A day at the court of Renato Zero, the emperor of Italian pop

On Wednesday, in Rome – and thus, to quote Renato Zero, the world – Renato Zero explained what will be the next two stages on his path to immortality; a career of 55 years, 44 albums and 500 songs. The artist introduced himself for the first time with a constantly changing voice and narrative gesture, alternating tones of a gladiator stirring up the crowd and a priest making his confession act of belief, a literary and musical box set published by Tattica; then zero seventya quadruple concert planned for the fall.

As a place for the appointment with the media, with the reluctance of a pope who did not necessarily have to choose between spiritual and temporal power, Renato I (and the only one) chose the exedra of Marcus Aurelius at the Capitoline Museums and spoke of a small throne in black leather, dominated only by the equestrian statue of the titular emperor and by the sky of the Eternal City that oozed from Carlo Aymonino’s transparent shell.

act of belief is available today in bookstores, record stores and their online counterparts, but not in digital format. It consists of a book and a double album with a sacred theme. It’s no coincidence that Renato aimed the harshest words of his lengthy speech at two categories: music streaming platforms and indifferent musicians. “Streaming is like getting married without being able to sleep with your spouse. Only the physicality of the CD, and even more so of the vinyl, represents the musicians’ ownership of the work ». Next: “I want to leave my scepter to young people who are innovative and don’t always do the same thing over and over again. And above all, that they break the musicians’ balls: let them play, let them gyrate, don’t stop with plug-ins».

The feat of act of belief it’s unique in the contemporary music scene, lightly or not. It’s a blockbuster with almost forty tracks, nineteen of which are arias or choruses of a real oratorio, not so much pop (they have titles like The word is charity or thank you my Lord), interspersed with as many recitatives, read by actors such as Luca Ward or Giuliana Lojodice and written by guests whom Renato has defined as his apostles of communication: in alphabetical order Alessandro Baricco, Luca Bottura, Pietrangelo Buttafuco, Sergio Castellitto, Aldo Cazzullo , Lella Costa, Domenico De Masi, Oscar Farinetti, Antonio Gnoli, Don Antonio Mazzi, Clemente J. Mimun, Giovanni Soldini, Marco Travaglio, Mario Tronti, Walter Veltroni.

«I was a dancer, an actor, I did cabaret with Fellini, I experienced the disco nights with the Altromondo in Rimini. But today I achieved a goal I’ve longed for: to pet God and compliment Him on how He’s treated me and kept my faith intact. Word of Renato. We have long forgotten God. We let apathy and intellectual fatigue drive us away from him.”

Listening to the tracks gives the impression of being in front of a kind of mental spectacle, wrapped in an aura of strong mysticism with an ecological background: a musical staged in the deepest conscience of its author, also because it appeared among many august, the only true characteristic is that with God.

The second project, if possible even more ambitious than the first, is represented by the Renatian Glorys, scheduled at the Circus Maximus for four evenings from September 26th to 30th, which will end on the night of his seventy-second birthday, for obvious reasons of Covid and self-love in Zerosettanta (“Eh, seventy cucuzze are not few”).

Renato introduces the new theme with the same solemnity as the others: “Thank you for being here, on behalf of Italian music and for us artists who regret the stage and our sacristy, the dressing room.” The desire to performing again is great: «My mice will come from all over Italy with their ham sandwiches. Because on September 30th this masterpiece was born! He explains: “Fortunately, for me, the public is a presence that does not detach itself from chance encounters, on the street, in everyday life. However, if I have to prepare for the liturgy of the concert, which is more mystical, I am sure that I will surrender myself to the audience’s expectations as a Virgin with new emotions and sensations ». Renato is unstoppable: “Just as every Christmas tree is different from all the others, my birthday concert will have a different program every night so that the most stubborn can celebrate with me every day”.

During the meeting, Renato manages the miracle of speaking about himself in the third person and expressing relatively humble feelings when he calls Giacomo Flights and Lorenzo Licitra, the two very young musical guests on the album, who are visibly crazy about him .. and also a little in awe: “So, that relationship with Renato, how was it?”

The Zero lecturer is a very different Zero from the televised Zero, let alone the singing one. In the absence of music, pure language dominates the event – and there are many opportunities to pause and reflect on just how rich in nuance, in its relative spontaneity, is Renato’s.

In the Capitoline museum context, Zerian lexical choices are deformed, with twists on the frontiers of journalism, but often leading to almost as much poetic liberty. “I need to introduce you to my arranger (Adrian Penino, n / A). Come Adrià, tell who you’ve worked with: Ornella Vanoni, Sal Da Vinci… No, tell first who you haven’t worked with. Adrià, can you tell us who you didn’t go through? ».

Sometimes Renato’s entire linguistic expansion is contained in a single exchange with the technicians. The first request is more formal: “Can we please dim the lighthouse?” The second is more crucial: “Can you take out that cannon?”. The third is Renato, to whom no one can say no: “Oh, are you going to undress that monster?”.

Towards the end of this pre-show show, in response to audience questions, Renato Zero relaxes and now begins to turn to the stand-up comedy format, but strictly seated.

They ask him how he will organize the concerts at the Circus Maximus compared to the tradition that wanted to house names like Pink Floyd or Bruce Springsteen. He doesn’t accept the provocation: “Send me the links to these concerts so I don’t run the risk of doing something similar again. If you asked Archimedes Pythagorean about me, he would tell you: We inventors Renato Zero have been bothering each other for life ». Marco Travaglio’s mask, sitting in the back row, swells like a laughing skin bottle.

When asked what his secret is to capturing such a large audience from a generational point of view (to be precise: “When we show teenagers a video of you, they answer: miii, that’s better than Måneskin!”), Renato I uniquely he has a very quick answer: «The young person must understand that growing up is a right but also a duty».

But the nicest exchange of all is this one: “How are you going to dress Renato?”. “The ideal would be the fig leaf, I’ve put everything in there by now.”

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