Frank Turner – FZW, Dortmund; April 19th, 2022
Frank Turner’s gig with the Sleeping Souls in Dortmund was m third concert this year, but somehow it felt like the first. It almost seemed like everything was back to normal, only when Frank mentioned how much he had missed playing in front of an audience instead of a computer screen I was reminded how long it’s been since any of this was my “normal”.
By my standards I arrived late to the venue, but still 30 minutes before the doors opened. Got in line and was glad to see I was not the only one still wearing a mask. Indoor shows without them still make me nervous, especially when they are sold out. Once inside I decided to head for the balcony instead of the front and it prove to be a good choice. I had a great view and it was a lot less crowded than it looked like on the floor below.
The room filled, the lights went down and most people removed their masks. I felt safer keeping mine o, even though it made singing more difficult. First up were Pet Needs, a punk band that played support that night. They played a good show, if not exactly my taste and got people to go along. Nice band, good vibes and an audience hungry for concerts.
Around 9 it was time for the main event and we greeted them loudly. I think it was after the first song that Frank told us how much he had missed being in front of a real audience, whose response he can see and hear. He asked for whom this was the first show post Covid and many hands went up. I was lucky with still seeing my share of concerts the past two years.
Despite not knowing his songs all the well, I was immediately swept up by the atmosphere. People went along from the first moment and soon I moved with them. with ‘photosynthesis’ and ‘The Road’ I was singing too and fet happiness surge through me. From time to time I looked over at the woman to my left, who stood there with her daughter, while her younger on was at the front with his dad for his first ever show – and what a great one it was.
The band power through the songs, clearly having fun and playing their hearts out. Frank was moving all over the stage, singing and playing with passion, while the audience hung on to his lips and followed every word. It felt like nothing had changed and yet the loss of the past two years was hanging in the air still. Of course he told us not to be arseholes and to sing along and hell yeas we did.
A dancing circle formed at the center of the floor, there was lots of pogoing going on and yet people really were considerate of those around them. Some crowd surfed, all had fun and whenever Frank talked between songs, everyone listened. It was magical. He talked about his complicated relationship with his father before playing ‘Fatherless’ and later gave us ‘Miranda’ to show things had turned out OK. It made me happy to hear ‘Polaroid Pictures’ and I loved the setlist overall.
The band went out for a break so we were told to greet them with loud cheers once they returned. The set started with ‘The Ballad of me and my Friends’. It was brilliant. ‘Redemption’ was dedicated to a guy in the audience, whose name Frank hat forgotten, but who was clearly delighted to get his request played. “I wrote this a few years ago,” Frank introduced the next song, “I thought I#d play it for a bit and then things would be OK, but the world has gone even crazier.” I am paraphrasing here, but that was the gist of it and the song was ‘Be more kind’. He dedicated it to his friend in the Ukraine and in Russia. It brought tears to my eyes and I cried as I sang along.
Towards the end of the song the Sleeping Souls were back and as promised we greeted them loudly. They turned the power up a notched and brought the house down. I was jumping and dancing while smiling more than I had in a long time. “THIS!” I though “THIS!” It’s the one thing I can never explain to the people who don’t go on tours like I do, the feeling of being one with everyone else in the room, carried by the music, the feeling when all worries disappear. Every song was spot on and the main set ended with ‘Recovery’.
We clapped and cheered them back to the stage in no time and got and amazing encore, starting with ‘A Wave across a bay’ that Frank has written for his friend Scott Hutchinson after his suicide. It was beautiful. With ‘Haven’t been doing so well’ he surely spoke to all of our hearts, but he didn’t leave us there and the show ended with ‘Get better’ and finally ‘I still believe’ that we all sang along to at the top of our lungs. I walked out with a smile on my face feeling restored and reborn. Thank you Frank, thank you Sleeping Souls – that was absolutely perfect.
Four Simple Words
I Am Disappeared
Peggy Sang the Blues
If Ever I Stray
The Ballad of Me and My Friends
Be More Kind
The Way I Tend to Be
I Knew Prufrock Before He Got Famous
The Next Storm
Try This at Home
A Wave Across A Bay
Haven’t Been Doing So Well
I Still Believe