15.06.15 Emotions run high at Leone Goes Pop News Image
Foto: Focus Fotos | Chris Camilleri

INGLESE: Emotions ran high as the Leone Band organized the 8th successful edition of Leone Goes Pop – for the very first time at the Villa Rundle public gardens in Victoria, Gozo. Indeed, the 8th edition was a very emotional one, as our friends had just returned from the funeral service of a very dear friend, volunteer and activist, former Policeman, Neville Bajada, who departed to a better life at the age of 35 years.

Aggiornato: 15 Giugno 2015

RIP Neville Bajada, ‘til we meet again
Neville would have been a busy volunteer backstage during such an event, as had been for the last 7 years, including last year when he had already been diagnosed with his terminal illness. So it was only fitting that the Leone Band paid tribute to him, in front of his most treasured family, on that same day, during the event he held so close to heart.

Further from the announced programme, the 8th edition of Leone Goes Pop started with Eric Clapton’s Tears in Heaven to a standing ovation by the general public as white balloons were let into the air.

The concert then continued in the good company of an 80-piece Leone Band, conductor Colin Attard, host Mark Laurence Zammit and singers Kurt Calleja and Raquel Galdes.

The ambience created at the Villa Rundle gardens was something completely new and fresh for the Leone Goes Pop – that has always been held at Independence Square (apart from its exports to Marsalforn and Valletta). Purposely lit for the occasion, the public gardens were transformed into an open-air arena. As a matter of fact, many were surprised with the amount of people that the Villa Rundle gardens can host. Considering the amount of chairs brought over for the occasion, we estimate the audience surpassed the 1000-mark by a comfortable edge.

A very special 8th edition
The Leone Band looked stunning in a horseshoe formation, all lined-up vertically in the amphitheatre, while the audience filled the floor and surrounding lanes. First on the set-list was Led Zeppelin on tour, followed by New York (sung by Kurt) and Set Fire to the Rain (sung by Raquel). It continued with Antologia – a medley from the Italian group 883 and What a Wonderful World. It was indeed a very varied concert, with a healthy balance between sung items and showpieces during which the band could demonstrate its musical excellence. Such was a case during the Duke Ellington’s medley, which was then followed by the sung numbers I will survive and Sex bomb. The concert was then rounded up by another fabulous medley, aptly entitled Cuban Sound. True to its name, the Cuban rhythms brought the audience to its feet for a resounding applause, driving more energy for two encore pieces: Can’t take my eyes off you and Tequila!

Thus, the 8th edition of Leone Goes Pop came in its own very special way. Marked by the stern tone of mourning of a dear friend, it still managed to get the human resources of the Leone band together for an entertaining night of music and celebration.

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