Archive for May 2015

Chris de Burgh live in Mannheim

Perhaps the most magnificent element of the Chris de Burgh concert in Mannheim last Tuesday was the perfect sound mix. Unlike most live concerts, it wasn’t too loud. The vocals were crystal clear, the bass present but never obnoxious, the drums a piece of the puzzle instead of a bulldozer driving all across the puzzle. The acoustics of the Mozartsaal certainly helped transporting the sound to the audience’s ears. The light show was inventive but again never distracting from the actual star of the show: the music. Sure, some fans might indulge in seeing Chris de Burgh. I, however, was there for the music. Once again, the setlist (see below for pic and details) contained a balanced mixture of old and new material. There were plenty of songs that hadn’t been played for many years; there were the inevitable classics; there were seven songs off the new album “The Hands of Man” – some great (like “Where Would I Be?”), the rest at least good; there were other songs that were neither classics nor obscurities – “Where Peaceful Waters Flow”, “The Spirit of Man”, “The Same Sun”.

The mood was good on stage as well as in front of the stage. In addition to the usual presents (flowers, wine) Chris also got tomato soup. The first few songs were presented without comment. Later on, the banter between songs grew longer. It was generally filled with thankfulness and a bit of wit. In my opinion, the only flaw was the use of click tracks and samples during some of the band songs. Don’t get me wrong, “Go Where Your Heart Believes” sounded brilliant with those strings. It just made the show seem a bit like a TV show rather than a live show. I’m sure the band could have easily played the songs without additional help. I still enjoyed the songs, of course, even with the diminished tempo dynamics. As for the highlights, there were plenty.

“Transmission Ends” was wonderful, “Say Goodbye to It All” made me cry, the acoustic session proved that the players on stage don’t need to rely on backing tracks. And the solo section with “Carry Me”, “Borderline”, and “Where Peaceful Waters Flow” demonstrated that Chris de Burgh is still very much an amazing singer, musician, and performer. Then there was the cheesy synth sound in “Man on the Line” (awesome!). “Spanish Train” and “A Spaceman Came Travelling” were a blast from the past that got lots of applause. And for the encore, “Patricia the Stripper” made an (acoustic) appearance!

This was my fourth Chris de Burgh concert. Once again, the Irish singer delivered a fresh performance with just a few inevitable repetitions (which, by the way, haven’t lost any of their appeal – “don’t do it!”). And not only did he cover most periods of his career, the fans embraced pretty much every song with equal appreciation. The “cost” of this is probably a slightly smaller audience (the hall was pretty much sold out with maybe 1,700 people) compared with the draw of a pure best of program. The ticket prices were rather steep, so you certainly won’t find me at another concert of the current tour. Yet, from a musical and emotional perspective, it was an excellent show, sincere, uplifting, thoughtful, moving, and towards the end even rocking.

Setlist Chris de Burgh Mannheim (2015-05-26)

  1. The Hands of Man
  2. Big City Sundays
  3. The Light on the Bay
  4. Have a Care
  5. Go Where Your Heart Believes
  6. The Candlestick
  7. Ship to Shore
  8. The Same Sun
  9. Spanish Train
  10. Through These Eyes
  11. Transmission Ends
  12. A Spaceman Came Travelling
  13. Man on the Line
  14. Missing You (acoustic)
  15. Pure Joy (acoustic)
  16. Love of the Heart Divine (acoustic)
  17. There Goes My Heart Again (acoustic)
  18. Carry Me (Like a Fire in Your Heart)
  19. Borderline
  20. Where Peaceful Waters Flow
  21. Where Would I Be?
  22. The Words “I Love You”
  23. The Keeper of the Keys
  24. The Lady in Red
  25. Africa
  26. The Spirit of Man
  27. Say Goodbye to It All
  28. Don’t Pay the Ferryman
  29. High on Emotion
  30. Patricia the Stripper
  31. The Moonfleet Finale

Jutze 52 #21 – Everybody Farts

This song developed over a couple of days, which I thankfully had at my hands. The chorus came first. Then what? It made me think of Shania Twain’s marijuana experience, which she described in her autobiography: “I mean, it did make me dizzy and giddy, but at that age, so did having a good laugh over an unexpected, loud fart.” (p. 94)

Once I had the chords and the melody, I wasn’t sure what rhythm to use. I could have turned it into a fun 4/4 punk song. The acoustic approach makes the lyrics stand out, though. I think. After a few video-less weeks, I also made a video. Hopefully, the next video will feature not just the lower half of my face. The final chorus should be “some do it quietly”, right? But hey, I’m a German. I’m ignorant of adverbs. Ha! (Sorry.)

#21 Everybody Farts

Hillary Clinton, Prince Charles, the Pope, and the King of Spain
The husband of Natalie Portman, your mum and Shania Twain
Everybody farts
Everybody farts
From time to time
No, it is no crime
Everybody farts

Jonathan Coulton, Tom Cruise, and Angela Merkel, too
Your significant other, and sometimes even you
Everybody farts
Everybody farts
Some do it quiet
Some cause a riot
Yes, everybody farts

(words and music by Johannes Schult 2015 Creative Commons by-nc 4.0)

Jutze 52 #20 – Metalodic

Schon wieder ein instrumentales Stück. Diesmal gibt es Heavy Metal. Den Titel hat sich sicher schon mal eine andere Band ausgedacht, weshalb ich jetzt gar nicht nachschaue. Die Musik hatte ich bereits vor einem Monat geschrieben, doch erst heute endlich mal aufgenommen.

#20 Metalodic

(music by Johannes Schult 2015 Creative Commons by-nc 4.0)

Jutze 52 #19 – 1988

This happens when I’m in the mood of writing a punk song about heavy metal. I tried several angles until I found that focusing on one year and leaving out band names actually works, sort of. The lyrics are not a comprehensive list of 1988 in metal (which was a good one if you ask me), but it covers my favourite albums along with a bunch of stuff that’s at least okay.

#19 1988

There was “No Place for Disgrace” and “Blessed Is the Black”
And the “Perfect Man” really didn’t sound too bad
The Keeper of the Seven Keys” got a second part
And “Battalions of Fear” was a promising start
In 1988
In 1988

No Exit” was ambiguous, but “Leprosy” was cool
With a heart of steel the “Kings of Metal” did rule
There was “The Morning After” in Germany
And a comeback in the States entitled “Thundersteel
In 1988
In 1988

Operation: Mindcrime” was deservedly a hit
“Irae Melanox” remained an insider tip
The keyboards of a “7th Son” reminded me of cheese
Port Royal” was a masterpiece
In 1988
In 1988

(words and music by Johannes Schult 2015 Creative Commons by-nc 4.0)

Jutze 52 #18 – Etwas Gezupfe

Auch diese Woche gibt es ein instrumentales Stück. Wie so oft, bekam es erst einen Titel, als ich die Datei abschließend gespeichert habe. Eine andere Idee, die ich diese Woche nicht in ein ganzes Lied umsetzen konnte, lautete übrigens “Hier kommt die Kartoffelfrau”.

#18 Etwas Gezupfe

(music by Johannes Schult 2015 Creative Commons by-nc 4.0)