I try to break up but I can’t get off this merry-go-round…

Martin and James – Ampere, Munich; February 12th 2012

I try to break up
but I can’t get off this merry-go-round
I can’t get the feelings to show
I keep wondering why
When I’ve shed my sins
I still find it hard to cry

The day started at a hostel in Göttingen, waking up with memories of the previous night. K. and I had spent a long time chatting before finally getting some sleep so we needed some tea to wake us up first. We both enjoyed a quiet morning and neither of us really wanted to leave because we knew it meant saying good-bye.
Later, at the train station, we hugged, then waved at each other across the tracks before our trains took off in diffrent directions – K.’s taking her home and mine towards Munich. I spent the four hours remembering the past gigs and looking forward to the next one.

Everything went smoothly and in the afternoon I met up with my “tour family” once again: B., N. and A. first and later, for dinner with C., L. and ther friend. We avoided the cold as long as possible, but finally went to the Ampere to wait. Except for a handful of teenagers, we had the place to ourselves and were luckily allowed to wait inside most of the time.

When it got close to opening time they kicked us out and admission was the worst I’ve seen this tour. Not only were there no barriers and people who had stood outside ended up in front of those who had been waiting for much longer, but also the security people were rather unfriendly and disorganized. They made a big fuss about my camera and while I don’t mind explaining things and proving that I have permission I do mind if, while tehy are checking me, they let in tens of other people behind me. 🙁 A. also had trouble with being on the guestlist and we barely made it to front row, even though the others tried keeping a spot for us. Luckily the security people inside the venue were friendly.

After some time, water and a nice chat with the woman to my right I felt a lot better. I was slowly thawing and looking forward to the concert. The only trouble was my voice which had slowly disappeared during the day and was now reduced to a mere squeaking noise. It didn’t hurt, but I had no control over it whatsoever. Hence, my usual sing-along was muted (probably much to the enjoyment of people around me as I am not exactly known to be a good singer 😉 ).

Jim started on time, once again supported by George on keyboards. No changes in the setlist, but a lot of energy. The stage was much larger than the previous night so they seemed a bit far away from us, standing on the side. The audience seemingly enjoyed all the songs and there was some singing along going on too. Jim does have some loyal fans that follow him around and even though the “regulars” did not make it to Munich, others did and made it easy for him. I enjoyed his set, but admit that I missed Jonas a little bit. He always looked so happy being there and added so much positive energy, while George was hardly visible from my point of view. He seemed to have fun as well though and he and Jim gave their all for this last gig.

If I’m born too late
The Great Doomsday Story
Faling Apart
Memoires from the Afterlife
The Jailer
Guess that’s what the Gods said
Loser Street
Canary in the Coalmine

Martin and James were a little late -maybe they dragged out the start of the show because they wanted this tour to end as little as we did. They said they were a bit sad that this was the last show. So were we, but sadness never lasts long at one of their concerts. As soon as it started, I was just happy to be there, my tour family by my side and one of my favorite bands on stage.

Like all the nights before ‘She’s light guiding’ started the show and set the mood for what was about to come –  a night of beautiful music and storytelling. ‘Turn it up’ then was the first call for audience participation and determined whether they were easily convinced to take part or slow to respond. This night’s audience was somewhere in-between. the reaction was not overly enthusiastic, but there was a lot more than just polite clapping at the end of the song. It felt right to me and with ‘Maybe it’s time’ the show was rolling.

Lucas joined them on stage, adding some great bass lines. His playing really enriches the songs and I personally love the sound of the stand-up bass. A drummer I can do without, especially since Martin and James do a good job playing drums on their own, but the bass makes the songs sound fuller. The show continued with ‘Wheels’ and ‘Wrong Directions’. ‘One Way forward’ was the first song unknown to many in the audience, but already a favorite for those who have heard it a few times. 🙂

For ‘You’re my window’ James asked us to forget about being polite and clap along instead of just listening. It worked too. 🙂 For me this rearranged version of the song is just amazing. I loved it as it was originally, but this version is so much better. There’s really no need for the guys to get nervous if audience reactions aren’t as strong as they hope. Some people just like enjoying songs quietly. ‘I was blind’ was beautiful and with ‘Bad Dream’ and ‘Live Wires’ to of my favorites were next. Despite being unable to sing along I was totally happy to be there.

‘Love’s not a Fight’ followed and it still has not lost its power over me. Such a beautifully sad song, so much melancholia and too many memories connected to this song. ‘Cynical Skin’ is great too and finally I understood the one line I’d been trying to figure out for weeks. I shared a smile with A. who had done a great job transcribing all the lyrics, but was missing exactly that one line. ‘Hard to cry’ had everyone participating again. I love the song, but there are still a few lines I cannot understand. I might need a few more concerts for that. 😉

‘Little bits of Light’ brought everyone to familiar territory again, before the last two new songs of the night. James explained that ‘Life’s a show’ is about life as a musician, about watching your friends move on with your life while you stay where you are. I liked to hear a bit about the background of the song and wished they told us something about them more often. After 8 shows, ‘The Rope’ remains my favorite among the newest 4 songs. It is so beautiful and speaks to me on a few levels.

‘All over the news’ and ‘Crashing into love’ brought us back to clapping along and took us to the encores. I felt a slight pang of sadness when the guys left the stage, because I knew it would be over soon. When they came back out, I was hoping for a reappearance of ‘With You’ (Waltz), but they didn’t play it again. I enjoyed ‘Somebody’ for the last time then got a good laugh, because getting everyone back on stage and ready for the last song lead to much confusion on stage. ‘I have to fall / Twist and Shout / You shook me all night long’ ended the concert on a high note. Everyone had the chance to party with them one more time, before they called the entire crew back on stage for a final bow.

Once they had left, we gathered out belongings, got drinks, waited for the crowd to clear. I had the chance for a quick chat with Martin and James before it was time to say goodbye to my tour family and leave. I hugged each one of them then said my final goodbye to the guys and got a quick hug from each of them too.

Happily I walked to the subway station and caught my train home. I thought back on the past 11 days, the people I met, the amazing concerts I saw, the nice chats and smiles and everything else. What’s left after the tour are an autographed poster, three CDs (Jim’s and Dan’s), 2 broken drumsticks, around 1000 pictures, a card signed by the guys, a lost voice and countless memories for me to cherish. It was worth every kilometer traveled, every hour I spent at work trying to stay awake and all the freezing I did while waiting outside. I’d do it again in a heartbeat! I sure hope I won’t have to wait too long. 😀

8 concerts down, none to go. Next stop: home.

She’s light guiding
Turn it up
Maybe it’s time

Wrong directions
One way forward
You’re a window
I was blind
Bad Dream
Live Wires
Love’s not a Fight
Cynical Skin
Hard to cry
Little bits of Light
Life’s a Show
The Rope
All over the News
Crashing into Love

I have to fall/Twist and Shout/ You shook me all night long

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