Archive for October 2012

Chris de Burgh live in Bamberg

Maybe the most impressive feature of the concert in Bamberg (29th August 2012) was the sound. Live concerts tend to be loud and more often than not individual voices are lost in the mix. Not so here. The sound was crystal clear, yet warm and chiming. No pounding drums, no thundering bass, no screeching guitars, no dominant keyboards – just music. The venue was filled with melodies and, of course, Chris de Burgh‘s strong voice. He appeared on stage shortly after 8 pm and received a lot of applause. The first two songs – “First Steps” and “Fatal Hesitation” – seemed to me a bit like a warming up. It was the next song, “Sailing Away”, that really grabbed me, possibly because it was pretty much the first de Burgh song I consciously heard, back in 1990 as a 10 year old boy when my parents watched the Live in Dublin VHS tape.

The solo versions of the songs lacked extensive solo parts – which was a good thing, if you ask me. There were no excessive sing along parts, no fancy song intros; we got “pure” Chris de Burgh. There were a lot of ballads on the setlist, which was fine with me. “Love and Time” worked very well in the new arrangement and “Carry Me (Like a Fire in Your Heart)” was just soo beautiful. There were a couple of songs I found less engaging, like “It’s Such a Long Way Home” and “Oh My Brave Hearts”. The latter one is just rehashing “The Revolution” in my opinion. Thankfully, “The Revolution / Light a Fire” was played, eventually. I had seen some of the previous setlists online, so I wasn’t completely surprised by the setlist. Still, the songs that were requested specifically in Bamberg (e.g. “In Love Forever”) were pleasant surprises. I’m so glad this tour takes place, because as much as a “regular” concert can be entertaining, the “immediateness”, the anything-goes aspect made this evening unique. Chris also told us that he had learned a new phrase in German: “Die K├╝che ist geschlossen.”

He was in a good mood and had no trouble at all entertaining 1200 people for about 2.5 hours straight. It was clear that he couldn’t play all requests; and personally I would have liked to hear any other song from Moonfleet (great album) than the two he played (“Pure Joy”, “Everywhere I Go”). But I’m not complaining. There were so many great songs (“The Road to Freedom”, “In a Country Churchyard”, “Where Peaceful Waters Flow”, “Waiting for the Hurricane”, “The Girl With April in Her Eyes”) from almost all albums, I rarely stopped smiling. A particular highlight this time around (itwas only my second Chris de Burgh concert after Trier 2009) was “Say Goodbye to It All”. It was preceded by “Borderline”, which sounded good, but cheesier than necessary due to the e-piano-strings. The all piano version of “Say Goodbye to It All” gave the song a fresh feeling, made it less repetitive and, well, I enjoyed it immensely. I was surprised how well “A Woman’s Heart” worked as a dancing song. The funniest part of the evening was probably when he sang the line “the perfect man” and hinted at himself with a grin.

The performance was spot on and certainly not something you get to see every day (or even every year). I don’t think it resembled the early days of Chris’ career, when he had to struggle with sound, lighting and (Supertramp) stage managers. Still, it showed the essence of the music as well as the charming personality of the man way better than any fancy stadium show could ever do. My seat in row 2 had cost more than 80 Euros, which was quite expensive in my opinion. Then again, there were hardly any empty seats in the room, so it all comes down to supply and demand. And this evening wasn’t about economics, but all about music and stories. And I had a great evening!

Chris de Burgh live in Bamberg 2012

  1. First Steps
  2. Fatal Hesitation
  3. Sailing Away
  4. Missing You
  5. Here Is Your Paradise
  6. It’s Such a Long Way Home
  7. In Love Forever
  8. Tender Hands
  9. Songbird
  10. Pure Joy
  11. Borderline
  12. Say Goodbye to It All
  13. The Road to Freedom
  14. Sailor
  15. Oh My Brave Hearts
  16. Waiting for the Hurricane
  17. In the Ghetto
  18. Love and Time
  19. Carry Me (Like a Fire in Your Heart)
  20. The Girl With April in Her Eyes
  21. Spirit
  22. In a Country Churchyard
  23. The Lady in Red
  24. The Revolution / Light a Fire
  25. Everywhere I Go
  26. A Woman’s Heart
  27. Where Peaceful Waters Flow
  28. Don’t Pay the Ferryman
  29. High on Emotion
  30. Those Were the Days
  31. The Snows of New York
  32. Goodnight

Dr. Frank live in Aachen

Just three months after I had seen Dr. Frank in Baltimore, he came to Europe for a string of acoustic gigs. The last show of the tour took place at the Autonomes Zentrum in Aachen, a former bunker located beneath the train station. There were about 40 people, few enough to allow Kepi Ghoulie play the first couple of songs unplugged. His music combined classic Bob Dylan and Rolling Stones vibes with a vivid punk rock spirit. His performance was certainly entertaining and enjoyable.

I usually prefer artists who don’t stick to a static setlist during a tour. Now last night was very much a dynamic event. It helped that the concert felt a bit like a living room show due to its size. Consequently, Dr. Frank’s set was filled with surprises and requests. (I got to hear “Will You Still Love Me When I Don’t Love You?”!) All those great rocking songs from the Mr. T Experience worked very well in an acoustic setting. For once, you could hear all the lyrics perfectly. Did anyone ever award some prize to Dr. Frank for the most clever and wry punk rock lyrics? Why not? What do you mean, there’s no Nobel Punk Prize? Anyway, the show was great and the mood was relaxed. There were so many amazing songs! I feel compelled to list some titles, because they remind me of the fun I had during the gig: “You’re the Only One”, “Swiss Army Girlfriend”, “Jill”, “Sackcloth and Ashes”, “Swallow Everything”! The lack of recognition from mainstream music fans breaks my heart. And yet I’m totally happy that I got to experience this concert close up. The next time Dr. Frank comes to town (or as in my case to a town that’s a three-hour drive away) you better go see him!

Dr. Frank live in Aachen

  1. How’d the Date End
  2. I Wrote a Book About Rock and Roll
  3. You Today
  4. My Name Is Morgan (But It Ain’t J.P.)
  5. More Than Toast
  6. Mr. Ramones
  7. You’re the Only One
  8. Swiss Army Girlfriend
  9. ???
  10. Fucked Up on Life
  11. Now That You Are Gone
  12. Even Hitler Had a Girlfriend
  13. Jill
  14. Will You Still Love Me When I Don’t Love You?
  15. Sackcloth and Ashes
  16. She Turned Out to Be Crazy
  17. Swallow Everything

Dr. Frank and Jutze