The curtain is drawn across the stage. The O2 Arena holds its breath, perking up at each hint of movement. In true rockstar fashion, Måneskin are late.
There is no disappointment when the show finally begins. Through the curtain, their silhouettes’ flash, the warning of strobe light usage immediately taking effect. The atmosphere is electric, a crowd that has been kept waiting, and as soon as the red curtain drops a chorus of 20,000 people scream in unison.
The band don’t bother with showing off, or any fancy stage setting, or even support acts – it’s just good old rock and roll, diving straight into the show. Beginning with ‘DON’T WANNA SLEEP’, they soon transition into the song that elevated them to be the first Italians to sell out the O2 Arena. As soon as the first notes of ‘ZITTI E BUONI’ play, the volume increases by several decibels, and I’m sure my ears will never recover. Every time Damiano pauses, the lyrics are immediately filled in, and it doesn’t matter that not everyone in the crowd speaks Italian because they have all memorised this song. For many, it’s the reason they discovered Måneskin in the first place, and hearing an entire arena chant the lyrics of their first big hit is enough to make even Ethan smile.
During ‘GOSSIP’, Damiano performs a movement that most music fans have come to associate with Harry Styles, as he leans back and spits his water into the air in time to the beat, while Thomas and Victoria are engaged in their own battle of bass versus guitar. Combined, it has the crowd roaring their approval and everyone who hasn’t already got their phones out in a scramble to start filming.
The band never let the momentum die. They move through their newest album RUSH! with barely a beat between songs. Damiano’s various shouts of “jump! jump! jump!” are immediately obeyed, and the pit surges forward with the movement, everyone pressed in tighter than ever but without a complaint to be made.
Damiano’s lack of introductions for most songs only emphasises the tracks he chooses to speak about. The first of these was ‘Beggin’’ wherein he proclaims that we are “f***ing liars” for claiming to ever be bored of this cover, and that he knows that “deep, deep in our hearts…you f***ing love it!” before launching into it. The response this elicits suggests he may be right.
The next is ‘TIMEZONE’ where he describes what this song means to him. Written about his long-distance relationship, it’s no surprise that he chokes up while talking about it. In contrast, ‘FOR YOUR LOVE’ gets a shoutout simply for being Thomas’ favourite song.
Måneskin’s crowd work can’t be faulted – Thomas and Victoria both take turns entering the pits (and sometimes playing on top of us). At the end, they bring on a group of people who bow in reverence to Thomas, who returns the gesture to them in thanks.
The entire concert felt like a high-energy, emotional party that made you forget how many people there were until your answer to the lyrics wasn’t the only one.
I can only hope that Måneskin intend to return to the UK – but if not, this is one concert worth travelling for.
By Sonia Veneziani-Rocha