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October 2006
Enjoy the Music.com Review Magazine
YEEEEAAAAHHH!!!
A primer on how to include your love of music, report on an audiophile show,
and celebrate your wedding anniversary in one easy trip.
Article By Steven R. Rochlin

 

  It is no secret that over the past year or so i have been attempting to get Americans to experience a more worldly viewpoint. To get out there and experience the world of audio while also enjoying a holiday with your significant other (S.O.) if you so desire. It matters not if your S.O has an interest in your audiophile activities, as i will show you how such travels can mix music, an audiophile show, audio history, and luxurious locations in one of the world's most beautiful and musically/technologically significant and historic countries.

"Impossible!" you say. Well then the below article will indeed provide a guideline of how to attend Italy's marvelous Top Audio & Video show plus sneak in other goodies. All the while my partner and i celebrated our anniversary. That's right, that one very important day of the year where one had better make their S.O. happy and this is easily achieved in astronomical proportions. Because we are one of the, if not the leading English language audiophile  Internet site, we provide more show reports that any other single audiophile online resource. So now it is time for me to show you how to have an awesome time traveling the world.

 

Who Are You?
Day 1 & 2 Of Our Journey
Like any marriage, it is all about communication and sharing in the other's joy. My partner surprised me on my birthday by purchasing tickets the The Who's opening night concert of their first world tour in decades. As the show was a few days before the Top Audio & Video show in Milan, Italy, we had our travel agent make all the plans, with my partner making extra special arrangements for my The Who birthday present. Flying out of our local hub we landed in Philadelphia the morning of the concert and checked into the Four Seasons. We enjoyed the great sights of the city and Yours Truly scarfed down a few Philly steak and cheese sandwiches. After some shopping and exploring we head out to the concert venue.

 

This was no ordinary concert mind you. In the past year we have seen Queen, Rush, various orchestras and small ensembles together, yet this was The Who. You know, the legendary rock band featuring Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey. As this was their first concert of the tour, there were some flubs. Roger's in-ear monitors crapped out on him, the sequencer beginning of "We Won't Get Fooled Again" had to be restarted, and Pete's jacket occasionally found its way of covering his strings. Besides many of their great hits they also performed a few songs from their upcoming album -- and Roger forgot some of the new lyrics! Frankly, none of the very brief non-polished part of the performance got in the way of what really matters... the music! 

In fact the music was truly mesmerizing as they played on for hours to a enthusiastic audience. In my humble opinion The Who is the best true rock band ever to have graced the big stage. In fact the BBC just announced that The Who will be receiving a lifetime achievement award at the October Live Music Awards in London. But you see my friends, real rocks bands are not about awards, super-polished performances, choreography, lasers, and lipsync'ing. Real rock bands are about making kick arse music that truly means something. They easily fill stadiums not only with adoring fans, but also the ability to fill said stadiums with a sound power and energy unlike that anywhere else on the planet! As i sit here enjoying their album Who's Next it is painfully obvious that while the studio album easily eclipses virtually every other band, when you hear these songs in a concert venue they become that much more musically satisfying. Add to that the microphone tossing by Roger and frantic arm swinging by Pete and you have one heck of a show! 

After the concert we went back to our hotel room and enjoyed the following day in Philly, as we were taking the red eye to Milan to attend the Top Audio & Video show.

 

It's Showtime!
Day 3 & 4 Of Our Journey
Landing at the airport around 10am and arriving at the show an hour later i quickly changed cloths and headed out to gather information and pictures. Actually, i did not even make it into the hotel as a few of the manufacturers were hanging around outside the hotel and wanted to talk shop. Since my Top Audio & Video show report is online, will simply point you to this link for more details on the many great products seen and heard. i coded the link so it will open a new window. This way you will not lose your place within this article.

 

The Show Is Over
Day 5 Through 7 Of Our Journey
Renting a car we headed our way South through scenic Italy, our final destination being Santa Margherita Ligure (SML). It was a great 2 hour drive and while cruising the A7 at a mere 170kph i moved to the right as a Ferrari sped past doing over 200kph. The twisting and winding road gave my partner an excellent opportunity to see the amazing Italian countryside, a view of snow-capped mountains, and my driving ability in balancing the car at proper speed a chance to flourish. We eventually made our way to our destination and were ready to relax and have fun.

 

 

Our hotel room faced the water (see above photo) and we were around 2 miles by road away from Portofino (pictured below). Frankly, we usually avoid the overly touristy sections and SML was, quite honestly, a much more enjoyable location than the highly popular tourist destination. With a few days of pleasure ahead of us we began to explore our surroundings, partake in truly delicious meals, and celebrate our wedding anniversary.

 

 

Audiophiles take note as my partner and i chose to honor our special day by having dinner at the Grand Hotel Miramare. So why is this hotel so special, and what does it have to do with audio? Guglielmo Marconi, the man who earned a Nobel Prize for Physics and was also granted the world's first patent concerning a wireless communication system using vacuum tubes made history right here. Tube-o-philes who desire NOS valves know of the various Marconi branded offerings, but did you know he made history for sending a 60 CM radio wave at a distance of a then world record 159 km. It says so right on the plaques on the hotel (see below).

 

     

 

Ok, so maybe this is not quite true music lover/audiophile history per se, though the excellent meal and stunning view made for a delightful evening. Can you say you had dinner in the exact same spot Marconi made history? Well, now i can.

 

Lucca Be A Lady Tonight
Day 8 & 9 Of Our Journey
We enjoyed another day in SML and headed off to Lucca. Lucca is an ancient walled city and this is where Giacomo Puccini, famous opera composer who brought to light such compositions as La Boheme and La Tosca, was born. His home is now a museum, though was closed for renovation when we were there. No matter, as there was plenty to see and do for the day plus be in awe of the many historical churches and surrounding buildings. This was a quick stop as we headed off to Florence.

 

Of Michelangelo Buonarroti And A Stradavarious
Day 10 & 11 Of Our Journey
Visiting the attractions in Florence is quite easy as for a mere  €20 you ride the City Sightseeing bus. They have two double-decker bus lines that provide an organized way to understand all that the area offers. Earphones are provided for the accompanying audio as the bus transverses the streets. We decided to have dinner at one of the most scenic stops along the tour. Specifically, at the historic La Loggia (Storico Caffè Ristroante La Loggia) that was built in 1876 and provides a panoramic view of the city below. If you are ever in Florence i can highly recommend this restaurant as the food is scrumptious!

 

 

Ok, so i admit we enjoyed some things from Leonardo da Vinci, but we wanted to enjoy the glorious Tuscany countryside and also take in some museums. At the Galleria dell 'Accademia is the statue of David that was painstakingly crafted by Michelangelo. What very few people realize, because the museum uses this statue as the selling point, is that an excellent musical instrument section is also inside! Now how can i say this but be straight up without minimizing David? My partner plays violin and in this museum is the world's only non-restored, completely original, never resized or neck adjusted after manufacturer sample of a Stradivarius. It is simply displayed within a clear case that is temperature and humidity controlled. You can easily take you time and closely look at the skilled details, each one building on the next. The statue of David may be big time, yet my partner and i agreed that spending time viewing this violin was easily worth the price of admission (only €9.50).

As i always say, in the end what really matters is that we all....

 

Enjoy the Music ["Baba O'Riley" (aka "Teenage Wasteland") by The Who right now],

Steven R. Rochlin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     
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