For many this was a long awaited night. For my boyfriend this was a night that had been waited on for longer than he can remember. For me, if I am completely honest, this was a night, as a middle-of-the-road fan who had read the bad reviews, from which I didn’t really know what to expect.
Arriving at 6pm, an hour before the doors opened, I was surprised to be met by a smallish crowd of mixed personalities. And there was me expecting to see the whole of Neukoelln – typically seen as Berlin’s expat ‘place-to-be’. My mistake. Heading in after a squash at the doors, everyone seemed to dissipate and we headed straight to the front. I must admit, there was a lot of standing around and despite the show being moved forward an hour, earlier in the week, nothing actually happened until 30 mins into this ‘extra hour’. Having caught a flight that morning and as a result being dragged from my bed at 4am… I had a little nap standing up.
However, when something finally happened I was wide awake and ready to be hit by whatever may be coming my way in the next two hours. Unfortunately, I had to wait another 30 minutes before anything of worth happened as the worst ‘support’ I have ever had to experience burst onto a side stage to some heavily misogynistic R’n’b. An image that will stick in my mind is the upper tier’s reaction to this ‘act’. Stoney-faced silence. Thank you, Germany. Now I have seen many comments complaining about this opening ‘act’ and many negative reviews have been responded to with ‘well it’s because you don’t understand irony. Idiot.’ Charming. Now, I’m sorry but there is irony and then there is shit. And this was shit. The Knife had plenty of social commentary and irony to dish out in the next 90 minutes and thus, this 20-minute ‘aerobics class’ with a broken microphone was completely unnecessary. Anyway, it could only go upwards from here…
And it did. It really did. The show itself was genuinely one of the most interesting I have seen in a while. It was different. It was complex, yet simple. But, most of all everyone on stage was clearly having the time of their lives. The outfits were great; the dances were amateurish yet complex at the same time, and the concept was thought provoking. I genuinely really enjoyed it and it completely boosted my regard for The Knife from middle-of-the-road fan to whatever comes next. Yes, there were some poor bits. Full of Fire was an awful ‘performance’, which saw everyone stand on stage for 6 minutes with barely the blink of an eye. Sure it was like being in a club, but it was also lazy and didn’t deserve the applause it got at the end. Sure it was making a point, passing the buck over to the audience to break down the hierarchy between the stage and the audience, but it just didn’t push my buttons.
But, as I have said, overall I was hugely impressed. Much more impressed than I thought I would be. I can see where people have come from with their negative comments but at the same time I also can’t. Sure, there were some bad parts but aren’t there always?! There is always that song you hate and stand there just waiting for it to be over. But, that is life and you could clearly tell that a lot of effort had gone into all the preparations for this tour. As a result, it is completely unfair in my opinion to accuse them of ripping anyone off. They shook the habitual as they had always claimed they would, and no one could accuse them of not being open about their intentions from the offset.
(I DO NOT own the rights to this photo. Credit to Erez Avissar.)