When Dubai's Global Village says it is hosting an "epic" online concert this weekend, it's not exaggerating.
On Friday, October 30, the attraction's big screens along with its YouTube page will screen a gig by Rockin' 1000, a global rock collective whose covers of classic songs have resulted in a string of viral hits over the last five years.
The reason for all the attention is in the name.
The tracks are performed by more than one thousand members, with hundreds of guitarists, drummers, bassists, keyboardists and singers all working together.
It started with one fan’s wish
If the band's success – which included a European tour and its very own feature length documentary We Are the Thousand – is a dream come true for Italian founder and guitarist Fabio Zaffagnini, it was because it began with another dream by the former Italian marine biologist in 2014.
As a way to get his favourite group, Foo Fighters, to perform in his tranquil village of Cesena, he decided to get their attention by organising a mass performance of their 1999 hit Learn to Fly.
Nearly a full year in the making, Zaffagnini corralled a thousand musicians to sign up, rehearse, record and attend a video shoot in Cesena’s local field in June 2015.
Not only did the crunching sounds of hundreds of guitars reverberate around the village, but it reached the Foo Fighters courtesy of the viral video that amassed more than 54 million views.
In what has to be one of rock's greatest feel good stories, the band obliged and performed in Cesena in November of that year, five months after the video was uploaded.
Ever since, Rockin' 1000 has grown to become more than a supersized band, but an online community of international musicians who share their talents, knowledge and experience with each other.
Global Village show the biggest yet
With the pandemic halting all future touring plans, the Global Village show will be an opportunity for the group to recreate that thunderous live sound online.
It is also a chance for the band to up the ante by including more members. With physical logistics no longer a challenge, the performance will include up to 2,500 musicians and singers from 100 countries.
Four months in the making, the exclusive pre-recorded show will feature all members performing a four song set that will include rock favourites and unexpected choices.
Thankfully, the show will not be presented in the form of an unwieldy teleconference.
In an exclusive statement to The National, Zaffagnini says it will be well edited with some cool visuals in the mix.
“I can’t really say too much about that because I do want to make it into a surprise,” he said. “But there will be good backgrounds we are working on, some of which may include images from Global Village itself. We are excited about this concept and seeing what we can do with it.”
The Rockin' 1000 concert will screen on the Global Village Dubai website and YouTube on Friday, October 30 at 7.30pm. For details visit www.globalvillage.ae