Here comes the long summary of a very interesting evening – at least that's what Roger himself said about it: "I hope you've enjoyed this very interesting evening – it's been very different...”. You will know what he was talking about when you have read this review. I have loved every single second of this "interesting and different" evening.
Take the long way home
Give a little bit
Lovers in the wind
Hide in your shell
Easy does it / Sister Moonshine
Rosie had Everything Planned
Along came Mary
Only Because of You / Lord is it mine
Don't leave me now
It's Raining Again
Roger and Aaron got huge ovations right from the start and Roger told us that they had just finished their South America tour and they were suffering from jetlag but they hid that very well! Or maybe they had projected their jetlag onto the equipment, but more on that later.
The first four songs were just brilliant and Roger dedicated "Lovers in the Wind” to Huguette from France. She is a member of the French Fan Club and some of it's members had shown up in their Fan Club T-shirts. After "Hide in your Shell” we were in for the first treat of this special night. Roger played a wonderful version of "Puppet Dance”, a song from his second solo album and he told us this: "... you know, one thing we have in common – we have many things in common – but there are times in our lives when we have to face something very difficult, we have to say good-bye to someone who we love, someone who's close to us and they leave this world and it's a very difficult time and I think it is always a very powerful time 'cause we really remember – for a short while at least – what is important in life. I lost someone close to me and I was able to express, or try to express what I was feeling in a song and this is the song – it's called Puppet Dance.”
After that it was our turn to whistle to "Easy does it” but we did not really do a very good job and so we got no comment whatsoever from Roger, which was just fair.
After "Sister Moonshine” Aaron was talking German and Roger told us once again that he was the one who has taught Aaron our language and Roger spurred Aaron on to give us some more and Aaron said:” Ist Roger nicht super?” (Isn't Roger great?) and after another round of applause, Roger said: "Enough of that".
Then we were in for the next treat and that one we owe to the French Fan Club. Roger played a brilliant live version of "Surely” for his "friends from France”. When he had ended "Surely”, he asked Aaron: "What next?" and he continued with "Rosie had everything planned”.
After "Breakfast in America” Roger wanted to play "Along came Mary” which turned into great fun for Roger, Aaron and the audience. Roger announced it saying that this is a song from an album he recorded ten years ago in France and how he had spent a wonderful year in Brittany back then and after some obligatory cheering from the audience (me) he started to play but just when Aaron was getting ready to play his part, Roger pushed that foot pedal in front of him which caused his 12-string to make a very strange sound, it was reminding me a bit of Jimi Hendrix and it was quite an interesting sound but it was not meant to sound like that at that stage so Roger stopped playing and he was really enjoying that new sound which he had just discovered. He was laughing with Aaron and he was recreating the sound and playing around with it a bit more and I so loved that – sheer joy up on that stage and that's contagious!
The last song before intermission was "The Logical Song” which earned them a thunderous applause and I think I heard Roger singing in German there: instead of "one – two – three four” he sang "eins – zwei – drei - vier” and then Huguette presented Roger with some beautiful flowers which remained on the piano for the rest of the show and Roger even rearranged them (he put them right in the middle of the piano) before playing "Only Because of You/Lord is it Mine” during the second half. And in case you're wondering: Aaron got a gift as well, genuine French sweets.
But before we came to "Only Because of You/Lord is it Mine”, this evening turned into this very interesting and very different night which Roger was referring to at the end of the show. After the intermission Roger sat down at the keyboard and attempted to play "Child of Vision” which was very much appreciated by the audience but after only a few notes Roger stopped and asked Howard Heckers, the sound tech, whether he had only one side as well. As it turned out they were having a problem with sound, so that only one side of the venue would have been able to hear Roger. Roger was joking that we should talk amongst ourselves and if we were nice, Aaron might tell us a joke or two. Aaron gave us a little tap-dance impromptu instead which was very well received and after Howard had come up front as well to figure things out, Roger sat down at the keyboard again and we were in for the next treat of this concert (although Roger might not have looked at it like that). We were getting an exclusive interview. First of all, Roger told us how he had met and "kidnapped” Aaron and Aaron told us that Roger is just a great guy to work with – genuine as a musician, a professional, a person and a friend. Roger said that there is a lot of mutual respect and that they are having a lot of fun – except when things like that happen!
As the problem was still not solved, Roger asked: "Well, what else can we tell you?” and someone from the audience yelled: "How was South America?” Roger answered that it is not an easy thing to sum up South America but he told us quite a few of his impressions and that was another very special feature of that night which I found just great. It is simply admirable how graciously Roger and Aaron handled this situation. The two told us how much they appreciate German audiences but it became obvious that Roger is a person who sees the positive aspects in all of his audiences and this conversation became pretty much a discussion about different cultures in general and how we should concentrate more on the positive aspects of our very own cultures and let them grow (i.e. the positive aspects, or maybe both). Anyway, this is my summary of what he said and I apologize for not having a transcription at hand...
Finally they got at least the guitars to work properly and Roger told us that he would sing "The Awakening” now – if you want to know more about that one, go back and check the Heilsbronn review from last year. - Sorry for that but otherwise this will end up the longest review that you have ever read. Oh, one more thing: before actually playing "The Awakening” Roger was having a bit more fun with his newly discovered guitar-sound.
After that finally the sound was working again and they played "Child of vision” - Aaron at the piano – just marvellous! When they played "Don't leave me now” it was my first time of experiencing an audience which did the characteristic clapping (you know what I mean) and we really did manage to keep it up till the end! Roger was pushing us further by extending that last note into a veeery long last note and then he made us stop in the manner of a conductor – and even that worked - well almost. From where I was seated, it sounded like it had worked completely and the audience had immediately stopped but I heard from some guys in the backrows that there were a few people who continued with another clap or two after Roger had made this cut-it-off gesture. I sometimes wonder how much of that an artist up on stage is able to perceive...
Before "Dreamer” Roger told us that this was for the dreamer in all of us and then he held up a picture drawn by a young boy in the audience. This boy's favourite song is "Dreamer” and this was the second dedication for that night and another highlight - at least for the little dreamer. After "Dreamer" someone else had a great experience: A young lady from the audience climbed up on stage and gave Roger a hug!
After that we had already come to the last song which was "” and this one is so powerful. Last night I closed my eyes and let the waves take me – I was swaying back and forth without willingly controlling that movement. I just let it happen.
The two encores were "School” and "It's raining again” - during the latter at least one umbrella got unfolded by French Fan Club members and everyone was singing and dancing – we had started to dance and come up front during "Dreamer” and even for "Fool's Overture” no-one got back to their seats – everyone was standing there in front of the stage. Oh, I almost forgot to tell you about "School" and how Roger and Aaron were having fun once again with the new "wawa"-sound of the guitar. When Roger was singing: "don't do this ---- and don't do that ----" he added "wawas" inbetween and Aaron and Roger had to laugh. When the last encore was over and Roger and Aaron had hugged each other, Roger would have liked to say some more words but unfortunately the microphones had already been deactivated. I guess Howard and his crew were very glad that this "very different” night was over, but no-one in the audience was!
Thank you all for another marvellous and magical night. The artists on stage and those behind the scenes who put this all together for us may not think that it was perfect but you don't need perfection to transport what Roger gives to his audiences – this is so much more and sometimes I get the impression that immaculate sound and bombastic light shows are a bit sterile and an artist can hide perfectly well behind that. Strange sentence to end a review with, so I will end with this instead: There is nothing that we know just watch the magic flow.