Two premieres: the first show in Germany in 2011 and the first solo show of the year
There is one special story which took place before the concert: Roger had invited Tristan Schulz, a twelve-year-old boy to come to soundcheck and to play with him on stage during soundcheck and although they were running late, Roger kept his promise and called Tristan up on stage to play with him. Tristan sat down at the piano and journalists and a few lucky fans who got inivited to join soundcheck were absolutely amazed when Tristan started to play.
Roger is one of the biggest inspirations for Tristan's piano playing. He began playing the piano only three years ago – he actually could play Roger's songs before he could read music and hey, that boy can play! He started to play "Lovers In The Wind” and it was just great – Roger apparently enjoyed Tristan's playing and started to sing in a low voice and the soundcheck attendees got to hear a full and totally new version of "Lovers In The Wind”. When the song was over Tristan got a round of applause from Roger and the small group of people in the auditorium. Roger let Tristan play bits and pieces of a couple of his other songs as well and watching Tristan and Roger there on stage was just wonderful – two musicians sharing their love of music...
Tristan was there with his family - parents and two younger sisters – it was actually the birthday of one of his younger sisters and I bet they will never forget that birthday! Not only soundcheck held a big (if anticipated) surprise for them but during the concert, when Roger and Aaron were playing "School” Tristan joined them on stage as an additional band member – Roger on guitar, Aaron at the keyboard and Tristan at the piano. At some point Aaron took his hands off the keys and Tristan really pulled off that great piano part all on his own! Thank you Tristan and parents for allowing me to share your story!
Take The Long Way Home
Give A Little Bit
Lovers In The Wind
Hide In Your Shell
Easy Does It
Breakfast In America
Rosie Had Everything Planned
Child Of Vision
Lord Is It Mine
Even In The Quietest Moments
Don't Leave Me Now
Two Of Us
It's Raining Again
Roger got announced by Arndt who runs Roger's German homepage and when he came on stage with a newspaper in hand I was wondering what he was up to... He showed us an interview which got published in that newspaper a couple of days ago and the headline was a quote by Roger: "My songs are my children” - after reading that headline out loud, Arndt said: "Roger we love your children and we love you!” and Roger came out to a thunderous applause. Roger settled down at the keyboard and when the applause started to cease, he was ready to start playing – but then he threw a glance at Aaron's side of the stage and - there was no Aaron... A few seconds later he came up on stage and now Roger started playing. As it turned out later, poor Aaron had a cold, so he had an excuse and the audience felt sympathy with him and we were all going "ooooh” to show our compassion when Roger told us about the fact. "Take The Long Way Home” got a lot of clapping along and that magical feeling was right there.
Before the audience could sing along to the second song, a perfect rendition of "Give A Little Bit”, Roger had to tune one of his twelve-strings because they had forgotten about that during soundcheck. Roger said with a laughing face and in his warm voice: "That's not funny!” Howard came up front to hand Roger his iPhone and Roger tuned his guitar via iPhone Tuner. While doing so, Roger told us that the show will be good once it gets going which caused some chuckling in the audience. He looked down on him – jokingly checking whether he had put on his trousers and shoes, pretending to be relieved when discovering that everything was in its place – phew, it was only the guitar that he had forgotten about!
"Hide In Your Shell” caused goosebumps – closing my eyes caused the sensation to become even more intense. Goosebumps on the scalp – I've rarely experienced that before.
The whistling during "Easy Does It” worked out splendidly – people were starting to whistle even before the very first notes and Roger told us not to give it away but there were some really good whistlers in that audience.
"Breakfast” - well, you don't have to say much about those mega hits that Roger wrote in his younger years. Maybe one thing: they sound brilliant when Roger plays them "the way I wrote them – before they were arranged and they got bigger” and the Frankfurt audience audibly and visibly enjoyed "hearing them in a more naked way”.
I will pick out some more of my subjective highlights: I loved "Rosie Had Everything Planned” and "Along Came Mary”, which got some instant cheering from the audience showing that Roger's solo work is equally appreciated.
I was very delighted that "Quietest Moments” made it to the set - that song, just as "The Awakening” and "Mary” has the ability to take you very far away – just close your eyes next time you're attending one of Roger's concerts and watch the magic flow...
The clapping during "Don't Leave Me Now” was not exactly top-notch – we were not able to keep up the characteristic clapping till the end. Even though there was a bunch of really enthusiastic clappers, neither that small but audible group of clappers nor Aaron who was as well beating the rhythm by hitting his thigh with his fist were able to drag the mass along.
But then there was a guy who came up front during "Dreamer” - which Roger dedicated to the dreamer in all of us and especially "those little ones here”, pointing to a young boy in the first row "who are full of dreams”. But back to that guy, who belongs to the older generation of Roger's fans: he came to the front and he made up for those "tired clappers”. He stood right in front of the stage and when Roger started to play "Fool's” that man was doing his own show. He was so much into the music - I enjoyed watching him and although he missed his cue while singing along – he broke into a very loud (at least for the people in the front) "histor... (y recalls)” a bar too early but that did not matter, what mattered was that he was enjoying the music so deeply. Another great addition to "Fool's” was that Roger quoted himself (just in the same way The Beatles did in their song "All You Need Is Love”). Right after the choir part he added one word - a long and yearning "Dreamer” and that fits the mood of that song so perfectly!
For the encores everybody was on their feet and when the last note of "It's Raining Again” had faded a huge final standing ovation sent Roger off to his next show the following day in Stuttgart.