Beautiful venue, beautiful music

Amy Mac Donald / Martin and James – Tanzbrunnen, Cologne, August 20th, 2013

I had not seen Martin and James in ages when they announced they’d support Amy MacDonald in Cologne in August. Immediately I went and bought a ticket for what looked like the only concert I was going to see before their fall tour. It’s always great when they support someone I actually like listening to. 🙂

Arrived around 5 p.m. and found N. and S. near the front. An hours was spent chatting, then we hurried in and got great spots at the front. The Tanzbrunen is a really nice venue with roofs over the center and a sight bowl form so you can see quite well from everywhere. It is also a venue where bands have to start early due to a 10 p.m. curfew. Time went by faster than expected and soon the guys walked on stage.

It was immediately clear they had missed playing as much as we had missed seeing them. Both were in a great mood. Many people cheered even before their first song – this audience knew them already. ‘Maybe it’s time’ was a good start and it only got better from there. James screwed up ‘Crashing into Love’ by starting with the second verse. We laughed at him so he stopped and started again – I don’t think many would have noticed had he just kept on singing, but of course it was much funnier this way. 😀 He actually blushed a little bit too.

Everyone managed to clap along too, for ‘I have to fall’ and other songs. The audience clearly enjoyed the music and didn’t need to be prompted much. The known songs as well as the new ones got positive reactions. The sound was great too – full and clear. For the final song, ‘Mathilda’ they asked us if we could sing along too. Everyone agreed, but during the practice round we failed horribly – even the guys started laughing. During the song, however, we made a pretty good background choir. 🙂

Setlist

Maybe it’s time
Crashing into Love
I have to fall
Wrong directions
My Dog don’t like the rain
Cynical Skin
Life’s a Show
Mathilda

All in all the set was way too short, but well worth the trip to Cologne. 🙂 Since James had told us there was a merchandise stand we decided to leave our places in the front to meet the guys. Imagine our disappointment when there was no merchandise to be found. 🙁 No use crying about it, there was no way back to the front, so we got food and drinks and watched Amy from further back.

Luckily the sound was amazing everywhere in the venue and I even managed to get closer again. Yet the pillars that held the roof were in the way in some places. Still, the audience was in such a great mood that it did not really matter where you stood. Anywhere I went they were clapping, singing and dancing along to the music.

Amy was brilliant. She looked happy to be there and her clear, strong voice carried well even to the last rows. She mixed newer and older songs well and even had an acoustic set in the middle. Before ‘Pride’ she told us she wrote the song after singing the Scottish National Anthem before a big football game and how proud she felt to be asked to do that. Someone in the audience yelled “Sing it here” and she first wasn’t sure about it, but then sang the anthem for us anyway.

I enjoyed being there, soaked up the atmosphere and clapped along to the music. Soon I had forgotten that I was not at the front for once and watched people around me as well as the stage. Seeing their happy faces made it all so much better. When the fun finally set, the evening twilight made it almost magical. When Amy and her band left the stage people yelled loudly for more.  at one point she noted that this might have been the most applause she had ever had.

She covered Jackie Wilson’s ‘Higher and higher’, but one of my highlights was that she chose to start the encores with Springsteen’s ‘Dancing in the Dark’ – her version was a beautiful acoustic performance, she truly made it her own. Three more songs before it finally ended and people left. I joined S. and N. again who had stayed further back.

Stelist

4th of July
Poison Prince
L.A.
Spark
The Game
Mr. Rock & Roll
Slow It Down

Acoustic set
Give It All Up
This Pretty Face

Higher and Higher (Jackie Wilson cover)
Don’t Tell Me That It’s Over
No Roots
Flower Of Scotland (Scottish National Anthem)
Pride
Run
This Is the Life
Life in a Beautiful Light

Encore:
Dancing in the Dark (Bruce Springsteen cover)
The Furthest Star
Barrowland Ballroom
Let’s Start a Band

Finally we discovered Ryan who did have a small merchandise desk, but told us he was not allowed to set it up until some 20 minutes before the end and that Amy did not have merchandise at all. We chatted for a little bit and learned that Martin had already left for Berlin. James was still around but nowhere to be seen. We said goodbye to Ryan and headed out where we hugged for the last time before going our separate ways. See you all in October! 🙂

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