Someone up there heard my prayer, and Rome’s summer concert lineup is pretty sweet! Back in November I bought my tickets to last night’s Depeche Mode show at the Olympic Stadium in hopes they’d be the first of many favorite bands to grace my city, and they didn’t let me down at all, despite my fear Dave wouldn’t pull through his recent illness and the show would be cancelled. Seeing him perform again, 10 years after I last saw Depeche Mode, it was hard to believe he recently had surgery, but I was glad to see that Dave and the whole band still brought the same energy to the stage they did when I was 16. Though in my opinion the Olympic Stadium may not be as well set up to handle concerts as other venues in Rome simply due to its size and the level of organization required, Depeche Mode did an awesome job of actually reaching out and connecting with their audience, as always. Besides, they still sound fantastic!
Luckily for as much as I anticipated the event, the fun still isn’t over, and I’m concert hopping at least until the end of July…..still hoping more groups I like will head South in August (Manu Chao, Amanda Palmer, Royksopp, Jerry Cantrell, Marilyn Manson, Combichrist, Infected Mushroom and the rest of you-get your asses in gear! Your Italian fans love you too and are equally willing to buy tickets to your shows!). For now, there are plenty of non-historic reasons to visit Rome this summer, and anyway, it’s nice to have another excuse to visit a city most people dream about. My lineup goes something like this at the moment:
Nouvelle Vague @ Circolo Degli Artisti (check out their site for details, but it costs E10)-sure they’re a cover band, but I really like their loungey sound.
Tiesto! While I lived in Amsterdam I was always too busy/broke/whatever to make it to any of his shows, and when I lived in the States I was always working when he passed through. Can’t wait!
Chris Cornell-Yes, he rocks even solo! I saw him when I was 15 and when I heard his 50 ft voice come out of his minuscule frame I knew I’d seen God and would await the day I had another opportunity.
Franz Ferdinand/The Killers as part of the Rock In Roma Festival. I’m going more for Franz Ferdinand, but The Killers interest me too, and last time I saw Franz Ferdinand I had an awesome time even by myself.  Aside from being entertaining, it’s nice to see rockstars who enjoy their fame instead of lamenting it.
July 22nd-the icing on the cake-NINE INCH NAILS MY FAVORITE GROUP IN THE UNIVERSE HAS FINALLY FINALLY DECIDED TO COME TO ROME AND NOT JUST BOLOGNA OR MILAN!!!!! THANK YOU TRENT!! They too are part of the Rock in Roma Festival and the highlight of my summer. I’ve seen then 4 times to date.  Aside from having beautiful songs and sounding fantastic, they bring the whole package, connecting with the crowd, energizing them, and being visually appealing as well.
July 24th-Miss Kitten and Ellen Alien!  Nice to break up the rock with some good djing.
Concerts and other events of course are often the scene of much disorganization here what with minimal, infrequent bus and taxi service, so some forethought may help in planning your own event calendar.  IF you can drive or catch a ride, especially back from the show, please do so!  It may mean the difference between getting to bed by 3am and hitchhiking down Appia Nuova at said time.  If not, do note that the night bus stops are almost definitely useless as so many people will get on before you that you needn’t even dream of trying to find a spot.  Empty taxis circle like broken toys picking up no one and staying empty for no particular reason while some search in vain for people who called half an hour prior.  Calling a taxi works, but beware, as aside from the E5.80 night charge, they will also actually run the meter from the time your call is placed until the time they drop you off.  Better instead to use a reliable transfer service, as for a flat rate of E45-E70 they can get you where you’re going for only slightly more than a taxi would cost, with no hidden fees, and quite possibly in your native language, or at least English.  One such company is Fortuna Car Service, which handles transfers at a very low cost and is quite reliable.  Other benefits to this include a guaranteed pick up time and place, and not having to wait half the night for a until morning for regular bus service, which then gets backed up in rush hour traffic.  Or if you choose to try your luck and take matters into your own hands, at least make sure to try and flail down cabs at least a bus stop or 2 up from the main one at your venue.  There will still be a wait, but your minimal luck at least doubles here.  Then again, the journey is always half the fun, even when it’s the journey back and even the most trying will always be another story to tell.  And remember, bus and train routes can be found by typing ATAC Roma into google, as this brings up our city’s transit authority website.
After navigating the transit obstacle, it’s always best to make sure on top of all levels of my favorite city’s disorganization.  Check all band websites, ticket sites, venue sites, and maybe even ask your ticket agent themselves (on the off chance they should be open and responding to either telephone or in-person calls) to make sure your show hasn’t been:
1) Cancelled.
2) Starting at a different time for unspecified reasons.
3) Change of venues.
4) Postponed for a later date.
5) Lineup switches.
6) Impossible to reach due to strikes.
7) And lastly, if there is a strike, just go down to your nearest subway station or bus hub and see what kind it is.  Even a sciopero generale is often not general, and the unannounced ones are the strikes that are truly full scale.
All this and you should arrive right as of course, your and my favorite artists are worth almost anything right,
Last but not least, remember tickets online often cost MUCH more than at a direct box office, though it’s often confusing to find WHICH box office you need.  Feltrinelli, the bookstore, has offices which do sell a decent variety of the most popular acts breezing through our city, and they do give refunds at only a slight loss to you.  A lot of these direct offices operate on cash only, so make sure to hit the ATM first!
Of course, other bands than those listed are coming too, and though they may not be my favorite, they might be yours, so it’s definitely worth checking out, and I’ll keep everyone updated on don’t let my transport warnings scare you off!  I found a way and so will you.  One thing is certain; musically speaking, this is definitely the summer to visit Rome.