Forty years ago, I would quite possibly have considered walking over broken glass to get to a double concert featuring Dire Straits and Supertramp. That was then of course, and this is now: For Dire Straits tonight, read bassist and co-founder John Illsley. For Supertramp read Co-founder, writer, arranger and singer Roger Hodgson. Maybe not Dire Straits and Supertramp then at Kunst!Rasen – but certainly, for the latter at least, worth walking over broken glass whilst wearing sturdy shoes. In the event, no broken glass, just very dry grass was underfoot for the penultimate concert by the Rhine in 2018.
Following their Karlsruhe show this week, the band’s website suggested that Simple Minds were raring to hit the Bonn Kunst!Rasen stage: “After a two-day break we are more than refreshed and very much looking forward to performing live in BONN tonight.” Singer and co-founder Jim Kerr will be 60 next year but is not living off of past hits as a well oiled but power-packed show proved. UK veterans Fischer-Z were also on good form to start a very hot and humid evening of good Rock music by the Rhine.
There are little photos on her in-ear monitors, alphabet letters are on her earrings, she’s rushing from stage side to stage side all the time. It’s very difficult to concentrate on Alanis Morissette as she makes her first ever appearance on the Kunst!Rasen stage. Easier to just close your eyes and let some of the best song lyrics of the 90’s wash over you.
Music these days isn’t measured by discs sold, sometimes not even by files downloaded. Careers now are made (and presumably also ended) via YouTube. Take tonight’s show at Bonn Kunst!Rasen: Wincent Weiss first made his musical mark via an acoustic version of Turkish/German pop-singer Elif Demirezer’s song ‘Unter meine Haut’ on YouTube. Main support act LEA (aka Lea-Marie Becker) began making music at 15 but broke through when a YouTube video of ‘Wo ist die Liebe?’ rang up a mind-boggling 45,000 clicks overnight (now almost 3 million). In addition – the best introduction I could give you of local openers for the evening Steal a Taxi would be to send a link to their song ‘Time’ – on YouTube…
Do they measure up, not on a flat screen after countless edits, but on a stage with just one chance to deliver?
There are not too many musicians treading the boards today with careers stretching back five decades but Steve Winwood at 70 still has the enthusiasm of a teenager when he straps on a Stratocaster or digs in with his Hammond Organ along with a talented band of colleagues. Support for the evening Gary Clark Jr was last seen in Bonn during Santana’s concert here, but is a highly rated guitarist in his own right.
A great evening of Music was guaranteed then at Kunst!Rasen this week.
It’s 7.30pm at Bonn Kunstrasen and I meet some friends out back in the audience. “This is still the support act? Right?” one of them asks. By this time Wolfgang Niedecken and his band the legendary BAP have already been onstage for an hour and I have to explain that there ARE musicians out there who play according to their feelings and not to a 90 minute stopwatch – and yes, these guys were due to remain onstage until 10 pm. Fortunately they still had another two and a half hours to move up front in the audience and enjoy the finest Kölsch-rocker that ever trod the boards at Chlodwigplatz.
Who better to review this year’s Kunst!Rasen concert by world Folk Music legend Joan Baez than Bonn’s own Folk Music legend John Harrison? This rather special evening was part of a European tour covering ‘only’ eight countries but a lifetime of music that went (and still goes) beyond borders of Country, Race or Religion. Does she still care? At one stage I saw a man walk past the front audience row just as Baez was beginning to play. She stopped, requested simply of the man who had distracted everybody “Please don’t do that” and began the song all over again. John Harrison takes up the story…