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05 Nov

Not Exactly News - but a really good review from Germany.

Not Exactly News - but a really good review from Germany. TALES FROM THE RIVER
ELBE...............

......................Memories of the German leg of Paul + his
bands tour promoting ' STUDIO 150 '. ....


I hadn't anticipated returning with enough to compile a diary
, but I have , and although " YOU HAD TO BE THERE" to fully expreience
the highlights ( there were no hang-ups ) , hopefully this will provide
a taster for anyone eager with anticipation for the UK & Ireland dates..

The story starts in Cologne , with myself , Steve
, and Tony. With us all in our 40's , it was like 'Last of the summer wine'
on tour !. The venue , ' E - WERK' looked as though it was a former factory
, set in the heart of an industrial area , and as a result , the pre-gig
beverage was hard to find. However , let's face facts , Paul could play
the Gobi desert and we'd all find a bar !?!?.
So suitably refreshed , we took our place at the gig. It was
just my kind of venue , all standing , balcony above , for those choosing
to look from above at the events before us....
Support was suitably provided by Nic Armstrong + pal
( sorry , forgotten your name buddy ! , though could be Shaun ?? ) , a thoroughly
sound Geordie lad who I predict will be very well received over the next
four weeks , check out the CD at the merchendise stand , great soul voice
, and a top chap.
Then , at spot on 9 O'clock Paul the band , and brass
section enter stage left , to a great reception , Cologne is brimming with
excitement it seems...........
...................... I haven't got a full track
by track set list , but best summed up if I say this was the greatest hits
gig.
It combined the adrenalin rush of The Jam songs ,
the stripped down joy and feeling of the D.O.S. tour , complete with ' mini
' acoustic set , and the freshness of the new album.
However , there was MUCH more than this , there was
the bite and crispness of the brass section , adding a whole new dimention
to ' Science ' , ' Broken Stones ' , and ' Into Tomorrow ' , to name but
three. There was the humour of Paul continuing clearly a tour ' In-joke
' of announcing a band members birthday ( Jacko Peake this night , this
theme was to be a constant over the next five days )..
So many moments stood out out , there was no time to
catch your breath , the crowd were up for it , the band responding accordingly...
............. but the moment I'd hoped for , a truly
awesome , joyous , and totally uplifting 2004 version of ' SHOUT TO THE
TOP ' .
I assure you , not a bum will
remain on a seat when Paul plays this around our shores in the next month.
Imagine gospel fused with jazz , with a stax vibe , flowing through Paul
and the boys , and you're getting close. You know that moment when it all
makes sense , but you know you cannot get near to conveying with words ?
, that's were I'm at now , but trust me , you'll know soon what I tried
to describe here. The remainder of the night continued to soar to a party-atmosphere
' TOWN CALLED MALICE ' finale. Two hours fifteen of simply incredible energy
I got the feeling that Paul could have gone on for another two hours , such
was the intensity of the occasion. A truly fantastic night , but I was left
with a personal dilemma............
........... return home as planned , or do it all again
with an impromptu German break ??... , well Steve couldn't stay , but Tony
was up for it , so decision was made !!.
For those that don't know , Germany is huge ! , so
as we waved goodbye to Steve , Tony and I made our way to Berlin , Heidelberg
presenting just too many travel problems at such short notice.
The venue , RBB Sendesaal is a Berlin radio station
, played on the D.OS. tour , and is purpose built ( dating from the 1930's
) , with magnificent acoustics , and an 'art-deco' feel. The set list was
significantly altered from Cologne , which was great for us two who'd pulled
a ' sicky '.
The acoustic opening was well received , but a bouyant
crowd were itching for the ' full on ' sound , and they were not disappointed........
.............. the turning point was provided by a magical
rendition of ' CAN YOU HEAL US HOLY MAN '. This crowd favourite has NEVER
sounded better. Memorablefor the brass sections input , and Damon's inspired
bass line. Personally I loved seeing him get the recognition I feel he deserves.
' SHOUT TO THE TOP ' again stood out , gaining a
standing ovation in the all-seater stadium. As with Cologne , the gig was
electrifying , my decision to stay in Germany totally vindicated.
A fantastic encore , including ' BROKEN STONES ' ,
and ' IF I COULD ONLY BE SURE ' was concluded with a rousing ' TOWN CALLED
MALICE' and it was all over...................................................................
................................ or was it.................................!?!?.................................

.......................just when we thought it was time to make our way
into the Berlin night , a major surprise was sprung !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.
Paul re-emerged to the
piano , Damon to tambourine , and Steve White to vocals ! , with Steve
announcing " Not many of you will know this , but it's Sir Geoff Hirst's
birthday today so this is for him !".
Well what happened next will go down in Weller folk-law
Whitey complete with lyric sheet leading us witha version of " We'll meet
again " !. , was this Vera Lynn classic a close contender for inclusion
on Studio 150 ?! , or could there be another significance for this hilarious
and surreal moment !?...........
........... I heard a young English girl announce " I didn't
know it was Geoff Hirst's birthday " , no love , neither did we ,
neither did we............
Well once we'd come this far , it'd be rude not to
see it through and move on to Hamburg wouldn't it !? , so not wanting to
be rude , Tony and I made our way to the said city......
Hamburg's venue ' Kampnagel' , like 'E-Werk' in Cologne
, looks as though it may well have been a factory at one time. However Nicky
, I have a confession to make at this point ! , when Tony explained to you
that " It had been a zeppelin factory , they inflated them outside " ,
he was ever-so-slightly pulling your leg !! ...... , .......you did know
Geoff Hirsts birthday was a wind up didn't you !?...............
.........Another gutsy performance from Nic Armstrong paved
the way for the final date of the European leg of the tour. The venue was
again all-seater , which may well have been the reason for a surprisingly
subdued crowd to begin with. Some technical difficulties on stage led to
Paul apologising by saying " sorry about this , it's the German staff "
, I remember thinking this wouldn't be a good time for the Vera Lynn 'cover'
!.............
As always , the ' gremlins' only served to inspire Paul ,
and he fought his corner with some truly brilliant playing , strutting to
the front of the stage with more passion than I've ever seen him. As previously
there were some great moments. ' PEACOCK SUIT ' has never sounded better
, provoking the crowd to finally rush to the stage and greeted by Paul with
" Well we'd better starty again , we're gonna play all the set again , but
in reverse order ! ".
' CHANGING MAN ' followed next ( Magnificent ) then STTT
( No more to be said , simply perfect ) , and a blistering first play for
me this week of ' SUNFLOWER' Again ' MALICE ' finished the evening , and
the band took their bow to rapturous applause , from a crowd that took somw
winning over. But the band are playing at their peak right now , so there
was only going to be one winner .
Personally , I love the new album , and played ' live '
here this week , all the tracks work , and a few will become favourites
from here on , notably ' WISHING ON A STAR '. Paul's vocals on this were
simply superb. The crowd seemed to consist of a greater number of young
, new fans , too young to know any of the original artists , who consequently
had no difficulty enjoying Paul's 'take' on these songs simply on their
own merits. I also spoke to several people who attended , of an older generation
, who remembered the Rose Royce original of W.O.A.S. , had loved Paul's
cover , and were at their first PW gig as a result. This cross section made
for a responsive and appreciative audience that continues to flourish and
should ensure a future that can only prosper for Paul and his fan base.
I cannot wait for the UK dates , as I'm sure you can't. These
dates have amazed me , the UK will be even greater , we are in for a treat
will will remember forever.
" THANK YOU " Paul , and all the band , thank you Nicky ,
Mark , and Norman Wisdom (!) , and I know we'll meet again some sunny day..............................................................

P.S Oh , by the way , and for the record , the flugel
horn player on ' HEADSTART TO HAPPINESS ' was celebrating his birthday in
Hamburg , well , according to Paul that is !!.........

AUF WIEDERSEHN...............................

Dave Vaughan.







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