Dave Grohl really is the nicest man in rock. Before playing sold-out venues in Bologna and Turin, the Foo Fighters founder and frontman kept his promise to fans in Cesena: one thousand musician fans, in fact, dubbed Rockin’1000, whose video appeal to the band, through a staging of a record-breaking performance ofLearn to Fly, went viral for the city in July.
The Foos added a special date to the Italian leg (no pun intended) of their Sonic Highways Tour, promoted by Live Nation Italia, in Cesena’s Carisport indoor sports arena. The event turned into a real party, with a playlist that included the band’s hits and numerous versions of songs by other groups.
The PA for the Cesena event was supplied by L’Aquila-based Agorà, no newcomer to PSNEurope’s pages, as it’s one of the largest rental firms in Europe and in recent years has supplied hardware and specialized staff for events such as Sochi’s Winter Olympics and Paralympics opening and closing ceremonies.
The L-Acoustics rig was designed by Daniele “General Cluster” Tramontani who explained: “The PA comprised two main hangs, each with twelve 12 V-DOSC line source elements and three under-hung dV-DOSC on downfill duty on either side of the wide stage, plus two side hangs, each with eight V-DOSC.”
At either end of the stagefront, three stacked KARA compact line source elements were used as side in-fills, aimed at the centre of the audience, four more KARA were used as on-stage front fills along the stage lip and two more stacked on either side of the stage as "extra side" systems for audience coverage. A beefy bottom end was ensured for the band’s music by a total of 24 SB28 high-power subwoofers, which were floor-installed in pairs along the front of the stage in electronic arc configuration.
Tramontani concluded: “Agorà also provided the PA’s powerhouse: 42 L-Acoustics LA8, and signal management set-up, which included two Meyer Sound Galileo and SIM 3 audio analysers.”
The crowd in the packed venue started the music before the band appeared on-stage, singing Romagna Mia, the unofficial “anthem” of the Italian region that includes Cesena, then the show kicked off with – what else? – the band’s chart-topping single Learn to Fly.
During the show, Grohl dedicated My Hero to Rockin’1000’s Fabio Zaffagnini, the mind behind the record-breaking appeal; Zaffagnini crowd-surfed from the FOH platform to the stage, where the Fighters’ frontman vacated the huge “guitar throne” he designed to be able to play after breaking his leg in Sweden, and the local boy got a well-deserved huge round of applause from the crowd.
The festive atmosphere continued when Taylor Hawkins gave up his drum stool to one of the musicians who played on the appeal, a young drummer with a huge mohawk, called on stage by Grohl to join the band playing Queen’s Under Pressure.
Rockin’1000 recorded a documentary of the entire project, from preparations for the massed band to interviews with some of the 1,000 members attending the concert’s after party at the town’s Verdi Theatre, with jam sessions and DJ sets.
Top photo: Fabio Zaffagnini enthroned – photo by Nicola Dalmo
Bottom: Grohl welcomes the big-haired drummer fan – photo by Roberto Ugolini