The strange case of Eddie Vedder in Taormina

Eddie Vedder - Live@Taormina Teatro Antico (June 2017)
Simone Bardi

MESSINA, TAORMINA. The opportunity was too good to be missed. One of the most beautiful and evocative locations in the world that hosts one of the most amazing voices of the current music scene.

Eddie Vedder - Live @ Taormina - Teatro Antico (June 2017)

On one side, the Ancient Theatre of Taormina, with its perfect acoustics, the grace and harmony of its architecture, the breathtaking beauty of the sea at its feet, the uniqueness of the Etna steaming in the background. On the other side, Eddie Vedder – Pearl Jam‘s frontman, history of rock, incredible voice that can give goosebumps to your soul – finally in Europe for an acoustic tour, only him and his set of guitars. Two entities that were meant to be drawn together, to be part of each other, to pay homage to each other for two evenings that will remain in history. All this has happened on 26th and 27th of June 2017, two dates to remember.

Taormina naturally offers its beauty and the incomparable Sicilian hospitality to the thousands of fans coming from every corner of the world and pouring into the streets of the centre in a climate of absolute respect and serenity, like old friends catching up for a beer together. So, as the evening falls, 4.500 people neatly step into the Greek Theatre. They walk among the bleachers with their legs trembling with reverence, inside history, back in time. At every step you get blown away, each corner offers a different glimpse, a unique view, a wonder that the senses try to capture moment by moment. Here we are, the show begins… a two-days-long show. Yes, because the feeling we all had was to assist to a single 5-hour long concert, with one-day interval in the middle. A speech that was left pending after midnight on Monday, and then resumed and concluded on Tuesday night as if we had never got up from our sits.

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Two evenings where time stood still and allowed the creation of a microcosm completely detached from the outside world, a unique and unrepeatable bubble of happiness, an ecosystem made of pure energy.

We have seen the magic of a man, of his voice and his guitars. A man who made us laugh, sing, vent, cry and move. A man who took our hand, one by one, and from the shore he led us to the open water. We sailed in an endless sea of ​​songs, tales and words. We closed our eyes and we got carried away by the waves of his voice. We lowered the sails bowing our heads in respect for the just mentioned dedication to his long time friend Chris Cornell. We faced the stormy sea of ​​the angry guitars of his inner demons. We sailed in the gentle breeze of the supporting string quartet. We lifted the glasses and cheered all together for a wedding proposal made by a fan to his girlfriend during the concert. We went into the deep water with the incredible tonalities of Long Nights. We rose up to surface and shouted out with Jeremy and Hard Sun. We created a human tide of bright dots to pay homage to little Harper, Vedder’s youngest daughter, who was on the stage with him. We floated gently to the notes of John Lennon’s Imagine. We held our breath in religious silence in front of Sleepless Nights sung without a microphone. We shed our tears singing Black and we obsessively repeated that last refrain again and again to make that song, perhaps the most beautiful song ever, last for eternity even when the music was over. And finally, we bowed again to the humbleness and respect that Eddie reserves to his fans, a magnificent wave of people, at the same time kind and impetuous.

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Well, ladies and gentlemen, this is Eddie Vedder‘s people. A compact and close-knit tribe, made of thousands of different stories, of different flags and of different cultures. Look for them around the world, they will welcome you and treat you like an old friend, not like a stranger or a super-star, just as they do with Eddie. Dear Mr. Vedder, it was an honour to share some time with you and with your people in such a splendid land as Sicily. These are the experiences that are worth to be lived firsthand. These are the emotions no one can ever take away from us.

“Who I was before I cannot recall”


Simone Bardi