23 Jun 2007 - Rod in Rome

In flight Rome to Bilbao Thurs June 12.30 GMT

We did the show last night in Rome and we are now on the plane heading for Bilbao. Yesterday started early at 7.15am getting the kids up to take them to school then to David Lloyds sports centre for a swim. Started to get into training early for the bike ride -- this time l mean it!! Only about 4 months to go and l need to lose some weight and get the lungs in shape. (etc etc !!!) . I will get there though. Did some work then car came at 11.30 to head for airport for Rome.

Good to see all the guys again - everyone said the last 3 gigs which l missed went well. And that they hadn't missed me at all!! That's what you get!! They particularly enjoyed Dusseldorf as, being an arena, was so much more intimate after all the big outdoor shows. Although we all really enjoy these open air gigs the band do like to play smaller places like the arenas sometimes -- they are particularly looking forward to Clive's show at Brixton. Being only about 5000 capacity it is about the most intimate we can realistically do now and its always a good time for the band -- as Bruce says its great when you can look the whole audience right in the eye practically, which you certainly cant do to 70,000 people at Donington.  I hope we will see a lot of you there

We arrived at the hotel mid afternoon. The hotel was amazing -- the Hilton Cavalieri. We are lucky to be able to stay at many good hotels around the World, although we don't get to stay in many for very long, and normally l don't  mention them here. But this one was special -- beautiful rooms with a complimentary fresh fruit plate set out on a balcony overlooking part of the city. This morning l got up in time for a swim before we left for the airport at about 11.45. I hadn't time for the gym -- which was magnificent as was the spa and indoor pool -- but the 25m outdoor pool looked very inviting, and at that time there was no one else in it so l had it all to myself. Dived in and it was bloody freezing -- as cold as a plunge pool in a sauna -- had to do 3 fast lengths just to stop myself getting hypothermia. (must be fantastic to jump in during the heat of the day though) Of course after that it was wonderful -- did about 30 min then lounger by pool sadly only for about 10 min then back to room for (healthy!!) breakfast on that wonderful balcony and make some calls and take care of a few emails. It's a real shame we couldn't have another night or so here and made a mental note to get the family out here to see Rome sometime soon. I don't think we have been in Rome for about 16 years as the last time l recall Kathy and l came along with our eldest Tom who at that time was just 3 weeks old (his first tour and already a hardy traveller!!) and amongst other sights we saw was of course the Sistine Chapel -- I will never forget that. The rest of the kids haven't been to Rome so will have to get it together sometime. It is a truly beautiful city and a must to visit at some point in your life. I read a fair bit of history and the Greek, Persian, Roman periods are my favourite ones.

I seem to be going off on tangents all over the place so lets get down to the show. The Olympic Stadium was (obviously) built for the Rome Olympics (1960?? I think but not sure) and for that time is a magnificent stadium. Italy is like many places now highly security conscious and my car was stopped about 6 times just  getting to back stage -- but they don't seem to have Elf 'n' Safety excesses we have in Britain...as yet anyway. As usual l took a walk around the place first to get the vibe before going to the Production Office and caught the last 3 songs of Machine Head who were strong and went down well. And a great sound which l always of course like to hear for our supports as it probably means the venue will have good sound for us too. The stage was set across the "pitch" rather than at the end in the curve. We are not strong enough to do the whole stadium which l guess would be about 60,000 -- wish we were -- but we were set for about 30,000 and did about 23,000 so after 16 years cant complain! There is a running track around which fans are not allowed to be on for obvious reasons and this provides quite a separation between those seated and those standing within the track in front of the stage. To compensate for this for those fans seated we arranged good size screen with the promoter and quality delays, hung from the stadium roof, to get the sound good and loud at the back

After MH went to production office to check in with Dick and Ian, make a few calls, check mail etc then a bite to eat before going out to the stands right in front of stage to watch some of Motorhead. Like MH they had a good loud (of course!!) and clear sound and the screens looked great. The guys who filmed and edited did a very good job for us later in the evening.

Didn't get chance to see Lemmy who l have known for more years than either of us would like to remember but he looks in great shape considering his age and, of course, healthy habits!! The band were very good and went down absolutely great with the crowd and l haven't seen a drum solo for years and the crowd enjoyed that. However when M went off the crowd started the Italian chant "away, away , away , away, Mai-den, Mai-den", or something like that. Its always nice to hear support form our fans but after they went down so well it must have been a bit of a downer for Motorhead. But l doubt much bothers Lemmy!! l just thought it was a bit unfair.

Backstage to see the guys before going on. Steve, H and Davey all have families out for 3 nights in Rome on the previous days off. Took them all round to the stand seats in front of stage though of course younger ones went down on to the sound desk. After checking the sound back there for a couple of numbers for Dougie (we turned the delays up a bit!) l headed down to the desk too. This is of course where my cooler is!

The day had been very hot and the evening was the same , right into the early hours in fact. There was also no wind which really helps with an outdoor show. It means that our drapes aren't blown around, that the smoke stays on stage to enhance the lights and , most importantly , the sound doesn't get blown around as it did at Donington. All in all it was a marvellous Roman evening.

It was a long walk round the inside tunnels of the stadium to the stage with the last abut 50m in the open so the crowd really kicked in when they saw them walking to the stage. It was about 8.35 and starting to get dark and would soon be fully dark so perfect time to go on. Italian audiences are always terrific and a pleasure to play for -- they really do give a great deal back to the band with their excitement so the gig went really well. Sound excellent -- powerful and loud -- l thought. Show looked great. All in all a very good night

Offstage and straight into cars at the end. Band all said they really enjoyed it. 6 police bikes as outriders so back to hotel within about 15 min. band went up to shower and l went down to check out the bar. But after an early start and busy day (and being a wimp you could say!) I was pretty knackered and went to bed about midnight  and slept like the proverbial babe in arms. All of the band apparently went down to the bar for a while -- except -- and this is a surprise -- Nicko!!! Silly bugger had left his trousers on the back of a chair in the dressing room at the gig and they were the only pair he had with him so he wouldn't go to the bar half naked, l repeat this as l think this shows just how responsible and mellow Nicko is becoming as in the past this would not have worried him one bit!!!! But l may well be wrong on this!!! No doubt he will compensate for this in Bilbao, where we will hopefully be landing soon so that's all for now.

- Rod

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