The solar has lengthy since set, and round 25,000 persons are ready in Bonn’s Hofgarten for the legendary digital band’s present.
Simply earlier than 9 p.m., a sound wafts over the grounds. A stylized picture of the Kraftwerk members seems on a big video wall. Solely after 10 minutes do the 4 males mount the stage within the flesh.
An digital voice greets the viewers — after which the music begins. A collage of “Numbers” and “Pc World” will get the viewers within the temper for 2 hours of Kraftwerk: a bombastic sound and visible spectacle as the photographs are projected in 3D onto the video wall behind the musicians — accordingly, the viewers wears 3D glasses.
A bit like ‘Again to the Future’
And so the sounds race by means of the speaker towers, three-dimensional not solely in picture but in addition in sound. Pulsating beats, crystal-clear synthesizers, basses that make the physique vibrate.
The sounds: comfortingly acquainted and but trendy. Listening to them you understand once more how a lot Kraftwerk influenced digital bands like Depeche Mode or Ultravox, and that techno as we all know it for the reason that Nineties would most likely by no means have existed with out them.
With this finely balanced and detailed stage sound, the music does not sound prefer it’s 30, 40 and even 50 years outdated in any respect.
The set checklist is filled with Kraftwerk hits, from “Autobahn” to “Das Mannequin” — the band’s most profitable single within the German charts, thrilling the viewers — “Trans-Europa-Specific,” “Radioaktivität,” “Tour de France” and naturally, “Wir sind die Roboter.”
The video sequences are dominated by numbers, symbols, strains, shapes and colours.
In “Autobahn,” there are splendidly old-fashioned-looking animations of automobiles from the Nineteen Seventies chugging alongside the street beneath a blue sky.
In “Tour de France,” older black-and-white footage of the well-known bicycle race is proven.
The 3D results are moderately restrained, with solely sometimes notes flying in direction of the viewers or a robotic hand grabbing at them.
Additional again within the live performance grounds, hardly something may be seen of the results, prompting many individuals to take off their glasses. 3D or not — that’s not the main target in any case. The reside expertise of the music that has performed a task within the lives of many right here for many years is a very powerful factor about this night.
Unintentional humor on the live performance in Poland
Kraftwerk have been on tour for the reason that finish of Could.
After the lengthy break throughout the COVID pandemic, bands typically expressed their pleasure of returning to the stage. With Kraftwerk, nonetheless, feelings will not be normally out within the open; that was by no means a part of the digital musicians’ repertoire. Early on, the time period “Menschmachine” (human machine) was coined to explain them, and as such the 4 males place themselves behind their synthesizers side-by-side on stage, very small in entrance of the massive LED wall.
On August 6, 2022, nonetheless, the 4 music robots lastly confirmed human feelings on stage at a live performance in Poland. The tune “Wir sind die Roboter” (We’re the robots) broke off after 44 seconds. Perplexed, the musicians shrugged their shoulders, deserted their positions, conferred with one another. Lastly, they left the stage and nothing occurred for minutes.
The Polish viewers was in a great temper and even began to sing. Then the 4 got here again on stage and restarted “Wir sind die Roboter.” After 44 seconds it broke off once more, and large hooting from the viewers ensued.
After the technical problem was resolved, the tune restarted precisely with the textual content passage that claims: “We cost our battery, now we’re stuffed with vitality” — unintentional comedy.
Kraftwerk as a Gesamtkunstwerk
The one remaining authentic member of Kraftwerk is Ralf Hütter, who celebrated his seventy fifth birthday in 2021. From the very starting (Kraftwerk was fashioned in 1970), he has been the top of this music challenge, envisioned as a Gesamtkunstwerk, an entire murals.
After the opposite founding members left way back and his co-mastermind Florian Schneider died in 2020, Hütter at all times brings collectively three different, interchangeable musicians round him to protect the picture of Kraftwerk on stage.
He himself doesn’t give interviews. For Hütter, the music, the entire work, ought to be within the foreground; the individuals behind it are solely the executing robots. It’s for that cause that nobody anticipated a spectacular stage present from Kraftwerk, however as an alternative a revisiting of the songs which have accompanied them by means of the many years.
Era TikTok discovers their dad and mom’ music
But, the viewers was completely enthusiastic after the live performance in Bonn. All of the hits had been performed and, when DW talked with concert-goers, they reiterated how essential the band was and is for the event of digital music, and the way a lot they loved the journey over time.
Many of the concert-goers have been older, however amongst them have been additionally Alina and Jan, each 20, and 21-year-old Alexander. They turned accustomed to Kraftwerk by means of their dad and mom. After the live performance, they appeared actually impressed, with the sound and beat having swept away the younger techno followers. “Every thing you already know from techno at present was already round within the 70s, which is fascinating,” stated Alexander.
“Kraftwerk was forward of its time,” stated Jan, including that it was a pity that so few individuals their age have been within the viewers. Maybe it is as a result of younger individuals do not wish to hear the outdated music of their dad and mom and even grandparents, he stated. However, “I feel lots of people our age would love it, too.”
Alexander stated he thought that the music does really feel a bit unusual at first and that many individuals could not wish to spend time attempting to cope with that. Alina agreed: “There are additionally very lengthy songs. Our technology is so accustomed to TikTok that their consideration spans are very brief, a few minute and a half, and for those who take heed to the 14-minute model of ‘Autobahn,’ then again, it is actually tough for a lot of our age.”
The live performance in Bonn on August 28, 2022 was the one one in Germany. The ‘3D Tour’ continues in Lisbon, Malaga, Florence and Genoa.
This text was initially written in German.