{jcomments off}{jcomments on}Hard Rock Live - Rome

Rome

Oh, the streets of Rome are filled with rubble
Ancient footprints are everywhere
You can almost think that you’re seein’ double
On a cold, dark night on the Spanish Stairs
Got to hurry on back to my hotel room
Where I’ve got me a date with Botticelli’s niece
She promised that she’d be right there with me
When I paint my masterpiece

(When I Paint My Masterpiece ~ Bob Dylan)


It’s a first time in Rome for some of us, though Elizabeth was here in the early eighties for several months filming ‘Once Upon A Time In America’. Many of the interiors for that marvellous film were shot here in this ancient city. And what a city!

Whisked from the airport to our hotel on Via Veneto, we then head off to the Hard Rock Cafe for our evening meal kindly provided by our hosts who look after us very generously during our stay. We’re missing Elizabeth who, due to filming commitments, doesn't arrive until much later.

Saturday is ‘gig’ day. ‘Hard Rock Live Rome’ has been created by Hard Rock Cafe in partnership with Roma Capitale and is taking place at the marvellous Piazza del Popolo. History, human genius and the Mediterranean sun have conspired to make Rome one of the world’s most seductive and vibrant cities and the Piazza del Popolo is buzzing on this Saturday morning as we arrive for sound-check.

Backstage, our dressing room is stocked with fruit, sandwiches, snacks, wine, beer, vodka, juice and, most importantly (for some), water! We check out the instruments provided by Fender, set up and sound-check - watched by inquisitive passers-by and our two diehard fans, Kirsty and Shelley,  who have made the journey to lend their support - then head back to the hotel for lunch/siesta.

The evening gets lift-off with ‘The Carnabys’, a young rock band from England, then we’re on. ‘One Thing Leads To Another’ kicks off our set while Chris twiddles the knobs and creates a wonderful front of stage sound. The audience love ‘Staying Alive’, singing and dancing along, and before we know it we’re into our last number ‘Nothing New’ and tumbling off stage to the VIP area for cocktails - I lost count of how many Nick had - and this was just the start of the evening.

Later, much later, there’s a party at the Hard Rock for those hardy souls who haven’t had enough to drink, while others slope off to bed in preparation for a day’s sightseeing tomorrow.

In Rome, art is not locked away from view, it’s quite literally all around you – amazing classical statues, stunning Renaissance frescoes, breathtaking baroque churches, sculptures by Michelangelo, paintings by Caravaggio, frescoes by Raphael, fountains by Bernini. After breakfast on Sunday morning - with Elizabeth already flying back to Downton Abbey - Simon, Ron and I walk the cobbled streets to the Trevi Fountain. Finished in 1762, it is the largest Baroque fountain in the city and one of the most famous in the world, appearing in several notable films, including Fellini’s ‘La Dolce Vita’.

From there it’s a stretch down to the Colosseum - “Dodging lions and wastin’ time” (Bob Dylan, same song) where we lunch on pizza and wine on a vine-clad terrace… fun times. 

Finally, I must on behalf of the band, thank Marc Carey for inviting us in the first place and all his team for making it such a smoothly run and enjoyable a visit. Hope to be back in Rome and do more with HRC some day soon.

Steve

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