Acoustica - a celebration
Deine Lakaien just started their new tour, celebrating their XXX years anniversary. However, in good Lakaien-style, the arrangement changed completely: instead of two full bands as in the concerts of the Retrospective Tour, the set is entirely acoustic.
You should be aware, though, that these concerts are much more a celebration of music than of the musicians. Consequently, the show includes not only songs by Deine Lakaien but begins with the solo projects of the two Lakaiens.
The intro is „A voi che amate“ performed by Helium Vola‘s main voice, Sabine Lutzenberger. She is accompanied by Ernst - skillfully playing the piano. His ever-changing light rhythms set a playful mood, while Sabine with her enchanting voice leads the audience into a different world. A world filled with medieval poetry about love and spring, but also about the painful fate of an unmarried pregnant woman. Being an expert in the field of Early Music, Sabine Lutzenberger adds a lot by improvising beautiful ornaments around Ernst‘s wonderful melodies. Many of the songs have never been performed live, such as „Printemps“ and „Frauenklage“ from the album „Liod“, „Saber d‘amor“ from „Für Euch, die ihr liebt“, and „Uf der linden obene“ from the latest album by Helium Vola „Wohin?“. The titles give you an impression of the variety of languages on display: Provençalic, middle-high German, and Latin, to name a few. The last song of the first part of this „festival night“ is the Irish traditional „The unquiet grave“ in an Helium Vola arrangement. And we finally understand the connection to Deine Lakaien when Alexander takes over the part that on the album is sung by Joel Frederiksen. It appears to be a perfect match with Sabines‘ part. This is the moment where nobody can resist to be drawn into etherical spheres.
This continues, when Veljanov performs the „Lied für Annabell Lee“ - a song inspired by the poem „Annabell Lee“ by E. A. Poe. He is accompanied by Igor Zotic on the piano and Goran Trajkoski on the guitar. For the first three songs of their set, they pick up partially Ernst‘s way of using rhythms integrating it into their own instrumentation. Thereby, they create a very harmonic and natural transition from one set to the other, though the musical styles of the projects are very different indeed. This is the first time that songs of the „Veljanov“ project are presented in an acoustic version. The hammond-organ sound often present in „Veljanov“ songs is replaced by melodica that Igor handles in combination with the piano. The solution may seem odd, but is very effective. In general, the transition to acoustics appears to be a very natural one introducing also new facets to the songs. Without the rain, I found myself in „Summer nights“ with a rather different but no less appealing atmosphere. In Berlin, the concert that I had the pleasure to attend, it took Alexander a while to really free his voice until the end of the set with „Nie mehr“ and „Fly away“ it really took wings. This was caused by people moving around in the audience leaving and reentering the hall with clapping doors. This is very irritating in an acoustic concert as Alexander stated after the break at the beginning of the „Lakaien“ set. His request to stop this gained a lot of applause from the audience.
While the „Veljanov“ set is focussing on early songs, Deine Lakaien now with only Alexander and Ernst on stage, emphasize the second half of their creation. In contrast to the more rocking „Veljanov“ set, they mainly choose from their ballades. To me it seems an impossible choice to make, due to the broad variety of the of most beautiful ballades that are at hand. The second half of the evening starts with „Where the winds don‘t blow“ from their latest album „Crystal Palace“, a song that to my impression would also fit to the „Veljanov“ project. Again, a door is opened and we now enter the world of Deine Lakaien. This world is too vast for me to describe in a way that feels at least half way appropriate. The routine the two guys have accumulated in the many years of performing together never shines through as such, but appears as a safe base that allows for the music to be set free. And while Alexander is making a few jokes and tells a few stories about the past gaining Ernst some time to prepare the piano, the focus is never on the show but on the music. Alexander announced „Return“ in Berlin by telling that though they never gave a concert at the „Admiralspalast“ before, the video to that song was filmed at the very same location. When they played the oldest song of the set, „Down, down, down“, Alexander credited Carl, who was present at the concert, as the person without whom Deine Lakaien would not exist. (As a short remark: Carl Erling was the first to contract Deine Lakaien and they continued to work with him for more than a decade.)
Though the benchmark Deine Lakaien concerts set is very high, this concert was one of the best I ever attended. After 30 years these musicians manage still to positively surprise. The biggest surprise of all is maybe the last song of the encore, where all musicians join again to perform „Nuestras vidas son los ríos“ by Helium Vola. Alexander finds his own more folk-traditional like approach to the song and demonstrates one more time the connection between the different projects that is not apparent from the studio productions. And we hope that the rivers of Deine Lakaien have still a long way ahead of them until they fade into the sea. For they truly celebrate music!