24 Jul, 2006 Italia !
There really is no competition; the Teatro Greco in Taormina is the most beautiful concert venue that any artist could hope to perform in. Personally speaking, just to set foot on stage in that ancient Greek theatre amphitheatre is almost enough to fill me with a pride and honor that rarely surfaces in any other situation.
Of course for me there is always added gravitas to playing in Taormina, in that the little pearl of a town has become a home from home over the years. On top of that if you then count in the fact that it is currently the chosen place for Charlie Burchill and I to base ourselves in when we are writing new material, I am sure then that it is patently clear why this medieval town in the province of Messina means so much to Simple Minds. Honestly, I thank my lucky stars everyday that I have come across this place within my lifetime and I am equally delighted for all those have discovered the charm of Taormina through our concerts there!
Additionally I would have to say that even after countless number of Italian tours, it is still the country that we most prefer to work in when all is said and done. And that really tells you something. Because while in different ways we enjoy almost all the countries that we visit, it is a fact that after a week in Italy including concerts in both Palermo and Naples, there is no exaggeration in saying that getting on a plane to leave was a huge wrench! And after all what is there not to like about touring Italy? The weather was golden, the people charming and energizing, the food is too good for words, and to be able to sit out under the stars until the early morning hours gives the feeling that we are all on holiday together as opposed to being on the last lap of a grueling world tour.
At the opposite end of the idyllic scale from Taormina – Naples is a mad, bad, chaotic city that I surprisingly love to death. I say surprising because in my life I have no space for places that are teeming with pollution, ridden with crime, gridlocked with traffic, and noisy beyond belief. And yet despite all of this I love Naples and the humanity of the Neapolitans. The historic poets coined a phrase as tribute to the uniqueness of the city and since then we are all used to saying “ See Naples and die!”. On the contrary my own feeling is “See Naples and come alive!
I cannot wait to return!
And yet still we are moving on, back to the UK this week, then Ireland and Portugal. Things are never dull and that is just as well because when life gets dull then so does the art. Our self respect comes from doing the work one verse at a time, one song at a time, and one performance time. Every breath so vital as every night we become full of desire to give only our best