Remembering Catania & Francesco Virlinzi

It was twenty years ago today: R.E.M. played its only show ever in Sicily. Our beloved friend, the late Francesco Virlinzi, was our host and a great ambassador for the city of Catania. He is remembered today, as every year, by a special anniversary cconcert celebration

organized by his wonderful family and friends.

Bill Berry:

“We had known Francesco for years before we finally performed in Sicily in August of 1995. He was most anxious to acquaint us with his hometown and we set out to explore Catania. Francesco was obviously proud of his birthplace and, from what I saw, our tour guide was fully entitled to that opinion. We were greeted by a beautiful city inhabited by warm and generous people. Our tour culminated at the office of the mayor where we were treated like royalty. It was warm on stage that night, but the audience was so great I don’t think any of us noticed or cared.”

Michael Stipe:

“We all loved Francesco very much, and we loved his energy and excitement for music and art.”

Here’s another great memory from Road Movie:

Strange Currencies