Amy Macdonald – Onabrückhalle, Onabrück; March 28th, 2019
I’ve always liked Amy Macdonald, i.e. ever since I stumbled into her concert in 2012, not knowing who she was and wanting to see Martin and James supporting her, I’ve done my best to see one show each tour. So when I heard about special acoustic gigs, I bought a ticket on day one. It was a good decision and not only because concerts with extra strings added seem to be the thing for me this year. I had a wonderful time throughout. 🙂
Getting to Osnabrück was delayed as usual. The trains going towards Hamburg almost always are. The same can’t be said for the trains on the way back though. The earlier one is usually on time, which means missing the encores and the later one is usually delayed which not only means having to spend two hours at the train station or in the vicinity killing time, but also having to take a taxi home once I have reached Dortmund. This night, I chose option one. First I needed to get there though. The 40 minute delay did not make ne happy, but I arrived half an hour before show start. Luckily this was a seated concert.
The hall is familiar to me, but so far I’d only seen general admission concerts there without any seats. This time the stage was lower than that and I had a great view from front row. There were three podiums set up for the band, but I could not yet see which Instruments they would play, because first it was time for support act Glen Rosborough. He was singing as well as playing guitar and he had a drumer with him. I liked his voice and enjoyed the Songs. They had a good beat to it and I think the lyrics weren’t bad either. However, they did not really speak to me. He had just released an EP and told us he ws from Derry and how the second song was about that. I cannot remember the title though. The highlight of his set was the acoustic cover of ‘True love will find you in the end’. Everything else was a good warm up for the concert though. No complaints there.
Fall to Earth
True love will find you in the end (Daniel Johnson cover)
In the Moment
It was about 9 pm when Amy and her band stepped on stage. There were no drums, but a guitar, a bass (a stand up one even), a violin, a cello (! :D) and a piano. Looking good so far. They started out with ‘Woman of the World’ and it sounded beautiful. I was smiling already, this was going to be good. 🙂 She told us how she had started making music when she was just a teenager and how this tour was going to bring us songs she especially enjoyed playing live in new arrangements. The show continued with ‘Spark’ and unexpectedly I was in tears. I loved it when songs move me so much that I cry. <3
From the start it was an evening of great music and lots of stories. Amy was more talkative than I remembered her ever being and despite her worry that we might just not understand her Scottish accent I had no trouble with that at all and enjoyed listening. She shared her ‘Pride’ for Scotland, letting us know how she had gotten to sing their national anthem a few times “before we invariably lost at football” and also told us how she loved touring in Germany and was doing it so much she had to be careful not to say “Dankeschön” in other countries. She spoke about Brexit too, what a mess it was and wondered if they could get stuck outside of Britain if it happened while they were on tour noting that it would not be so bad. ‘The Rise and the Fall’ was introduced as being about something completely different, but sounding like she had already known back when she wrote it that Trump and Brexit were to happen. Nobody laughed and she wondered if we did not understand her, because “this was supposed to be lighthearted chatter”. Not so light apparently. 😉
I loved all of it though, the music as well as the stories that gave it context. It was great to hear about life on tour (“I went to bed in Paris and I woke up in Osnabrück”), memories of nice venues and especially about her beginnings. Before ‘Leap of Faith’ we learned that she was supposed to go to university when she got a record contract and decide to just go for it. The university promised to hold a place for her for one year and when they wrote to remind her a year later, her career had already taken off and she never replied. They might still be wondering what became of her. 😉
The new arrangements of the songs were gorgeous and each one was lovely in its own right, some softer and others more powerful. For ‘Automatic’ she told us the were going to rock “As much as you can in an acoustic setup”. I could not sit still and jumped up together with others. It started a revolution of people getting out of their seats for the second time that night. The first time, I think, was during ‘Don’t tell me that it’s over’ and I saw the piano player smile when we did. People going along prompted Amy to tell us about two girls at the back of the balcony that had been dancing since the start and confiding that “sometimes you only play for one person” and tonight was going to be fore them. We also heard about the in-ear monitors blocking out all the sound, but them having some microphones so she could get some atmosphere. This, however, leads to hear “the most obnoxious of you” or “the ones who can’t sing at all” 😀
It was a fun night and despite the monitors someone asked a question. She joked “Is this a q & a now?” but answered anyway. Inquiring minds wanted to know why she had colored her hair and the answer was that the blond covers grey much better and then dark hair required a touch up every week. I nodded, this is very familiar to me. All of her talking was very relatable and made me feel like I was getting to know her a little. <3 Between playing her amazing music she shared the happiness and also the stress of life as a musician and how much pressure was put on her as she started out. It must have been quite overwhelming to have been on tour for to years and be expected to have an album ready.
I don’t want to repeat everything she said, but at the end of the evening I had a much better image of Amy than before and liked her even better than I already had. It sounds like all she did was talk, but the main thing were her wonderful songs. The setlist was as perfect as it gets, with so many of my favorites in there. Some songs sounded close to how they usually are, at least as far as I remembered, but others were vastly different and this mixture was very enjoyable for me. I did not remember many of the lyrics, so there was not much singing along on my part. Just listening for a change was a very nice experience though.
Towards the end of the set she mentioned how her mum is very much a pessimist, explaining while some people’s glasses are half full and other people’s are half empty “my mum’s glass is shattered on the floor”. 😀 Thus, she learned to always expect the worst, which comes in handy, because you often get pleasantly surprised if you do. It made sense to me and ‘Prepare to fall’ drove the point home. 🙂 The last song of the main set that I heard was ‘This is the Life’, always a fan favorite.Again, people were out of their seat and judging by what I saw it was everyone this time. It sure is the perfect song to dance to and many were moving wit the music.
Unfortunately I had a train to catch, so I left when it got momentarily dark after it was over. I would have loved to stay and felt sorry I had to go, but at least I got the perfect sent off. I had loved all of the show up to this point and was really happy about the fact that I was going to have another one after the weekend. That thought made up for missing the last few songs. Still humming, I made my way to the train station and had music playing in my head all the way home. Thank you Amy, I cannot wait to see you again in Essen!
Woman of the World
The Rise & the Fall
Never too late
Mr. Rock n Roll
Leap of Faith
Don’t tell me that it’s over
Give it all up
Down by the water
Prepare to fall
This is the life
What happiness means to me
Left this body long ago
Life in a beautiful light