Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls, Underground, Cologne, 3rd September 2015

A few weeks ago I compiled a “Top 11” list of my Frank Turner shows so far, not knowing that show #12 would

a) be rolling around much sooner than I expected and
b) be the best show EVER! Well so far anyway ;-)

Seriously it was just soooooooo good! The Underground in Cologne is a small venue, even smaller than Atelier in Luxembourg, where I saw Frank & The Sleeping Souls last (early June 2015). After Luxembourg this was the 2nd time I met up with another fan, whom I knew online (via Instagram) but hadn’t met before. We’re definitely planning to try and go to a Frank show together in the future, because we had lots of fun. We also met a lovely dutch guy next to us in the front row, who was planning to hang around after and wait for Frank as well. The support act was a great choice: North Alone, check them out. I’m definitely planning to see them again in October when they’re playing in a neighbouring town. But now on to the main act. [Click to enlarge the photos, as usual]

When you look at these photos you can see how close the front row was to that tiny tiny stage. At some point I was a bit worried that Tarrant might hit me in the face with the neck of his bass ;-). Well, not quite, but I really don’t remember ever being this close to any singer or band, at least not the ones I’m a huge fan of. When I saw the stage setup I wondered how on earth Frank, Ben and Tarrant would be able to play the show without stepping onto each others toes, because they all are really active on stage, jumping, running, dancing. And this was just a shoebox size of stage. But they managed it like the pros that they are.

The small size of the venue also meant that the “mosh pit” wasn’t just in the middle of the audience, but everwhere. At least that’s what it felt like at my side of the front row. It was cool in a way, just unexpected. I don’t remember ever having to shove back so much to not lose my spot at the barrier. But it was great to see the crowd going so wild and to just become a part of it myself, with all my singing and dancing and jumping. OMG, so much jumping! And it was great to just soak it all in and be there fully present in the moment. Which I often enough have problems with in my everyday life, but that’s another topic for another time. I didn’t take many photos, because by now I do believe that my body and my mind are much better equipped to store these memories than bits and bytes on a camera’s memory card. Sorry if that sounds like psycho babbling crap, but I don’t know how to express it any better. But I do know that no photo will ever be able to really capture all the emotions you feel when Frank Turner is just an armlength away and screaming some words in your direction… *sigh*

The set was great with the right combination of new songs and old songs, but mostly the fast-paced ones, which explains all the jumping I did. A lot of previous shows I’ve seen had a small (3-4 songs) solo acoustic set, but that seems to have been cut for this tour. Frank only did “Ballad…” on his own and then as first encore “The Angel Islington”. In the spirit of full disclosure I now confess that I sent in a song request a few days before the show and that I naturally was a tiny bit bummed when I didn’t see my song on the set list. A closer look made me realized he wouldn’t do a solo acoustic set and that would have been the only space where “my” song would have fit in. Or maybe he had other reasons to not include it. Anyway, it doesn’t matter, because the setlist as it was was ace!

They played all the classics “If Ever I Stray”, “The Road”, “Long Live The Queen”, “Photosynthesis” and the fast-paced ones from the 2013 album as well: “Recovery”, “Plain Sailing Weather”, “The Way I Tend Do Be”. And they played all my favourites from the new album and it was so amazing to hear them live in a packed room with an enthusiastic crowd. They opened with “Get Better” and then later on did “Josephine” and “Out of Breath”, which both were as incredibly awesome as I hoped they’d be live at a gig. I mentioned the insane amount of jumping already but I don’t remember ever coming away from a concert so hoarse, because I had been singing or better screaming so much during a show. It’s really been soooooo good!

Of course we hang around outside after the show hoping to catch Frank and the guys once more for photos and such and once again they didn’t disappoint. Nigel, Matt, Tarrant, Ben and Frank are just the nicest bunch of musicians around, I think. But I don’t have that much experience meeting bands after a gig, so I might be totally biased. I only wish one day I’ll be able to overcome my nervousness and just talk to Frank for a bit without needing the clutch of the “Could we take a photo / would you sign [anything]” question. Because that’s mostly all I’m able to utter, maybe followed or preluded by a generic “great show tonight”. On the other hand, less than one hour after the show ended I probably wouldn’t have been able to articulate my thoughts about the gig anyway. It took me the better half of this Saturday to write this post here ;-)

For a while I had considered to have a photo from the London book event signed, but then I came up with a better, or at least more unique idea. Because 80% of the times I listen to Frank’s music, I do it on my iPod, either hooked up to my car’s stereo or via my headphones, so…

I love how Frank made sure he held the iPod the right way up when he wrote on it and that he did spell my name correctly without having to ask me about “Z or S”. And now I can (and will *g*) carry his music and him (kind of) and most importantly the memories of this awesome night with me everywhere I go. Thank you Mr. Turner!  For this “miniature” autograph, but most of all for this incredible night! Looking forward to the tour 2016!

1 Comment

  1. Nice post. Glad you had such a good time. And those photos are super cool – looks like you were practically standing on stage with everybody!

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