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introKönig Pilsener Arena, Oberhausen, Germany
20th December 2015
Night of the Proms with Maria Mena, OMD, The Beach Boys, Johannes Oerding, Fernando Varela, Scala & Kolacny Brothers, John Miles, Electric Band, Robert Groslot and Orchestra Il Novecento

The Night of the Proms is touring now in their twenty-second year. What started 1994 with a show in Dortmund now fills 12 big arenas 17 times in the weeks from end of November till Christmas 2015. Big part of the success of the NOTP is lying on the side of the artists, always being well mixed. Classic meets Pop! That’s the motto of the Night of the Proms (NOTP). The 75 head grasping classic orchestra Il Novecento plays the classics and accompanies, together with the Electric Band, the Pop stars. And those stars were extraordinary also for this year’s edition with THE BEACH BOYS or OMD among others. Orchestra, band, choir, backing singers and stars together with an extraordinary light show delivered once more an extraordinary concert evening where popular music from 300 years of musical history were presented.

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Audience                                                                  Backing Singers

This show in Oberhausen was the very last show of the NOTP 2015. So you could expect one or another joke during the show. NOTP shows are always special with their mix of classics and pop. This year’s edition again was quite modern and proved once more that classical concerts are not boring but really entertaining. Usual classic concerts have no real show effects, the NOTP is different with an extraordinary light show and big LED elements and screens in the back. Anything is exactly adjusted to the three hours show supporting the mood of the particular piece of music. Also the sound is very important, especially when you are using so many classical elements. Over the years, technicians improved the sound more and more and so, you could now experience a high-class concert sound. Last year in Oberhausen there were some sound problems. This year, the sound was overall perfect! http://www.notp.com/deutschland

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Conductor                                                                 Choir Scala & Kolacny Brothers


The Show

The night was opened bringing by the fabulous Il Novecento orchestra covering large parts of the stage and with the help of the SCALA choir and singer MARIA MENA, who was standing in the middle of the audience for the first song, ‘The hanging Tree’. Then, the orchestra on its own presented the classical piece ‘Waltz of Flowers’, a waltz where the audience was asked to dance and indeed you saw several coupled waltzing though the arena. The classical introduction was followed by solo artist MARIA MENA, presenting three of her songs. MARIA MENA already achieved her breakthrough when she was sixteen when the song ‘My Lullaby’ about her parents' divorce was written. Her father went with the demo tape to the office of Norway's best-known music manager who was moved to tears by the song. He immediately signed Maria. In the following years, Maria Mena became one of the most successful Scandinavian artists, undertaking great tours through Europe and releasing numerous hit singles like ‘You Are The Only One’, ‘Just Hold Me’ and ‘All this Time’. She was nominated in the category “Newcomer of the year” at the ECHOs in 2008.

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Maria Mena                                                                Maria Mena with host

When Maria was done, the night’s host was presenting her a little gift from the nearby Christmas market she loved so much. And with their hug, the “Kiss Cam” was presented. A little gimmick showing couples on the big screen and once they were shown they had to kiss. We saw very funny things, especially when people from the crew where shown… also two men… who had to kiss. And a very sweet thing at the end when a little girl and a boy were shown and the girl kissed the boy on the cheek… very shy... and so sweet. Following the Norwegian lady was the classical discovery of the year, FERNANDO VARELA. The artist comes from Puerto Rico and discovered his love for classical vocals as a teenager. The tenor was discovered on YouTube by the 16-times Grammy award winner and producer David Foster. From there, there was no stopping. Performances in 31 countries quickly catered co-operations with very big stars like Barbra Streisand, Lionel Richie or Neil Diamond. The promoters present FERNANDO VARELA as this year's classic soloist of the Night of the Proms, now presenting a classical piece, ‘Nessun Dorma’. That he has many facets he would show later in the show. Then it was time for the choir to present two songs. SCALA & KOLACNY BROTHERS choose indie rock classics and indie songs and transform them into elegiac hymns with breath-taking effects. Mr. “Night of the Proms”, JOHN MILES, was now up for a little intermission with the song ‘Wrecking Ball’.

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Fernando Varela                                                         John Miles

The orchestra afterwards soon led over to the next well-known artist entering the stage, JOHANNES OERDING. The German artist JOHANNES OERDING has been playing German venues and clubs on a successful wave for three years. He was already on tour with Joe Cocker and the Scorpions, contributed the vice song to the Bundesvision Songcontest and delivered an emotional and very personal musical statement with his third and current record ‘Alles brennt’ which entered position four of the German charts immediately. For the first time he will present his hits accompanied by a big symphony orchestra. Before the last Pop artist before the break was entering the stage, FERNANDO VARELA had his second appearance with the duet ‘Vivo per lei’. Here we got another joke since this was the final show. Not one of the female backing singers joined Fernando, but the man dressed up as a woman. Really funny and at the end, the real singer entered the stage though. With the ‘Winnetou’ theme afterwards, people were thrown back to their childhood, remembering Pierre Brice who had died this year.

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Johannes Oerding                                                      Fernando Varela duet

Finally, it was time for one of the 80s heroes, OMD! Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, short OMD, belong to the finest what the British new scene in England brought forth at the beginning of the eighties. Andy McClusky and Paul Humphreys are old friends of the Night of the Proms since they were already on the guest list in 2006 and presented their greatest hits like ‘Sayling on the Seven Seas’ or ‘Maid of Orleans’ for the first time together on a German stage. Especially their synth ballads are given a downright bombastic dimension by the symphony orchestra. Their three songs grasping set was opened with ‘Maid of Orleans’ and immediately people jumped up from their seats and started dancing. Andy on stage was simply infecting when jumping and dancing across the stage wildly moving. I thing I have never seen him like this during his own shows. Following was then a medley of three songs, containing i.e. ‘Walking on the Milky Way’. OMD’s his ‘Sailing on the seven Seas’ was ending the first part of the evening. Now, a thirty minutes break followed which was announced not by the host this time but by a woman from the audience, Hanni, who did her job very well.

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OMD                                                                        Host with Hanni introducing the break

After the break, we were in for another classical piece presented by the orchestra, a special ‘Overture 1812’ interpretation brought onto stage by orchestra. Since JOHANNES OERDING had only one song in the first part, he had now time for two more songs, ‘Traurig aber wahr’ and ‘Heimat’. The guys of OMD had prepared a little joke for him as well. While OERDING was down in the audience for one song, Paul and Andy were getting up on stage, sitting at the rim dressed like Johannes. Nice surprise for him when entering the stage again. Some loughs and handshakes and OMD were leaving again. It seems like OMD and Johannes built up a good connection during the tour, since they were often standing together watching the show and talking, and even taking pics with the fans during the show. From JOHANNES OERDING to another appearance of FERNANDO VARELA, presenting his new single ‘Vivere’, sounding more poppy and being underlined with the video. The JOHN MILES followed again with the hymn of the NOTP, ‘Music’. With SCALA presenting the German football hymn ‘Auf uns’, the show went on and leaded over to the ‘Party Mix’ presenting some current and older charts hits. People in the audience were literally freaking out and danced wildly.

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Electric Band                                                             Party Mix with Fernando Varela

Finally, it was time for the long awaited appearance of THE BEACH BOYS. The name BEACH BOYS has been standing for a lifestyle between eternal summer, beach and on-going youth for 50 years now. Their Californian surf sound caters until today euphoric reactions at their shows around the world. But way fewer people know that The Beach Boys are also pioneers of their time. As the first band, they produced their hits in their own studio and delivered with ‘Pet Sounds’ a revolutionary album that did not only inspire the Beatles and much more bands but also brought them the Grammy for the ‘Millennium record’ in 1999. When the band entered the stage, the orchestra and other musicians were wearing colourful Hawaiian shirts and the stage was decorated in beach style. People were not sitting anymore, dancing and singing along to songs like ‘Rhonda’, ‘I get around’ or ‘Wouldn't it be nice’. The band’s final song was finally their hit ‘Surfing USA’ and the mood was fantastic!

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Beach Boys                                                               Beach Boys

Now, only the obligatory final song with all artists was missing. Following a speech of gratitude for the entire crew that made this show possible every single evening (Thanks guys), the host said that we need more beach boys on stage. So, all other artists entered the stage in Hawaiian shirts to sing the BEACH BOYS song ‘Good Vibrations’ altogether.


The Setlist

01. Il Novecento & Maria Mena – The Hanging Tree
02. Il Novecento – Waltz of Flowers (Tchaikowsky)
03. Maria Mena – All this Time
04. Maria Mena – I don’t wanna see you with her
05. Maria Mena – Just hold me
06. Fernando Varela – Nessun Dorma
07. Scala & Kolacny Brothers – Elegantly Wasted
08. Scala & Kolacny Brothers – With or without you
09. John Miles – Wrecking Ball
10. Johannes Oerding – Alles brennt
11. Fernando Varela – Vivo per lei (duet)
12. Il Novecento & John Miles – Winnetou theme
13. OMD – Maid of Orleans
14. OMD – Medley
15. OMD – Sailing on the seven Seas
- break -
16. Il Novecento – Overture 1812
17. Johannes Oerding – Traurig aber wahr
18. Johannes Oerding – Heimat
19. Fernando Varela –Vivere
20. John Miles – Music
21. Scala & Kolacny Brothers – Auf uns
22. Il Novecento – Party Mix
23. Il Novecento – Comedians Galop No 2
24. The Beach Boys – Do it again
25. The Beach Boys – Rhonda
26. The Beach Boys – I get around
27. The Beach Boys – Sloop John B / Wouldn’t it be nice
28. The Beach Boys – Barbara Ann / Surfing USA
29. All Artists – Good Vibrations (The Beach Boys song)

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OMD                                                                        Final Song with all artists

The mix of classic and Pop is surely not easy, but the concept of NOTP succeeded once more. Even though you might not be into classic or into this kind of Pop music presented there, the event is highly recommended.

All pictures by Daniela Vorndran (http://www.vorndranphotography.com / http://www.facebook.com/blackcatnet)

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