A night at the race track

Martin and James – Maifeld Derby, Mannheim; May 18th 2012, 22:00 

Seeing two concerts by the same band on the same day is a rarity for me, but today it happened. After the acoustic gig in Cologne, B., N. and I drove to Mannheim to see Martin and Jams at the Maifeld Derby. The guys left after we did, but overtook us on the way there and we never caught up to them. Found our hotel with a little difficulty , checked in, met S. and K. who had also driven from Cologne and had some sparkling wine for good mood.

Arrived at the festival area a bit after 8 p.m., found the correct stage and surprisingly got seats in front row. At that time some guy was reading something. The entire situation was quite funny. We got food and drinks, waited.  “Talking to Turtles” played next. Nice, listenable music. They played longer than they were supposed to, pushing Martin and James back to a later time.

The guys set up their drums and guitars, soundchecked a little bit and started playing around 10:15. When we saw Martin pull the setlist from his pocket we joked it might be the one from earlier, because he had taken that with him. It wasn’t though, this one was longer. 🙂

When they started I wasn’t sure how many people in the audience were there to see Martin and James, because the reaction was less enthusiastic than for the previous band. As soon as the first song was over, people were clapping and cheering though. Our spots were perfect too, it was going to be a good night.

Again they started with ‘Turn it up’, ‘Maybe it’s time’ and ‘Wrong Directions’. A good warm up for the audience it set the right mood for everything that followed. The guys were both a little bit drunk, but that didn’t hurt their performance. They announced each song, just in case someone didn’t know them and seemed to enjoy being there.

‘You’re a window’ had everyone clapping along. It was actually hard to remain seated and not jump up. ‘Hard to cry’ and ‘Cynical Skin’ followed. They remained the only new songs of the night. I like both and was glad to hear them again. Not sure how many people in the audience knew the songs already, but quite a few people did. I kept looking at the others, smiling, happy to be there.

It had gotten dark before they started, the night air was cool, but not too cold and we had a roof over our heads. The small stage was just right for the guys, the empty and dark horse racing track behind them giving the sense of being quite isolated. Interestingly enough nothing could be heard from the other festival stages so it felt as if we were all alone on an island of music and light. Beautiful! 😀

‘She’s light guiding’ and ‘Bad Dream’ took us back to the first EP. Both were well received, both are songs I always like hearing. Even after so many gigs with similar setlists I don’t get tired of these songs. They are just too beautiful for that.

The guys told us that we could get drunk together after the concert. That made me grin, wondering if they really wanted some more. They mentioned their merchandise stand too, but didn’t say they would come there so I figured they would not. They deserve some free time once in a while too and as much as I love meeting them, I understand that they are not always in the mood. At one point James thanked the people that “were in Cologne today and then drove all the way here”, smiling at us in front row. <3

‘I have to fall’ had everyone clapping again, but this time Martin kept the tambourine. The acoustics were great, it sounded like a huge audience. I have no idea how many people fit in there though or how many came to watch. I never turned to look. By the sound of it the place must have been packed. Great! Clapping along continued for ‘Little bits of Light’ and ‘Crashing into Love’ finally brought some singing along as well. NO matter how I feel, this song never fails to pick me up.

One of the festival personnel signaled that they had five minutes left. There was only one more song on the setlist: ‘All over the News’. They thanked us and left the stage, but we clapped so loudly and yelled “One more song” for so long that they came back to end the concert with ‘Somebody’. It sounded lovely without the keyboards. 🙂 After that it was over and we left.

Hung out at the merchandise stand for a while, but only Ryan showed up. When we were about to leave James appeared, telling us they had watched one of the other bands. Then I remembered that he had mentioned wanting to do that when we had talked to him and Martin in Cologne. He didn’t stay for long though and Martin was never to be seen.

We took a taxi back to the hotel and chatted for quite some time before finally going to bed, remembering we’d need to wake up again 5 hours later to go to Dachau for the next concert. I just love being on tour!


Turn it up
Maybe its time
Wrong Directions
You’re a window
Hard to cry
Cynical Skin
She’s light guiding
Bad Dream
I have to fall
Little bits of Light
Crashing into Love
All over the News


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