The Italian Almanac

Bryan Adams

Italian News - August 1

On Monday night Billy Joel and Bryan Adams became the latest music greats to play in the shadows of Rome's Colosseum. The "Telecomcerto" has become an annual summer treat for the capital's public since former Beatle Paul McCartney gave the first ever rock concert at the ancient Roman monument in May 2003. The "Telecomcerto" nickname stems from the fact that Telecom Italia's culture association, Telecom Progetto Italia, organizes the free event.

McCartney was so thrilled at the prospect of performing at the monument that he even offered to tone down his performance to avoid disturbing the ailing Pope John Paul II. McCartney gave two concerts here three years ago. On the first night he was inside the amphitheatre performing to a select audience, while on the second he was outside it, in front of half a million people.

The year after it was the turn of Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel, who played together for the first time in Italy. The legendary folk-rock duo were as thrilled as McCartney with the backdrop they had. The New York duo played around a dozen tracks during the two-hour gig, including The Sound Of Silence, Mrs Robinson, Bridge Over Trouble Water, Cecilia and The Boxer.

Like McCartney, Simon and Garfunkel drew a crowd of over 500,000 people. But Sir Elton John managed to top that last summer, attracting 600,000. The English pop star said playing at "such a special place and in such a special city" was one of the highlights of his career.

American pop balladeer Joel and Canadian rocker Adams have admitted feeling honoured to follow in the footsteps of such greats by playing at this "magical setting".