Mainz ~ 07-15-12
by Elke Beckett
The Mainz concert started with soundcheck for me – Thank you for making these things possible! And I just have to write about this soundcheck. At the beginning, there were Aaron, Bryan, David and Kevin on stage and they were doing a great jam session! They were having fun and it felt like attending a gig in a first class club somewhere. Roger was busy with lots of TV and radio stuff (some interviews and I guess lots more stuff) and when he joined his band on stage, they played a couple of bits and pieces and he also played „The More I Look" which was very intense for me. That song in combination with that empty venue (not counting security and staff), the wind and an old majestic maple tree turned this into something very special. There is this old maple tree in the middle of that venue under which Howard's sound tent was situated and next to which we were standing for soundcheck. I leaned onto the tree with my right shoulder and closed my eyes while Roger was playing „The More I Look". There was quite a bit of wind blowing at that time (it completely ceased later) and the wind moved me back and forth in waves, like the branches of that maple tree as the music was coming from the stage. Tears started flowing – about a recent loss, about missed opportunities, about easy times coming and going so quickly and about how we weap and learn. It was just a wonderful experience – the more I look the more I see...
But now on to the concert – there was an opener tonight, a young artist, his name is Mic Donet and he was doing a great job. Later, when Roger was on stage, I could see Mic and his keyboarder watching from behind the stage and it was a pleasure to see their faces - here were two young musicians being really impressed by Roger and his band.
Roger and his team are having a couple of mad summer weeks as far as their schedule is concerned and Roger told us that they just arrived from Belgium and that they were all a bit tired – I find that honesty just overwhelming. But had he not mentioned it, I don't think that anyone there would have realized it. Roger and the band - they all put on such a great show tonight and I'd call that simply amazing - with a schedule of seven concerts in the past ten days – all over Europe and that means, one night a gig in Cognac, then the next one in Luxemburg - that's a distance of 900 km (560 miles), then Germany, then Belgium, Gerrmany again and tomorrow Spain.
I digress but I think this needs to be said more often – people just come to a concert not having the slightest idea of what it takes to put on such immaculate shows as Roger and his team do.
Some of my very subjective highlights: Roger introduced the band „bit by bit" tonight. After playing „Lady", he introduced David „who provided the greatest 'boomboomboom' ever" during that song. Roger said how glad he was to have him onboard „as he is such a gentle soul" - and I am just beginning to realize all of those subtle changes that the band is bringing. It's evolving and sometimes it seems that I try to block evolution. It was only tonight that I realized how great „The More I Look" sounds with band – seems that I have been clinging onto the live solo versions of that song so much that I did not allow myself to realize all of those great additions that the band brings into it. David's harmonies were just brilliant tonight!
„Death and a Zoo" – I did not expect the experience to be as intense as it was in Tuttlingen – but that's just what it was. It happened again – I was motionless for a couple of seconds after they finished the song. And that whole audience experienced it with me. Roger introduced the song as „a very different song – you better cling onto your chairs" and he actually took the audience's breath away.
During „Dreamer" it began to rain – just a shower but enough to bring out those umbrellas and raincapes and then Roger spontaneously decided to change the setlist and play „It's Raining Again" first and as soon as he had finished the song – the rain did actually stop!
We had all come to the front of the stage by then - a bit too early for security and they tried to usher us back to our seats but Roger took care of that from up on stage, telling those security guys that it was okay. And like this we all experienced a wonderful version of „Fools Overture" with one guy in particular from the audience putting everything he had into it – what he lacked in musicality he definitely made up for with passion. He sang his heart out and he felt every single word. I loved it.
Then Roger did another spontaneous thing – he decided not to play the „encore game" tonight. I mean, we had already gotten one encore („It's Raining Again") before the last official song and so we also got the second encore without them leaving the stage first as Roger was not totally trusting that weather – it actually was fine till the end but you could never tell. And so we all got to sing „Give a Little Bit" and this song is just incredible. Roger singing it with the audience, looking his audience members right in the eyes, smiling and saying so much through a glance or a smile – just the most brilliant way to end a concert!
Safe travels to all of you!