Milanosmith

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Thought I’d better write a more cheerful entry after my latest doom-and-gloom posts.

I recently took a trip to Milan to see one of my favourite bands: Aerosmith. The train trip from Zurich-Milan is excellent: easy, relatively cheap and with some stunning scenery.

For this reason I set off just after 9am in the morning from Zurich HB. The journey is four hours taking in stunning views of the Swiss alps as well as some hugely impressive feats of engineering. All those rail and vehicle tunnels, the tracks and roads themselves, as well as power lines and cable cars snagging their flimsy way up the mountains is seriously cool.

Milan itself was interesting to visit. It’s not the most stunning Italian city there is – and in some ways reminded me a bit of Zurich – you can almost smell the money and the business that’s done there. Plus: trams. However the Duomo is spectacular and prices were cheap compared to Switzerland. It was also pretty cool to see big glitzy shops of Versace and Prada, Missoni etc and know that it’s the “home of…”

The Aerosmith show was at RHO Fiera Milano – a large stadium complex on the outskirts of town. I think we expected a stadium – I was thinking it would be a bit like Homebush in Sydney (where I saw AC/DC) or perhaps London’s O2. But it was more like the carpark of the MCG. In 1988. Very oldskool – a concrete carpark with a cruelly low stage (we only had about 15% visibility, especially as the catwalk seemed to slope down!) and only about 50 portaloos for what must have been 10,000 punters(? 20,000?). I have to say, after Switzerland the UK and Australia even, this venue was a bit wanting!

Transport to and from the place was also somewhat confusing although we made it there OK (Metro track works meant a rail replacement bus for the last 2 stops out there, which was spookily uncrowded considering how many people we thought would be making their way to this stadium show). And when we left, we completely missed the non-signposted entrance (via underpass) to the overland train station that would take us back to Milan. As for the rail replacement bus back, they sent a single one, which about 500 people crammed on to so fast and so full they couldn’t even close the doors! I think by the time the show finished, the Metro would have stopped running anyway so who knows where it was taking the people if/when they ever managed to get going.

Anyway, after following the crowd for a bit, then doubling back after a conversation with two Irish Aerofans who were even more confused than us, we found the concealed station entrance and caught the train back to Central-ish Milan. Unfortunately the stop it went to was the opposite end of town to our hotel. Once again, nothing was organised or clear with buses or taxis (and huge queues) so we walked it – about a 45 min trek – luckily it was a lovely, balmy evening and the Milanese seem to stay out late so there were plenty of people around. Plus we got to see a bit more of the city. But it meant heads didn’t hit pillows until 2.30am after standing/walking for 5+ hours!

It was all worth it though – the show was awesome. They played for 2 hours including encore (Here’s the setlist). Sound was excellent. Joe Perry has a sense of humour and I liked the old fashioned touches like bothering to introduce the whole band at the end (even if ST did forget one guy’s name). But I really couldn’t see, even with Steven Tyler STANDING ON THE PIANO. Oh well…

Next day and a half, we spent doing tourist stuff – the Last Supper, Duomo and a lot of time sitting in cafes and watching the world go by. Milan is a really nice little side-trip from Zurich : )

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