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Old 19 Apr 2011, 20:49   #1
Krapplund
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7 Concert in Hamburg (Germany), Mar 2011

Alphaville in Concert, 3/30/2011
Gruenspan, Hamburg


After 4 years in which I had not seen Alphaville live, I could not miss the opportunity to experience them in Hamburg which is only an hour away from Bremen where I live. It was to be my 6th Alphaville-concert, and not being too convinced by Catching Rays on Giant, I was a little anxious about it, remembering utterly great experiences from the early 2000s and fearing too much “pop circus”. However, it was to become a great and unforgettable evening!

The Venue:

Gruenspan is quite a cult-club in Hamburg, with a history reaching back into the 1960s and an emphasis on rock and electro-rock. It’s got a really cool atmosphere – a stylish, early 1900s house with a gallery and very high ceilings. The bar was well-assorted and the prices were okay considering the perfect location right off the infamous Reeperbahn.

The Setting:

Alphaville developed an all-new show-concept for the CROG-tour. Obviously, the two-storied stage with Jakob and his drums above the rest of the band was the main eyecatcher. But the revolving mirrors behind the “ground floor” weren’t bad either and made for some nice optical effects. The light show / screen projections were quite unspectacular in comparison with the Miracle Healing tour, but they got the job done. While in the past, everyone in the band seemed to wear what they felt comfortable with, this time sort of a concept was recognizable, with vintage-style uniformish garments that nicely suited the pop-circus theme of the new album without being overdone. Most important for the music: It seemed to me that there was a bigger emphasis on live-performance than before while reducing the use of laptops / samples. The addition of an attractive and skilled bass-player (who also brought along a crazy little bass-synthesizer) and Jakob playing two drum-sets – “real” drums and digital drums –at once, definitely led to a really high intensity of the performance.

The Performance:

Quite awesome. Let’s be honest: in the past years, several Alphaville-appearances at festivals (particularly at free festivals) were somewhat subpar concerning timing, vocal performance, authentic enthusiasm and sound quality. Not this time! The soundman could have done a better job for sure, but Alphaville themselves delivered great quality and were really charismatic. The performance was (nearly) as intense as I had last experienced them in 2002, Marian’s vocals were stunning and everyone in the band played together very nicely. Some timing problems remained at certain points, but Alphaville performed with great easiness and abandon. Everyone – band and public – evidently had loads of fun. This playfulness was also evident in Marian improvising in the last encore, Dance With Me, talking to the public and elaborating a story evolving from the song…intense moments indeed.

The Sound:

Alphaville have found a pleasant balance between rock and synthpop which connects the songs from the various albums very well and smoothly blends the inputs from the different band members into an unmistakable, quite sweeping sound. Hard guitar-solos like on Big in Japan were as present as atmospheric synth-intros as in Heaven on Earth. Older songs like A Victory of Love thus sounded thoroughly modern (somewhat connecting to “Graviation Breakdown” without selling its 1980s soul) while the more pop-heavy and slightly overproduced songs from Catching Rays on Giant gained in edges and attitude (thus becoming way more interesting…e.g. Heaven on Earth).

The Setlist (by Album):

Not surprisingly, the songs from Catching Rays on Giant were dominating the setlist…a good selection of them in my view, featuring the singles as well as less conventional tracks such as Call Me Down, The Deep or Gravitation Breakdown. Then, of course, there were the “usual suspects” from the earlier albums. However, Alphaville also brought two pleasant surprises: “Iron John” in a truly magnificent version, and “Leben ohne Ende”. What struck me was that absolutely no song from CrazyShow was played…nearly as if the band wanted to distance themselves from this more experimental period (I do hope I am overinterpreting this!).

Catching Rays on Giant:

Song For No One
I Die For You Today
End Of The World
Heaven On Earth
Call Me
The Deep
Gravitation Breakdown
Call Me Down

CrazyShow:

Nothing

Dreamscapes:

Leben Ohne Ende

Salvation:

Guardian Angel
Monkey In The Moon

Prostitute:

Iron John
Apollo

The Breathtaking Blue:

Nothing

Afternoons in Utopia:

Dance With Me (acoustic)

Forever Young:

A Victory Of Love
Big In Japan
Sounds Like A Melody
Forever Young

After-Show-Party (inofficial):

After the show, I went partying in the Reeperbahn district with Alien, Krapplund, Stefan, Mikeinboston, Slam, Frode and Svein Erik. We had great talk and great beers in various locations and even found a Jukebox with Big In Japan (of course, we all sang along, much to the chagrin of the bartender ;-) ). While certain guys from Scandinavia (I won’t tell names J) went on to visit a strip club, I went back to the hotel at around 4 a.m., glad that my hotel was very closeby and not as far away as Alien’s who had to wander through at least half of Hamburg at that time…I hugely enjoyed meeting everyone (some again, some for the first time) and hope we will stay in touch. And, of course, I hope Alphaville stays true to the rediscovered vigor and gives us many more live-concerts of such intensity (and some more experimental albums :))

Review by Streetside Romeo

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"Alphaville ohne Bernhard ist wie eine Apfelstrudel ohne apfel"
17'04'2003
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Last edited by Krapplund; 19 Apr 2011 at 21:07.
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Old 19 Apr 2011, 21:18   #2
Kaz
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Nice review. Remember Carry Your Flag is also from CrazyShow so there was a song from that album by default. As you already mentioned there were no songs from AIU but does that mean they want to distance themselves from that album as well?


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Old 19 Apr 2011, 22:38   #3
Alien
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It's TBB that they never have songs from... I remember Marian was even asked about it, but I don't remember what he answered.

Quote:
glad that my hotel was very closeby and not as far away as Alien’s who had to wander through at least half of Hamburg at that time…
I find some weird fun in walking through the cities late at night


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Old 18 Aug 2011, 07:31   #4
backlashforblow
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Sorry! I couldn't find any events for Alphaville in Hamburg.
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