6th July 2019
Diary Of Dreams & Diorama - Festung Königstein Open Air 2019
When it’s summer and you can combine the visit of the beautiful Dresden and even a historical fortress in beautiful nature with a concert of two special bands - than it is a no-brainer to pick the calendar and reserve the 6th July for a trip to Saxony or to be more concrete, to Festung Königstein (fortress Königstein) to see the perfect match of DIORAMA and DIARY OF DREAMS starting the open air season 2019 up there.
DIORAMA are now around for more than two decades and the repertoire varies from soft and fragile ballades to extremely danceable Synth Pop tracks. The band combines synthies with real guitar and drum sound and so especially their live performances develop a huge energy that is conquering the audience in no time. The last album ‘ZSA’ was released in 2016 and the band is currently working on the next one in the studio. http://diorama-music.com/
Music & Performance
The lift brought us up to the stage area on the fortress at 6:30 pm and there we were welcomed with the most perfect weather for an open air: quite warm, but not too hot, blue sky, sometimes a breath of wind and the beautiful fortress walls around us creating a magical atmosphere A little more than an hour after we could get up there, it was time for DIORAMA to start the evening. The stage looked quite basic, no banners or other gimmicks, but when you know DIORAMA, you also know that they don’t need that all to get you. The band came on stage and the intro was the instrumental ‘Nebulus’, a quite extended, a little bit experimental version, everyone very focused and it was still damn light as it was just close to 8 pm and early July. That said, it’s difficult to talk about the light here, light effects were there, but open air and sunshine… you just don’t see much of it.
‘Beta’ followed and the guys were all in the element. Unfortunately the sound made some problems. Though we as audience were probably better in just ignoring them as much as possible, the band tried to fix them every now and then. The song choice for the setlist was just perfect. We’ve got some classics like the first song that I’ve heard from DIORAMA, ‘Synthesize Me’ or ‘Child Of Entertainment’, both guaranteeing for a dancing and a celebrating crowd. But also rare gems like ‘Said But True’ crawled under the skin with the synths by Felix and vocals by Torben being so intense and real. This is what DIORAMA feels the most about - real, existing, genius and weird at the same time - vulnerable and crazy.
The performance at Festung Königstein captivated with the different, unheard versions of some of the songs; ‘Exit The Grey’ was one of them. So extremely pervading and kidnapping in another dimension as actually the concert did for the most part. The atmosphere was amazing, celebrating but also carefully listening crowd, supportive no matter some technical problems (though I believe they were stronger on the musicians’ side than ours). The 1 hour and 20 minutes ended way too fast (I believe the time passed way faster in the time dimension that DIORAMA took us to) and closed with an extremely beautiful version of ‘Leaving Hollywood’. Torben announced that song saying it was quite awesome to travel into the past while working on the new songs. The piano melody was engaging and took one immediately with.
An incredibly beautiful, melancholic, lovely end of the DIORAMA part of the evening, though, we all were hoping for a comeback later that night.
03. Odyssey Into The Vacuum
04. Said But True
05. Kein Mord
07. Child Of Entertainment
08. Exit The Grey
10. Friends We Used To Know
12. Synthesize Me
13. Leaving Hollywood
Total: 9 / 10
Diary Of Dreams
DIARY OF DREAMS’s debut album ‘Cholymelan’ was released 25 years ago and since then the band released a solid amount of albums and songs that have made a difference in the lives of many people I know. The latest album ‘hell in Eden’ is a concept album with a variety pf truly epic, fragile and melancholic, as well as pushing songs. After touring South and North America earlier this year, the band is finally back home in Germany, also playing at M’era Luna festival in August and a bunch of gigs in October. https://www.diaryofdreams.de/
Music & Performance
The sun almost set down when DIARY OF DREAMS, tonight as trio with Dejan, Hilger and of course Adrian, entered the stage. Right from the start the band had a very strong appearance, a lot of power in their performance and the song choice showed the harder arrangements, dominated by the sophisticated guitar play by Hilger and extremely cool drums by Dejan. The band built the setlist throughout all decades and switched between many albums. ‘Epicon’ from the latest album is a song that always impresses me with its force and the energy, be it on the record or live. Meanwhile ‘The Wedding’ reminds me of my first DIARY OF DREAMS live gigs as it just came out back then when I finally made it to the concerts.
Adrian announced ‘Malum’ as one of his favourite songs, but before performing it, he practiced with us the “keiner, keiner” line. Obviously we were doing quite good and didn’t need many repetitions. The song itself was awesome and the crowd did a great job as well. ‘Listen And Scream’ was actually the motto of the night. We all listened carefully to the songs and screamed enthusiastically in between the songs or sometimes during them, but only if them was fitting at the moment. The following ‘Giftraum’ will be forever a song that I adore and every time that it’s performed live it is a strong mixture of the feelings from 15 years ago when it was the first song I heard by DIARY OF DREAMS, going through all the concerts that happened in between, but actually the song just keep being strong and timeless through all the years. It’s just so much fun, to sing along, to hear the melody, to listen to Adrian casting a spell over the audience while the night is slowly covering the fortress. Truly magical moments.
And here we go, a surprise, ‘Traumtänzer’ appeared just in between. The song has been performed at almost every gig I’ve been to and if it was played, it’s been at the end of a gig. I know there have been some exceptions, but I really didn’t expect it that night. And we were not even half through the setlist. The following appears like a best of with ‘King Of Nowhere’, the mighty ‘The Curse’, ‘Soul Stripper’ and so on. ‘Charma Sleeper’ was probably one of my highlights tonight. Very intense and dark, striking directly through all the emotions you can have. And just to not give the emotions any moment to relax, ‘Chemicals’ appeared. So many deeply loved, legendary, touching songs. A truly beautiful setlist. Adrian showed his gratitude to the audience every now and then. Dejan and Hilger also obviously had fun on stage and the band was rocking the fortress at its best.
‘Butterfly:Dance!’ woke up the memories of the COMA ALLIANCE tour earlier this year in January and I realized that some songs now felt weird (same goes for some DIORAMA songs actually, like ‘Kein Mord’ or ‘Child Of Entertainment’) live without the contribution of Torben (or Adrian during the DIORAMA songs of course). We just got so used to hear them in the combination, so it was actually unusual to hear them in the original arrangement again. ‘Kindrom’ was also so strong and emotionally engaging. I have this weird association with it, even that I wasn’t at that gig when DIARY OF DREAMS performed it together with ZEROMANCER nine years ago. I just saw the footages on YouTube in actually pretty crappy quality, but could immediately imagine it live. Still waiting to actually see it live once. Never stop dreaming, right. With ‘Kindrom’ the band left the stage, but of course we didn’t let them go that easy.
So all three returned for an encore with ‘Undividable’ and rocked one more altogether, before Dejan and Hilger left the stage, but Adrian stayed. He started with “You didn’t really believe that I would leave this stage without performing with Torben once he is here as well?” Of course, not! We all were just waiting for Adrian and Torben to reunite and curious about the song that they’ve chosen to present us. Torben took place at the piano that was extra put back in the centre of the stage for that song and started played the chords… ‘She And Her Darkness’ was the perfect ending for tonight and believe me, when Adrian sang “Let me say thank you for all that you have given me. Thank you for everything you’ve done”, turned around to Torben and looked at him, it was for sure the most touching and real moment of the evening. Everyone was listening silently and breathing the incredibly enchanting song, though we could have stayed there for many more hours and “listen and scream”.
But all perfection has an end and without an end there is no new beginning. In just two weeks from that gig the musicians will reunite for the first festival gig at Amphi for COMA ALLIANCE, the joint project of Adrian Hates and Torben Wendt.
01. Made In Shame
03. The Wedding
05. Listen And Scream
08. King Of Nowhere
09. The Curse
10. Soul Stripper
12. Charma Sleeper
14. Endless Nights
16. Decipher Me
19. She And Her Darkness (fest. Torben Wendt)
Total: 9.5 / 10
All Pictures by Silvio Pfeifer