My lucid dreams

Franz Ferdinand playing Ulysses in Turin, Dec. 7, 2009

After all I did solve my little conundrum, drove to Turin, went for a walk in the city—by the way, what’s with the horrid non-holiday decorations they put up?—and finally to the Palatorino for Franz Ferdinand’s concert.

I will try to forget the opening act, an unnamed band (unnamed because, really, no one told me its name, and if someone from the band did I just didn’t get it. All I think I got was that they’re from New York) that spent about thirty minutes banging tambourines and howling something boring and unintelligible into the microphones. I can’t really believe Franz Ferdinand chose them—if they did, I’m glad their music is way better than their musical taste. (But that’s obviously a paradox, because how could that ever be the case?)

I decided not to stand right in front of the stage because I didn’t want to be pulverized by the crowd. I knew I wouldn’t be able to take close-ups of the band—not that I would have anyway, since once you’re in the middle of the stampede it’s not like you can raise your camera and take good shots. So I settled for taking three hundred shots, hoping that at least three of four would come out meaningful.

But I wasn’t there for the images. I was there for the music. I was there because i remembered how good the band was from the previous two times I saw it live, in New York and Milan, four years ago. And I have to say that four years is way too long a wait.

I wish I could remember the exact setlist. I could have written it down but I didn’t want to end up tweeting every two seconds like I did last summer during U2’s concert—carrying a camera was enough of a distraction. (Fortunately the web is great for stuff like this.)

They may have left out some great songs, or ones that I simply wanted to hear (like “Send Him Away,” or “Eleanor Put Your Boots On”), but it didn’t matter, after all: every song they played was worth way more than the loss of those that didn’t make the setlist. From “The Dark of the Matinée,” still my own personal favorite (possibly because it’s the one that drove me to Franz Ferdinand’s music in the first place), to “No You Girls,” accurately confused with its alter-ego, “Katherine Kiss Me”; from “This Fire,” which as usual brought down the house—as if Franz Ferdinand’s fans really were a rebellious crowd that might take the refrain literally—to the finale with “Lucid Dreams.”

“Lucid Dreams” was the one I was waiting for the most, because I could not imagine how it would sound live. And what it sounds like is ten minutes of electronic frenzy, the kind that leaves you with a ringing in your ears for the next few days—all worth it, if you ask me.

At this point, the guys look like they’re perfectly at ease on stage, and as fun as it is to sing along, the audience needs to watch out for stray words that make their way into the lyrics and for alternate versions ready to creep up unexpectedly. It all makes the experience more enjoyable, as Alex Kapranos conducts the audience in echoing games and flirts with the front rows.

Despite arriving back at home at an indecent hour of the morning, I felt I could have easily gone to the next concert in Jesolo the following night. It wasn’t reason that made me desist—only the lack of available tickets.