Phew, it’s a little warm! It’s very close! Phew! When we arrived at the Foro Italico this morning, a tennis court set in a steep amphitheatre arrangement, the sky was bright and the air pleasant, but as the day progressed, the warm surroundings begat the personal dampness, and now I type this with a hot computer on my lap and want to tear my clothes off and join the statues out front.
As was our fashion in Montreux, we unloaded the minimum of PA and lights today, utilising local equivalents, but backline, production, wardrobe, monitors, and green room stuff all came in and camped in their purposeful spaces. Getting to the stage from the truck was a bit of a faff, what with narrow, winding ramps, but at least all the cases could roll easily over the smooth surfaces. The performance area of the stage is ample, but the wing space on stage left is crowded, and there’s a saying that suits: like trying to fit ten pounds of shit into a five-pound bag. We expected rain, and got the plastic sheeting ready. Kid you not, while typing the previous sentence, a rumble of thunder blasted in the distance; this could be fun.
With no warning the wind picked up momentarily, announcing that soon it would rain. And while the clouds looked a little threateny, they didn’t have the same menacing dark shade as yesterday’s crazy rain. (It rained heavily after we arrived in Rome yesterday.) But rain today it did, and we were ready for it; lightning flashed and thunder boomed while the slow moving storm meandered overhead. Luckily the wind had little to say in the matter, so our plastic sheeting stayed put for the most part. A virtual silver lining in our clouds of passionate fury, the temperature dropped considerably, and the air was comfortable again. At around 5pm, the clearer patches of sky fooled us into thinking it was all over, but they changed their minds and we hunkered down, counting down, mindful that the posted opening of doors was 6.30pm, and we still had not performed the sacred rite of soundcheck.
Around 5.45pm, the hazy, non-committal clearings ushered in a later-than-posted soundcheck, but we stood guard while the thunder rolled above us. From our spot low in the bowl, grey sky matching the top tiers of seats, a vista of grey, soundtracked by Leonard’s solo performance of Night Comes On, sprinkled light drops of rain. At 6.45, fifteen minutes after doors were meant to open, the soundcheck was done. At 7.25, fifty-five minutes after doors were meant to open, there wasn’t a paying soul in the place.