as we feasted on our bread... and I quoted scripture, "Man does not live by bread alone," I said... adding, "so the Italians added a slice of salami and cheese!" It really wasn't funny... but we laughed anyway. At the next roll call we found that at midnight we would be moved to the "gate" at the venue! By 1am we were in our places. Sara suggest that we go get some sleep... she would hold our places so she called us a cab and we were fast asleep just in time for the alarm to wake me at 4am... we had to be back by 6. Now came the hard part... holding our spots the last day... while many showed up to try to sneak in... everyone knew who had been queued with them and respected and protect each other's place... at one point someone came and asked me how long we had been queued... it seemed I had been queued for a couple weeks now for one show or another... so I couldn't think and answered Saturday the 16th. (The 16th was a Thursday.) It was so hot in the sun that most everyone climbed over the barrier to seek refuge from the sun under the trees... which made it look like there wasn't many waiting in the queue... but by 3 pm there were a few thousand waiting to get into the pit. Bruce had sound checked around 1 but it hadn't lasted long... I think it was due to the heat so we were a little surprised when he sound-checked Atlantic City just before 4pm. Finally Graham came to escort Liz to safety and that was the sign that we were about to be let in. They were going to let 10 in from each stall at the gate and then hold back for a few minutes then let in another 10 from each stall... but because of the lateness of our entry they let down the order and let everyone in at once. There was a mad dash into the venue... First there was steps going up... then going down... and they were not even... so they were easy to miss your stepping... I get so flustered when we have to run... I never know which way to go... my panic makes it so hard for me to think... then finally I see a spot at the rail right in front of Clarence... it's filling up quickly as I make my way to it... people flying past me... and then... I get there and look over at Sabine who moves over and invites me next to her! I look to my left and a really handsome young man smiles and nods to let me know that there is plenty room there for me, too!! How sweet!! We sit and stand... and sit and stand... as we wait for Bruce and his E Streeters to hit the stage... and I search for a comfortable place to sit half on the hard metal and half off... and chatted with Chiara and Melody while waiting... There was a young man with a American Skin (41 shots) sign behind me... but most of us had the same sign... an Italian with a print shop had a couple thousand of them printed... and everyone had one... how could Bruce refuse us? Time ticks away... and soon the excitement mounts as the crew readys the stage... I glance to the left just in time to catch a quick glimpse of Jay chatting with fans before heading backstage... I look over to the right and see Corrado and Martino and the group of dedicated fans that had put so much time into their quest to be in front... I was so glad to see that they had made it, too!

We waved to each other with anticipation of a great show! I looked around for Maaike and Rachel but couldn't see them... but their plan had been to head to the little catwalk at the very end... it was an easy rail to get to... and they had gotten some of Bruce's attention there in Glasgow and Dublin. I'd catch up with them after the show. Around 9:30 there is a sudden press toward the stage in anticipation... all the gaps are filled in as the crowd becomes one... finally the light men come out and taunt us... and we cheer at their every move.

At 10:30pm (22.30) it begins!!

What an amazing beginning... unlike any other... and so perfect! Once Upon A Time In The West by Ennio Morricone gave me chills before the band broke into Badland, Out In The Street, a dramatic Outlaw Pete, No Surrender... and with She's The One in the 5th spot... satisfaction was close at hand... It was going to be a very special night... Maybe it was the late night start... perhaps it was the Italian air... but tonight seemed magical... a sea of arms waved to Working On A Dream... it was so cool... and you could see that the band was very pleased with the crowd! So, would we get Youngstown or Ghost of Tom Joad tonight, after Seeds and Johnny 99? What a beautiful suprise... Atlantic City... (surprised, even though it was sound checked) I was purring like a kitten... and then it was time for Bruce to collect signs... lol We all held up our signs high: Drive All Night... most of them read!! We begged him!! He stopped and put his hands on his hips and looked at all the signs... and he shook his head, "NO!" Bummer!! Instead he chose signs for Hungry Heart... which the crowd loved and then picked a beautiful sign with glitter all over it for Pink Cadillac... and another sign that said something about getting married and I'm On Fire... but that wasn't the end of the requests... one more for the birthday girl... Surprise Surprise... followed by a 5th request granted... a sizzling Prove It All Night!!

There were two adorable brothers... hoping to get to sing with Bruce but when Bruce offered the one little guy the mic... he stumbled over the "English" but Bruce swept him up in his arms and assured him that he did a great job... rewarding him with a guitar pick! Then Bruce granted another request! He did 41 Shots for the guy behind me! It was amazing! What a highlight... A very intense song... so scary and true... followed perfectly by Lonesome Day... a song which I really really like. After Born To Run the band stayed on stage... which brings up Clarence! He looked great! He was so cool and having a great time... his smile was vibrant... and he played wonderfully! I'm not sure if I should call it the encore, but it started with a heartfelt My City In Ruins... which I learned after the show was also a request given to Bruce earlier that night... and if that wasn't enough of requests granted... after Thunder Road Bruce took one more request from his "friend" (in the pit) for a rockin' You Can't Sit Down. It was request city in Roma!!

I had so much fun in Roma... and so did Bruce's mom and aunt... they joined the band on stage and danced a jig behind Bruce during American Land... they were having so much fun that Bruce had to shoo them off the stage after the song had ended! lol Bobby Jean led the final 3... slowing things down just a little before it got wild with Dancing In The Dark... bringing back great memories of my first experience of Dancing with the Italians in Milan! When in Roma you do as the Romans and JUMP!! Keeping it going... we Twist & Shout!! What a great time!! Nearly 3 hours later the show ends... and once again, Bruce and his band has proven why they are the best rock-n-roll band around!

We wave and they leave the stage...

Just then a guy comes out with a stack of set lists and throws them in the air... I get elbowed right above my eye... holy crap... the guy with the wild elbow hurries to bring me a set list... apologizing so sweetly. lol I graciously accepted his apologee and his gift!! Then I headed to the exit to wait for Rachel and Maaike... but it was soon apparent that they weren't coming so I went back inside to find Rachel unable to walk. She had fallen on the steps on the way in during the mad dash and had re-injured her foot. :o Oh no!! Though she was able to stand on one foot most of the show by leaning on the rail... at Thunder Road she had to find a place to sit. She told me how wonderful those around her in the crowd were... helping her to get to the back of the pit to sit... but now she couldn't put weight on it.... so they got us an ambulance to take her to the top of the stadium and they drop us off outside and told her, as well as they could, to give it rest... and from there we tried to find someone... anyone who spoke English and could help us get a cab. About an hour or so later I finally found help out in front... 2 guys from Canada... who spoke English!! Jeff and John helped us to get a cab and our cab then called them a cab! Our heroes! Thanks so much, Jeff and John from Canada!! The next morning I woke to find that it wasn't a dream... and Rachel really couldn't walk... and we had a plane to catch!! Rachel refused to call the rest of the trip off so as we carried Rachel and her luggage down to the cab I assured her, "Don't worry Rachel... we'll get a wheelchair at the airport! Next stop: Turin!!

MP3 Download - Full Show here: Roma Part 1 & Roma Part 2

Please use MP3 for personal use and do not burn for trade.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Dublin "Dream" Art

Here's a few pics I took in Dublin...
Just click on them to see the big picture!!

Stay tuned for my review of AN ITALIAN DREAM!!