Set in the cobbled streets and foothills of wine country is the Collisioni Festival in Barolo, Italy. This year is the eleventh edition of the music and arts festival held over May through to July and has hosted the likes of Neil Young, Bob Dylan, and Elton John. This year sees Liam Gallagher and Thom Yorke also appear at Piazza Falletti.
But prior to all this, is was Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder who opened this year’s Collisions music season with as ever, his trusty good friend Glen Hansard alongside. Glen’s set was relatively short, but as ever, passionate. Everytime I’ve seen him perform he never lacks, he puts everything into his performances and you always get a consistent show from him. Energy exudes from that stage when he’s on it. Her Mercy is a great song live when coupled with Glen’s approach on stage. New songs I’ll Be You, Be Me and Don’t Settle featured off the new album This Wild Willing which was released in April to positive receptions from Folk Radio, Hot Press and Soundblab.
Not much can be said of Eddie or Pearl Jam though, we’ve been waiting on new material since a new album was announced March last year to follow up Lightning Bolt. Although Eddie has brought a new list of songs to his solo shows this tour. As a live spectacle though, I don’t think any of us can complain with the catalogue of music Ed can choose to pick from.
On set, we were treated to songs from his Pearl Jam work to his solo material on Into The Wild although nothing appeared from Ukulele Songs. Eddie always provides us with incredible covers and I was hoping for Warren Zevon’s Keep Me in your Heart when he first performed it for the Mark Twain prize in 2017, and didn’t have to wait long. After taking in the raucous reception when walking out onto stage, the song provided us as the opening to 29 more. He was accompanied by Dutch musicians The Red Limo String Quartet throughout (who were also on the 2017 tour), and provided an amazing Instrumental of Jeremy. Can’t Keep is totally juxtaposed compared to the sound on the record but for me, was one of the highlights of the set. From Long Road to Just Breathe, The quartet certainly gave the shows an edge, with Glen also joining for better part of the show too; just an incredibly well felt and captivating spectacle throughout.
What can I say, to be surrounded by rolling hills of vineyards and fine artistry, this is a truly unique place to experience music, a setting where locals are watching from the closely knit cobbled streets to hillsides and balconies. A town so small, that one wouldn’t even have to pay to get close to the action here.
Words & Photos by Tom Holley