:: Part 1 of 3 ::
It was a hot and sunny day in Florence, I enjoyed that. At the show, there weren't as many people in the audience as I had seen at last year's shows. But the audience was good, very energetic, and it was a standing general admission show, which I really prefer over numbered seats. It's a rock concert, after all.
To me, the show was (and is) beautiful, I loved every moment of it. I really don't think I have ever seen the band as tight as they are now. The interaction between Steve, Jeremy, Dave and Philip is amazing. They don't even have to look at each other, and they create a seamless flow of musical communication among them that is truly stunning. I couldn't help but marvel at how much each one of them has grown in all these years.
The setlist is ravishing, but if I had to point out *some* of my favorite moments, then I would have to say Racing the World, Velorum, Gravity Storm, Weeping China Doll (this one, especially how it ends, almost moves me to tears), Answers (watch for the intro to this one!), Whispering A Prayer, The Animal (this one is overflowing with good moments, especially between Steve and Dave), The Moon and I (which on this tour has been rearranged for the acoustic set), the vocal improv on Rescue Me Or Bury Me (which is absolutely amazing), actually the whole acoustic set is great, then definitely Frank and also Taurus Bulba. But in reality, there are a lot of wonderful little moments in every song, the moments where Steve adds something new to one of the songs, like the improvised part at the end of Tender Surrender, Building the Church, or For The Love of God. The moments of expansion, so to speak. The Audience is Listening has probably the most fiery performance of Steve's. Dave's solo is so great, too, and the audience was really into it. Jeremy's solo was mind-blowing! It seems to me that he still is the most powerful drummer I've ever seen, but within the energy and power he's becoming more and more "fine-tuned" to the music he feels, so to speak. It's hard to put into words, but there's a lot of great little things that he does and you really have to see him play to understand. My favorite drummer ever. I also got the feeling that Steve is more comfortable now (compared to last year) when performing The Ultra Zone, which is not easy the way it is presented. It comes out very well. The Build me a Song part of the show is very funny - anything can happen, really.
The show is three good hours, but it feels like much less than that. It flows very quickly, and that of course means that it's really a great show. The sound was good, and Steve gave all of himself on the stage, which I always find very moving. I believe that to go see one of these shows is the best thing anybody can do, and it really makes you feel good. Steve, thank you so much for coming back to Italy again! On to Nonantola.