16th December 2018
Night of the Proms with Bryan Ferry, John Miles, Milow, The Pointer Sisters, Tim Bendzko, Petrit Ceku, Gabor Vosteen, the Antwerp Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Alexandra Arrieche, the NOTP Backbone Band and the choir Fine Fleur
The Night of the Proms is celebrating its 25th anniversary already. It is a unique music event in Europe. Since 1994, the show has thrilled a steadily growing fan base in Germany. Classical music meets Pop, Aria meets charts, suit meets leather jacket, stilettos meets chucks and Tchaikovsky meets Boy George.
Like no other event, the Night of the Proms stands for the bridge between all musical genres. Exactly this mixture sets them apart from all other concerts and gives them an incomparable experience value. The fact that each year many of the more than 100,000 people secure tickets for the shows in advance, without knowing which star guests they expect, is an expression of the over the years grown and repeatedly confirmed confidence of the fans in the quality of the shows.
One of the guarantors of this is the 75-strong Antwerp Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Alexandra Arrieche, who accompanied the series of events right from the start and oscillated with unbelievable enthusiasm and brilliance between the different musical styles and epochs. And the “house band” of the Proms, the NOTP-Backbone, is a reliable size for the Proms seal of quality. Finally, an overwhelming light and projection design and superb sound make the Night of the Proms an unforgettable audiovisual music happening. For these reasons, the exquisite show was and is an integral part of the pre-Christmas cultural calendar of the German Touring Cities.
BRYAN FERRY, MILOW, TIM BENDZKO and the POINTER SISTERS were the artistic pillars of the Jubilee edition of the Night of the Proms. In the 25th year of the successful history of this classic-meets-pop-tour, the organizer presented the essence of the actual idea of this crossover experience in perfection. Take exceptionally strong artists from the most diverse decades and genres of pop history and present their legendary hits accompanied by a symphony orchestra, which also conjures up the most popular hits of the classical era between the individual pop acts. The result is an audiovisual work of art that takes visitors on a technically elaborately produced and varied journey through 300 years of popular music.
For 25 years, the Night of the Proms stages the bridge between classical and popular music as part of an annual tour of the arenas of Germany and despite all the hostility and concerns of the early days has developed into the most successful festival tour in Europe. Not only did it open the doors to the mainstream audience for classical music, but it also helped numerous classical soloists such as ANDREA BOCELLI and DAVID GARRETT make a breakthrough in Germany. With more than ten million visitors worldwide, the Night of the Proms today stands for technically perfectly staged live entertainment that knows no bounds. For the birthday party, a stylistically extraordinary mix of artists met again this year to present their greatest hits in the company of the Antwerp Philharmonic Orchestra. In addition to the British icon BRYAN FERRY, the Belgian pop star MILOW, the German soul jazzman TIM BENDZKO and the US power women from the POINTER SISTERS, John Miles and the classic guitarist Petrit Ceku were completing the program.
The night was opened by the fabulous orchestra covering large parts of the stage and with the help of the choir, the overture was accompanied by water running down the huge LED walls behind and in front of the APO. Then, the orchestra on its own presented the classical piece ‘Adagio’ from the 9th symphony by Dvorak. Then, the orchestra was joined once more by the Fine Fleur choir for Bernstein’s ‘Mambo’ where the audience was asked to join in and scream the word “Mambo”, which was also shown on the big screens. After this classical introduction into the evening it was first time for some flute comedy with GABOR before the first solo artist, TIM BENDZKO, was presenting three of his songs. Since the Berlin-based musician conquered German Pop scene by storm in 2011, there is no holding back for him. Tim is constantly on the move, in one way or another. He composes, writes and produces his songs, sings in sold-out halls and gives advice to young talents as jury member of “The Voice Kids”. In the age of 16, he wrote first songs and finally in 2009 after winning a song contest, he was support act at Berlin’s Waldbühne in front of 20,000 people and signed a record deal a short time after. Success came with the song ‘Nur noch kurz die Welt retten’ from his debut album and of course he presented this song tonight as well.
After the appearance of BENDZKO, some more comedy with GABOR was on the list when he tried to conduct the orchestra… and of course it did not work. Time to get the audience involved once more after this slapstick interlude with a waltz! ‘At The Beautiful Blue Danube’ invited the audience to dance and like in the past years, there were several couples dancing through the hall. Now back to Berlin of the Golden Twenties when Rob from the backing singers presented ‘Babylon Berlin’. Now the time came for solo artist PETRIT CEKU on acoustic guitar. Classic artist PETRIT CEKU learned from the best artists of the genre on the best schools. He was called an “exceptionally gifted soloist” by guitar critic Colin Cooper and he is also winners of numerous renowned international guitar competitions like the “Parkening International Guitar Competition” in Malibu (USA), or the “Schadt String Competition” in Allentown (USA). Besides several solo appearances in famous orchestras he also released solo albums of his work. At the NOTP show, he presented the piece ‘Cavatina’, all alone on stage with his guitar. Afterwards, he was joined by MILOW for his song ‘You don’t know’. For this one, MILOW started in the middle of the audience on a little podium before he entered the big stage to present three more songs.
Belgian singer/songwriter MILOW collected his first musical laurels in 2004 when participating in the Belgian up and coming festival Humo’s Rock Rally, where he moved into the final with his mix of mainstream Rock and Singer / Songwriter Folk. This reminiscent of his role model Bruce Springsteen mixture is well received and complains at least the first attention in the music business. Encouraged by the positive reactions, he produces his debut album, ‘The Bigger Picture’, with fellow musicians, from which he released the single ‘You don’t know’. This catapulted him directly into the top ten of the Belgian charts. His international breakthrough came with the follow-up, ‘Coming Of Age’. From now on, he played hundreds of shows and conquered the charts. Usually presenting his songs alone with a guitar, for the first time he was now accompanied by a huge orchestra. His final song of the evening was ‘Howling at the Moon’ where the audience was loudly singing along. Now, a thirty minutes break followed which was announced by the host.
After the break, we were in for another classical piece presented by the orchestra - Bacharele’s ‘Saint Saens’. This one was followed by one more song of guitar soloist PETRIT CEKU called ‘Tango & Skai’. Mr BRYAN FERRY was up next with four songs. Since his first release with ROXY MUSIC in 1972, BRYAN FERRY has been recognized as one of the most creative and innovative musicians, songwriters and singers, inspiring artists such as DEPECHE MODE, THE KILLERS or DAVID BOWIE with his own unique aesthetic. In addition, his look and appearance give him the reputation of an absolute style icon. In his career he has sold more than 30 million albums worldwide. Songs like ‘Slave To Love’, ‘More Than This’ or ‘Let's Stick Together’ are still part of the daily repertoire of most radio stations even after more than 40 years. With his gentle voice Ferry is still one of the most confident performers in the pop business. And of course, his greatest songs were presented live on the NOTP stage. BRYAN FERRY, who was honored in 2011 by the Queen with the title “Commander of the British Empire”, is still considered a musical jack-of-all-trades and works stylistically through all epochs of music history. So it is not too big a surprise that he contributed five songs in the style of the 1920s to the soundtrack for the current hit series “Babylon Berlin”. Just in time for the touring start of Night of the Proms his new album, ‘Bitter Sweet’, was released and next year, he will be touring on his own.
After BRYAN FERRY, it was time for flute comedian GABOR for a last time and this time, four people from the audience, three women and a man, were involved. They were selected by GABOR and then guided onto the stage where he trained the women to use one flute always on his command. The man was there for a jump and kind of a clap at a certain time. When all were trained and started the play, it turned out at the end that they played ‘Chopsticks’ altogether. And it was not bad at all! Of course, comedian and visitors got a huge applause at the end. After GABOR, it was finally time for “Mr. Night of the Proms”, JOHN MILES, who first presented ‘Lay your worry down’ together with MILOW before it was time for the NOTP hymn, ‘Music’. With ‘Wake me up’, MILES paid tribute to AVICI who died in April this year. Kind of a sad moment for all. ‘Jump’ was up for a more cheerful mood and a nice interaction of MILES with conductress Alexandra. The ‘Intermezzo Cavalleria Rusticana’ by the APO and Fine Fleur led over to the grand final of the evening with THE POINTER SISTERS.
THE POINTER SISTERS present a versatile mix of Pop, Country, Rhythm & Blues, Jazz and Soul. The fact that their music also has roots in Gospel is not surprising. The sisters Ruth, Bonnie, Anita and June Pointer grew up with their two brothers in Oakland, California, and demonstrated at a young age their singing talent in the church, in which their father was a pastor. Since Bonnie aspired to a music career, she convinced June to form a duo. As POINTERS-A PAIR they appeared in clubs. When Anita completed the two, THE POINTER SISTERS were officially born. Their first appearance in the famous Troubadour Club in Los Angeles became a huge success. Few weeks later the Rhythm & Blues quartet was already in the TV and when finally ‘The Pointer Sisters’ was released, there was no stopping: the band was celebrated as “the most exciting thing to hit show business in years”. After Bonnie left the band, the remaining sisters moved on and released enormous hit ‘Fire’ which was the international breakthrough for the band in 1979. In the Eighties, the sisters had huge hits and today, they are still happily invaded to shows in their current line-up consisting of three generations with Ruth, Issa and Sadako Pointer. Their biggest hits were also a crowd pleaser at the NOTP.
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 introduced the final song. After some joking of the artists, it turned out to be ‘Hey Jude’ from THE BEATLES.
01. APO & Fine Fleur – Overture Night of the Proms 2018
02. APO – Adagio 9th Symphony by Dvorak
03. APO & Fine Fleur – Mambo by Bernstein
04. Gabor Vosteen – Cardas
05. Tim Bendzko – Keine Maschine
06. Tim Bendzko – Wenn Worte meine Sprache wären
07. Tim Bendzko – Nur noch kurz die Welt retten
08. Gabor Vosteen – Gabor is conducting
09. APO & Fine Fleur – At The Beautiful Blue Danube
10. Rob – Babylon Berlin
11. Petrit Ceku – Cavatina
12. Milow & Petrit Ceku – You don’t know
13. Milow – You and me
14. Milow – Ayo Technology
15. Milow – Howling at the moon
16. APO – Saint Saens by Bacharele
17. Petrit Ceku – Tango & Skai
18. Bryan Ferry – Slave to love
19. Bryan Ferry – Avalon
20. Bryan Ferry – Jealous Guy
21. Bryan Ferry – Let’s stick together
22. Gabor Vosteen – Gabor solo with people from the audience
23. Milow & John Miles – Lay your worry down
24. John Miles – Music
25. John Miles – Wake me up by Avici
26. John Miles – Jump
27. APO & Fine Fleur – Intermezzo Cavalleria Rusticana
28. The Pointer Sisters – Medley
29. The Pointer Sisters – Fire
30. The Pointer Sisters – I’m so excited
31. All artists – Jey Jude by The Beatles
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)