October 8

There’s Always a Reason to Visit Hamburg!

I must have mentioned it at some point in this blog, I suppose. If not, you must know that I’m very much a person of the North. While not being born there (I come from the Mid-West), I have always felt drawn to the North of this country, rather than the South. I have never understood why the majority of tourists favor Bavaria that much. Maybe because, for them, it “represents” more what people think is typically German? Or because of the architecture? The f-cking beer steins? The typical folklore? The mountains? Whatever. Munich is nice and all, but no comparison to Hamburg. Please!!! (And yes I know, it’s all a matter of taste, so please, dear Bavaria lovers, keep loving Bavaria!)

Anyway. Hamburg is a minimum 4 hour drive from Velbert… usually more, so it takes a reason to go there. Like, seeing a concert or a musical. This time it was a concert. More about that later.

First off, after arriving at our hotel, we took a walk into the city centre and the Alster region. Right down there is café/restaurant ALEX. ALEX is a chain, you find them in many bigger cities. ALEX Hamburg however, must be the one with the best view. The place is always packed, you usually get a table during regular times though. It’s quite large.

We didn’t want to stay for long… only breathing some fresh air, taking in the view from the patio, and enjoying their home made drink made of fresh lime juice and fresh mint. So good!!!

Cute little guest

After spending some time in the city, it was time to go back and get ready for the show. We’d be seeing Alexander Knappe. He’s a German singer/songwriter who once took part in one of the many casting shows. He didn’t win, but as we know, that doesn’t have to mean anything.

We had actually never heard of him until Lee had announced he’d be supporting him almost 2 years ago. Lee’s manager knew Alexanders tour manager and so we got two photo passes and were officially allowed to take pics during Lee’s performance and also the usual “three songs no flash” during Alexander’s performance. That was pretty cool!

That way we got familiar with Alexander’s songs and him as a performer and we actually liked what we saw and heard. Great voice, amazing stage presence and way to communicate with his audience, very energetic and passionate, and REAL. He seems very real to me. We bought his two albums and the more I listened to them, the more I liked his songs. And not only the music, but also the lyrics. I’m not that much of a lyrics person to be honest. If lyrics are great but the overall song sucks and I don’t like the music, then I don’t like the song. If the music and vibe of a song is great but the lyrics are simple, the song can still be great. With him, it’s a combination of both. I love his way with words and I love the stories that he tells in his songs. We saw him live about a year ago again in a very small club in Düsseldorf and loved it very much.

He’s done it before and now does it again: playing live shows with the support of a full orchestra. He usually does that in Cottbus, his hometown. But now he’s travelled to Hamburg with band and orchestra and here we were, to check it out. It took place at Hamburg’s Audimax, which is the largest lecture hall in Hamburg and belongs to the Hamburg University. It’s also regularly used for events. It holds more than 1600 people.

Beer of choice of course HAS to be Astra, the well known and popular beer brand of the city.

Showtime!

The Good:
As I have said above: Alexanders performances are always great (at least the ones we’ve seen so far) and this one wasn’t an exception. We love his songs and his passionate performances and his voice. The even fuller sound added with the orchestra worked really really well!

They had set up a small bar onstage and shortly after the beginning Alex went into the audience and picked out two people, a guy and a girl, to sit at the bar. I was reminded of a Bon Jovi tour where exactly that was done… fans could sit onstage for a while throughout the show. Here, it were just these two and they could stay there for the complete show, getting free drinks. Very cool!

It was towards the end of the show, when we learned what all this was for: After Alexander had played his song Wenn meine Welt die Augen schließt, he pointed to the two, the spotlight went to them, and then the guy started proposing to what was obviously his girlfriend. OMG. Now THAT was touching. Because the words he said before he went down on his knees were so so so sweet… I think there was not one dry eye in the house anymore. Seems like those two had met at a show for the first time and have seen several more since then. Today was their anniversary of having met for the first time, and during all their time together, the song that Alexander had just performed, was “their” song. And now he went down and asked her “do you want to marry me” and she said “yes” and the place went WILD!!!! Ha! You keep hearing about guys proposing at concerts but it was the first time that I’ve experienced it for myself. Couldn’t help but shedding a tear 🙂

The Not So Good:
There were quite some musical guests. Everyone seemed to be fine with them and everyone seemed to know all these people. We didn’t know a single one though. And weren’t super psyched about any of them. We really could have done without them and heard more Alexander songs instead. But since the audience seemed to be fine with it, it was ok. I see that such a special event asks for some special things, rather than just playing songs and that’s it. I see how someone would bring the one or other friend onstage to jam with them. I don’t blame him. It was fine. It’s just hat we both could have lived without all of them. But really, that was the only “issue” we had. Otherwise it was all worth travelling to Hamburg.

That pic was taken down in the foyer at the bar. It’s difficult to read but it says “Musik an. Welt aus.” Which is basically his motto and also the name of a song. It means: Music on. World out.

Please check out one of my fave songs by him: “Lauter Leben”

And another one: “In den Morgen”.

I really really don’t understand why that guy isn’t on the radio all the time. Where please is he ‘worse’ than e.g. Andreas Bourani or Tim Benzko or so many other German singer/songwriters I could name here. I don’t get the whole music business.

 

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