|Sophia (Robin + Will) - Apr. 16 '01: Luther Kirche, Krefeld (D)|
5)I Can't Believe The Things I Can't Believe
6)Are You Happy Now
7)Ship In The Sand
9)I Left You
11)Is it any wonder
12)Death of a salesman
When we (Christophe & I) arrived at Krefeld after a nice car trip trough traffic jams, rain storms and foot-and-mouth disease suffering Holland, we looked for the Lutherkirche. A nice, unusual venue. A little church (still used as a church), without impressive ornaments, lots of light. And it had surprise, surprise,...a bar. Wooden benches to sit on. Robin in front of the altar, string section on the left, Will Foster (piano) on the right. Unfortunately no gospel choir ;-)
We listened to the soundcheck while some people were already gathering at the gate. Doors were open at 19.00 and the show would start at 21.00. After a fine meal (??) we went again to the church wich was already very crowded. The show started for a huge sold out venue (capacity: 560) at 21.30 and "The sea" served as opening song. Instanly followed by the brother songs "So slow" and "If only". Especially "so slow" was much richer with the string section. Next song was "Bad man". I only heard it live at "De Nachten". Robin didn't play it at the previous Belgian tour, but now with piano and strings it was a quite mystic moment. I was very pleased with the new version of "I can't believe the things I can't believe" starring Will. Great song. "Are you happy now" was one of the older tunes, and it was quite identic to the version played on "De Nachten". On of the best new songs according to me is "Ship in the sand", immediatly followed by a bleeding version of "Bastards". With "I left you", he played the last new song we know, adn people start shivering, especially with the final song "Directionless".
Quite predictable after "Directionless" was "Is it any wonder" (first song of first encore), followed by a nasty version of "Death of a salesman". Robin seems to like "Jealous guy, and it was no surprise to me he played that one as second encore. People kept yelling for a third encore and their efforts were rewarded by "Another friend".
There were no flying strings, no strange chords in unusual places (seems Robin has really rehearsed this one! :-) ), no forgotten lyrics, no exorbitant whine degustation (sorry Robin). It was nearly perfect, (100% perfect would be rather dull..., so I keep it on 98% to keep my appreciation credible). We left at 00.15 and had to drive form Krefeld back to Gent (280 km), but it was sure worth of it!
Ein ganz besonderes Osterkonzert warf schon seit längerer Zeit seinen Schatten voraus: Sophia, die „Nachfolgeband“ der legendären God Machine machten einen Abstecher in die Seidenstadt Krefeld. Der Clou daran: Als Location für die Meister der Melancholie hatte man sich nicht irgendeine ehemalige Fabrikhalle, sondern die Lutherkirche ausgesucht. Gekrönt wurde diese ungewöhnliche Zusammenstellung noch durch die Tatsache, dass Sophia eben in dieser Kirche ihren europaweit einzigen Auftritt in Begleitung eines Streichquartetts absolvierten!
Die besonders große Vorfreude wurde nicht enttäuscht. Das Konzert fand tatsächlich in der Kirche selbst und nicht in einem Gemeindesaal o.ä. statt, was zur Folge hatte, dass man die lange Wartezeit (2 Stunden) auf den nicht gerade Rücken freundlichen Kirchenbänken verbringen musste. Als Robin Proper-Sheppard aber endlich mit seinem Keyboarder und dem vierköpfigen Streicherensamble die „Bühne“ vor dem Altar betrat und die ersten Klänge zu dem neuen Song „The Sea“ erklangen, war alles vergessen. Gebannt lauschten die Besucher den schönen Geschichten des Meisters und ließen sich nicht nur beim ersten Einsatz der Streicher eine sanfte Gänsehaut über den Rücken gehen.
Robin war ob dieses besonderen Auftritts, zu dem neben Fans aus ganz Deutschland auch einige Verehrer aus Holland, Belgien und der Schweiz gefunden hatten, gut gelaunt und freute sich über die leidenschaftliche Umsetzung seiner Lieder durch die Streicher. Tatsächlich gaben sie Songs wie „If Only“ live einen ganz besonderen Touch und fügten der Melancholie eine weitere Komponente hinzu. Nach einer bewegenden Stunde, in der während der Stücke absolute Stille herrschte (mal abgesehen von dem Treiben am Bierstand, der einige Leute in Verzückung brachte...; Zitat: „Hätte nie gedacht, dass ich mal in einer Kirche Bier trinken darf!“) wurde der reguläre Teil des Konzerts mit dem großartigen „Directionless“ beendet.
Zur Zugabe kam Robin zwar leider ohne Streichquartett zurück („Sorry, wir haben in der kurzen Zeit nur diese Stücke gemeinsam proben können“), verzückte die Menge aber dennoch mit „Is It Any Wonder“. Als definitiv letztes Lied wurde dann ein Song angekündigt, der zwar nicht aus seiner Feder stammt, aber von dem er sich wünschte, es wäre ein Sophia Song gewesen. Sprach’s und spielte eine gelungene Version von John Lennons „Jealous Guy“, die sich perfekt in den Sophia Kontext eingliederte.
Dies sollte zwar tatsächlich das Ende werden, doch die euphorischen Zuschauerreaktionen schafften es, ihn nochmal auf die Bühne zu bekommen. Zur Belohnung durfte man wählen zwischen „Everyday“ und „Another Friend“, wobei letzteres in der Gunst der Zuschauer weiter vorne lag. Danach war aber wirklich Schluss. Überall strahlende Gesichter. Selten hatte man ein so intimes Konzert erlebt. Selten hatte man so lange auf einer Kirchenbank verharrt...
Won Sin, Noize magazine, 19/04/2001
It doesn't get more special than this. A few months ago, Robin Proper-Sheppard and Sophia made a one-off festival appearance in Belgium joined by a string quartett, as documented on their beautiful new live release De Nachten. To promote the disc, Robin hit the road again playing your usual bars and clubs with only keyboard player Will Foster in tow. But in Krefeld, it all was different. Not only were the two joined by a string quartett again, the gig also took place in a real church, the Lutherkurche. So the first "shock" actually was that you were allowed to drink and smoke inside and before Sophia hit the stage at 9.40PM, the church was packed with 600 people. Shortly before showtime Bob Dylan's You're A Big Girl Now was playing over the PA and that song created a perfect atmosphere for what was to follow.
Although Robin was visibly nervous throughout the night, he started the show with a new song, the quite wonderful The Sea followed by old favorite So Slow and even though they had little time to rehearse with the strings, it sounded quite impressive. Having heard new songs like Bad Man or Ship In The Sand only with strings now, it will be interesting to see how they will sound on the upcoming third Sophia studio release, due out in October or November.
But also the re-arranged old songs like Are You Happy Now sounded better than ever with the string quartett. After I Left You, possibly the best of the new tunes and a beautiful Directionless the strings were gone, simply because they didn't have time to rehearse more than about 10 songs, as Robin pointed out: "You can go home now, if you want", he added jokingly but of course everybody stayed. The last song of the main set was Death Of A Salesman and it sounded nothing like the recorded version, in fact it was much faster and a lot more aggressive. Quite good version, though. What followed was a half hour solo encore which even featured a surprise cover version of John Lennon's Jealous Guy! "This was a special night, I didn't fuck up, I didn't forget any of the lyrics and I'm not too drunk", Robin said close to the end as a way of explaining why he rather would quit and not play another tune, but the crowd just wouldn't let him go and he closed the show with another old favorite, Another Friend.
Some of the songs might have sounded a bit shaky, but hey, this was the first apperance by Robin with this particular string quartett and wouldn't you be nervous if you would play a church with 600 adoring fans as well? Even though it is obviously hard to categorize Sophia, tonight's show once again proved that there's more to rock or pop music (or whatever you want to call it), than electric guitars and loud drum solos. Magic!
Waaaw! Waaaw! What a show! What a show! I heard Robin would take the band to church on this tour, and since it was Easter Monday, I felt I had to be there too (mom will be proud!).
Incredible, this wasn't just a church, it looked more like the Dom in nearby Köln. Thousands of pilgrims who didn't have one of those holy tickets were praying in the large square in front of the Luther Church. The chosen ones slowly entered the Kirche and as good disciples do, they spent 20% of there income at the Sophia memorabilia desk (especially the spiritual appearance at De Nachten festival sold very well). Master of ceremony Jonathan pointed the spotlights at the altar as an eight-feet tall Robin Good-Shepherd appeared, followed by a 48-piece orchestra; the 300 gospel singers that even Michael Jackson couldn't afford took there places on the immense balcony in front of the largest organ in the Old World. Unbelievable!
The first song Death Comes So Slow Hallelujah! was dedicated to John Paul Ramone who passed away this afternoon, but all I could think of off was that people would probably never believe me when they'd read my review!
Well, luckily you don't have to since at that very moment Daft Punks Aerodynamic woke me up ... time to get up and go to Krefeld.
After the previous Sophia show I saw, in Diksmuide, we ended up far too drunk and stole a huge cross in a local field. To make things back ok with the man above, a visit to one of his houses was the least i could do. Luckily Wouters Sophia site showed me the way to someone who could bring me to this Krefeld church (thanks Dries!).
Last time a member of my family visited this medium-sized German town was in 1918 when my grandfather walked all the way from the Diksmuide area to the Krefeld area at the end of the Great War. I suppose he didn't like the Krefeldians as much as we did tonight ...
We had to drive almost four hours to get to Krefeld, but it was surely worth the trip. When arriving in Krefeld, another Belgian car was driving in front of ours, who else could that be than Mister Sophia himself, Jean-Paul, the guy who saw more Sophia concerts than Robin even remembers he played.
This Luther Kirche must be the most beautiful venue I've ever seen. Not one of those 'to be demolished' buildings, but a real church with a real altar, real wooden benches, real candles, real antique windows. And it's still used for services! We even saw someone borrowing two catholic song books to position the stage spots ... An amazing concert hall.
One of the main reasons I made the trip to Germany, was that I missed the De Nachten Festival earlier this year, especially the full-option Sophia concert. No gospel choir, but a nice string quartet (3 violins, 1 cello), Will Foster on piano and Robin on acoustic guitar. A perfect line-up to play in this holy venue. They started with "The Sea" and "So Slow", which sounded so warm with the strings!. Robin told us he fucked up some of the previous shows but felt pretty sure possible clumsiness would be hidden by the strings tonight. No need to worry, you played a perfect show.
He introduced a slightly different version of "I can't believe the things..." (guitar + piano) and hoped we would really like it and not just applause automatically while thinking 'go back to the planet where you used to play'. Well, I think he got an honest applause ...
The strings joined Robin and Will again for "Ship in the sand", "Bastards" and "I Left You". Once more, I realised the new songs are pretty good, in fact so good you can't see the live album as an intermezzo, it's more like a third album with three live versions of old songs as a bonus. "Directionless" showed us the way to the end of the set.
Robin returned without the string section for two more songs: an intimate "Is It Any Wonder" and "The Death Of A Salesman".
The pilgrims praised the lord and got Lennons "Jealous Guy" (with Will on piano) as a third encore. Hmm, I still prefer Roxy Musics cover ...
While heading for the cd-shop to help Veronique, I saw Robin returning to the altar a third time to do one very very last song, "Another Friend". I guess he liked this show as much as we did!
Best service I ever attended! Hallelujah!