& M? - A concert review by Katrin Wagner:
Concert 101 starts at 8.30 am, when
Karsten and I drive to Gelsenkirchen. SAILOR will play
there with 20 other bands and artists at a huge event
called "Oldie Marathon Auf Schalke" at the
football stadium. The Sweet with "our" Peter
Lincoln will be there too.
Unfortunately the promoter was not helpful, and so we
don't know where to meet the boys yet. Therefore we
decide to drive to the stadium and have a look around.
There we walk to the nearby Marriott hotel and wait
there, joined by Christel. Many of the other bands are
there already, so we hope to be at the right place. Peter
eventually lets us know that The Sweet are one of the few
bands who stay somewhere else, at the Maritime hotel in
town. Well that's just bad luck.
We continue to wait and say hi to some of the other bands
who pass us. Finally, just when our food arrives, SAILOR
get to the hotel too and welcome us. But when they want
to check in it turns out that their names can't be found
in the booking system. Eventually it turns out that they
are also supposed to stay at the other
"M"-hotel in town, and they have to leave
We stay and finish our lunch and then walk over to the
venue. The doors were already opened at 1 pm and the show
is to start at 3 pm, but we were told that the tickets
for the inside of the stadium are valid in all areas, no
matter if front or back.
As we approach the venue, at 2.45 pm, we suddenly hear
Harpo sing inside. Apparently the show started earlier
than planned. And when we finally reach the correct
entrance and pass the security guys, Harpo (whom we
really wanted to see) has just finished his
4-song-performance. Inside we then also realise that the
audinece in front of the stage is blocked by a
safety-border, and only 1000 people were allowed in there
with special passes. Anybody who wants to get near the
stage now can't go in this section. Why wasn't this
mentioned in advance? Our friend Ursula is there, but she
eventually decides to give up her place in front of the
stage to rather join us behind this border and party with
us. Later we are also joined by Andreas.
We enjoy the show and all the bands and singers we've got
to know over the last years. But unfortunately the sound
is bad and blurred, even worse in the back where you can
hardly hear a thing. To add to this, the changing times
for the full live-bands are way too short so that no
soundchecks can be done and monitor sounds aren't there.
Many of them can't hear themselves play. And many
instruments aren't there in the main loudspeakers until
the sound guys change and change their settings. But each
band/artists only gets 3-6 songs, so that usually only
the very last song truly sounds ok.
SAILOR are on at 5.45 pm and play 5 songs plus the
"Champagne Reprise" before they have to leave
again. Unfortunately, their sound guy struggles with
almost everything, so that we can hardly hear any drums
through the entire show, and the first songs only consist
of the sound of Henry's half of the Nickelodeon plus a
bit of guitar. The encore bit is the only song which
sounds acceptable, leaving us all a bit frustrated there
on the right side of the stage in the crowd. But in spite
of all this, our boys deliver a great show and play their
most important old and new hits to a huge audience, which
is very important.
The Sweet are on at 6.50 pm, and, ignoring the rule that
they can only get a very short time to get their
instruments ready and just taking the time that they
need, they sound stunning and ROCK the venue to a
marvellous degree. We're so proud of Peter, watching him
on the big screen (and wishing we could be closer to the
'real him' there on the far away stage). Wow! The
"we want more" shouts go on and on after The
Sweet have left the stage after only 6 songs, and the
host keeps making excuses why they can't play more. I
guess in the time it takes him to explain they could have
done at least 3 or 4 more songs. It's such a shame...
most breaks between the acts take longer than the actual
We stay to watch some more bands, including Shakin'
Stevens, and decide that we'll leave to meet our boys at
their hotel after Middle Of The Road. But when it finally
comes to their performance, it turns out that those are
not the real Middle Of The Road featuring Sally Carr but
another version of the band with the original guitarist
who has his own version of the band, performing with
half-playback. We shake our heads and leave.
At the "other M-hotel" in town we spend some
time with Phil and Tom (as Henry and Nick have already
gone to bed) and watch the results of the Eurovision Song
Contest. Unfortunately we don't get to see Peter, either,
as he spends the evening at the venue with lots of old
friends from the other bands.
And finally, after a long journey home, we get back to
Kassel at 3.40 am.
We had a lot of fun with our friends today. But seeing
how often the word "unfortunately" was used
above you might guess that it was not one of the best
experiences overall. But surely one of the most chaotic
Katrin Wagner, 20 May 2011