In June and July, Florence will the protagonist to a real celebration of rock music.
With the Summer Festival Rock and Florence Rocks, great bands and great figures of the world’s rock scene, such as Radiohead, Placebo and Jamiroquai, will take the stage together with alternative and avant-garde groups such as the Rajasthan Express.
Before talking about these great events, it is also nice to point out how, the city that most often is associated to the Renaissance and the wonders of the 1400’s and 1500’s, also has in its recent past’s DNA incredible performances of artists such as Patti Smith, Bruce Springsteen, Radiohead, and many other giants of the contemporary music scene.
In 1979, at Franchi Stadium, a young Patti Smith, in conjunction to the release of her last album “Easter” sang in front of thousands of young and not so young fans, entertaining them with her powerful and incisive voice while singing those songs that now belong to the history of rock.
Those who participated to the event will not be able to forget that great summer and that concert, which was the last one for the artist. In fact, legend tells that the song writer was so shocked by the pressing seize of her fans, that was horrified and, assailed by growing panic, she decided not to perform in public anymore. Then there was another great artist: Bruce Springsteen, who performed in Florence many times, the last one in 2012.
He never disappointed the expectations of impressive crowds with his stunning performances. His arrival has always been characterized by the classic components of big concerts: being sold out for months, fans stationing under the hotel where The Boss was staying, impossible exits as masses of fans were besieging him in order to see their “idol”. Bruce sang with his unmistakable energy his hits.
In 1987, fresh from her world success, and already famous, Madonna, with the tour “Who’s that girl”, and with her hit “La Isla Bonita”, which had been on the charts for months, appeared in Florence, after the “scandalous” concert in Turin, where she yelled “Are you hot? I am!” and much more as she used to do with a great awareness of both success and scandal.
With those curls, which every girl of the time tried in vain to imitate, her hair in the wind, mini-skirt and boots, sexy and a little Lolita-like, playing with sex and rock and roll, she presented herself to thousands of adolescents and not, in a frenzy, at the stadium. Madonna was a name that called to Florence young people from all over Italy. Many news reports were wasted and many tales of the bivouacs while waiting for Miss Ciccone were told. The stadium exploded, she did her show and the city entered in the history of poprock.
Radiohead are very tied to Florence. One could say that their innovation path started exactly in Florence in 1994 when they performed in the trendiest and most alternative clubs in the city. At the Flog, at Tenax, the temple of all innovations and researched sounds, right times and tones for the dark and soul era, Radiohead presented their debut album ‘Pablo Honey’, later confirming their original and cultured research path. It really was a great season that, starting from the 70’s until the end of the 90’s, where the city was the important destination for the European tours of great artists.
What next? Silence? Absolutely not.
In fact, this summer, the meeting with great concerts is renewed. There are two events: Firenze Rocks and Firenze Summer Festival. And yet again the rock summer that had been missed is brought back here with artists such as Aerosmith, Cranberries, Jamiroquai and, obviously, Radiohead and other excellent bands.
Firenze Rocks will run from 23rd to 25th June. Three days of music which will see Aerosmith with the band’s last live tour (or so it is said) which is called “Aero-Vederci Baby (playing on the word Arrivederci, which in Italian means goodbye). On 24th there will be Eddie Vedder and Cranberries, and it will end on June 25th with System of a Down and Prophets of Rage, pure metal for all its followers.
The other event, Firenze Summer Festival, will last until July. On June 14th Radiohead, together with Rajasthan Express, will introduce to the world the music of the Israeli composer Shye Ben Tzur. The rock summer will continue with the British band that dominated the international charts, Jamiroquai. With 26 million of records sold, their album is at the very top for the ever most sold funk album. Arcade Fire will follow them on 28th June.
Thus, it will be a summer filled with music. It will be bringing back to Florence those sounds and atmospheres so dear to young people and to those who are young at heart, as well as in their personalities, in those feelings that never die, and in their creativity, where the face traced by age, but still alive and honest, of a Patti Smith, reminds us that poetry and music cannot be severed from our lives.
Therefore, God save Rock Music.