On April 7, 2013, I was lucky enough to be in Columbiahalle, Berlin to participate in a milestone event, full of miracles, hard guitar riffs, bewildering drums, seducing bass lines and atmosphere fulfilled by the smell of cheap beer, sweat, emotions and pure rock’n’roll. This night has never ended for me, because it’s not possible to get over any Black Rebel Motorcycle Club show with ease.
Everything starts out so innocent; you can’t even realize that by the end of the night you’ll be a completely different person. The band shows up in black clothes and the attitude of experienced, self-confident, but still involved artist. The show opens with a cover of The Call song, Let The Day Begin. This one turns out as the best opener they could ever have. It’s so catchy, and even if you haven’t heard it before, after the first chorus you can easily sing along with the band.
Then, moving the performance to the energetic point of band’s new album, Specter At The Feast, the Rival is played. For me, this song is a must-have in the setlist: I’ve never seen the audience going so mad, jumping and moving to every drum’s beat or bass note. Soon the song ends and instead the first riff of Red Eyes And Tears hypnotizes everyone with its both dirtiness and tenderness. The show has already begun and the band plays alternately old hits and new stuff, which will surely turn into smash hits. Some of them already have, because you can’t remain indifferent to Hate The Taste or Returning.
When I found out that BRMC decided to play almost the entire latest album live, I wondered if I would enjoy their show in 100%. I was never so wrong. Why could the idea of showcasing their new baby (I mean album) to their family (I mean fans) be wrong? My fear of the possible lack of their superior old songs in the setlist disappeared quickly. To be honest, without a doubt they did a great job on the new album. The story behind Specter At The Feast is already widely known. It was born as a result of some tough and emotional experiences connected with passing away of Robert Levon Been’s father Michael Been, who was a really important person for the band from the very beginning. Sometimes personal tragedy can give us new power, life and also inspirations, and that thankfully happened to BRMC. They make a great show, breaking the set of energetic tunes with slow acoustic performance of deeply moving version of Mercy and devilishly sensible Devil’s Waitin’.
Moment of rest ends and the show starts once again. I don’t know what they do backstage, but I would be really glad to know the secret of staying so energetic for more than 2 hours while being so committed to what they actually do onstage. Even Peter Hayes, who is hardly ever moving, looks like he is dancing with the devil and rock’n’roll themselves, which is a magical illusion. The opposite of that are surely Leah Shapiro, feasting with every beat of her drums with a smile and a blinding powerful light in her eyes, and Robert Levon Been. What can I say, it’s difficult to capture him, because he wildly throws himself and his bass all over the stage almost in every song, but it’s still an unbelievably stunning thing to witness.
The last song they play is also the one which closes the new album – Lose Yourself. When performed live, it forms an intimate atmosphere, when in fact you’re surrounded by three thousands strangers at the time. Feels like one big family. It’s not only an excellent way to finish a wonderful night, but also a moment of afterthoughts and a sweet preview of what will happen after the show. For the first time on this European tour, Berlin’s international crowd can experience the outdoor-after-show of one guitar and Robert Levon Been himself, which is always so welcome and glorified amongst fans. Robert is known from those spontaneous, amazing moments he spends in cold nights just to please people for a little bit longer.
I’m leaving the venue smiling and with thoughts about another concert (which for me is in Grosse Freiheit Hamburg next day). It’s very addictive. What I need to say is that not only the band makes every show beautiful and mind-blowing; there is also their ability to entertain the audience, that makes everything special and unique. If you were ever worried about condition of rock’n’roll these days… calm down, because Black Rebel Motorcycle Club have everything under control.