1st June 2019
Witt & Orchestra with musicians of the Leipzig Philharmonic Orchestra and special guest Adrian Hates of Diary of Dreams - “Refugium Klassik Tour” 2019
On April 26, 2019, the first tour leg of the “Refugium Klassik Tour” with main protagonist JOACHIM WITT and special guest ADRIAN HATES of DIARY OF DREAMS accompanied by the LEIPZIG PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA started at the Georg-Friedrich-Händel Hall in Halle. After a little breather in May, on June 1 the tour continued at the Alte Oper in Erfurt, and on June 23, there is the final performance at the Friedrich-Ebert Hall in Hamburg.
The artist JOACHIM WITT, born in Hamburg in 1949, is well known and loved for his megahits ‘Goldener Reiter’, ‘Tri tra trullala (Herbergsvater)’ and ‘Die Flut’, a duet with PETER HEPPNER, singer of the former band WOLFSHEIM. His musical career is characterized by success and failure, but he never gave up and always found ways to keep his music alive. But JOACHIM WITT is more than just a musician: the combination of music, acting, philosophy and being human creates a certain authenticity that is rarely seen elsewhere in such a consequence. After the Neue Deutsche Welle hype came to an end, from 1996 WITT turned towards the Neue Deutsche Härte, and together with PETER HEPPNER, the single ‘Die Flut’ was released in 1998. It became a huge success, and is one of his biggest up to now. The song received a platinum award, and the same happened to the Album ‘Bayreuth 1’, that was released the same year.
On the occasion of his 70th birthday, a live album was published in February 2019, which was recorded during his performance at the GOTHIC MEETS KLASSIK event at the Gewandhaus Leipzig in October 2018. It’s the place where he met ADRIAN HATES, who also joined the group of performing artists. The chemistry between the two was right from the very start, and thoughts of doing a common project came into their minds. There could not have been a better idea, because WITT and HATES not only harmonize together on a musical level, but also as humans, and this is what you sense all the time the two exceptional talents are on stage together. http://joachimwitt.de / https://www.facebook.com/joachimwittmusik
Born in Düsseldorf in 1973, ADRIAN HATES is well known as founder, creative mastermind and soul of his band DIARY OF DREAMS, which is doing very well and successfully in the gothic scene nationally and abroad since now 25 years. He made his first steps as a guitarist of two school bands, but there was not enough freedom to live out his creativity, so in 1989, he founded DIARY OF DREAMS together with Alistair Kane. According to HATES, the first demo tapes were not good enough to be released, but then in 1994, their debut album ‘Cholymelan’ was introduced to the market, and one year later, ADRIAN HATES founded his own label Accession Records. With now 27 releases, one of them is the Live DVD ‘Nine in Numbers’, a substantial repertoire evolved.
ADRIAN never gets tired to try out new things, so it’s not surprising, that there are side projects like COMA ALLIANCE together with TORBEN WENDT of DIORAMA, a long-term friend of the same creative refinement, and .COM/KILL with Gaun:A on board, a currently not actively involved member of DIARY OF DREAMS. With reference to the current classic tour with JOACHIM WITT, a band couldn’t be more multifaceted. Keeping in mind that already at young age classical musicians like Ludwig van Beethoven, Mozart, or Vivaldi played an important role in ADRIAN’s life, and that has not changed until today, you don’t have to ask questions about how the idea arose to do a classical performance of DIARY OF DREAMS songs. He now achieved his long-standing dream to go on tour with an orchestra and to present some of his greatest hits in a classic style across the country in beautiful locations. https://www.diaryofdreams.de / https://www.facebook.com/adrianhates
Leipzig Philharmonic Orchestra
Without an orchestra, there is no classic tour, and that’s why the musicians of the LEIPZIG PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA have to be introduced, too. They provide the superior number of persons on stage, and they impress with their various classic instruments. Founded in 2000 by students of the Hochschule für Musik FELIX MENDELSSOHN BARTHOLDY and musicians of traditional orchestras in Leipzig, since then the LEIPZIG PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA convinces nationally and abroad with a spectrum ranging from Baroque to Modernity. Young, dynamic, innovative - it’s that combination that leads the musicians to the most diverse locations, and a small selection of these talented, young musicians is now accompanying JOACHIM WITT during his 3Refugium Klassik Tour3 across Germany.
On June 1, 2019, I made the experience what it feels like when a six-month anticipation for a very special event turns into very close experiencing and then becomes a profound memory, and that’s why this concert review is a bit longer. The emotional part of this journey is inseparably combined with everything else that normally happens during a concert. So now, I was finally here at the Alte Oper in Erfurt, a venerable traditional house with an eventful history. My helping hand Ronny, a knight in shining armour, engaged to take pictures from his seat in the first row, already waited at the entrance, and we welcomed each other and directly started a conversation about what this evening may bring.
This is something I really like about concerts - you meet the rare type of people who share your taste in dark music. As I looked around, I realized the colourful, casual clothing of the people waiting in front of the opera. What the hell is going on? I really expected a black crowd with elegant dresses, chick tailcoats, and all kind of opulent gothic creations, but not blue jeans and sandals! Then I looked down at me and felt so overdressed with my black, floor-length evening dress and the painstaking updo hairstyle, and for a short moment I asked myself, if I arrived at the wrong location. Did they changed the programme? I knew, that I am at the very right place, when seconds later, a Peter Spilles look-alike came just round the corner, and he was followed by other people dressed in black Goth style. What a relief!
Exactly at 6.30 pm, the opera opened its doors and the people entered the foyer relaxed and without pushing. We now had a full hour left until the beginning of the concert, so we went to one of the bars that offered snacks and different types of beverages, and according to the German phrase “Ein Glas Wein muss sein”, we ordered some white wine and tried the deliciously smelling pretzels. As we went back to the foyer, I saw the “Vier Pfoten” (Four Paws) donation box at the merchandising booth - an animal rescue project ADRIAN is very engaged in. All over the world, humans exploit animals in a terrible way, and there is unimaginable suffering. It is indeed that simple: look away and support cruelty, or accept responsibility, open your heart and help. Every penny counts. I put some money in the box, and I hope that many other people did the same. As we finally entered the opera hall with its bright red seats, we were told that the concert would start a bit later, maybe 15 minutes. At 7.50 pm, some people started to clap their hands and call for JOACHIM.
At 8.00 pm, the triple bell sounded and promising announced the beginning of the show. The lights of the audience area went out, expectant silence filled the room, and then the light show on stage began. The musicians of the LEIPZIG PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA put their instruments into the right position, and as soon as the silhouette of the white-bearded man was to be recognized, thundering applause and euphoric whistling filled the room. JOACHIM WITT appeared in the spotlight, and he directly started to talk to the audience, but it was impossible to understand every word because of the raging crowd. After the audience had calmed down, he said that he is very happy about that we all came to his concert here at the opera and not went to ROLAND KAISER, who gave a big concert at the Domplatz in the centre of Erfurt the same evening. There is no major intersection with the fans of both genres, he added, and the audience laughed and agreed. Then he told a short story about his long beard, that people often ask him, why he doesn’t cut it off, it would make him look very old.
His powerful voice resounded from every wall: “Maybe I don’t wanna look young?” It is the look in his eyes and the firm voice that make you sit quietly and listen. Some may call it intimidating, but I call it impressing. I like that kind of people giving a shit about what others think. JOACHIM WITT is a bundle of energy on stage, and there is absolutely no signs of frail aging. The audience immediately identified ‘Dämon’ as the opener of the concert, one of the few WITT songs I tried to get firm with a few days before. Admittedly, I am more of a DIARY OF DREAMS fan, and I bought the ticket because of ADRIAN and the classic frame in general, but I was open up for JOACHIM WITT and his music and I knew that this concert would be a good opportunity to broaden my musical horizon. Before I start to write about the entire concert, please let me tell you, that I was so focussed and emotionally involved, that again and again I forgot to make notes and to analyse and check the details.
A classical concert is so much different to a rock or gothic concert, because it overwhelms you in any manner. I’m sure that others could describe single details of the technical equipment, the sound of the instruments, the words spoken on stage, the dresses and suits and so much more, but I was struck and fascinated and sometimes even unable to breathe. If you expect a pragmatic analysis, stop reading. It was ‘Wintermärz’ that made me cry for the first time tonight - what an emotional performance! Right after, ‘Gloria’ was intoned and goose pimples escorted my tears. What a great presentation so far! If you are still unsure about attending one or more of the remaining dates, please stop doubting and buy your ticket right now. It’s worth every penny. WITT and HATES turn out to be a dream team, and the mutual respect for their life’s work can be felt every second the two are on stage.
At no time, there is a barrier that cuts off the audience from the happenings on stage, the overwhelming energy is flowing in both directions and makes everyone inside this room happy. The last song before a short break was the melancholic and dramatic ‘Wenn der Winter kommt’, and I caught myself sitting gaping and staring into the wide. It was an unreal moment when the lights went on and this magic moment was interrupted by people making noise while leaving the room. We then went outside and enjoyed the warm summer breeze flowing through the city. About thirty minutes later, we heard the triple bell again, so we went back to our seats in joyful expectation about what comes next or better - who comes next. With great applause, the special guest entered the stage with an almost shy smile on his face, noble and elegant dressed like the white-bearded man.
Who believed that there couldn’t be an increase of emotional energy floating from stage into the room, now was taught differently. From the first second, ‘Malum’, for me one of the most beautiful classic DIARY OF DREAMS versions, directly took up what the evening up so far was dedicated to: feelings, deep and moving feelings. You have to see and hear ADRIAN HATES live on stage to understand, how important music is for him and what kind of magic surrounds him, while he is telling stories from his diary of dreams. Probably, there are not the right words to do justice to him, but let me try the following: enchanting, fascinating, compelling, captivating, thrilling, and breath-taking. It is just the second time I see ADRIAN live on stage, the first time was during a fantastic COMA ALLIANCE concert last January in Frankfurt, but despite of the fact, that one was a rock concert and this now is a classical one, it is the same thankful aura that surrounds him. His dream to go on tour with an orchestra now became reality, and he is so grateful for being part of this wonderful project, and the audience in turn is grateful for having the chance to attend this emotional performance consisting of six well-considered chosen DIARY OF DREAMS songs that generated non-stop goose bumps and tears.
It was all over far too soon, and that really made my heart ache a bit. JOACHIM WITT came back on stage, and we all knew, that now it was time for the long wished duet of the night. ‘Die Flut’ waited to happen, and as wonderful as PETER HEPPNER makes his vocal contribution in the original version, as equal ADRIAN is taking over his part of the song, and it’s the first time during the concert, that the entire audience joined the singing. Immediately after the last tones faded away, a thunderous applause started and drowned every word the two artists tried to say. This was definitely the evening’s highlight. WITT and HATES shared an intimate embrace, said “Thank you” to each other and the audience, enjoyed the applause for another while, and then the younger of the two gentlemen went behind the curtain straightforward.
WITT now again was sole ruler of the stage, but before going on with his vocal performance, he decided to introduce the orchestra to the audience. I can’t remember the names of all musicians, but I remember the look on their faces when he said “BERLIN PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA” instead of LEIPZIG PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA. It took a while until he realized his faux pas, and then he said: “I believe that right after the concert, I directly will go to my room and lock myself in.” The audience responded with a hearty laughter, and after JOACHIM WITT said “Excuse me” several times, the musicians relaxed and didn’t take it amiss.
The last part of the concert began, and there were three songs left to be performed. It was about 10.00 pm, when JOACHIM WITT started with the calm and very emotional ‘Mein Diamant’, and when the last tone has been played, he launched the ‘Goldener Reiter’ rocket accompanied by an exploding audience, that immediately started to sing and clap along. Usually, the biggest hit comes at the end, and this rule seemed to be followed tonight, too. WITT got into gestures of gratitude; he waved and then left the stage at a steady pace. The calls for an encore started immediately, people now stood in front of their seats and clapped their hands in the same rhythm. “Zugabe! Zugabe! Zugabe!“ It was so loud, but very effective. WITT came back, took a place on his stool and the last song of this magnificent event sounded from chair row to chair row: ‘Wieder bin ich nicht geflogen’.
What an emotional performance! And this should be the end now? We couldn’t believe how time flew by and turned anticipation and experiencing into a memory. ADRIAN came back on stage and together the two artists said “Thank you” again, waved and took a bow in front of the audience. The lights went on, the doors were opened, and within less than ten minutes, the opera hall was no longer filled with humans. I went down to the stage and took a final photo of this beautiful scenery with all the red seats and the impressive chandeliers. The truth was undeniable: the show was over now, and it was time to leave. We disappeared into the warm night at about 10.30 pm, stopped for a bite to eat in a pizzeria at the Anger, enjoyed the warm meal and passed the concert in review. All around us were chattering and cheerful people that obviously enjoyed the ROLAND KAISER concert.
If you want to experience the magic of gothic music meets classics, please go to one of the remaining concerts and convince yourself of these two talented and ambitious artists. You hear, see and feel their deep love for music. To us it is clear: Whenever another classic adventure starts, we will be there again!
01. JW - Dämon
02. JW - Das geht tief
03. JW - Wintermärz
04. JW - Eisenherz
05. JW - Bis ans Ende der Zeit
06. JW - Gloria
07. JW - Ich will leben
08. JW - Wenn der Winter kommt
09. AH - Malum
10. AH - Butterfly: Dance!
11. AH - Hiding rivers
12. AH - The colors of grey
13. AH - She and her darkness
14. AH - Traumtänzer
15. JW + AH - Die Flut
16. JW - Mein Diamant
17. JW - Goldene Reiter
18. JW - Wieder bin ich nicht geflogen
Total: 10 / 10
All pictures by Helge Roewer (hr-pictures) and Ronny Rennert