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Tour Archive: Diary from 2003 Radiohead tour

July 12 -

Finished now with the two nights in Ferrara. The last few days have been really great. First indication that it was going to be good was when we pulled into town and found that the hotel was 100 feet from the stage. The stage was at one end of a cobblestone square next to an old castle. Backstage catering was in a commandeered restaurant around the corner from the hotel. On the first night, our set went pretty well. Zak broke a string. One of the Radiohead backline guys had one of Colin's basses in Zak's hands before we knew what had happened. Then, by the end of the next song, Zak had his bass back with a new string on, ready to go. We were dumbfounded. Like I said earlier: Nice people.

Radiohead set was great. Highlight for me was when they came out for the first encore and did "Spinning Plates." It was strangely intimate for such a big outdoor concert. I mentioned it to Thom today at lunch and we talked a little about it. It's interesting talking about the "connection" to the audience with them. They seem very aware of the dilemma with large shows and still trying to connect, and they seem to spend a lot of time working on that (set lists, etc.) I've heard some people say they are cold, live, but I think they are extremely human in concert.

After the show, some of us went out into the town, found an ice cream joint and sat outside at a table and talked. As you would expect, there were a lot of people around, socializing and hanging about. There were a lot of bootleg T-shirt vendors. I guess it's normal in Italy and there's not much you can do about it. Apparently if a band cracks down on them, they retaliate and "mess things up" for the show - kinda Mafia-like. So, bands just let them do it and take the hit.

The next day (today) we looked around the town, shopped a bit, though when I went out the first time, the shops were closed. Most of them close from noon to 4 during the day for lunch and siesta. Then they are open again until late. Nice system - keeps people from getting too uptight. Gives the people a chance to relax and enjoy the day - or maybe just stay out of the heat...

Our show tonight was fun. I got a little mouthy with some guy (sounded American) who yelled "go home!", but hopefully didn't make too much of an ass of myself. It all seemed to fuel us on a little. I notice that sometimes a little conflict tends to push the set higher - puts some life and energy into things. Maybe the detachment from the people (though I'm surprised at how close they feel) and not being as aware of the sound that's actually being broadcast tends to create a vacuum for something to work against. Tonight it was that guy.

There was another after-show party thing tonight. We all went. Met their manager - nice guy. He asked us about how we recorded and about working on a budget. If we ever had a manager, I think he would be someone I'd trust. He seems trustworthy. Seems to do a good job, too, obviously. Also talked a bit more with Thom and a little with Ed (the very tall guitar player).

I'd like to come back to Italy soon. It's very beautiful, the people are very passionate, and we seem to have a good amount of fans. It's like playing Scotland ... or Texas.