So many top names have surely never before been booked so long in advance. This must be a record for compiling a top-notch concert calendar in the Cologne-Bonn region. With the addition of the Hofgarten, top local promoter Ernst-Ludwig Hartz now has even more top locations at his disposal from which to offer major musical stars, and it’s reflected in the big names coming Bonn and Cologne’s ways next year.
Lionel Richie will be saying ‘Hello’ to Bonn
The biggest showground of all will be the Hofgarten Wiese in Bonn. Vividly remembered by local residents for the many student demonstrations that took place there, it will attract big crowds for very different reasons in 2020. 25,000 people will be able to see German Electro-Pop legends Kraftwerk in action on 15 May. The day before will see a simultaneous concert by the Bonn and Vienna Orchestras.
Kunst!rasen will see Sting (already sold out) and Lionel Richie deliver concerts down by the Rhine in Bonn, whilst down by the Cathedral in Cologne stars will include Brian Ferry on 28th July. The ‘trial’ concert by Joan Baez at Insel Grafenwerth was a roaring success, with the result that more shows are being planned down by the Rhine there too – Albert Hammond, who delivered a wonderfully eclectic show from his long and successful career as both singer and songwriter will be playing on 6th June.
Albert Hammond smiles as he recalls midway through tonight’s show: “I often have people come up to me and say ‘I enjoyed the show. But why so many cover songs?”. During the current Songbook Tour though Hammond is able to put the record (literally) straight before each song. “Here’s one I wrote that Julio Inglesias had a hit with (‘All the girls I’ve met before’), here’s one I co-wrote for Leo Sayer (‘When I Need You’) One I co-wrote for the Hollies (‘Air That I Breathe’). Roncalli Platz in Cologne was a chance to remind people just how prolific a songwriter he is – and he took his chance well. An evening of familiar songs that, if they didn’t stretch back in time as far as the Cathedral towering behind the stage, still had a long and very successful history.
The local paper reports that Sir Van Morrison said ‘Thank You’ before leaving the stage on this pleasantly warm evening in Cologne. The only words I can recall from Ireland’s celebrated and knighted (2016) musical son all evening were song names, barked more for the band to follow than for listeners to hear. Ultimately though, with such a legend, it’s the music that should do the talking; and it did so perfectly in front of a sold out Roncalliplatz audience.
They didn’t do too badly for guitarists did they? The Allman Brothers lost Duane tragically in 1971 but continued on with three of the finest southern style men that ever plugged in a Les Paul, in the shapes of Dickey Betts, Derek Trucks and tonight’s guest at the Kantine in Cologne – Warren Haynes. Sadly we will never know how great Duane Allman might have become. We can however check up on the playing of Mr Haynes, and I think Duane would have been smiling on Saturday.
Who says familiarity breeds contempt? Dani Wilde has become a regular visitor to Cologne/Bonn in recent years but every visit has been very different. With Sam Fish and Casisie Taylor on Blues Caravan, with her own Band, and on Tuesday, with an acoustic trio. Dani Wilde & Friends saw Brighton’s Blues Belle bring her infectious enthusiasm and soul laden voice to Colognes Yardclub.