I’ve had problems finding the words for this blog. Normally when I’ve seen a show I write about it within a day or two, but I ended up in Padua as a result of some strange and painful circumstances which are not for sharing here. So I’m very late with this; please forgive me.
This last gig was never on my itinerary; Barcelona and the Isle of Wight were my “ration” this time, so I never thought I would be getting up at 4.00 a.m. on Saturday 25th June to fly out to Venice. It was all pretty unreal; early morning flight, figure out the Venetian bus system, figure out how to buy train tickets (and buy the wrong one), sneak on to a train and hope the guard didn’t find me and throw me off, meet the amazing Laura in Padua and get straight on another bus to Piazzola sul Brenta. It was early afternoon by then and killingly hot. The fans were already gathering outside the entrance, trying to keep out of the heat.
By the time we were let into the venue, it was early evening and lightning was flickering across the sky, reminiscent of Queen’s manufactured thunderstorm over Montreal in 1981. Some of us were praying for rain to relieve the heat by that time, but none came.
What an amazing place the venue was; a baroque palazzo a few miles away from the ancient city of Padua.
The central courtyard was huge and easily able to accommodate the stage rig and thousands of people. I was lucky enough to be in the Golden Circle, so was fairly near the front of this crowd.
And appropriately enough, the guys started with Flash and Hero, as they had done in Barcelona. I don’t know whether that was a last minute change from One Vision, but it certainly suited the weather conditions.
As ever, it was another stunning show. For me, the real highlights of it were:
- The crowd. I really have never been in a crowd like this. They were beyond fervent; amazing. Most of them were of an age to never have seen Queen perform with Freddie, but they were note perfect, word perfect. They loved the music with true Italian passion.
- Fat Bottomed Girls – they really went for this; it was excellent. And on this video you’ll be able to hear a few snippets of the crowd singing
- Somebody To Love – it’s always amazing, but it was full of “last night of the tour” extras from everyone.
- A Kind of Magic – we got the “dad dancing” routine from Brian and Roger again. I never thought I’d see them enjoying the music so much
- Who Wants To Live Forever – I don’t know whether they will ever be able to do a set again that doesn’t include this song. They have honed it into something beyond a power ballad. It’s the most amazing song given a live treatment that it unlike pretty much anything else I’ve ever heard
- Brian’s solo – with a bit of O Sole Mio incorporated in it. There have been quite a few “spot the tune” moments in his solos on this tour, and they have always gone down well with the crowd
This has been an incredible tour. I thought I was only going to see two shows so it was something completely unexpected to be here on the last night, even though I spent 22 hours awake on that day. The quality of the music has been astounding; once again, QAL have produced the goods – and more. They are complete performers; no detail is left to chance, every part of the set is carefully crafted and then know how to carry an audience through every second.
And again, this break is going to be just a pause; they are back in the Far East in just a few months’ time (although I somehow don’t think I will be flitting off to Hong Kong in September).
And this time it wasn’t only about QAL; it was about Italy; a place I’ve always wanted to visit but had never got to before. I was there for just under two days but wished I could have stayed longer. I could quite happily have never gone home.
In that short time, I met four wonderful Italian girls who looked after me and treated me as one of their own. Through you, I felt love and comfort – and learnt a few Italian swear words! I will be forever grateful to you, as you picked me up when I had fallen. Miei amici del cuore – Laura, Mary, Anna and Licia – casa mia e casa tua.