23rd March 2019
Diary of Dreams
For almost a year I have been planning my big trip to Colombia. In March, I was to travel this amazing country for an entire month. I got my flights already in July 2018. In January I planned everything, booked all the hostels and all the flights in Colombia. On 4th of February all plans changed. DIARY OF DREAMS announced their very first show in Colombia for the 23rd of March. I could not believe it! Not only are they one of my all-time favourites, but it also offered me the perfect opportunity to explore Colombia’s Gothic scene. I definitely had to be there!
While it was indeed their first show ever in Colombia, DIARY OF DREAMS are not entirely new to South America. They had been playing Chile and Argentina in 2005. But this is also a long time ago and a lot of material was released since then, like ‘Hell in Eden’ last year and this time it was a much bigger tour with five shows in five different countries (Colombia, Peru, Argentina, Brazil and Chile). I felt happy for all the South American fans who had to wait so long and certainly would be very excited.
And for sure soon the Facebook event for the show in Medellin started buzzing. Not only did the organisers Epic Productions post almost daily updates, pictures and videos, but also many fans joined them posting pictures of themselves posing proudly with their concert ticket. The organiser even did a radio interview to which I listened full of curiosity. What I liked even more is that the organisers always replied quickly and very kindly to all my questions (and believe me, as a tourist from another continent, I had loads of questions…). In addition, there was an opener, namely FABIO PORCH, a local DJ from Bogotá. I was looking forward to hearing what songs a DJ from the Colombian scene would play!
So, one day before the show I travelled to Medellin. Or at least I tried to. I came from Leticia, which is just as far from Medellin as you can be in Colombia as it is far in the south at the Amazon River. The only way to Medellin was to take a plane to Bogotá and then change over to another plane. But thanks to a thunderstorm my plane landed in Cali instead. I was happy that I planned a lot of extra time to arrive in Medellin. While the big airlines in Colombia are just as well organised as our European counterparts, Colombia is also known for having challenging weather quite often. So after disembarking and boarding the same plane in Cali, I finally arrived in Bogotá, but it was way too late to get to Medellin. Luckily, my airline was perfectly organised. They gave me a hotel and booked me on the first flight in the next morning.
So, the next day at 8 am I finally arrived in Medellin, checked in at my hotel close to the concert location and went exploring the surrounding area. As I was standing in front of the Blue Bar I still had difficulties believing this. The last three weeks I spent snorkelling in the Caribbean Sea, hiking the mountains in the jungle of the Sierra Nevada and exploring the Amazon rainforest by foot and by boat. I had seen so many different worlds (Colombia is one of the top countries for biodiversity), and all felt as fascinating as foreign to me. Yet right now I was standing at the centre of a modern metropolis and was waiting for a live band whose music was like home to me.
At 19:30 I entered the Blue Bar. FABIO PORCH was already playing his set. Unfortunately, the sound was not very good but way too loud, in particular on the higher frequencies. Except from that, I enjoyed the set very much. It was quite diverse, but he still managed to change from one style to the next in a way that felt fitting and natural. At first, there was a part of classical Dark Wave, then changing over to Neue Deutsche Todeskunst and finally Neue Deutsche Härte. It was quite strange to me to hear so many German lyrics here in Medellin and I wondered, how many people in this room understood the lyrics? After a while he switched back to English lyrics with a more Electronic and Industrial part before finally returning to Dark Wave again. Even though only one person was dancing, I saw many people nodding and slightly rocking to the music. And some point some people even applauded the songs.
During the DJ set the Blue Bar was filling slowly with people. I liked the location immediately. It was a long room, on one side the bar, on the other steps to sit on. In the roof, there was a big opening which promised a good ventilation for the concert. The stage was very small and instead of a stage pit, there was a barrier of big barrels in front of the stage. DIARY OF DREAMS for sure had adapted to the smaller stages at this tour and the bigger challenges of transportation. There was only a small banner at the back of the stage and the big drum set was replaced by a smaller, electronic drum set while the synthesizers were left home altogether. Quite interesting to me… in contrast to German clubs here the waiters went around, asked the guests what they wanted to drink and brought the drinks directly to them. What a service! :-)
I spent the time by observing the people. Before, I thought that maybe there is not a big Gothic scene and that the audience would be more diverse with people who look alternative in general. But the outfits I saw where as much Gothic as in Germany. Some people wearing just black shirts and jeans, some with very sophisticated outfits and make up. There was no doubt that I was at a Gothic concert. What was definitely different was that the first row remained empty for very long. Only at about 21:00 people started going to the stage. But then again the club still felt very empty. I kept crossing my fingers that more people would show up, but when FABIO PORCH ended his set at 21:30 I still estimated the number of guests at about a hundred.
Yet, the moment DIARY OF DREAMS entered the stage, it did not sound at all like a hundred of fans. They started applauding and cheering so loudly, that one might have thought that there were a thousand of excited guests. Their energy was amazing! Just like at the European ‘Hell in Eden’ tour, the opener was the energetic ‘Made in Shame’ followed by ‘Epicon’. To be honest, before I was wondering: Which songs would be the favourites of the Colombian fans? Do they know the more current songs? Or is it possible, that only old songs get played at their clubs? After all, they never had a DIARY OF DREAMS tour to promote the current albums…
Well, ‘Epicon’ proofed without a doubt: The Colombian fans know the current album ‘Hell in Eden’ by heart. Around me all people were celebrating those truly epic riffs and where loudly shouting “tell me” with Adrian. And they did not stop. With ‘Kindrom’ and ‘The Wedding’ following, the setlist was packed with more energetic songs which gave the opportunity to shout along. It all felt like an ecstatic party of people celebrating this unique moment. Then ‘Malum’ followed and I was thinking, how would they react to German lyrics? Well, the “keiner, keener” was shouted just as loudly as the songs before and even more interestingly, I had someone standing right behind me who sang the whole refrain perfectly without accent. I definitely did not expect that!
The same was true for ‘Traumtänzer’ which this time was not the final encore as it usually is in Germany, but instead came quite early in the set. Again, the people sang along enthusiastically and I really hoped that many people would understand the lyrics as Adrian sang “Ich stehe auf und geh nun fort an einen fremden, fernen Ort” (I stand up and walk away to a foreign, faraway place) and pointed at the stage. He too looked delighted by all the energy that came from the crowd. Only in the middle part, for some moment the crowd seemed to lose energy. Maybe it was just me, but I felt the sound got worse for a few songs (and it was not optimal the whole time even though much better than during the DJ set).
But with ‘Butterfly:Dance!’ everyone was awake and attentive again. Finally, the main set was closed by ‘Undividable’. At first, the audience was surprisingly quiet. I was wondering, are they not used to encores? Even more, I was thinking about what words to shout. My Spanish courses sure never taught me how to ask for an encore. Luckily, the crowd decided to do it in English and as soon as we agreed on a rhythm, everyone joined in and the crowd was loud again. So, DIARY OF DREAMS returned to the stage to play ‘Amok’ and then, finally, ‘The Curse’.
Already before, there were some people shouting for ‘The Curse’ and it was very obvious that here in Colombia this was their hymn! Well, I did not expect it, but the crowd got even more ecstatic. What I expected even less was Adrian’s reaction. He left the stage and went right to the centre of the audience. I had seen so many shows of DIARY OF DREAMS but this was definitely a first! Adrian was immediately surrounded by happy fans raising their arms, singing along, trying to give him a hand and taking pictures with their phones. The whole vibe felt so familiar and close. Now it really was US celebrating this wonderful music and unique live show together.
After that, DIARY OF DREAMS left again. But the crowd managed quickly to convince them to come back. For the last song, DIARY OF DREAMS picked ‘She and her Darkness’ which to me felt like the perfect ending along the lines “let me say thank you”. At one point Adrian even adapted the lyrics and sang “gracias, for everything you’ve done” which led to happy cheers in the crowd. Then it was time to say goodbye. Adrian thanked everyone and told them “Please, bring us back!” He looked truly touched and grateful.
But of course, the night was still young. As soon as the band left, one of the organisers made an announcement to tell everyone about the after show party that took place just a few minutes away in a bar called La Latineria. So I just dropped off the camera at the hotel and then went to the bar. There I was greeted by PROJECT PITCHFORK and then many more songs that get often played at German Gothic parties. The bar was already crowded, partly with their usual guests, partly with the fans from the concert. And I was amazed by just how kind and welcoming those fans were. Within the next hours I got to know many awesome people. We were talking happily about the wonderful show, I got asked a lot how it was for me and a lot of them were telling me at which German Gothic festivals they had been (which were a lot!) and how much they liked it.
I definitely did not expect this. One of them even offered to show me Medellin the next which I gladly accepted. In addition, I had some time to chat with one of the organisers who thanked me personally for the support, while I was telling him just how amazing and special this evening was to me. After some time, the whole band showed up as well. Soon, there was a long queue of happy fans who wanted to take pictures and get autographs. The whole atmosphere was relaxed and blissful. The perfect way to conclude this evening.
Overall, this was a fantastic experience to me which I will definitely remember for a long time. Even though the Gothic scene seemed to be quite small and this was probably one of my smallest DIARY OF DREAMS shows, I was absolutely overwhelmed by their energy and enthusiasm. And by their kindness! I truly hope, that more bands from the European Gothic scene will discover Colombia as a place for live shows. They cannot wish for a more grateful audience!
01. Made in Shame
04. The Wedding
06. Listen & Scream
08. King of Nowhere
09. O’Brother Sleep
11. The Plague
13. Decipher Me
16. The Curse
17. She and her Darkness
Total: 9 / 10
All pictures by Eva Lhum