Martin and James – Music Store, Köln; May 18th 2012, 14:00
As spontaneous things go, I didn’t have much time to prepare for this. Less than a week before the Mannheim concert A. found out that Martin and James were going to play at the Music store in Cologne on Friday afternoon. I only work half days on Fridays and Cologne isn’t that far from Dortmund, so this sounded very doable. Then I checked where the store is located and realized I’d have to leave work early to be there on time. I wasn’t sure about that at all, but somehow not going there was not an option so I carefully inquired if it’d be OK to leave early and nobody had a problem with that.
Come Friday I had all my things for the weekend tour packed, went to work and left well before noon to set out to Cologne. Arrived at the store on time, left my suitcase in B.’s car and joined everyone inside the store close to the stage that was set up in front of some large windows. The guys were soundchecking when we walked in, then left the stage for a little bit and then came back without any big fanfare or announcement. Seeing them again just immediately made me smile. I didn’t have much time to miss them since the February tour, but it did feel like coming home.
Apart from the guitars that were provided by Gibson they had brought just a tambourine, so it was an acoustic gig. Martin was sitting and James standing up during the gig. The setlist was surprisingly long. I had expected them to play 4 or 5 songs, but they played 8. Wow. No surprises, but it was just nice to see them and enjoyable to listen to them. I didn’t count, but the audience consisted of about 30 people I guess, most of which seemed to know the guys.
They started with ‘Turn it up’ and I was reluctant to sing along loudly because most people just listened quietly. It fit the setting though and wasn’t as awkward as it sometimes is at full concerts. ‘Maybe it’s time’ was next and then ‘Wrong Directions’ for which everyone cheered loudly. Surprisingly, ‘Crashing into love’ didn’t lead to any clapping along, even though at least I could not keep my feet still and drummed the beat against my leg. It was a beautiful version, but they have yet to play one I do not like.
For ‘I have to fall’ they asked for someone to take the tambourine, looking at us. We all shook our heads, especially when Martin noted it should be “somebody who has rhythm”. Finally M., and English guy whom I’ve seen at several concerts, took the job and did it quite well. He played with such Hingabe that it was just cute to watch. Finally, after James asked us too, people clapped along as well. ‘Little bits of light’ followed, another one of those songs that I always enjoy.
They ended the set with ‘All over the news’ to much applause. Martin politely asked if they were allowed to play another one and the encore was ‘Wheels’, one of my favorites on the album. The gig had just the right length to not feel too short and it was all relaxed and fun. When they left the stage we cheered so much that for a while there was hope they’d come back but they would not.
We went out and met them in the Gibson bus in groups of two or three. It was nice to sit with them on a sofa and just chat for a little bit. Of course they asked us if we were gonna come to Mannheim and of course we replied that we would and joked that if there was a traffic jam on the way we’d all be stuck in it.
Once out of the bus we all toasted to A. because she got a new job and chatted until the guys left and we decided to go as well. Instead of taking the train as I had originally planned, I opted to go with B. and N. in the car on to Mannheim and the second concert of the day.
Turn it up
Maybe its time
Crashing into love
I have to fall
Little bits of Light
All over the news