Thursday May 23rd Berlin and a day off
After catching a few hours sleep to recharge the batteries, we stepped out into Berlin on the first beautiful day we had seen in Germany.
With the sun out, we could focus on what had been a secret pilgrimage for Martin and myself. The challenge today would be to visit the mighty Scheidersladen (Schneider's Buro) and not spend any money..
We had a good 40 minute walk from the Tempodrome, where we had camped in the vans, to the Schneidersladen located in the south of the city and close to where the infamous wall once divided this city. The walk was made all the easier by the delightful weather, the interesting architecture and maybe stopping for a beer.
Upon arriving at the correct address, the Schneiders Buro was not immediately obvious to us until someone spotted the rather large banner on the wall.. We put this down to the lack of sleep and definitely not the beer.
Unsurprisingly, there was a dazzling array of modules arranged in a few huge cabinets, as well as a number of smaller ones, all of which were set up and equipped with headphones and keyboards for auditioning.
Martin investigated the Pittsburgh modular Foundation 2.0 (which he had secretly ordered) while I amused myself trying the Macbeth Micromac and new Oberheim SEM.
Friday May 23rd Berlin (Gig Night)
The Tempodrome is a very impressive modern dome/cathedral-like structure in the south of Berlin. The centre rises to an impressive point and it's design creates an interesting but challenging space for loud, live music.
During our now well practised setup, we have our first failure of the tour. Which of the 30 year old antiques gives up you ask?.. Well surprisingly, none of them. Today's casualty is actually the Korg Mini KP which appears to have succumbed to a dry joint and so is removed from the setup.
The crowd is the largest yet and enthusiastic with it.. After the show, there is a great deal of interest and buzz around the Vile's merch stand. So much so that we are quite oblivious to the frenetic pack down happening back in the arena. We have to load out via the catering lift as the OMD truck is now filling the loading bay.. We decide to sleep for now and head off for Leipzig in the morning
Saturday May 24th Leipzig (Gig night)
A 3 hour drive to the south is the city of Leipzig. This city has been long famed as a centre for culture and the arts in Germany and is home to some very impressive ex Soviet block architecture. But for Martin and myself this was the city that bore the same name as Martin's newest toy, the Leipzig-SK keyboard. We had agreed to photograph it next to some local landmarks and city signs for Tom (the father and creator of Analogue Solutions) but first there was a small matter of a gig.
The venue, the Haus Auensee was almost hidden away in the woods and backed onto a lake. But this charming old dancehall was deceptively large and has seen many large electronic acts such as Erasure and Kraftwerk.
With the equipment loaded, we were again able to partake in some of the excellent food that had been provided at each venue.
The crowd was once again warm and welcoming and the (Coda Viray) Sound system again had everybody jumping and dancing in the isles to the classics such as Enola Gay and Electricity until the late hours of Saturday night.
Sunday May 25th Leipzig
Sunday was a chance to geek out and take photos of the Leipzig in prominent Leipzig locations. Despite the rain, we managed to get shots at the Battle Of Nations Monument, Leipzig train station and also some derelict ex soviet block buildings.
With our geeky photo session in the bag, we grab some local smoked wurst for lunch before heading off on the 5 hour trip to our final venue in Cologne.
The rain persisted on our journey and we made a stop off for fuel and refreshments.. Nellie was not feeling her usual trusty self on the hills and so felt I should check and top up the transmission fluid.. This was the beginning of some unpleasant discoveries however.
Driving out of the service station, it became more apparent that something was rather amiss. Nellie was not changing up through the gears and we had no reverse.. Oh dear!
This was one of the few times in my life I was actually glad to have paid for insurance. After a call to the RAC European rescue, a "Very Nice Man" arrived and loaded Nellie onto the back of the truck and took us to a nearby Chevrolet dealer to await an assessment the following morning.
I bid farewell to my fellow travellers and sent them on ahead to Cologne (the show must go on) while I tried to settle down for an unsettled night's sleep in Nellie.
Monday May 26th Leipzig
One of the longest days of my life.. The initial assessment was that the gearbox had eaten itself and so the day progressed with a series of calls to the RAC followed by a few hours of waiting trying to arrange a method of getting myself and Nellie home again.
By the evening, the RAC had arranged a hire car for me and Nellie's repatriation would hopefully follow at a later date (subject to quotes).
It became clear I was not going to make it to Cologne to see the Vile's last performance of the tour but dammit I had to make it for at least part of the show!
With a combination of lead foot driving and unrestricted autobahns (honest officer) I manage to make the 250km from Cassel to cologne in a very reasonable 90 minutes..
OMD are well into the final half of their set when I arrive but the team is back together for one last time.
It was certainly an emotional goodbye. Andy, Paul, Malcom and Martin(Cooper) were just the perfect hosts but we have to mention Chicky (FOH Sound) and Andy (Liddel) (Lighting) who always helped make us feel part of the overall show. The OMD team had been some of the most fun and professional people I have ever worked with and always went out of their way to make us feel welcome and part of the team.
So it is with a cocktail of elation and sadness that we leave Germany.. But We'll be back!..
Click Here: Interview with Martin..
Two major updates to previous Gold Award winners