It was the 26 of July 2016. I was going to perform at “Lucca Summer Festival” on the stage where I had seen many of the legendary artist that we all now like Eric Clapton, James Taylor, Bonnie Raitt and many others. How did I get there?
I used to go to perform in Piazza San Michele, in Lucca. I still go there to play on the street. It’s an amazing place. The echo is incredible and tourists have the chance to sit down and listen to your performances. I have always loved that place and sold thousands of cd’s there.
Mimmo d’Alessandro organizes the Festival and had seen me perform several times. I wanted to get in touch and ask him to let me perform on stage of that incredible Festival. In the end I managed to convince him and was going to have my chance.
Two months earlier I had performed with my band in Bologna, in a theatre. It was one of those nights that you would just want to disappear while your performing on stage. I liked nothing of my performance and when the concert finished I was thinking that maybe I was just able to play on the street, as a street performer and “big” stages where not for me. But I was sad about it, no dreams of playing in front of thousands of people…..
So 26 of July 2016 was the day. No excuses. Either I could do it or I couldn’t. I was telling my self “Niki, this is your chance to prove your self what you can do on a big stage in front of a lot of people”. I was literally shitting my self all day long. I prayed (I am a Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhist) for 5 hours that day. I was so dam nervous. I have always been nervous before going on stage, but that day above all.
We do the soundcheck and Mimmo comes along and calls me. He was astonished by me and the band. I knew that he was trying to get John Mayer to play at the Festival. I told him that If he managed to bring him one of my dreams would have been to play before him. He answered “Show me what you can do tonight!”.
We go on stage. We’ve got 4 songs to perform. There’s 3500 people in the crowd listening. I start with “Memories”. After that “I like to see you”. At this point during the song my guitar player anticipates a change and and we get stuck. Remember, we are playing in front of so many people. You can’t stop. The show must go on always, no matter what. We stay on a chord for a bit. I’ve turned my back to the crowd and I am looking at the members of the band. We get back together. I turn around and we finish the song. Then we play “Mentre La Vita Se Ne Va”, one of my Italian songs. My ex girlfriend is in the crowd. I was still loving her at the time and trying to get back with her. I am looking in her eyes and I am singing the song for her. We get to the last song “Roberto”. I wrote this song for Roberto Luti, a friend and one of the best slide guitar players in the world with whom I had recorded three albums and that was playing with me that night. I am there. The band is playing well. I am inspired. The song is powerful. We finish the song. I have made! Everyone is clapping. We go back stage and the crowd is still clapping and calling my name. I have to go back on stage. It’s a standing ovation. It’s my night, another milestone day of my career.
So…..the answer to my self was…..”Yes, Niki! You can do it!”.
As a THANK YOU for being one of my subscribers I want to give you the chance to listen to the live version of “Roberto” on that fantastic 26 of July 2016. You will not find this anywhere else!
If you like the track you might also consider checking out my album “US” where the song is contained. It’s with the same band of that night. It’s my latest album and when recording it I wanted people to listen to the same sound the would hear when seeing us live.
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