Vasco Rossi: "I'm writing a song dedicated to women"

But what were Vasco Rossi's concerts like forty years ago?

“The atmosphere is the magical one of great rock stars (sic). He performs feline leaps and the fans cheer him on, he intones 'Alfredo's fault' and 6000 arms rise upwards, he shouts 'I'm going to the maximum' and an overpowering roar confirms his myth and charisma”. The words come from a local news story from 1983, which reports the incandescent atmosphere that could be felt the previous evening at the Palazzo del Ghiaccio in Bormio, in the province of Sondrio, on the occasion of a stage of the “Bubbles” tour. The subject, of course, is Vasco Rossi: the rocker from Zocca is at the height of success, after the consecration achieved a few months earlier at the Sanremo Festival with “

Reckless life”, the generational manifesto with which he upset the canons of Italian music, going from aspiring rock star to myth in an instant. The “Bollicine” tour, as he decided to title his latest album, started from Rome immediately after Vasco's participation in the Festival and for seven months has seen him travel continuously throughout Italy, from north to south, stopping in the squares, discos, tents, sports halls and stadiums. The public acclaims him everywhere, as if he were already a legend: the tour actually makes a mark the beginning of that intense relationship with his audience which still today, four decades later, continues to make Vasco Rossi's concerts truly secular masses where the community between him who is above the stage and his tribe becomes total. The idea of ​​starting to record the atmosphere of the shows on tape took hold among the members of Vasco's entourage already a month after the start of the tour: the material collected would lead to the genesis of a live album, “Okay, that's okay”, the first of a long series, which arrives in stores on April 3, 1984. Listening to him again today, forty years later, ideally means returning to the stage of a Komandante concert in those months there.

Vasco was in a state of grace. And so his musicians, Massimo Riva and Maurizio Solieri on guitars, Roberto Casini on drums, Mimmo Camporeale on keyboards and Andrea Righi on bass. The latter in 1984, the year of the release of the live, will give way to Claudio Golinellidestined to be the beating heart of the Zocca rocker's band for almost forty years.

“In those days I went straight and determined on my way and there was nothing and no one who could stop me or prevent me from achieving the goal I had set for myself: becoming number one, the first Italian rock star,” he would recall years later. . “She lived in an impossible way. Three days awake and three days asleep. He told me: 'Living just one day is useless, in the evening you go to bed and the day is already over. I do three in a row and in those three days I give my all. Then I collapse and have to rest.' It was her most creative moment ever, she churned out brilliant songs and lyrics. But we were worried about her health, that is, that at any moment she could die,” recalled Maurizio Biancani, the sound engineer who will mix the tracks of the album live.

At concerts brawls are the order of the day Like that time when at the concert in Piumazzo, in the province of Modena, practically “at home” of the rocker, someone – a reporter from Resto del Carlino said – “overwhelmed by the general excitement, took possession of a tennis shoe from Massimo Riva “, while Vasco on the notes of “Vado al massimo” railed against Nantas Salvalaggio, the critic who had harshly attacked him after having witnessed his performance on TV in “Domenica In” and to whom he had dedicated the song that had marked the 1982 his debut in Sanremo.

Also in Bormio Vasco arrived late due to a .serious car accident which had directly involved him, from which he however emerged unharmed: “He throws himself onto the stage at 10.30pm and the audience immediately forgives him for the understandable delay”. And again: “The young girls anticipate verses and texts now memorized to the rhythm of 'A splendid day', the adults remove the initial embarrassment and offer their own emotional contribution to the tastes and languages ​​of their children, some professionals pay homage to 'Voglia di sole' of similarities with the music of the Rolling Stones. He, Vasco Rossi, is grateful for it, he reaches out to touch the audience with his fingers, almost as if he wanted to apologize for having come to these parts in exchange for an honorable fee and offers himself to collective adoration by intoning 'every time someone worries about me' with the same Joe Cocker mimic from 'A Little sweatshirt from my Friends'”. In the version of “Bollicine” which later ended up on the album – alongside the recordings of the various “Colpa d'Alfredo”, “Deviazioni”, “Fegato, liver spappolato”, “Vita spericolata”, “Every time”, “Albachiara” and “riamo only us” – Vasco sings: “Coca Cola who? Coca who no longer wastes and gets pears” (instead of “eat the pears”, as in the study version).

“Okay, okay like this” was recorded between March and November 1983, on the occasion of concerts at the Cantù sports hall, at the Verona 2000 disco in San Giovanni Lupatoto and at the Tenda theater in Bologna. Guido Elmi, historic producer and Vasco's right-hand man, in the liner notes of the 2011 reissue, recalled: “Given the material in our possession, we initially thought of making a double album, but then the idea was abandoned in favor of a slimmer version also containing an unreleased album.”. The unpublished work, entitled “Okay, that's okay” – Mina he would record a cover of it ten years later for the album “Canarino mannaro” – it is a guitar ballad on the basis of “Una canzone per te”, which Vasco wrote together with Roberto Casini and Mimmo Camporeale: the rocker recorded it two months before the the release of the live performance, in February 1984, in Modena.

He returns to playing guitars.Dodi Battaglia, already enlisted by Vasco the previous year for the same “Una canzone per te”. The live album rlasted 33 weeks in the charts, of which 8 in first place. On April 22, 1984, twenty days after his release, Vasco was caught in possession of 26 grams of cocaine: “What happens in the city” was born from his prison experience.