Large open spaces where we would attend concerts in the midst of huge crowds, proliferating festivals for every musical genre, but also live concerts that spontaneously sprang to life in the street. Summer is over, but we want to extend it a little by remembering the music that once moved us so much.
Thus, “yelling at the sky”, certain concerts are unforgettable in our country. I’ll tell you about the ones that changed what being Italian means.
Until the 1960s, Italy was mainly concerned with homegrown television-related productions and the festival CantaGiro; from the mid-1960s onwards a turning point that brought great foreign artists to sing in town squares and stadiums reached Italy.
The first real milestone in this regard was certainly the Beatles’ tour in Milan and Rome in June 1965. The musical world was experiencing a real world-wide stylistic revolution, which was acclaimed in both cities: tickets for concerts were sold out, and attending youngsters went wild – although as in all revolutions, there were critics and skeptics who did not look favorably on change and on an open view on musical styles which were very different from ours.
1971, Led Zeppelin
Music and youngsters would intertwine with politics a few years later. As with the Beatles, Vigorelli took center stage: in 1971 for the first (and only) time Led Zeppelin, one of the greatest rock bands of all time, came to Milan. It should have been a great evening, but it almost became one of the darkest pages in the history of international live music: an urban guerrilla brawl between law enforcement and members of youth and political movements broke out, and there ensued a hellish evening that no music-lover could ever wish to live under any circumstances. Led Zeppelin managed to play for only 20 minutes.
The following years were influenced by this episode, and great concerts returned to Italy in the 80s with greater organizational professionalism: live rock band concerts, for example, “opened” with CantaGiro artists.
These are the years of great concerts and huge names, characterized by live performances in stadiums or squares. The turning point into the 80s after the 70s took place in Bologna with the Clash’s punk concert in Piazza Maggiore. Joe Strummer’s band performed in a packed square, and no strains nor problems emerged: this marked the beginning of a wave of great concerts in Italy with the greatest bands ready to fill stadiums with tens of thousands of people, a prologue to what we live today every summer also for local singers.
1980, Bob Marley
Summer again – Vigorelli again. On 27 June 1980 the first of the great live concerts in stadiums (which still set Italian summers ablaze today) took place in Milan. Bob Marley’s tour came to Italy and shattered all kinds of records, most of which are unbeaten in stadiums to this day; on 28 June he played in Turin; he died only a year later, when he was only 36.
1982, Rolling Stones
From that June on stadiums were not only a sports’ haven but also a musical one, and music breathes life into the stands during the summer.
How could anyone forget the mythical Rolling Stones tours of 1982 and 2006, in particular the one in Turin on 11 July 1982, when the world cup final in the Bernabeu, Italy-Germany, was broadcast live. During the Stones’ afternoon concert, a few hours before the match, Mick Jagger prophesied: “You will win 3-1”. There never was a more accurate prophecy! Italy became World Champions, the Rolling Stones – for one night and many more – the champions of rock and… of predictions. Nor were Italy’s sporting endeavours at the World Cup in 2006 so bad…
1985, Bruce Springsteen
Stadiums also took stage for other beautiful and historic tours, from U2 and their “Joshua Three tour” in 1987 to Bruce Springsteen, who ignited Italian stadiums from 21 June 1985, when the Boss’s first Italian concert was held. A historic show, which Springsteen himself considered one of the best ever in his career.
1989, Pink Floyd
Stadiums were not alone, however, in catalyzing international attention: the 80s saw the Pink Floyd concert in Venice, where about 200,000 people were crammed in San Marco square; RAI covered the event and broadcast it worldwide. The concert was heavily criticised for security, but it was a unique and unrepeatable event.
The 90s then ran along the same lines and gave us tours and epic dates for Italian musicians and singers, from Jovanotti to Ramazzotti, from Ligabue to Vasco Rossi, who were neck-and-neck for audience records with historic events in Campovolo and Modena, and to the modern “stadiums”, which artists often reach too easily and hardly ever fill.
The summer of 2019 has only one main character, Jovanotti, who combined every element of summer imagery, setting the stage by the sea under the starry sky with hours of music in a great tour, the Jova Beach Party. An immense organizational effort for many hours of fun with Jovanotti’s music, in a tour that will surely raise the bar of Italian productions.
Which one(s) most moved you?