Review: Damon & Naomi - Knust, Hamburg , Germany - 2 November 1998

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Review by Carsten Wohlfeld

And I didn’t even plan to see this show... My friend Jörg and I made the 400 km trip to Hamburg last night to see Bob Mould on his ‘last ever’ electric tour. But competition in Hamburg was tough last night: R.E.M played their first German gig in ages (at the 800 capacity Grunspan), Blondie played their first show here in an even longer time, as I mentioned Bob Mould was on and for the ‘lager, lager, lager’ crowd Underworld played a rare show as well. All that on a Monday, all that in Hamburg.

Well, before we were going to drive to the Logo, I thought I could say ‘hi’ to Damon & Naomi before their show, as I did a very, very enjoyable interview with them in Amsterdam back in May and I had some articles on Damon & Naomi and Galaxie 500 that I wrote after that interview for them as well. When I told them that we wouldn’t be able to see their show cause we had tickets for Bob Mould, Naomi just smiled and said: \"You’d see the better show here\" and Damon added: \"This will probably our one and only German show ever\" (or words to that effect)... Well, needless to say, if two people who changed your life when they still were in Galaxie 500 and to this day still are one of your favourite acts as Damon & Naomi, basically ask you to see their show, you can’t turn them down. Well, I can’t. So they put us on the guestlist (thanks again) and then we eagerly waited for the show to start, hoping that we would be able to see at least the end of Bob Mould’s set as well :-) There were only 25 - albeit very enthusiastic - people attending. Naomi came to us to talk to us for a bit before the show... apparently they are very pleased with the way the tour has been going, Japan must’ve been a lot of fun as well. Being a big Bob Dylan fan I asked her to do \"It’s All Over Now Baby Blue\" tonight, she just smiles and said \"maybe\". As the intro music for the show they used the original playback singers from India, the ones that inspired their last album title. Strange stuff :-)

The came on stage at around 9.30pm, thanking everybody that they’d chosen Damon & Naomi over R.E.M., Blondie (\"that’s were we would’ve gone\", Damon joked. \"We’ll try our best to be as gloomy as possible\"), Bob Mould and Underworld and started with a long \"Turn Of The Century\". I have to admit that I liked the songs where Naomi played the mini harmonium (is that what it is?!) better and so I enjoyed the version \"New York City\" and \"Information Age\" (maybe my favourite Damon & Naomi song ever) even more. As it has been mentioned before, they played a selection of all three albums, \"because they have been released in Europe for the first time now\" as Damon pointed out. I guess it really makes sense then. They might have played England before and it was a bit dull to see them do the same songs again, but this was their first ever - if I’m informed correctly - German date and so everybody was quite pleased to hear the old stuff. They also did the \"Navigator\", but what completely made my night was the song that followed it. \"Blue Moon\" (from Big Star’s \"Sister Lovers\" album) is one of the most beautiful songs ever when Alex Chilton sings it, but with Naomi on vocals and almost moved me to tears. It was absolutely amazing. That song alone was well worth the long drive and missing Bob Mould for me! Damon had all sorts of cute stories to go with the songs and as I said before, the crowd loved every bit of it. The set included - not in this order - \"How Long\" and \"Eye Of The Storm\" (another personal favourite) as well and they closed with \"This Car Climbed Mt. Washington\". Before they left the stage, they were trying to auction off the last remaining two T-shirts (needless to say, I got one), but of course they came back, three times actually, to do \"Tour Of The World\" and Tom Rapp’s \"Translucent Carriages\".

\"Carsten, you’re still here?\" Naomi asked after that song - she seemed to be really surprised that I didn’t leave early to see Bob Mould. \"Yup, I am\", I responded, \"how about playing the song I wanted to hear?\" \"That’s blackmail\", she smiled. \"No\", I said, \"It isn’t cause you decide\". They didn’t do \"It’s All Over Now Baby Blue\" unfortunately and for a second I was a little disappointed, but only for a second. Because before the very last song Damon said: \"Well, we got something especially for you people here in Hamburg. I know we got our own songs, but...\" - \"This is our own song\", Naomi interrupted him and Damon started to strum a few chords, before stopping. \"I forgot the words!\" - \"Make them up\", Naomi smiled. \"No, there’s this one image in this song that will help me to guide me through it\", Damon answered (or something very close to that) and yes, they did \"Blue Thunder\" and needless to say that made everybody out of the 25 people very, very happy!

A perfect end for what was a very strong, very laid-back 85-minute show. I for one was more than happy that I’d stayed. I got my T-shirt, got my posters signed - \"For Carsten - who skipped Bob Mould, love Naomi + Damon\" it reads - waved goodbye to the two and even managed to see quite a bit of the Bob Mould show a few blocks away. We even managed to make the 400km drive home in just three hours, despite the dreadful rain! What a night. Thanks to Jörg and thank you for reading. Sorry for any misspellings and mistakes of any kind, it’s been a long day. Goodnight.


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