Köln (D) 16 August 2007
review by Sandy   click here for a german review

A dramatic August-evening or
A very personal review of the WOVEN HAND gig in Cologne


PROLOGUE

The last WOVEN-HAND-gig I enjoyed seemed an eternity away: it was on 28th of November 2006 in Bielefeld, Germany. Therefore I intended to go to Beverungen in May 07 to pay homage to them but unfortunately I became sick.:-(
So I hoped they’d come back in summer or autumn to have a show in Hanover, Hamburg or Bremen…anywhere near my hometown, simply because (and here you will agree with me): ONE WH-gig per year is a MUST-see.


AND SO IT HAPPENED THAT…

…on the 5th of August I sat in front of my computer and got a little shock because the one-&-only-world’s-best-band played THE DAY BEFORE YESTERDAY in Hamburg.
And where was I?
AT HOME!!
Unbelievable.
As I told you: it was just a little shock because fortunately there were more tour-dates in Germany but Cologne was the only place that was reasonably accessible for me.
That day and the following I had to work so I had to go back the night after the gig but the decision was made quickly: I was going to Cologne to have a terrific time (if there weren’t 20 km of traffic jam…)

Without a ticket or the faintest idea of about the show’s beginning (I hoped for 9 or half past 9 p.m.) I started my journey which actually took less time than expected…:-)


THE FLAW IN THE PLAN

The flaw in the plan was the description of how to find the club. There are two “Mühlheimer Str.” in this city. And unfortunately two districts were suddenly located between me and the right one because I was NOT in the right part of Cologne…:-)
It was half past 8 and I still drove through that city, quite confident that I’d reach in time somehow)… I guess that now I know most of the Aral- and Shell-gas stations between Cologne-Porz and –Deutz (both are districts of the city)…

It was nearly half past 9 (!) when I thought that I almost lost my orientation completely. I was in a bad mood somehow but suddenly I realised that finally I found what I was searching for so long: the club with the name >Gebäude 9<.
… I heard loud music and was prepared for the worst…
… it sounded like…

No. It can’t be…are they playing HARM’S WAY?

Obviously this was not WINTER SHAKER. But they always started their last shows with that terrific opener - so I thought they’d do so this time as well– that would mean  that I was too late!

Harm’s Way? It really sounds like that! Impossible! Do the lads actually playing one of my most 16HP-favourites…?!
 
ARRIVAL AND SO ON

Some people in front of me wanted to go in (while the four musicians were playing a song) but it seemed to me that they had very much time – I hadn’t!

Go! Faster! They’re already making music!!!

After hours (oh yes – it felt like that) I entered the room where the world’s-best-band played – I couldn’t believe it – HARM’S WAY. To listen to it live on stage made me incredibly happy. I was so delighted that I was grinning from ear to ear all the time! :-) And there was something else I realized  the moment they ended that wonderful song: the audience was perfect and in a good mood. The applause for that incredibly HARM’S WAY-version was immense and the atmosphere was grandiose!
INTO THE PIANO turned into a very powerful TIN FINGER and both WOVEN HAND and the crowd had obviously much fun. I really love that song (these ahaa-ahaas between the lines - that really knocks my socks off!!) but I never listened to such a brilliant version. No better words than powerful and phenomenal can describe it. And this wonderful melodic guitar!

Number 3 was DIRTY BLUE – and I was a little bit afraid the show would end soon (probably after one or two further songs) because I didn’t know whether HARM’S WAY was the beginning or not – last year DIRTY BLUE was pretty close to the end. To get the chance to enjoy all the following highlights, I decided to ask a woman next to me about the time they were already playing and you can’t imagine how relieved I was to hear that it was only the third song. That made me very glad! ...And so did this awesome DIRTY BLUE. I would say these men on stage made every possible effort to arouse enthusiasm: the intense and powerful voice of DEE (okay - not really a big surprise), Pascal Humberts electrifying play on the bass, the great and melodic guitar of Peter van Laerhoven or Ordy Garrisons phantastic arts on drums OR JUST EVERYTHING TOGETHER: it was a revelation!!
The audience was very appreciative and both impressive and impressed but maybe the last was because of the bombastic performances of WOODEN BROTHER and WHITE BIRD. So powerful…wow!
I’m not really sure if this was actually the moment (maybe it was a little later): But at this time it seemed to me that there was a string-problem and a short melody that might be the opening of WHISTLING GIRL led into a small break…
To repair the damaged things and to calm down for a minute or two we were listening to a beautiful SWEDISH PURSE-Medley. I’m sure there was PHYLLIS ANN involved but I’m not able to recall what else (sorry but I’m getting older :-) ).
Whatever the next song was – I didn’t know it! I never ever heard that; so perhaps it was something new or possibly something very rare…or maybe just a new start for another Medley? Anyway. It turned into DEERSKIN DOLL which final was tremendously good and sensational!! Now the crowd was “unplugged” as loud as the band (and the guys were obviously pretty amused about it).
The next song was TRULY GOLDEN und for me it was the right moment to organize something to drink – and to get a new T-shirt as well  :-)  - and for all of that I had to go out of the room. I hurried very much and so I was back to listen (thrilled as I was) to the 2nd part of that song.
DEE started with DOWN IN YON FOREST. I always hoped that it would become similar to the version I listened to in 2005, when they played in Bonn (the best performance of it ever!)… But here it was different. Nevertheless it was great and led into THE SPEAKING HANDS followed by WINTER SHAKER. Hallelujah! What else could I say that I haven’t told you before? I’m aware of the danger to repeat myself…so what?: The four musicians had done a tremendous job and were celebrated by the audience for that.
Unfortunately my camera didn’t work how it should do…so I cannot prove how special it was…:-) just believe me: it was!

Anyway.
WOVEN HAND got off the stage just to come back a minute later to play ELKTOOTH though an especially noisy and persistent fan shouted for STRAWFOOT and STORIES AND PICTURES (which were not played). But back to ELKTOOTH: a great one but the crowd exploded when DEE and his bandoneon started to play AMERICAN WHEEZE. Live! And I was there!! I never ever thought I would see this live on stage! It was overwhelming! Obviously I was not the only one who felt like that…:-)
It was so…, sooo…, so -?-…, wonderful…
…and topped by YOUR RUSSIA.
I love and hate this song: on one hand it is one of my TopFive-Live-Favourites because of its incredibly intense and spectacular final, on the other hand it was always the end of all the world’s-best-band-gigs I went to… and so it was this time, too.


THE SETLIST

1.    Harm’s Way
2.    Into The Piano/Tin Finger
3.    Dirty Blue
4.    Wooden Brother
5.    White Bird
6.    Swedish Purse Medley
7.    ? / Deerskin Doll
8.    Truly Golden
9.    Down in Yon Forest/The Speaking Hands
10.    Winter Shaker

+++++++

    Elktooth
    American Wheeze
    Your Russia


EPILOGUE

Is there anything else to mention?
It was definitely one of the best WOVEN HAND-gigs I’ve ever seen! And it was also definitely worth to travel for (and to come into a traffic jam at 1 o’clock in the morning!!) But anyway – I was sooooooo relaxed and happy and a little bit tired, too :-) ). I mean: I listened to some of my all-time-favourites :-) among a perfect crowd and I’d seen an enthusiastic band – it took some days to stop my grinning…
The acoustics were great, the set bombastic and intense and hard and loud and grandiose  and …, …, …
…TRULY MINDBLOWING!
I hope they’ll come back in autumn or winter…I must see them again this year…:-)…I’ll take a vacation in November and then I’ll have loads of time…



 


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