Can a rock band
doing a cover of a rock song
bolster one's faith
Perhaps it can -- if the band has literally one thousand members
, and if they have come together in common cause
(even a cause is as simple as persuading the originators of the covered song to come play a gig in their town); and if that originating band responds with a loving and appreciative promise to fulfill the dream of the thousand.
The Cesena Rockin' 1000 was not simply a project to gather a thousand random people and have them sing a song. It was a project to gather a thousand seasoned rock musicians -- capable performers -- in Cesena Italy
, there to have them practice and perform one song, Learn to Fly
by the Foo Fighters
, to create a sound that emulated the highest expectations of rock music. And in this it can hardly be disputed that they succeeded grandly
. The performance included 250 singers
, 250 drummers
, 150 bass players
, and 350 guitarists
. All people united by the love of rock and roll. At about 2 1/2 minutes into watching the official video, I found myself so overcome by the beauty of this human effort that I began to cry, openly weeping manly tears of joy
at this display of brotherhood and sisterhood in common cause. And in so beautiful a common cause as that of art
and creative achievement.
One of the most remarkable features of the video
documenting this performance is watching the drummers playing all down a row all simultaneously striking the same drum-and-high-hat combination at 1:25. Other videos shot while rehearsal was underway show how each set of players of a single instrument sounded playing on their own -- here all the drummers
, there the guitarists
, and bassists
. In the rehearsal of the guitarists the cameraman seems to wanders back alongside the group, until, naturally, he finds an attractive girl around 1:55, and discreetly focuses on her for the entire rest of the vid. Another interesting aspect is the plethora of individual videos of individual performers during the final performance using personal cameras like a GoPro
or the like. There you can see how an individual drummer
or bass player or guitarist can't really hear anything outside of the field of other people playing the same instrument.
The effort itself was a magnificent thing -- but equally magnificent was what followed. First, Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl
made his own brief video praising the tribute (in Italian!!) and promising that the band would indeed come
. And when the Foo Fighters finally did come to play that concert in Cesena in November 2015, they dedicated a performance of There Goes My Hero
to Rockin' 1000 organizer Fabio Zaffagnini, and then they had him body-surfed from the audience to the stage, to let him rock out with the band
. And I cried with joy all over again.