I'd been to Poland before to photograph a Simple Plan show and that was back in November 2008 in Warsaw. Wroclaw is a much better looking city than Warsaw, historic university city and I really enjoyed it, apart from the sweaty heat! I couldn't get over how damn hot it was! I stayed at the lovely Monopol hotel in the centre of Wroclaw, a hotel I chose because of the swimming pool and spa and the fact that Marlene Dietrich and Pablo Picasso have both been past guests ( I later got told that Adolf Hitler had also stayed there!). I had no idea until the day after I arrived that Mike Patton was also staying in the same hotel, because I never bumped into him or any of the Italian Mondo Cane musicians around the hotel and I had arrived two days before to explore Wroclaw and make the most of using the hotel spa.
Unfortunately due to the disorganisation of certain people to do with the festival that Mike Patton's Mondo Cane were performing for, I didn't manage to get a photo pass and it was rather a nightmare. I was aware that large cameras were not allowed into the concert, which was set on a lovely island just off the city centre on the river, but most of us attending had no idea that NO cameras were allowed at all and I was furious. I still managed to get my camera smuggled in and tried to take some photos, but without much luck as security were assholes and it was impossible. The standing tickets were cheap, but we found out why they were so cheap, as it was just a rather cramped standing area located either side of the stage and seating was obviously all in front. I still got a good spot, but the view wasn't great, as Mike stood behind a couple of the musicians and we couldn't see him that well. The view didn't matter so much when he started to sing, as it was so flawless and emmotional that some of the songs almost moved me to tears.
Mike had been rehearsing all afternoon and ever since he arrived. It was the first date of the Mondo Cane tour, he was rather stressed out, but didn't show it during the performance at all. The songs were sung in flawless Italian and although I missed the usual eccentric crazy behaviour that he's so famed for during Fantomas Tomahawk and Faith No More performances, there was lack of that in Mondo Cane, but the megaphone (favourite Patton prop!) still made an appearance! It was like nothing else Mike Patton has ever done, totally unique and wonderful with the full orchestra.
The atmosphere was calm and intense. Beautiful songs, all sung beautifully. Mike sung twenty-two songs altogether, inlcuding two after a short break for an encore, when everyone left the stage and returned for the last couple of songs.
Setlist was as follows
Il Cielo in una Stanza
20km al Giorno
Quello Che Contu
Legata ad un Gronello di Sabbia
Pine, Fucile ed Occhiali
L'uomo Che Non Sapeva Amare
Ma L'amore no
Ti Offro da Bere
Dio Come ti Amo
The fountains in the Market Square in the centre of Wroclaw.
Mike Patton performing onstage in Wroclaw, Poland. These photos were taken with my Panasonic Lumix and my shots are always much better than this, but because security were so strict about any photos at all during this concert (they even stopped anyone using their mobile phone cameras!) it was impossible to get decent photos.