WIESBADEN BOWLING GREEN WIESBADEN GERMANY
After seeing Gilmour last September in Oberhausen with quite an interesting and (for me) surprisingly overwhelming gig, I ordered 2 tickets for the european leg of his Rattle That Lock World Tour 2016 some months ago. From his 2 german shows, I decided to pick the Wiesbaden show, because it’s only about 60 miles away from me.
Having said this, I was concerned about that outdoor gig, as you’ll never know about the weather conditions and 8 pm as the start of the show would be a killer for all visuals for most of the time, as it won’t be really dark before 11 pm. So I generally prefer indoor shows, where you can see the shows as they were planned with all the details.
After a one hour drive to Wiesbaden, we (my wife and myself) parked our car in a small street near the venue and took the 5 minutes walk to the Bowling Green. I’ve been there a week before and checked the area, so I did know, where to park the car. Luckily, the weather was perfect – not too cold, not too warm and mostly: No rain!
When we reached the venue, there were very long lines of fans waiting at the 2 entries on the west side. Really bad organisation, these small entries! Because of the personalized tickets, the security checked the ID cards and it took a while to get finally into the venue.
The Bowling Green is actually a lawn square with 2 big fountains just in front of the Kurhaus and the Kurpark in the centre of Wiesbaden. We were located in block B2 row 8, near the stage, slightly on the left hand side (in front of the backing singers). You could already hear the intro sound tape with all these floydian sounds (including several times the Echoes ping).
I’m not sure, if there’s been still problems at these small entries or the pure brightness of this evening (with the sunbeams on Mr. Screen), but the show started almost half an hour late. Gilmour came from the right side, kissed Polly and entered the stage. Later on, Polly took photos from various positions throughout the show.
The setlist for this show included nothing new, this time with One Of These Days as starter for part 2 after the break and with The Great Gig In The Sky in the first half.
Especially at the beginning of the show the bright light was really a problem as the the sunbeams met the stage, that opened up to the west. So you could barely see the visuals and the Rattle That Lock video wasn’t even shown on Mr. Screen. One of these vari-lites surrounding Mr. Screen didn’t work correctly and was finally ommitted from all actions for the rest of the evening.
Well, German crowds are not famous for their enthusiasm. So, this time, the crowd was fine, but in parts not too much interested in the gig altogether. Some were there, obviously because they want to be part of an expensive event and didn’t matter who’s on stage. In the quieter parts of the evening, the running for the next beer would increase rapidely and annoy all fans, who were there to witness a musical event. Besides that, the constantly filming with all these smartphones was really distracting us from the show. No thoughtfulness, no concerning about others – unfortunately we live in egoistic times!
Coming back to the music: Gilmour and his band played with much gusto and the master himself enjoyed the evening very much, with a broad smile on his face from time to time. No really big mistakes during whole of the gig, the band seemed confident with all the tunes troughout. I couldn’t say, that this band is better or worse than last year’s.
Of course, David is the musical centre and his guitar playing and singing is mainly responsible for the feel of the songs. As last year, his playing is without any doubt on an absolute high and considering his 70 years, his voice sounds surprisingly fresh and powerful.
Although the evening included a few songs, that (honestly) I would have kicked out of the setlist, I really enjoyed 165 minutes of music and it got me into this typical floydian feeling. Hard to describe, but any fan will know it. It’s the music, the sound, the lights and Gilmour with his guitar, that all come together in a perfect moment, that will send shivers down your spine. For me, that’s been especially during his solo at the end of In Any Tongue – magical!
Highlights for me were In Any Tongue, High Hopes, the comeback of One Of These Days, Fat Old Sun, Sorrow and of course Comfortably Numb. What a great live song and what a great song to end the show! And the lasers during that song were great to see, as it was almost dark. The solos in In Any Tongue and Sorrow were really long, so this is a clear indication of Gilmour’s positive mood.
All in all, I’m glad, that I went to this gig and enjoyed it a lot. Who knows, if Gilmour will ever get on the road again! And if he really gets back into the studio for another album, then, maybe, we’ll meet again some sunny day …
Set 1 (70 min.):
01. 5 A.M.
02. Rattle That Lock
03. Faces Of Stone
04. What Do You Want From Me
05. The Blue
06. The Great Gig In The Sky
07. A Boat Lies Waiting
08. Wish You Were Here
10. In Any Tongue
11. High Hopes
Set 2 (75 min.):
12. One Of These Days
13. Shine On You Crazy Diamond
14. Fat Old Sun
15. Coming Back To Life
16. On An Island
17. The Girl In The Yellow Dress
20. Run Like Hell
Encore (20 min.):
22. Breathe Reprise
23. Comfortably Numb
Review, set list and above pictures thanks to Hans-Jürgen Müller
Wiesbaden was a good show, in some ways my favourite of the three I saw on this tour. It’s hard for me to not compare it to Pompeii, which had the same setlist. Just about all of the little niggles I had about the Pompeii gig simply went away in Wiesbaden: the crowd was all-seated so the view was good throughout, there were in fact several close-ups of Guy on Mr Screen, I really liked their interpretation of Great Gig In The Sky this time which had more soloing by the girls than I remembered and they did a really good job of it. Even the wind machine for One of These Days sounded more windy, and I enjoyed Yellow Dress all the way through. Where I was sitting there was also a lot less filming going on, phones did come out for the usual moments but they soon disappeared again.
So maybe I misjudged those things at Pompeii but I reckon it had a lot to do with where I was for each show: in the amphitheatre I was ten rows from the front and spent much of my time watching the actual band members in the flesh rather than on the screen. In Wiesbaden I was sat just over a third of the way back, just left of centre with a much better view of the thing as a whole. My feeling now after three shows is that if you aren’t really up close right at the front then it’s better to be further back and to bask in the overall atmosphere.
Helpful roadside displays on the way in told us that the car park under the actual Bowling Green was full. We’d driven too far so we waited until the traffic cops weren’t looking, made a quick U-turn and headed to one of the many other car parks which the signs told us still had several hundred spaces free. A ten-minute stroll to the gig revealed wide lines of people stretching back across to the other side of the street but after walking up to a guy in uniform, pointing at a tree and saying something which I don’t think either of them really understood, my mate made his way towards the front of the queue with me in tow and got us both straight through to security without a murmur from anyone. Kind of reminded me of that little group of guys I saw in Pompeii shouting and waving to their imaginary friend “Luigi” as they pushed their way through to the front. I felt a bit guilty about it… for about five seconds. After being told to drink out our water bottles, our tickets got photo ID-checked and we were in. A few seats around us stayed empty for the first half of the show, filled by new faces after the interval. The show wasn’t sold out, earlier in the day I’d had a quick look on the official site, there were seats still to be had in every category apart from the most expensive one up front.
The mixing desk was fairly close to the stage with a cover over the top, it blocked most of my view of Chester. In front of and behind the desk there was empty space all the way to the raised sloping ‘bleachers’ seats at the back: after the interval, several people had left their ticketed places and come to stand in this space for the rest of the show. It says on the AFG show page that the capacity for the venue is 6000. Hard to tell for sure but looking around, it felt like more than that on the night. I suppose you also have to include the lucky people in the flats across the road facing directly towards the stage, they were out in force on their balconies throughout with a full view of the stage. Plus those gathered on the Kurhaus building steps and on the other side of the road behind the stage, they won’t have been able to see much but must have heard everything quite clearly.
It was shorts and t-shirt weather and the temperature at the scheduled 8pm start can’t have been far off 30 degrees with not a cloud in the sky. All equipment and instruments were shielded from the sun by silver reflective sheets when we arrived. The start was delayed for almost half-an-hour, I think they were waiting for the sun to sink low enough so as to not hit the band’s eye level on the stage. I paid attention to the sound effects being piped through the speakers and counted three Echoes pings but there wasn’t even a murmur from the crowd for any of them. Then again, this was Wiesbaden, why should there be? At the start, Mr Screen still had some evening sun on him so was a bit hard to see. The sound was clear, though it seemed to take a few songs for the crowd to really get going. Perhaps it was just me but even the band seemed a little apprehensive at first, as though they weren’t feeling much of a buzz.
Not having to occasionally stretch my neck to see properly, I probably listened and watched more closely than I had done during the last show. I did practically no filming apart from some very short snippets now and again, also taking a few pics when I remembered to though I really was too far back to get anything decent, especially when it turned dark and the lights played hell with my overstretched little iPhone. David addressed the crowd at the same points as last time: Rick got his mentions between Great Gig In The Sky/A Boat Lies Waiting and the band members were introduced between On An Island/The Girl With the Yellow Dress.
The Blue was good as was Wish You Were Here, and Money was a lot of fun with Joao Mello as excellent as I remembered, with David and Chester also nailing their little guitar duelling exchange. In Any Tongue also good though the Pompeii solo won it for me. It was also clear that much of the crowd didn’t really know David’s solo album material tonight.
One of These Days was great and Shine On I think even more so, beautifully played and sung by everybody, as was Fat Old Sun with David swatting an insect on his left arm mid-solo. I got a bit annoyed throughout OOTD straight after the interval, too many people were spending much of the song still finding their seats, fetching drinks, food and Christ knows what else. Par for the course I guess though there was more getting up and popping off to the stalls along the sides during the lesser known, i.e. solo album songs.
As in every show I’ve seen, David’s voice again turned decidedly dodgy during Coming Back To Life. There was also one song where he starting dropping parts of his lines by an octave though I can’t remember which one it was now, it might still have been CBTL or maybe On An Island. The chill in the air was getting noticeable by now and Today was nicely played though I think probably the least inspiring song of the night for me. Sorrow and Run Like Hell immediately made up for that, both got everyone roaring again. No pyros and fireworks for RLH but hey, been there, done that and the Mr Screen lights were still as good as always. Even though it left me with me a better view, I was a bit disappointed that the crowd stayed seated during RLH, though after the end everybody I could see in front of and behind me stood up. And they stayed standing, right through all the encores to the end of the show: Time/Breathe(reprise) with David and Greg singing, then with Chuck doing the verses on Comfortably Numb, as we’ve come to accept. The smoke and lasers on Numb were fantastic and for the first time I properly saw how they extend out across such a large area of the crowd whilst another great solo screamed its way through us and I gradually accepted that this tour has now come to an end for me.
Genuine warmth from David as he thanked the crowd at the end and they all disappeared off to the sides. Wide exits opened up around the grounds and the whole place emptied surprisingly quickly.
We hurried back to the car and my pride at having parked facing a ground level downward ramp for a quick exit was quickly crushed when I saw the mass of people queuing to pay at the money vending machines. No matter, I still had my friend with me: We joined separate queues and I soon lost him as he wormed his way ahead. I still had some way to go when I saw that he was almost at the front. I gave up my spot, handed him the ticket and we were out. He can come with me to a gig again anytime.
Review & pictures thanks to ET
Tickets (On sale 5 Feb)
Address: Kurhausplatz 1 65189 Wiesbaden Germany
The Bowling Green is of an elongated rectangle with two pools, one of each in the middle of three shells cascading fountain stands. On the east side the park joins the Kurhausplatz in front of the Kurhaus, Wiesbaden. Close behind the Kurhaus with its famous casino, stretches the Kurpark. On the west side of Bowling Green runs the Wilhelmstrasse. Across the street lies the Kaiser-Friedrich-Platz with the statue of Emperor Frederick III. The place is flanked by the luxury Hotel Nassauer Hof. The Bowling Green is often used for open-air events for example held concerts by Leonard Cohen, R.E.M., Sting, Nelly Furtado, Bryan Adams, Plácido Domingo, Lionel Richie, Eric Clapton, Elton John and Herbert Grönemeyer.