Antonio: What is that thing hanging over the stage?
Matteo: That is the Bell, Antonio.... THE HELL'S BELL!
Among the hundreds of people we've met during our trek around Australia there is an Italian man from Ancona (in the Marche region, near Abruzzo). His name was Antonio but we called him 'Ndò or Andò according to the Abruzzo fashion. Antonio was in his mid-50's and he was visiting Australia by himself (he told us that his wife had to cancel due to some work commitments).
He caught our attention immediately: dressed as a typical Italian single man on holiday, suggesting a past of playboy lifestyle, he told us stories about his travels around the world for business and pleasure from China to the Caribbean Islands. We immediately understood he shared some of the founding principles of AC/DC Abruzzo's philosophy...
So we asked if he knew AC/DC. He bluntly replied that he had never heard of them. Then we asked if he was aware of the existence of songs such as Highway to Hell or Thunderstruk. Again he said no... The case was peculiar... but still understandable, especially considering that Italy has never had a rock'n'roll tradition. Especially in the 60's and 70's...
Antonio, a rock'n'roll virgin, could become an interesting case-study. So we asked ourselves the following questions. What happens if you bring a middle age man with a family and children who has never heard of AC/DC to an AC/DC concert? Is AC/DC live music so powerful to convert this family guy (similar age and cultural background of our fathers), who used to love Toto Cutugno, Gianni Morandi and maybe even worse Eros Ramazzotti, into a rock fan?
We couldn't resist the temptation and we immediately seized the opportunity and invited him to the next AC/DC concert on our agenda. He accepted. He offered to return the favour by cooking Spaghetti aglio, olio e peperoncino. We accepted.
The meeting was outside the stadium at 5.30. The briefing took place. Antonio was very collaborative and followed us to the "moshpit". He immediately showed interest for the stage catwalk and for the flashing horns.
Just after the beginning of Rock'n'Roll train, he started nodding the head. During the Jack he kept screaming and clapping hands (especially during the "tits parade"). During Let There Be Rock you could see him moving rhythmically his arms, head and tapping with the foot. And every time Angus or Brian came on the catwalk towards us he jumped frantically. During Highway to Hell he even grabbed our trident and started screaming (although he didn't know the lyrics). The metamorphosis had taken place.
After the shows he bought all the t-shirts available and thanked us for making him see this amazing concert. The show was incredibly powerful and that "small guy in shorts was so energetic!"
The experiment was successful. We had proven that AC/DC live music is so powerful that can convert even a 50-year old Italian guy who has never listened to rock'n'roll into a fan. The experiment now needs to be replicated in Europe.
That night Antonio insisted to cook for us again. Meatballs on the menu. Italian style.