At the age of 70 – he was born on March 4, as Lucio Dalla – after filling stadiums and sports halls, thanks to a trail of international successes, Umberto Tozzi decided to propose the first acoustic tour of a career that began in 1976, when the victory at Discoverde with “Donna amante mia” brought him straight to the Festivalbar. Starting from “his” Piedmont, “Songs” will also arrive in the Vicenza area, when on 9 August, at 9 pm, Tozzi will perform in Piazza Carli, as part of Asiago live, the review promoted by DuePunti Eventi in collaboration with the Municipality.
With 34 albums released, 13 collections and 80 million copies sold, you are the man of big numbers
I’m just someone who has had great luck: I was a musician by mistake, I never thought that, by making music, I could achieve these results.
It seems that it all started with a forgotten guitar. Maybe a “sign” of destiny?
My brother was a musician and he often received colleagues at home. One of them left his guitar with us for a few days. When I put it on my stomach, to try to play, I felt something magical and it was the beginning of a passion that then led me to want to learn chords and everything needed to play.
She has been shouting “I love you” to the world for more or less 45 years. How has his mood changed all this time?
When this song was born I was aware that it was quite difficult to say so dispassionately. It was a very politicized historical period. Let’s say it was a courageous choice and, honestly, I think it’s always nice to show feelings and affections that you shouldn’t be ashamed of. Then comes the moment when you have to think about it before making a statement like that, but if that’s what you feel, it’s good to say it. I find it liberating. I don’t remember how many times I said it, even unconsciously. It is much more important to say this when there is the awareness of being so strongly involved in a feeling. I don’t think I’m far from the truth if I say that at a certain age it’s easier to say bullshit than such important words.
He wanted to hold an event in April dedicated to his technicians and musicians that attracted over 4,000 spectators in streaming. Can you tell us?
I wanted to raise money to alleviate a period that was particularly difficult. I was aware that a streaming event could not have picked up who knows what, but I did it honestly and it was also a way to get back to playing. I have to admit that I was very satisfied with the result: I never thought I could get these effects in terms of sound and images.
And maybe it was so good that he decided from there to propose his first acoustic tour? Yes was the origin of the idea that today, fortunately, makes me repeat the experience on real stages.
He said he wanted to “undress” the songs, to present them in their essence.
We musicians of another era are fortunate to have a repertoire made up of songs created on the guitar and piano. The rest was colored with arrangements, sounds and ideas, but it was a cantabile repertoire in that capacity and for this reason we can present it again today in a different way, bringing out even more the emotional aspect. Today we are a little forced to do it and, for those who have attended concerts with other sounds, it may seem strange. I tried to maintain a rhythmic situation with a percussionist, Daniele Leucci, to change the atmosphere in the various pieces; with me there are Elisa Semprini, violinist and chorister and Gianni Vancini on sax and keyboards. There are also variations of sound and I am very satisfied with the result we have managed to obtain, even in acoustics.
What will it be like for someone like you, used to big events, to perform in this more intimate dimension? Do you think it is the mirror of the times?
I went to see many concerts of my colleagues and I never thought that one was strong because it had 50 thousand people. I’ve always seen the artistic side, based on the artist I was going to see. I expected him to play and sing that way and I was satisfied that there were a thousand people or 20 thousand. It is also clear that there are situations in which artists need space and productions of a certain type. I don’t think Pink Floyd has ever worked in front of a thousand people, but that’s not part of any kind of scheme. In what has happened, on the other hand, I see the drama of a social situation that I do not think can be resolved in the short term.
But we go back to playing and singing.
I am very happy that for me and for all my colleagues a chance to start again has reopened. It is also an important input for those who can leave the house and do a carefree thing.
Summer, when she was born artistically, was the time of the Festivalbar. Do you miss it?
When someone has lived a career as long as mine, there are so many things that are missing. The truth is that today it could no longer be repeated. They were beautiful events and somehow everyone misses those historical periods, but unfortunately we can only remember them.
The ladder offers many of its warhorses: “You”, “Gloria”, “Woman my lover”, “I will walk”, “Pink night”. Is there any song planned, perhaps less well known, that is particularly close to your heart?
This type of concert is also an opportunity to make songs that I had never done before, for reasons of sonic impact, because they didn’t fit in the setlist and that here have a reason to exist. Songs that I like and that are greeted in a very nice way such as “The sailor of the stars”, “Jesus who takes the tram”, “Stop at the stop sign”, “A river inside the sea”. All songs that represent me.
What can the audience expect who will come to sing with her in Asiago?
As a musician, I hope to be able to leave an important emotion. I am also very happy to return to Asiago, where I had been on vacation with my family and I found myself very well.