Paul Kalkbrenner brought people from all over Europe together at the Olympia.
Rowan Stokes, 01 Jun 2012
As Dame St. basked in the final of flickers of the first true summer evening, hordes of people streamed through the doors of the Olympia Theatre, away from the sunshine and into the unnatural darkness therein.
As the anticipation built to a climax, East-Berlin's favourite son took to the stage, opening with the upbeat 'Böxig Leise'. It was greeted with a wave of euphoric celebration, aptly setting the tone for the night ahead.
Music has an extraordinary power. People of all ages, from all over Europe, were united here, sharing a communal love. Spaniards, Germans, Dutch and Irish found one common language. With smiles creasing every face, Paul dipped in and out of his two latest albums, Berlin Calling and Icke Wieder, flowing seamlessly from one tune to the next and sometimes back again.
The experience is akin to allowing yourself to be taken by a current. Occasionally, you’re carried into the unknown, his version of Fatboy Slim's 'Praise You' being an example. Particular highlights included 'Aaron', 'Square One', 'Gutes Nitzwerk' and 'Torted'. Breathtaking lighting was an integral part of the experience – intensifying the escape from reality.
The set lasted from 9.45pm 'til well beyond midnight, and the audience sensed the end was near when the opening beats of 'Sky & Sand' filled the theatre. There were tears in the eyes of more than a few. Strangers hugged one another – acquaintances kissed. The industrial lights blasted the crowd, bringing an artificial dawn. Every single word – pure gospel. “I found myself alive/ in the palm of your hand / as long as we are flyin' /All this world ain't got no end.”
For those few minutes we were all enveloped in a world of pure ecstasy, not created by chemicals, instead by beats, modulations, harmonies and melodies.
The night had come to a close, but still the audience craved more. He couldn’t let them down – he couldn’t leave them disappointed. And he didn't. The familiar notes of 'Aaron 2' provided the icing on what was the sweetest of cakes.
As the same people streamed back onto the streets from which they had come, venturing back to the world, which they had left behind, as darkness prevailed all around, life seemed infinitely happier…