27 May, 2013 Mystical Light
Most groups can usually recall specific gigs that for some reason of importance were “career defining” or “career changing” for them. In our case there are quite a few, notwithstanding our first ever gig of course. After all, it is said that every journey begins with a first step. However a few gigs, due to consequences; perhaps mysterious and therefore unforeseen, actually became “life changing” as a result of them having taken place. And well, next month marks for me the anniversary of one of those gigs in particular.
The show I refer to took place almost 30 years ago in a smallish, outdoors sports arena, situated near the harbor front at the port of Messina. It was to be my first night in Sicily, a place that at no time prior had I given much thought to, or at least so out with the context of Francis Ford Coppola’s award winning Godfather movies. But lo and behold; some kind of magical seduction seemingly took over me when I set foot in Sicily for that first time, and as some might already know, a whole three decades later and as a result of that first gig, I am still there. (Or at least I am still there very often when not on concert tours, or writing and recording with Simple Minds and Lostboy! AKA)
I don’t have a place that I call home and it has been that way for a decent amount of time. The main reason I have no home is that I don’t spend enough time in one specific place for me to feel like it is really my home. Sentimentally speaking, Scotland of course will always be “home” for me. It is where I grew up, is to where I will always feel that I belong. I am quite sure of that, but the reality is that for most of my grown up life I have not lived there enough for it to be my home as I am neither based or work from there.
All of which brings me back to Sicily, because in the absence of having any real physical home, Sicily has been a kind of on-off sanctuary for me, it is quite definitely my spiritual home and continues to be so even decades later. Or it is as long as we agree that the definition of “spiritual home” is: A place where you feel you belong, although you were not born there, because you have a lot in common with the people, the culture, the landscape and the way of life.
And what was it about the gig in Messina all those years ago that influenced such an outcome that led to Sicily getting under my skin and into my heart? Well, I could write a book on what happened during my first 48 hours in Sicily. I could explain how Taormina floored me with its charms in a way no place has done quite since. (Kyoto in spring comes close though.) I could also hint at many other things that came to pass in a couple of days that then led me to make my base within striking distance of Mount Etna. But much of that would be way too intimate, relevant only to me for the most part.
So let’s just say that it was the fact that the gig occurred, otherwise in a busy schedule that has kept me active all of my working life, I might not have found my way yet as a tourist to this most southern tip of Europe. And with that being so I might have remained in the dark with regards to a place that has brought so much mystical light to me.