Stop the world, watch the days disappear

The Hooters – Zeche, Bochum; July 17th, 2018

25 years (!) after I had first seen them in Osnabrück, I finally managed to attend my second The Hooters concert and it was everything I could have wished for. Back when I studied I had absolutely loved their music, but lost track of it eventually and did not listen to the band in many years. However, when I discovered a few years ago that they were still around, I thought it would be fun to see them live and that’s exactly what it was. As expected, I still remembered most of the lyrics and had a blast singing along and watching them play. It was a great night.

Since it was a weekday, I went to Bochum straight after work and arrived about 1.5 hours before the doors opened. To my surprise, there were only a handful of people waiting. I would have settled for standing on the stairs in the back but this looked very much like front row. everyone there had seen the band multiple times and talked about it happily. It was great hearing all the stories and time went by fast. Once inside, I ended up left of center, talking to the people around me.

At 8 the lights went down and a familiar looking guy walked on stage – Joe D’Urso! I had not seen him in years and was delighted to have him there. I was also worried, because people outside had told me The Hooters played an almost three hour show and the last bus left at 11:45. First, I enjoyed Joe’s set though. he played a mixture of his own songs and covers from the Jersey shore, among them Springsteen’s ‘The River’ which lead to a great sing-along of the chorus and Willy Nile’s ‘One Guitar’. <3 I was hoping for ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll call’ but that did not happen. It was an entertaining half hour that made me smile.

When Joe was done I tried to fiure out how to ge home in case I was too late for the last bus. People behind me where from my area so I asked them if they could possibly give me a lift and tehy said yes. 😀 There, problem solved. Now I could relax. I took a deep breath and waited for the show to start.

Since Joe had only played guitar, there was not much work to be done on stage and around 8:50 the intro, ‘Karla with a K’ was playing. And here they were, the band I had last seen so many years ago. Older, but still looking familiar and it felt als if no time had passed at all. Already I was smiling. 🙂 Before I knew which song they were actually playing I was singing along and despite the sound being less than perfect at the front, I understood pretty much everything. Knowing the lyrics surely helps. 😉

Anyway, they started with ‘You never know who your friends are’ and then went into ‘I’m Alive’, one of the songs from the only studio album I don’t own. I immediately loved it. There was nothing to do but to love the whole show. They played well and they were obviously having so much fun it was a joy to watch them. They came close, i.e. we were already right up against the stage and they took a few steps forward to play on the edge of it, they interacted with the fans and everyone in the room was having a blast. John, Eric and Rob all posed for me at one point or another and I was still too close (and slow) at time to capture it with my camera. Never mind guys, you did everything you could to give me a good picture. <3

Some of the songs, like ‘Hanging on a heartbeat’ I had almost forgotten, others I remembered well. Soon it was all comig back to me and I happily sang along to ‘All you Zombies’ and ‘Day by Day’, jumpig up an down for pure joy. The first cover version of the night was ‘Boys of Summer’, alwas a favorite of mine. Eric remarked that “Don Henley wrote this one for us, he just didn’t know it at the time”. It was wonderful. ‘Graveyard Waltz’ didn’t not quite manage to bring across the erie atmosphere the song has on the album, but it still worked well and ‘500 miles’ gave us the chance for more singing. They’ve made this song so much their own I keep forgetting that it is a cover too.

They played pretty much all the songs I had hoped to hear, except for ‘Deliver me’ and the setlist was perfectly built for my liking. In-between their hits they threw in some lesser known songs and quite a few, often unexpected covers too. Within the first thirty minutes or so I found myself dancing and was already sweating bucketloads, especially when they turned on the full stage lights. How they even managed to stand that heat on stage I will never know. All the songs brought back happy memories of times long gone and old friends from university whom I have not seen in years. From time to time, I even choked up a little, feeling tears of happy nostalgia burn in my eyes. I had known this concert would make me happy, I had not expected it would make me this happy. 🙂

Occasionally I took a peak at Fran’s setlist to see what was coming, but for most of the time I forgot the world around me and got lost in the music. Everything was beautiful and I wanted the night to last forever. I sang my heart out and was surprised at how much of the words I remembered after all this time. It didn’t matter if they sang their original songs or covers, I loved each and every one of them. The music is amazing. The songs are great to sing along to and while most of them do not carry any special meaning for me, some still touched my heart and all of them are certainly entertaining. I had come to ride the nostalgia train and have some fun and boy, did these guys deliver. 😀

‘Silver Lining’ was another song I didn’t know yet, but enjoyed very much, followed by a piece by Johann Sebastian Bach that Eric performed on guitar. It sounded familiar, but I do admit I did not know which one it was. My knowledge of classical Music is way too limted. It was very cool though and eric was probably right in claiming thad if Bach were alive today, he’d dig this electric guitar version.

The main set ended with the powerful triology of ‘Satellite’, ‘Johnny B’ and ‘And we danced’. ‘Johnny B., a successful single back in the 80ies was the first The Hooters song I knew, ‘Satellite’ is still one of my favorites on the ‘One Way Home’ album and ‘And we danced’ is just perfect to end a set because it leaves the crowd on high energy. It was Fan’s birthday that night so during the band introduction the crew came out and showered him with streamers and confetti. 🙂 Strangely enough, nobody in the audience sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to him, but  the band played a cover of The Beatle’s ‘Birthday’. It was a fun moment!

For the acoustic set, everyone came to the front and I finally got a good look at David, who’d been hidden behind the drums until then. He got a small drum kit at the front, Rob played accordion and Eric banjo among other Instruments. It was a lovely mix of songs from those I knew and loved well (‘Nervous Night) to those I had never heard (‘Until I find you again’) to cover songs (‘Come ye all’, ‘Fly like an eagle’). For the first time ever I came to like ‘Mr. Big Babboon’, which they announced as a song about politics. Suddenly it all made sense. 😀

They left and were soon back for a set of encores that did not leave much to wish for. After an great solo by Tommy, they launched into ‘Give the Music’ back’, the motto and title of the current tour and went from there to the gorgeous ‘Time stand still’. At that moment I really wished I had the powers to make time stop, just for a little while. ‘Boys will be Boys’ was pure fun and ‘One of us’, a song Eric has written for Joan Osbourne was beautiful. For the second time in three days I heard a cover of Cindy Lauper’s ‘Time after Time’. It was completely different from the one Queen V had played the previous Sunday, but just as good.

The final option on the setlist was ‘Beat up guitar’ and sadly that wasn’t played, but the concert ended on the most unexpected cover versions of them all: Peter Schilling’s ‘Völlig losgelöst’, in German! It was pretty amazing and everyone in the room was singing along. 😀 It ended the show on a high note, leaving me equally happy and exhausted.  Rob came by and shook hands (which I missd because I was looking elsewhere), Tommy and John threw a few guitar pics and in the end all the guys got in line and walked off waving. What a show! I knew the band would come out to talk, but I opted for leaving, said goodbye to everyone and took the bus back to the train station, already knowing I’ll do my best to see them again next tour.

Setlist

You Never Know Who Your Friends Are
I’m Alive
Hanging on a Heartbeat
Day by Day
All You Zombies
The Boys of Summer (Don Henley cover)
Graveyard Waltz
500 Miles (Hedy West cover)
Silver Lining
Unknown (it was a piece by Johann… more )
Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds (The Beatles cover)
Where Do the Children Go
Karla With a K
Twenty-Five Hours a Day / Jigs
Satellite
Johnny B
And We Danced

acoustic set
Come All Ye (Fairport Convention cover) .
Nervous Night
Until I Find You Again
Fly Like an Eagle (Steve Miller Band cover)
Mr. Big Baboon

Encore:
Guitar Solo Tommy Williams
Give the Music Back
Time Stand Still
Boys Will Be Boys
Birthday (The Beatles cover)
One of Us (Joan Osborne cover)
Time After Time (Cyndi Lauper cover)
Major Tom (Völlig losgelöst) (Peter Schilling cover)

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Feel my soul now next to yours and make this minute last

Marina V / Queen V / Markus Michelucci – Acoustic Sanctuary, Boondocks, London; July 15th, 2018

When I discovered that amongst Marina V’s US tour Dates was one concert in London and on a weekend too, I immediately checked if I had time to go. It had been almost a year since I’d last seen her live and I was in the mood for some of her music. Thus, I planned, I booked and set out for an amazing long weekend in London where the Acoustic sanctuary concert that Marina did together with Markus Michelucci and Queen V was only one of many Highlights. The days I spent there were full of culture, long walks, nice people, protest and good times. I was so happy I made the decision to go. Marina and the other two musicians were brilliant. The concert alone made the trip worthwhile.

Arriving in London on Friday in time for the women’s march and general anti-Trump protest, I spent many hours walking the streets and bringing noise together with other protesters. It was a colorful crowd and made me feel like I’m not alone. That was only the beginning of my weekend and apart from exploring much of London on foot I managed to see ‘A Winter’s Tale’ at the Globe Theater at a midnight matinee and the awesome ‘Bat out of Hell’ musical. Only on day three it was time for the concert. It was also the day of the Football world cup finale and the restaurant where it took place was showing the game, but since England was out it didn’t draw many people. I arrived early enough to have some food beore the gig and chat with D., the organizer of the concert beforehand. There were two other artists apart from Marina and I was looking forward to hearing both of them.

The concert took place in a nicelly decorated basmet room with music sheets for wallpaper and a few rows of seats in front of a small stage. A few of us had come to see Marina, a few to see Markus. When Marina and Nick arrived we had said hello and got to talk for a bit before the gig. It was a nice atmosphere and I wished more People had come to see. My friend L. was planning to drop by, but didn’t make it in the end. It ended up being an intimate concert.

Eventually everyone setttled down and Markus Michelucci entered the stage. He joked about everyone having trouble pronouncing his Italian last name and entertained us with small stories between songs. He just brought a guitar and his voice and I enjoyed everything he played, even thouh I cannot remember the title of even one of the songs. I do remember that one was about a friend who is also a muscian. He told me after that he will be playing in Germany this year so I’ll be on the lookout for tourdates. Bought his CD too, but have not had a chance to listen to it yet.

Marina was up next and started solo piano with ‘Fire in the Sky’ the introduced Nick told us how everyone had let them borrow instruments to play on for this concert. <3 Apparently though the micstand was shitty and kept dropping which led to a few funny moments during the gig. 😉 We learned that Marina won an award for their song ‘You make me beautiful’ last time they were in London. The Award was presented by Sir Bob Geldorf and somehow being in London involved an accidental massge by Vanilla Ice – for Nick. 😀 The song was played beautifully too.

She told us the story how she came to the US on a scholarship at 15 and returned later and met Nick. It turned quite funny, because somehow she felt the need to assure us she was older than 15 when she met Nick and he commented on what we might think about that. “I have no idea where I was going with that”. It all led to playing ‘Run’ in the English/Russian Version. 🙂

After a few technical difficulties we got to hear a lovely rendition of ‘Together Alone’ She then made us guess the next song. It was Neil Diamond’s ‘Solitary Man’ traslated to Russian. I’m still not sure I have ever heard the original of this song, but I love this cover. <3 It was funny too, because nobody answered when she asked us if we knew Neil Diamond and she had to ask again before she got a reaction so she joked that we left her standing there like an idiot. Marina thanked us for coming and mentioned those of us she knew had traveled to be there.

It was a night of many stories.We heard about the vacation Marina and Nick had just taken in Italy before coming to London. Judging by the pictures she posted it must have been beautiful. 🙂 Someone had requested an older song called ‘Make this Minute last’ and I’m not sure I’ve ever heard it live if at ll. It was beautiful. Nick needed to take a break, because he suddenly could not stop coughing. It seemed contagious too, because someone in the audience started coughing as well. It was kinda funny. D. asked for Marina’s cover of ‘Don’t cry’ and immediately I went down memory lane, because it was one of the songs she played when I saw her for the first time in Tucson. She could not remember the lyrics though and gave us ‘Speak’ instead.

There was time for one final song and she announced it as a song about being the best we can be and making the most of every moment. We would even have to sing – with three professional musicians in the audience it should work out. After the first try Marina told us to “put some balls into it” even those of us without balls. 😉 That went better. I could have listened to the music for a few more hours, but this was the perfect last song, leaving us on a happy note.

Setlist

Fire in the Sky
You make me beautiful
Run
Together Alone
Solitary Man (Neil DIamond cover)
Make this Minute last
Speak
Born to the Stars

Queen V in the end had a great voice and played a mixture of her own songs and some covers. she was all about being vegan (hence the V in her Name), but her songs, despite being announced as “vegan songs” were much more universal. I loved her voice and when she started playing she totally made ne think of Amanda Palmer, but soon the Impression was gone and I realized she had a style of her own, which I liked. One of the covers she played was Cindy Lauper’s ‘Time after Time’. She was a great addition to the other two artists, they all fit together well.

It was a lovely evening overall and the ongong joke of the night was they should all change their last Name to “V”. I had the chance to chat with everyone afterwards, told them each how much I had enjoyed it and hung out until they all left. It as still warm outside when I walked back to my hostel so I enjoyed a bit of the bautiful summer night before going to bed with the music still playing inmy head.

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