It’s perhaps time for the Rockin’1000 to consider a name change: nearly 1500 musicians came together for the giant group’s performance in Florence on July 21 at Franchi Stadium, the Rockin’1000 That’s Live Village.
Conceived and managed by Fabio Zaffagnini, the 1000-plus-piece band was created in 2015 as an (ultimately successful) viral stunt aimed at recruiting the Foo Fighters to perform in Cesena, Italy. Since then the group has grown and continued to give stadium concerts.
Surprise guest Peppe Vessicchio, a noted conductor originally from Naples, directed the ensemble. Vessicchio kicked off the evening with a rock rendition of Bach’s Prelude n. 1, brought to life by 300 guitarists, 250 bass players, 250 drummers, 300 vocalists, 250 wind musicians and 50 percussionists, followed by a group of “mobile musicians.” The set list then shifted into golden tunes spanning the history of rock (songs by Otis Redding, Rolling Stones, Deep Purple, The Who, Bruce Springsteen, Nirvana and Oasis were all on the setlist).
A star of the night was (previously announced) special guest Courtney Love, who performed songs by her former alt-rock group, Hole, for the first time in years, including “Celebrity Skin,” “Olympia,” and “Malibu,” famously about her late husband Kurt Cobain.
In the Florence incarnation of Rockin’1000, musicians ranged in age from 10 to 70 and hailed from more than 30 countries. The event also had a charitable component, as part of the ticket proceeds will go to the Comunità of San Patrignano, a recovery community for those suffering from drug addiction.