During an appearance on the The Pit's "Last Words" podcast, vocalist Cristina Scabbia of Italian metallers LACUNA COIL was asked if the situation in her country has improved at all in the past year after Italy became an early epicenter of the pandemic in Europe. She said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "To be honest, no — not really. It feels that we are stuck at last year. The difference that I can feel is that people are not panicking as much as [at] the beginning of this pandemic, which, on one side, I'm, like, well, this gives me a sort of a normality. So even if I see people with masks around, at least they're not looking at you like you're gonna bring death to them in an instant. But on the other side, it makes me worried, because we are not out of this damn pandemic yet. So I just don't want to give up on protecting myself and others, and I just want to be attentive.
"I know people who got this virus, and some of them were okay — some of them had no symptoms — but I know people who died, and I know people who actually got really, really bad, and weeks after [have] still problems in breathing. So it is existing — whether it hits you hard or less hard, it is there. And it's very contagious. And we can't do anything about it."
Explaining that "it feels like time stopped," Cristina went on to say that LACUNA COIL was "one of the very first bands" to cancel a tour at the start of the pandemic. "We felt it coming, because Italy was the second place where the pandemic arrived — or, well, at least when the COVID arrived, because there was no pandemic back then," she said. "And we're still here — we're still on another lockdown. We're on week two out of three. The numbers are going up and down. We had some periods in which we could go out, always with a mask. And the curve went down again, and then it goes up and then it goes down. But we don't really see an end. And we're really behind with vaccines too."
Cristina added that while everyone is anxious to regain some semblance of normalcy, a return to business as usual will likely still look a lot different in the waning days of the pandemic.
"All of us want our life back," she said. "Of course, restaurants have been opening and closing, but, for example, I haven't been playing a gig for a year. I played three concerts with a charity project, and it was surreal because, basically, we played in front of a crowd that was sitting, that couldn't move, that couldn't [stand] up, not even for applauding or cheering. And it was like in front of a jury.
"We all want to go back to normality, but sometimes I wonder: will we ever go back to normality?" she continued. "'Cause I can't really picture, from one day to another, just, like, okay, from tomorrow, everything is open, everybody can go out, no mask anymore. It feels really weird. And what is worrying me the most [is] we are almost getting used to this kind of seclusive new life.
"I was a person that had to go out all the time. I was traveling all the time — obviously. I was on tour most of the year — very social. Maybe I'm not a party-animal girl anymore, going to clubs every night, but I liked people, I liked interactions. And now I feel that if I go out for, like, an hour, it feels that I need to go back home, 'cause I feel safer, and now my world revolves around my computer, my living room. And this is scary to me, because this damn pandemic changed us for real. And even when the virus will be gone, I think that we will need time to adjust to a new normality, if we will ever have one back."
Last month, LACUNA COIL took part in an initiative dubbed "L'Ultimo Concerto?" (Last Concert) to highlight the increasingly uncertain future of music venues. Instead of delivering live performances as part of a scheduled free virtual stream on February 27, each of around 130 Italian artists was filmed taking the stage at a different venue and then standing there in silence as a way of commemorating the one-year mark since the first Italian venues closed.
Organized by KeepOn Live, Arci, Assomusica and Live DMA, the "L'Ultimo Concerto?" campaign was announced in January when the venues shared images on social media of their year of foundation and the year 2021 with a question mark, suggesting that their closures due to the coronavirus pandemic could be permanent.
Between March and June 2020, the Italian government imposed a national lockdown by restricting people's movements to contain the pandemic. Thus, museums and cinemas closed and all cultural events were either canceled or rescheduled.
Around 300,000 people working in theaters, music venues, cinemas and cultural spaces in Italy have been rendered jobless since they shut their doors due to the coronavirus crisis.
In September, LACUNA COIL took part in "Black Anima: Live From The Apocalypse", an exclusive streaming show featuring a full performance of the band's latest album, "Black Anima", for the very first time, including songs never performed live, plus special backstage/off-camera moments and more. The Italian heavy rockers played the concert from the Alcatraz Club in Milan. "Black Anima: Live From The Apocalypse" was hosted on A-Live.
Photo courtesy of Cristina Scabbia's Instagram