Ethan Reilly writes to BtP with this amusing report on a recent German gig. You remember Ethan … if not, read this page about his remarkable cover versions … and look forward to his Procoloid contributions to the new CD from the Palers' Project.
No Still There'll Be More and, alas, no Repent. I planted myself up front and just grooved through the evening. It had been about 33 years since I last saw them and I didn't want to deal with notes (as it were). I just wanted to "tune in". And "tune in" I did!
They were great! Brooker and Fisher must be in their late fifties now but Brooker's voice still kicks ass and they rocked. Man-o-man! Whitehorn, Brzezicki and Pegg are all fine players and I was very impressed (not to mention relieved) to find them so authentic and true to the spirit of the music. Indeed they all seem to be enamored by it (they are, after all, playing with two great legends). When (after the show) I requested an autograph from Whitehorn and offered my praise for his playing – he proclaimed (an unsolicited and very enthusiastic) "I LOVE this band!"
The place (in Nürnberg) was called "Hirsch" (German for deer) and Brooker dubbed it "The Hirschy Bar"! It was standing only (no seats) and I placed myself directly in front of GB. He and I actually had a little banter through the course of the show. He asked the packed audience, "How do you say the word, 'question' in German?"
"Frage!" I shouted out amidst a sea of Germanic timidity.
"What!" he asked.
"Frage!" I restated, this time accompanied by several (now emboldened) fans (who being German, could actually speak the language).
"Froggie?" he came again, "Isn't that what they call the French?!" (This was somewhat interesting because – perhaps unbeknownst to GB – Nürnberg is in an area of Germany called "Franken" or "Frankonia" and its people are of French descent.)
"Come here," he said waving me stageward (although I was only feet from him to begin with), "I want to know how to say, 'The Question' in German"
This is where it got tricky. There are something like 29 ways to say the word "the" in German and I wasn't about to pick from 29 straws in front of all these native speakers!
"I don't know!" I cried out, "I'm American!"
That got a pretty big laugh from those in within reach of my holler and Gary muttered, "Hmm, I'm not sure if I'd admit that here these days ..."
So much of it was brilliant that it's difficult to pick a favorite although Conquistador whipped me into a minor frenzy (playing "air drums" and the like!) and Weisselklenznacht (a word which no German I've yet found knows) was truly awe-inspiring.
But the highlight for me was when I shouted out A Christmas Camel. I had been checking their daily concert set-lists, posted on the PH website and it had not yet been included in this tour but I figured, why not? So I called it out and Brooker grinned in my direction …
"Because it's not Christmas!" he said. But then, seemingly thinking better of it (and perhaps even welcoming the challenge) his eye lit up (like in the Home LP photo) and he said, "But I'll give you a little bit of it ..."
They only did one verse but man it rocked! And the audience went nuts! It was so fresh and alive because they were just goin' for it out of the blue – and their memories did not fail them. Wow! What a treat! What a treat indeed...