Only eight concerts, but the venue already radiates an aura of always having been there – as natural as the grass under it and the trees around it. The last song of the Season was ‘Dream a Little Dream of Me’ and the singer Caro Emerald, but it could have been the venue singing – a dream of Concert Seasons to come…
I only caught the end of Tobias Regner’s set. The 2006 winner of ‘Deutschland Sucht den Superstar’ seemed pleasant enough, armed just with an acoustic guitar and assistant keeping the beat on Cajon. I actually thought Regner had come back onstage for an encore, only to discover that this time the Stetson cap and grey Tshirt were being worn by second support of the evening, 2011 ‘Voice of Germany’ entrant Mic Donet. The assistant this time was a lively youngster on acoustic but the music seemed as interchangeable as the cap – pleasant enough but nothing to cheer ecstatically about. In their defence both will undoubtedly pack a greater punch with a full band behind them.
The (predominantly female) audience is here to see Caro Emerald of course. Her Album ‘Deleted Scenes From A Cutting Room Floor’ exploded on the Music scene like a bomb in 2010, breaking even the 27 year old record for weeks spent on top of the Charts by the mighty Michael Jackson classic ‘Thriller’. In Germany the Awards have come later, but they are big ones – including a prestigious ‘Echo’ as Best International Newcomer this year. 2012 would seem to be a perfect time for Caro Emerald to be singing here, and despite problems with inflamed vocal chords that threatened to cancel the Show, both she and her powerful voice are in fine form.
There’s an eight man Big Band that looks as stylish as they sound. Is that James Dean on snow white Gibson ES? David Beckham on Bass anyone? I think not – neither Dean nor Becks could play like these guys do. The silences in the songs are as important as the music though, as in the timing on the James Bond theme styled ‘The Other Woman’. Emerald and Band play it tight as a ducks you know what throughout.
You don’t get a Pop Album to outrun ‘Thriller’ by replaying Sarah Vaughan though and although the sound is based heavily on 40/50’s Music and Movies, there are modern elements in it too. On the one hand are the Bogartian taped spoken intro’s snarling out phrases like “This flight is disconnected” (beginning a smouldering rendition of ‘The Other Woman )’ or “Collette, the cashier who’s seen it all – but really seen nothing” on the intro to ‘I Know That He’s Mine’. But then there’s the modern DJ Scratches on ‘Back It Up’. Emerald has the dresses and jewellery of a fifties torch singer but the Hand gestures of Amy Winehouse.
The Set-List is, by definition, the CD of course, although we do get a taster of things to come with the as yet unrecorded ‘Mistaken Identity’. Anyone who missed the numerous encores missed the very best numbers of the evening. ‘A Night Like This’ had the crowd clapping along frantically and heading to the exits with satisfied expressions only to hurry back for the Bossa Nova acoustic tones of ‘Close to Me’, to head out again more satisfied and rush back as Emerald came back on for a barnstorming ‘The Middle of Nowhere’, to head home again only to hear her re-appearing for what really was the last number of the show and indeed the concert season at Kunst!Rasen, and what a finish it was too: “When I was eleven this was the first song I ever sang at school. My teacher liked it so much she said I should apply to the Music Conservatory in Amsterdam. The what? I thought!”. Of course she did apply and the result was history – that eventually led Caro Emerald to the top of the World Pop Charts and tonight to the stage at Kunst!rasen where she sang again the Mama Cass classic ‘Dream a Little Dream Of Me’ The song that both started her career and ended an excellent Mini Season of World Class Contemporary Music in Bonn.