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Old 15 Feb 2008, 15:14   #1
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Join Date: 09 Nov 2000
Location: Emmaboda, Sweden.
Posts: 17,508
7 Concert in Berlin & Chemnitz (Germany), Jul 2003

Alphaville Tour 2003
Diary of visit to Berlin/Chemnitz 9th – 13th July 2003
(or: That was Alphaville cool, that was!)

Wednesday 9th July 2003
A very long day began in the light of the big yellow sun, when I my left home in northern England at 6am to travel to London Stansted to fly to Leipzig to meet up with many other Alphavillians for a royal trip to the Golden cityside. I travelled by train to meet up with Clare at Peterborough, and together we took the plane to Altenburg/Leipzig, then a train to Berlin, where our memories would start. We didn´t fly to Berlin since flights at this time were fairly expensive, so Leipzig was a good choice we thought. A German bus driver who would take us to the train station at Altenburg (near Leipzig) broke the mould of stereotypical German efficiency and made us late for our connection. By the time we arrived in Berlin around midnight, we were wishing we had indeed flown there. Phone calls to my mobile from Mags were very welcome when it turned out that our hostel had closed, leaving us homeless for the night. Summer in Berlin is all right, but not when you´re left on the streets. Mags was our guardian angel and allowed us to use the floor of her apartment in Charlottenburg for the night so we could sort out plans for accomodation the next morning – but not before we´d consumed our first Berlin beer! Finally we settled down for the night at around 2am Thursday morning – when Gabe (Mags´ beautiful dog) allowed us to!

Thursday 10th July 2003
Spent a while in the morning trying to get out of Charlottenburg with heavy luggage, but made it and got to the hostel (Adler – ugh!) on Friedrichstraße in Mitte. The situation of the hostel was great, looking right down Oranienburgerstraße and right opposite Oranienburger Tor U-Bahn station. This would prove to be very handy when beer was a necessity. As we eventually got to the check-in desk and sorted out everything (with humblest apologies from the staff for having left our room open with the keys in the night before and not having left us a note to say so!), Adi turned up right behind us! A few hugs and kisses later, we dumped our bags and made off to the Italian restaurant opposite for a coffee or two (yes, you read it right! coffee!). We had arranged to meet Willy outside McDonalds on Kurfürstendamm (Ku´damm), and made our way to Zoo station, from which we walked the rest of the way. OK, the Brits are in town, so confusion reigns! And, to be fair, there were 3 McDonalds to choose from. Eventually we met, after searching for 35 mins. Adi would join us later. She´d gone to meet a friend who was in town. Mags also would join us later after she´d been to her new school to sort out details for her new job! So for most of the afternoon it was Willy, Clare and I who sat on the steps next to Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche, drinking copious amounts of Becks and sitting in the summer sun (31 degrees – look at the sunburn!). That moment is difficult to describe, even for one as verbose as I am. We truly did spend an afternoon in Utopia. The music from the street musicians, the cold and welcome beer, the company of like-minded friends, the heat of the sun, the paradoxical atmosphere of peace and noise, the fact we were in Berlin, our adopted spiritual home, for a few days; it was a heavenly experience. It continued when Mags arrived and we ended by adding our own artistic efforts to those of the artists on the Ku´damm – we made a pyramid (see photo). A few looks from ageing Berliners later and we were on our way back to Friedrichstraße on the U-Bahn (glad there was something to hold on to.).

We continued our drinking episode outside a pub at Oranienburger Tor, where we met Torleif and Alex from Golden Feeling. Kerstin also joined us later. Beer, currywurst, good company and good chat was the order of the evening and we had many laughs and took many photos (my hobby anyway) so everyone can see how great it was. It ended around 3am.

It must have been a great time. Shame I can´t remember any of it.

Friday 11th July 2003
The day of the hangover

Showered and took breakfast at a bakery on the corner of Friedrichstraße and Torstraße – coffee and whatever else was going. Clare was very tired so she went back to the hostel, leaving Adi and I to explore Berlin. We planned to do the sightseeing tour on an open top bus, but to do this we had to walk to Alexanderplatz to buy tickets. The heat of the sun was soaring even at around 9.30am and it became necessary to buy a lot of water. We also stopped by a café in Alexanderplatz for a chat and a coffee or coke, before we went to the bus. The trip was magnificent and definitely the best way to get your bearings and see all the sights, although to truly explore, it is best to go back on foot. After a while on the bus and many photos later (as I said, my hobby), we found ourselves back on the Ku´damm. We decided that we had to do it, we walked down to the Zoo. Well, such an immortal place for a Utopian, how could we not do that? We stayed at the Zoo but our man didn´t show. So we had a burger and a chat. We went back to the steps from the day before and each bought a Berlin t-shirt (just to show we´d been around). Then we got back on the bus and saw even more sights, including a heartstopping moment at the remains of the Wall. We then got back off at Unter Den Linden from where we walked back up Friedrichstraße towards our hostel, stopping for a beer at the Italian restaurant. We made a friend of a waiter there – go and see him and ask about us, the mad Utopians who sat outside drinking large Becks (people watching is another hobby of mine – a necessity when you write). I need to go back to Berlin to visit the museums and art galleries – there just wasn´t enough time and there is so much to see.

After another shower (it was so hot in Berlin – the song is right, if you want to view it that way), Clare, Adi and I returned to the Italian restaurant for a pizza and black olives and beer. Mags also joined us for a meal and we had a great chat and made up a new Alphaville game, this time not even involving Alphaville. After everything we said we did or thought or felt, we ended it in, “it is!” or “I am”, and so on and so forth. We also invented the Berlin scale of coolness, having graduations named cool, bloody cool, super cool, mega cool, ultra cool, and Alphaville cool. Beer, friends, Alphaville and games must become part of any afternoon in Utopia. We had planned to visit Brandenburger Tor (the Brandenburg Gate) this evening – it had always been my dream to stand there at midnight to see it lit up, and we achieved that this night. Oh my god, it is so overwhelming. I´m sure I felt my heart stop for a second and I cried. It rained a heavy downpour of summer rain as we approached, but that didn´t matter. This was Berlin – I was home. Even if we never meet again, Berlin will always be home. We wound up the evening at Café Lebensart around 12.30am, eating ice-cream and drinking beer, trying to dry off from our unexpected walk in the rain. Back to the hostel in a taxi. I leaned out of the bedroom window, as I had done since I arrived, for most of the night, breathing in Berlin and its people, sounds and sights.

Saturday 12th July 2003
We had planned this morning the night before. We had to explore Kreuzberg. We checked out around 8am, leaving our bags in Adi´s room, since she was coming back to Berlin after the gig in Chemnitz. We travelled to Kreuzberg on the U-Bahn – too tired and overwhelmed to walk just at that moment. Adi, Clare and I took coffee and sat on a park bench at Mehringplatz – another photo opportunity at the Victory statue, starkly standing there in forlorn glory, pointing to the clouds, graffiti at her feet. God, I love this place! Mags met us there and we walked to a Turkish café for breakfast (a Turkish German breakfast! See photos!). Even a visit from the Polizei was welcome – they loved Gabe! As we were at the end of Friedrichstraße, we decided to walk back to our hostel, taking in more sights, sounds, smells, people.

Coming across Checkpoint Charlie in this way was a strange feeling. Even after almost 14 years since the Wall came down, there is still an eerieness about the place. Emotions were rife and floating about the whole place as more photos were taken and thoughts were laid bare. Mags left us just before we signed the World´s Largest Guestbook (all with Alphaville related signatures!) and sampled the most ultra cool beer, Berliner Weisse (I had red, Clare had green). One of the stallholders was selling whistles as it was the weekend of the Love Parade and these are a huge element of that. We soon found this out on our walk back to the hostel, where lots of colourful, beautiful people blew as hard as they could into theirs. Adi and I bought one for use at the concert. The last mad rush in Berlin saw us taking a taxi to Ostbahnhof to meet the others from Golden Feeling for the train ride to Chemnitz, which was relatively quiet and uneventful but filled with thoughts, feelings and reflections. Cool. Yeah. Summer in Berlin it´s all right.

Leaving Berlin was painful. I left a huge part of me in that city – my heart.

Clare and I left the others to taxi to our hotel so we could dump our bags. Again problems – no receptionist and the automatic reception decided not to work, just because it knew we were British and made disastrous travel plans everywhere we went. As we waited for a receptionist to arrive, we met Justus (a regular at the Dreamroom at who, on seeing our Alphaville t-shirts, assumed we were part of the Alphaville community and asked us so! And so we got to know Justus. After we got ready to go, we all went to the festival site together in a taxi, where we phoned mobiles to find out where the others were (it was a huge site). We found them at, yes, you guessed it, the bar. A few beers later and it was time to move towards the stage. Sounds easy. Not when there are 170,000 (free festival) and a firework show. The plan was to get to the stage when everyone else was watching the firework show – but no-one moved. We formed a caterpillar, holding onto the back of each other´s clothing, and edged our way towards the edge of the stage. We had to stop behind about four rows of people, so our view wasn´t too good when Alphaville took the stage. We could see Marian just above everyone´s heads. The photos we took weren´t that good the distance was just unbelievable. Once the well known songs had been performed, and after digging a few people who wouldn´t let us through, singing loudly in their ears to every song and dancing frantically, they got the message and one by one they moved away. This left the way free to get to the barrier – still too far away as we were at the corner of the stage and Marian was miles away from us! In a way, I can´t remember what happened at the concert – I remember the songs beginning and singing along to them, but it all seemed a blur. If we´d been at the very front, I´d have remembered it all. Hearing “Elevator” for the first time live was awesome for me. I remember jumping up and down like a mad thing from the planet mad! Followed by “Fools”, I was then ecstatic! Memories of Lommel and the lyric that Marian changed at the time of the Iraq War came flooding back. But the highlight was hearing “Ways” performed live for my first time. Oh, it was magnificent! Marian really belted the song out at the end and changed a few words to make it more heart rending. Beautiful song! By the time “Forever Young” came around, I remember thinking that the whole thing had gone so quickly and I shouted out, “not yet!”. Marian and the band left the stage and I shouted again, “we haven´t had Monkey In The Moon yet!” Sure enough, Marian and the guys came back for one encore and “Monkey” was performed – I was happy!

We had arranged to meet up at the right hand side of the stage to go to the after-show party together with those who knew how to get to the pub where it was being held. We had to walk through a dark wood to get to the road and Clare, Mags and I got left behind and got lost! Calls to mobiles and a taxi later and we found our way there – still before Marian and the live band! Beers all round were needed and we sat and waited and chatted to the others, with “CrazyShow” playing in the background – perfect setting. Then Martin, Christian and Pierson and others turned up. I took the opportunity to take some photos and to be introduced to the band, since I hadn´t met the guys before. Martin is so sweet and agreed to have a photo taken. Just as we did, Marian entered the room with Daniela and Claudia and everyone stopped and applauded him. Adi introduced me to Pierson and Chris and we had photos taken and chatted. Eventually, Clare and I then went to Marian and had a hug and chatted for a while and had a photo taken.

Daniela dragged Marian away from us not far from 4am. I sat with Martin and Anja for a while until it was time to go (about 4.30am). I left singing out loud to “On The Beach” which was just ending – I did this loudly and with my own stage show and I didn´t care who saw me! Clare, Mags, Justus and I taxied back to our hotel.

Sunday 13th July 2003
Next morning, we had breakfast and made our way back to the train station. Justus kindly gave us all a lift and we said goodbye to Mags at the station in Chemnitz. We went on to Leipzig where Clare and I would say goodbye to Justus and catch a train back to Altenburg for our flight back home. Once we got back, I stayed the night at Clare´s, chatting, watching the DVD and videos and listening to Marian´s perfect voice all night.

It was an amazing experience and one I will never forget. Thanks to all there: the Golden Feeling fan club especially Torleif and Alex; Mags for putting up with us and putting us up; Adi for being such good company and fun; Willy for teaching us how to drink beer properly (we´d been doing it wrong all this time!); Anja for arranging a perfect place for the party; Claudia for being there; Daniela for being so lovely and being positive about the UK gigs that we so desperately need; Judith for a cool chat; Martin, Pierson and Chris for being such good fun and great to chat to. Finally, Marian. The coolest dude on earth with the sweetest smile and most angelic voice anyone has ever heard. Thanks to you Marian for being there!

Long live Alphaville!


Guardian Angel
Dance With Me
Carry Your Flag
Big In Japan
Sounds Like A Melody
A Victory Of Love
Wish You Were Dead
Forever Young
Monkey In The Moon


Written by Karen (UK)

"Alphaville ohne Bernhard ist wie eine Apfelstrudel ohne apfel"
Last edited by Krapplund; 15 Feb 2008 at 15:18.
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