28th July 2023
Call the Ship to Port 2023 with Rroyce, [:SITD:] & Diary of Dreams
The 17th Amphi Festival was supposed to be opened again with an edition of “Call the Ship to port” (CTSTP). The 1,333 tickets for this popular opening event on board Europe’s largest domestic event ship were completely sold out in the middle of September 2022. No wonder, as the high-class line-up promised a magnificent start to the 2023 Amphi Festival.
On 28th July, RROYCE, [:SITD:], and DIARY OF DREAMS were set to take the stage. RROYCE had previously performed at Amphi in 2018 on the Orbit Stage and successfully passed their baptism of fire on the Main Stage at Amphi last year. [:SITD:] had already performed multiple times at Amphi during their nearly 25-year band history, but this year would mark their Amphi Opening-Event premiere. As for the Dark Wave veterans, DIARY OF DREAMS, fans were eagerly anticipating a new album released in the spring of 2023, followed by a tour to celebrate it. It’s hard to believe, but it would be my first Amphi experience. I know, I know, I should be ashamed. It took me until I was 47 years old to finally make it to Cologne for the “family gathering” of the black scene. Ashes upon my head.
Uncertainties persist until the last moment regarding the anchorage of the MS RheinEnergie. Due to low water, the ship would probably anchor on the other side of the river Rhine. This would mean a longer journey to the ship and, consequently, some bands might not be seen during the festival. However, in the past few days, there has been substantial rain, so fortunately, the MS RheinEnergie is now anchored on this side of the river. So, the way to the ship is not as far on this opening Friday. We can therefore take a little more time. Shortly after 6:00 pm, we head to the Kennedy shore of the river Rhine. But before that, we fortify ourselves with a delicious dinner at the L’Osteria, which is located right next to our hotel. Before boarding the ship, we quickly stop by the wristband distribution at the “dancing fountain”, the Tanzbrunnen, so we can take it easier tomorrow morning.
When we arrive at the Rhine, we join the illustrious group already waiting for the entry. In the queue, we meet some familiar faces. The time doesn’t feel long, and when entry starts at seven, the line moves quickly. In front of the stage, a bubble quickly forms, clearly dominated by RROYCE shirts. Not surprising at all, as the Dortmund band kicks off the event, and naturally, the fans of the trio want to be up front for “their band”. My impression might be deceiving, but in general it seems that RROYCE shirts outnumber others today. Certainly, the fans of the Dortmund trio are the last ones to linger around the merchandise after the show and hang out until around two in the morning. But (as always) first things first, but not necessarily in that order.
At 8:00 pm, the MS RheinEnergie sets sail. The boat is steady in the water, and below deck, you can barely feel the movement of the ship. More and more familiar faces gather in front of the stage. Impatience grows, and we wouldn’t mind if things started a bit earlier. However, we wait until the hosting duo finally steps onto the stage forty minutes later. Oliver Klein and Jens Domgörgen open the event together and introduce the first band of the evening - “Siegfried and RROYCE”. Or rather, “here comes RROYCE”. Kay and Al are welcomed on stage with huge applause and loud cheers, and they kick off with ‘Principle Of Grace.’ The applause turns into rhythmic clapping, and Al gives thumbs up in response. The RROYCE-fans in front of the stage are already partying hard. Casi has an easy job tonight, even though the vocals unfortunately seem very low. It’s a shame because I really like the singer’s voice. The guy could read from the phone book, and I would listen captivated.
The sound on board of the MS RheinEnergie is unfortunately not the best. Sound engineers are trying everything to get the most out of the system and is tweaking the controls. Later, during DIARY OF DREAMS’ performance, singer Adrian’s vocals are much clearer to hear since sound man Jürgen adjusted the volume of the vocals. However, the bass there is booming. But there’s always something, and where there is light, there is also shadow. Or vice versa, where there is shadow, there is also light. And for that, I have to give a big compliment. The lighting today (and also on Saturday during the show of DIORAMA) is really impressive. The artists are wonderfully showcased, and the songs are perfectly complemented. But, let’s get back to RROYCE.
The sound problems ultimately don’t matter at all and can’t diminish the atmosphere. The audience is singing along so loudly that, even without the sound issues, you probably wouldn’t have heard Casi at times. He is visibly touched by the “performance” of the fans. For example, during ‘Parallel World,’ the audience not only sings the chorus (actually the entire song) at the top of their lungs but also performs the choreography from the music video. At least some people in the front rows do. ‘Who Needs’ is also sung along with enthusiasm. People dance with abandon, not only down here in front of the stage but also up on the balcony. “Are you all doing well? I’m a thousand times better than you. The next song is ‘Full Speed Half Sight’” and it is celebrated extremely. And when Casi jokes, “You have to be really strong now. We put a little something in the jelly for Casi from [:SITD:] and Adrian from DIARY OF DREAMS. The next 4.5 hours belong to us,” the crowd cheers wildly.
After ‘Someone Else’s Life’, Casi heads into the photo pit. “This is the moment when at least all [:SITD:] fans start to hate me. You came here at nine o’clock just to be in the front row, and now everything is screwed. Now we’re going to rearrange the rows. You know what’s coming next. You have to support us now, otherwise, it’ll look totally shitty. You won’t make fools of yourselves. We will, okay?” Casi goes into the crowd, and they start with ‘Run Run Run’. Before Casi returns to the stage, he gives Yvonne, who is celebrating her birthday today, a hug and sings a birthday song that many join in. “And happy first anniversary. I forgot your names up there, but there won’t be too many nowadays.”
Back on stage, they enter the “modern times”. With ‘Another’ and ‘Rebuilt.Reborn’, songs from the current album ‘Rroarr’, both of which are celebrated wildly. “We are actually here to prepare you for the two acts that are still to come. Are you ready for [:SITD:]? I didn’t hear you. Are you ready for [:SITD:]? And who’s ready for DIARY OF DREAMS? DIARY OF DREAMS!” This is, of course, met with loud cheers. “And we have set up our merchandise stand up there. Please come to us later.” But first, another song from the current album, ‘Whipping Boy’. “Okay, we have a decibel meter here, and today we want to break the record of all 27 bands that are still playing here. (Laughter) So, welcome to my paranoiac street life!” It might actually work that ‘Paranoiac SL’ breaks the volume record. We will probably never know. But the atmosphere is incredible, and Casi also seems to find it hard to believe what is happening here.
After ‘Dearest Enemy’, Casi comes down to the photo pit for one last song. ‘Like It When You Lie’ serves as the crowning finale. We all sing along together, as loud as we can. During this, Casi warmly embraces our chief photographer and “Reflections of Darkness” queen Dani, almost pulling her into a little dance. The Dortmund band’s performance ends after an hour and was (as always) a huge pleasure. It takes a while for the cheers and applause to die down. Some have already experienced the peak of their evening with this performance. Many of the RROYCE fans head directly towards the merchandise area after the show, making way for the grateful [:SITD:] fans who move forward. But some stay because tonight, there are three great acts to see. And the next highlight is already on the horizon. // https://www.rroyce.de / https://www.facebook.com/RROYCE.official // Setlist: 01. Principle Of Grace / 02. Parallel Worlds / 03. Who Needs / 04. Full Speed Half Sight / 05. Someone Elses Life / 06. Run Run Run / 07. Another / 08. Rebuilt.Reborn / 09. Whipping Boy / 10. Paranoiac SL / 11. My Dearest Enemy / 12. I Like It When You Lie
Those who stay are already warmed up and well-prepared for the next performance. And on the MS RheinEnergie, it has also become quite warm by now. At exactly ten o’clock, the program continues, and Jens Domgörgen takes the stage again to introduce [:SITD:]. Unfortunately, Carsten (Casi) Jacek and Frank Francesco D’Angelo recently had to announce that Tom Lesczenski had left the band for personal and private reasons. At this point, we also wish Tom all the best for the future. Casi gives all his best today so that we don’t miss Tom too much. While Frank remains in the background, Casi performs with incredible energy and is extremely present, earning my utmost respect. The audience is fully engaged from the first note, wholeheartedly participating.
‘Brother Death’ and ‘Mundlos’ are sung along loudly. Casi uses the entire stage, jumping from one side to the other, constantly seeking contact with the audience. ‘Laughingstock’ sends the "undulating mass" in front of the stage into a complete frenzy. Casi repeatedly goes down on his knees at the front. His incredibly energetic performance is contagious, making the audience jump up and down in front of the stage, singing along loudly. Casi is also at the front during ‘Kreuzgang’ practically challenging the fans. Often, it takes very little to send the audience into a frenzy. This consistently brings a satisfied smile to the singer’s face.
‘Genesis’, ‘Rose-Coloured Skies’, ‘Rot’ and ‘Greater Heights’ are also celebrated and sung along with. "Thank you very much, friends. Thank you, thank you, thank you!" As mentioned before, Casi constantly seeks contact with the fans. He comes to the front of the stage or down to the photo pit, high-fives his fans, or shakes hands. And the fans also seek contact. ‘Richtfest’ gets the room boiling once again. Casi introduces Frank, who is also cheered. And then, it’s already time for the duo’s last song. ‘Snuff Machinery’ takes it up a notch. Casi takes a "trip" through the audience, hugging fans who look more than happy.
As a conclusion, Frank hands out some setlists to the cheering audience before both of them bid farewell to the audience at 11:00 pm with beaming smiles. “Thank you very much! You are the greatest. Many, many thanks, friends!” Another extremely successful performance that leaves the audience thrilled. // https://www.sitd.de / https://www.facebook.com/SITDofficial // Setlist: 01. Porcelain (Intro) / 02. Brother Death / 03. Mundlos / 04. Laughingstock / 05. Kreuzgang / 06. Genesis / 07. Rose-Coloured Skies / 08. Rot / 09. Greater Heights / 10. Richtfest / 11. Snuff Machinery
Diary of Dreams
The change over gives us a little break, which we desperately need. It’s incredibly hot in here. We wish the fans on stage would be directed towards us. Unfortunately, our wish isn’t granted. Hilger also seems to be sweating already during the soundcheck and takes a moment to dry himself off. The [:SITD:] fans make way for the “Dreamers”, although there are still some overlaps in the audience. And I still see a significant number of RROYCE shirts in the crowd. It takes a while until everything is in place and properly set up. At half past eleven, the lights go out again, but we still need to be patient a bit longer. Four minutes later, moderator Olli returns to the stage.
“Are you all doing well? I wish you could see how great it looks. Being with the family is so, so beautiful... Soon, they’ll be back for some club concerts. But now, they’re here, at ‘Call the Ship to port’. Ladies and gentlemen, we bring them together on stage. Here are for you - (all together) DIARY OF DREAMS! Have fun!” And then the intro to ‘Mein Werk aus Zement’ starts. The bombastic title has already proven its qualities as an opener during the last tour. Hilger, Felix, and Dejan are welcomed with huge cheers, as well as Adrian, who waves to us. The song immediately sets the audience in the right mood, and it’s already being sung along loudly. Adrian puts his hand to his ear, encouraging even louder singing and shouting. “Thank you and good evening”. ‘Epicon’ is also sung along with enthusiasm. Adrian radiates with joy and repeatedly encourages the audience with small gestures.
During ‘Menschfeind’ he holds the microphone towards the audience. Then, with ‘Viva la Bestia’, one of my favorites from the current album ‘Melancholin’, Dejan goes wild on the drums while Adrian holds the microphone out to the audience again. At the beginning of ‘She and her darkness’ Adrian signals for quiet with his finger on his lips and conducts. Goose-bumps are guaranteed with this song. They certainly appear when the audience sings along with the chorus. My gaze wanders to the left side, where a fan sitting in a wheelchair next to the photo pit is performing an incredible dance letting herself be captivated by the music. Then ‘the Secret’ continues with a lot of emotion. The chorus is also sung along loudly. Everyone on the balcony is singing and dancing as well. ‘Endless nights’ and ‘kindrom’ are also celebrated and enthusiastically cheered. The atmosphere on the ship seems to be at its peak. Hilger looks satisfied, and Adrian shows his approval with both thumbs up. He repeatedly encourages the audience to participate, and they willingly follow.
And yet, it feels like there’s still something more to give. ‘Undividable’ and ‘The Curse’ (“do you know it?”) raise the mood even higher. The incredible energy that pours from the stage to the audience and is returned is unbelievable. With another new song (‘The Fatalist’), DIARY OF DREAMS bid farewell to the stage shortly after half past eleven. “Thank you! Many heartfelt thanks. Thank you!” However, the stage doesn’t remain empty for long. Dejan is the first to come back, stepping to the front of the stage to pump up the crowd once again. Then Felix, Hilger, and Adrian return. “We’re playing something else for you. The next song is 23 years old and still crispy. If you know it, feel free to sing along.” Almost everyone knows ‘Butterfly Dance’ and accordingly, it’s sung along loudly.
“It looks good with all those hands in the air.” It must look fantastic from the stage. “Yes, there’s still more, right?” The entire deck claps along. Simply incredible. For the finale, they play a song that they didn’t want to play anymore, but somehow can’t get around it. Hilger and Dejan leave the stage, and Felix takes a seat at the piano. “Every band, many bands have their ‘Cherry Cherry Lady’...” But DIARY OF DREAMS make it sexy today. “No one is taking their clothes off; I can promise you that.” Some might have liked that, though. “In any case, we have a little something for you tonight that is really beautiful. Are you ready? Can you handle it?”
And then Felix starts ‘Traumtänzer’ on the piano, played in an acoustic version. This version gives me goosebumps, especially when the audience sings the chorus. Adrian bows to conductor Felix at the end and directs the audience once more. Hilger and Dejan come back for a farewell. DIARY OF DREAMS bow to their audience, and a visibly satisfied band says goodbye to their equally happy fans. “From the bottom of our hearts, a huge thank you.” // https://www.diaryofdreams.de / https://www.facebook.com/officialdiaryofdreams // Setlist: 01. Mein Werk aus Zement / 02. Epicon / 03. Menschfeind / 04. Viva la Bestia / 05. She and her darkness / 06. the Secret / 07. Endless nights / 08. kindrom / 09. Undividable / 10. the Curse / 11. the Fatalist / Encores: 12. Butterfly Dance / 13. Traumtänzer (acoustic)
I couldn’t have asked for a better start to my first Amphi weekend. What a (almost) perfect evening. We are not in a hurry to leave the ship. First, we’ll acclimate and replenish our fluids. Additionally, as mentioned earlier, some have gathered at the merchandise stand. People are chatting, joking, hugging, and celebrating a bit. We clean up the remaining boxes together before we disembark, and the evening comes to an end shortly after two. We’ll find a few hours of sleep and recharge our batteries. The night is short, and the upcoming day will be challenging. Ahead of us lies a festival weekend with many dear people, old and new friends, and lots of great concerts. And I’m looking forward to it.
All pictures by Daniela Vorndran (http://www.vorndranphotography.com / http://www.facebook.com/blackcatnet)