“A celebration”: Rockin’1000 is preparing to ignite the Stade de France again

The group with 1,088 musicians, led by conductor Alex Deschamps, will play its first concert since the pandemic on Saturday May 14. Rockers will pay tribute to Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins.

1,088 musicians came “smash their instrument”, break their cords or break their voice: the Rockin’ 1000the biggest group in the world, returns to the Stade de France on Saturday to celebrate rock.

A few strokes of the wands and the magic happens. The Rockin’1000 drummers, in rehearsal, enter into communion on the first notes of Born to be wild by Steppenwolf, a cult title from the 60s and one of 18 on the program for Saturday’s show.

The conductor Alex Deschamps, all in furious punches and “headbangs” (swaying head rhythmically) characteristics of rock fans, seems to be in a trance. Under his direction, 1,088 musicians, from barely major to “old man who saw the Beatles at the Olympia in 64”, from the four corners of France, Italy and even Germany.

“Rockin’1000 is a unique sound”, and above all “a celebration of classic rock”, enthuses the critic Philip Maneuver with AFP during a rehearsal on Thursday. 216 drummers at the rendezvous for “smash their instrument”, 166 bassists, 109 keyboards and 359 guitarists “who brought their 100 watt amp”, the master of ceremonies stamping with impatience. To the point of promising “to arrive in a Harley Davidson” on stage.

Initially, Rockin’1000 was a somewhat crazy bet launched by Fabio Zaffagnini. “It started in 2015 with a video for the Foo Fighters,” of which he is a fan, he explains to AFP in the stands of the Stade de France. In order to convince them to stop in his small town in Italy, he has the idea of ​​bringing together a thousand rockers and playing learn to flyone of the most popular titles of the group, in homage to the band of Dave Grohlformer drummer Nirvana. The clip “goes viral”, and the foo fighters answer the call. The concept was born.

After one first successful experience in 2019 in front of 50,000 spectators, Rockin’1000 returns to the Stade de France, freed from the constraints linked to the pandemic. Some participants like Damien Massonet, a 40-year-old computer engineer and one of the few five-string bass players in the collective, had planned for two years to take time off for the occasion. “There may be one or two wrong notes!”, having fun this Trust fan delighted with “scratch” on Antisocial Saturday. “But we are ready!” he assures.

Stars and tribute

Betty Bouin, chopsticks in hand behind her boxes, stamping with impatience at the idea of ​​​​playing Another world of Phone next to Richard Kolinkadrummer of the French band which is due to take part in the party on Saturday 14 May.

But the 55-year-old Grenoble civil servant does not hide her preference for Matthieu Chedid alias M, present at the rehearsal and the day of the show with a “medley” of his most famous titles. Glasses with the likeness of her fetish artist on her nose, she says “realize a childhood dream” after having “cry” not to be in 2019.

Others like Nicolas Ridel, 29, experienced the beginnings of Rockin’1000 in France. Worker during the week and “weekend drummer”, he returned with friends met on stage three years ago, wearing the same sombrero as at the time.

Despite the looming party, the concert on Saturday May 14 will also be a tribute to Taylor Hawkinsdrummer for the Foo Fighters who died on March 25, 2022. In place of learn to flythe 238 singers will sing My hero and its refrain which sounds like a farewell: “There goes my hero, watch him as he goes” (There’s my hero, watch him go).

“He was a great drummer,” greets Philippe Maneuver. “We are going to pay tribute to him with a special song and I think he will be with us, he will watch us, of course!”, concludes Betty Bouin, brandishing her chopsticks.


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“A celebration”: Rockin’1000 is preparing to ignite the Stade de France again


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