Review of “ASP und Freunde: Von Zaubererbrüdern, Schwarzen Schmetterlingen und anderen Nachtgestalten”

The day before yesterday me and my girlfriend went to the Unplugged Tour of ASP in Hamburg. And this event is definitely worth a blog entry! Of course this was a concert, that was totally different to anything before. Not only because it was the tour for the new album Krabat, which also marks the end of the old album cycle on the Black Butterfly, but also because it was the first acoustic concert, with no E-Guitars, but acoustic guitars, as well as classic instrumentation. And it was the first concert by ASP with seats instead of place to stand.

So yesterday our journey started. Right after work (actually I was allowed to quit 1,5 hours earlier) my girlfriend picked me up, and we went straight to the train station (by bike). Actually it was a pretty bad start off, as it was raining like hell. We where totally wet, when we finally sitting in the train.

In train I first changed my clothes – as I do not like to run around all in black at work. So as this concert was going to be something special, and Asp said that he would love to see us in our finest evening dress. So I had a nice black chemise which looks quite elegant. Also my girlfriend was giving me some makeup. When we arrived at the Markthalle 1,5 hours before the opening, there was already a big crowd at the entrance. Though it was totally full when they finally opened the door, the crowd was amazing. No one was running for places, or anything. The atmosphere was calm and quiet – totally different to other concerts I went to (like In Extremo or Schandmaul, where the people just start running to be the first to get to the stage). The people met at the cloakroom, or at the bar, drank something and where discussing with each other.

There was a merchandise booth at the entrance selling fan articles, many of them where made exclusively for this tour and will only be available here. I myself got the first two Papilion magazines from the band, together with a file folder specially for them. Beside this I got a Tour Shirt, a note book with the famous crow quill engraved in it, and a crow quill pin.

The stage was perfectly designed although the location itself wasn’t that nice. But still – there where black benches for four persons, each seat had a program guide on it. We got a pretty nice place at the third row. The stage had pictures of the Krabat Artwork, which where lit by different coulors, giving the stage different atmospheres. When the show started, everybody was quiet, and those few who still made sound got an angry “psst”. Could you imagine such behaviour on any other gothic rock concert? When the musicians entered first there was applouse, but as they found their seats, again everything was quite – and after each of the musician was ready tuning his or her instrument, finally also Asp entered the room, as the “Meister”, wearing a tricorn and carrying a big black book, the Koraktor. With this he was going to the little lecturers desk in the middle of the stage, opening it and reading from it to us.

Of course everything started with “Betteljunge” and “Krabat”. While at the first song everybody was still very quiet, with the second song, the crowd slowly got warm, started singing and dancing (as much as possible, if you sit). Beside the songs, Asp told us a little about their journey they started long time ago with writing the first song of Krabat – now they finally arrived at their goal. Of course the Krabat songs where the ones in the center of the attention. So we travelled through the story that started with the “Betteljunge”, and soon Asp told us, what our goal would be – the last song, “Der geheimnisvolle Fremde”. Even in the first half of the concert, we learned the refrain with Asp so that we could sing it.

But of course, as the title is telling us, we were also visiting some of the other creatures. With “Me” and “Die Ballade von der Erweckung” we revisited the Black Butterfly and got into his reign again with “Im dunklen Turm”, with the song “Das Minnelied der Incubi” we got to here the Incubi, and of course there was the (were-)wolf that visited us with “Wolfspuren” and “Stille der Nacht”.

Beside of the fact, that every song was a highlight by itself, as it was never heard in this version before, there where also a lot of other highlights. Most of them where little anecdotes told by Asp, who knows how to entertain the audience with little jokes every now and then, like scaring everybody by shouting out loud into the microphone, after first of all telling a story in a quite, calm and gentle voice. One of the greatest highlight for me was how he told as that one of their songs “Abschied” was said to be stolen by ASP from someone else – which of course isn’t true. To proof it, he right afterwards sang the song – but this version was holding verses of the Songs “Sympathy for the devil” and “Let me entertain you”, which ingeniously where build into the song, and sounded smoothly.

After the break there was another highlight as Matze was playing a song that needed Guitars with 3 different tunings. So he was switching his guitars back and forth (guided by applause). As a nice gag one of them was a pink Hello Kitty guitar.

After we reached the last songs “Der geheimnisvolle Fremde” and “Am Ende”, there was standing ovations, and of course they had to come a second time for an addition – Asp was begging us to stop applauding and to sit down again – playing “Variété Obscur” (Asp was actually wearing a nice cylinder for this song – and by the way, this is a really great song, if you didn’t know it until know, you’ll HAVE to listen to it 😉 ) and “Werben” – really great, Ally at the fiddle was giving us a unbelievable performance. When they left again we of course where begging for more, telling ASP that we want to burn. So finally we where rewarded “Ungeschickte Liebesbriefe”, and finally we where allowed to burn, and how we burned. ASP showed us that rock with acoustic instruments is not only possible – it’s great. And you could see, that (as well as during the whole concert) they where giving everything to rock us.

So after the concert Asp also came out to the crowd to sign CDs, concert tickets, and what ever else you desired.

I would like to give you some more information on the Friends (as the concert was called ASP and Friends) – when I first heard of it, I thought that Eric Fish and Lisa Pawelke (former FAUN member) would be coming with ASP (both of them have sung one song on the “Zaubererbruder” Album together with Asp). Sadly they were not meant. Anyway, those friends are still worth mentioning – those where the guys that where playing the other instruments:

To conclude this, I really have to say that I was enthused. It was an amazing concert, you could really see that everybody was giving everything they had to give us a perfect evening, and it really was. I liked the setup of the stage (though there are bands, like Schandmaul, which have more complex stage setups) – it was simple but it fitted to the theme, and really transported the atmosphere. I also liked the selection of songs, though I wished for a lot of songs that did not come up. Still, it was great, and of course they can’t play everything. Still all in all they played 3,5 hours. And it was really worth it – although we had to end our journey with a really bad train connection back to Husum. With a train that left at 0:30 and arrived at Kiel at 2:00, and our train to Husum then only going at 4:00. So finally I arrived home at 6:00 o clock – and straight went into bed for one hour sleep and then got up again, getting ready for work.

So I really enjoyed it, and I am really really really looking forward to hearing them again live in the next year, with their totally new (and until now unknown) longer(?) project – a series of Albums on a new story, that until now remains unknown to the public.

For all of you that are interested in the set list (I won’t give any warranty 😉 ):

  1. Betteljunge
  2. Beschwörung
  3. Krabat
  4. Die Teufelsmühle
  5. Stille der Nacht
  6. Wolfsspuren
  7. Denn ich bin dein Meister!
  8. Balade von der Erweckung
  9. Nie Mehr!
  10. Abschied
  11. — 20 Minutes Break —

  12. De Profundis
  13. The last Lovesong
  14. Biotopia
  15. Der Schnitter Tod
  16. Spottlied auf die harten Wanderjahre
  17. Zaubererbruder
  18. Im Dunklen Turm
  19. Me
  20. Minnelied der Incubi
  21. Der geheimnisvolle Fremde
  22. Das Ende
  23. — End of concert —

  24. Varieté Obscur
  25. Werben
  26. — End of first encore —

  27. Und wir tanzten
  28. Ich will brennen

And here are some of the souveniers I got from this concert (pin and shirt are missing – maybe tomorrow I’ll try to get some better pics of this things, and then I’ll also add the pin and the shirt):

Oh, and for all those of you, who haven’t noticed the new Zaubererbruder Album by ASP yet, have a look at the Asp-Shop. You’ll find the song list, Artwork and a trailer there (including parts of one of the songs). Worth seeing!

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