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There is a difference between just playing music, and performing the love for music, for fans and for life. For the sake of simplicity, the latter concept can be expressed just by saying Iggy and The Stooges. The band from Detroit is unarguably one of the best things that ever happened to rock, and keeps on demonstrating it day by day, or better, date by date.
They did not spare any energy in giving themselves to the crowd during their performance at the Hard Rock Rocks The Square event that took place in Florence, Italy on September 27, organized by Hard Rock Cafe Florence. If the greatness of Iggy and The Stooges and their terrific performance on stage made the night an unforgettable one, important organizational issues downgraded this supreme experience.
Hard Rock Café organized the event to celebrate the restaurant’s presence in the main city of Tuscany, a thank you for “those who helped us rock,” as said in their words. At 8:00 p.m. the evening concerts started, with the performance of DESMA, winners of the “Battle of The Bands,” a competition organized jointly with FIAT and Virgin Radio to promote new talents. Maybe due to the anxiety of the important night, although containing potential, the band was not too catchy. DESMA is a very young band recently formed, which has plenty of time to completely mature its sound and live attitude. Although the band seemed not to yet have developed full awareness of its capabilities, it is an act to keep an eye on.
Who seemed to be perfectly fitting was the second opening band, The Cyborgs. It is an emerging Italian band who will embark on a European Tour starting next October. The Cyborgs play wearing welding masks and call themselves “0” and “1,” like in the binary code. They fed the excitement of the roaring crowd with a perfectly revisited good-old sound. Re-taking the roots of blues and rock and roll, they play hard and they play well, making the tradition of rock sound still fresh and new.
Finally the solemn moment of the protagonists arrived. Iggy and the Stooges took the stage introducing themselves with a biting “Raw Power.” The band played for about one hour and a half, giving the best performance a concert attendee could ask. Too bad for the acoustics though. From the front it was hard to hear the beautiful, profound, sexy and warm voice that characterizes Iggy Pop, while it was still possible to enjoy the impeccable sound of all the instruments. From further away instead, as reported by some concert attendees located there, even the instruments’ sound would fade away, resulting in a confused noise.
The square where the concert took place, located in the city center, seemed to be a little too small for such an event with the crowd going wild and sometimes resulting in dangerous behaviors. Glass bottles and other sharp objects filled the place. There were many people who were clearly not able to handle such an event, being annoyingly drunk.
Iggy and The Stooges were fantastic, though. The infamous energetic spirit that possesses Iggy Pop during his live performances, making him jump, sing and dance, expressing his out-flowing love for his fans, had pervaded all the band’s members. Together they created the perfect frame for a historical rock concert.
Image Courtesyof Hard Rock Cafe Firenze
The band played “Raw Power,” considered by most as the first punk album in history, in its entirety, and added some tracks from “Funhouse,” “Open Up and Bleed,” and “The Weirdness,” in addition to some covers and the infamous “The Passenger.”
During the outstanding performance, Iggy Pop invited his fans to go on stage to dance and sing with him; people danced naked on stage, sang with their idol, kissed his feet. On his part, Iggy stage dived three times for the joy of those who were so lucky to catch and touch the rock god. He kept constant interaction with the crowd, talking to them, taking their hands and physically serving himself to them.
The band was the perfect expression of rock and roll, both in musical and stage performance. Iggy Pop is far away from his 65 years, and his voice too. Preserved as a sacred gift to earth, Iggy is still able to float on greatness. Mike Watt, even though always perfect, yesterday was astonishingly amazing, and as usual perfectly in sync with his mate Toby Dammit, who banged the drums as if it were the last concert in history. Guitarist James Williamson gave chills with his spectacular performance, and a very special mention has to go to Steve Mackay, who plays the sax so well that makes the listener think to be in heaven.
Although the need for higher attention to acoustic and safety aspects was evident, Hard Rock Café Florence surely gave fans one of the best acts on earth.
Main Photo Credit : Sophie Howarth