Erlebnisbergwerk, Merkers, Germany ~ March 12, 2011 ~

Review by Dieter Burkard 




Try to imagine: you grab a hard hat and in groups of approx. 25 persons you enter an elevator that moves more than 500 meters down in 90 seconds. After that, you walk to a truck, climb up a few steps to the loading space and take a seat. You are advised, not to stand up and then, the tour continues with a 10 minute ralley through the tunnels of a mine. In the lights of the truck, you can see walls of rock, a narrow street and a ceiling approx. one meter above your head. You are in a place that has never seen a ray of sunlight. When the truck stops, you walk along a giant mechanical digger and enter a huge cave with candles on the walls.


Why should you do this? The answer is, to visit a concert of Roger Hodgson in the world’s deepest concert hall! Since Doris and I were lucky to be in the first group of visitors that arrived in the giant tunnel shaped room, we were able to take seats in the third row, right in front of the small stage. The rows in front of us were reserved by the concert management.


The walls and even the stage were illuminated by candles in addition to colored light. The concert started at 8:00 PM. We instantly noticed the great sound in the cave and enjoyed a beautiful performance of "Take The Long Way Home" by Roger and Aaron. Aaron seemed to recover from him his cold, that was a problem for him in Frankfurt a few days ago.


After the first song, Roger looked around and said: "This is unbelievable, incredible down here. I think this is the most amazing place I have ever played. … Thank you for coming deep under the earth to see me.”. The crowd applauded.


"You can watch me on TV -- this is a big screen.” Roger was talking about the big screen in the rear of the stage that allowed people at the end of the cave to see him in detail.


The setlist was similar, but not identical to the show in Frankfurt. I didn’t make notes during the concert, but I believe that the setlist was the same than in Leipzig one day ago. This setlist is already in the tour blog.

I was happy, that the song "The Awakening” was played in the second part of the concert. Roger said, that this song has not been recorded and he explained the song: "Sometimes the most difficult person to forgive is ourself and that’s what the song is about”. If you don’t know this song, you will get an idea when watching the interview on the DVD "Take The Long Way Home." There is an excerpt of this song.


Roger always says, that "It’s Raining Again” is a fun song. Today, it was even more fun, because it was performed deep under the surface...


The only problem with the concert was, that there was no "highlight”. I mean, every song was brilliantly performed, the sound was great and the venue awesome. The setlist was also great and everybody was happy. The level was constantly that high, that the whole show was the highlight. This was of course not the first concert I saw from Roger Hodgson, but this one was by far the very best one!


Dieter Burkard