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Dead Can Dance in Berlin

Dead Can Dance are, simply put, one of the best bands of the last twenty years, encompassing Dark Wave, Medieval Music, Classical Influences and trans-inducing Ethno. After their split in 1998, Brendan Perry went solo as a Singer/Songwriter and Lisa Gerrard contributed to some great film scores, including the Oscar-Winnign "Gladiator" with Hans Zimmer. After a strict seperation, Brendan and Lisa are now touring again. We present you a concert review of their date in Berlin on March, 29th:

It’s a rather unusal sight: Thousands of people with dress codes ranging from alternative to gothic entering the “Berliner Philharmonie” at the Potsdamer Platz. On the other hand: With Ethno-Wave-Legend Dead Can Dance about to perform and with only three dates on the German leg of their tour (Munich, Cologne, Berlin), both  venue and price are suited to the occasion. Despite ticket starting at 50 Euros, all were sold after only a few days. It has to be said, however, that after the band split in 1998 and the release of various solo projects by Lisa Gerrard and Brendan Perry, faithful fans would have payed almost any price to see their heroes united on stage again.

We entered the mustardly-yellowish 60s-building, which proved to be remarkably more considerable than it seemed to be from the outside. The foyer slowly filled with people of all ages and sizes, slurping sparkling wine, beer and coke and waiting for the doors of the concert hall to open. At half past eight, the guests were allowed in and made their way to their seats. After three quarters of an hour, Lisa Gerrard, Brendan Perry and five additional musicians entered the stage , taking their positions behind two keyboards and percussions. Lisa immediately took center stage, wearing a brightly yellow gown and  a stylish hairdo. Opening track “Nierika” was followed by “Saffron”, which revealed the instrument on the console, a Yang Ch’in, the Chinese version of the dulcimer. But it was naturally her voice that stood out. Blessed with a multiple octave-range, and expressing the most diverse dynamic nuances and emotions, she immediately captivated the audience with her mystic songs, sung in a fantasy language. Perry meanwhile stuck to his guitars, only at times switching to hurdy-gurdy and even once playing the Yang Ch’in and Djembe.

I was suprised to find no music of the darkwave-album-debut on the setlist, instead, there was a clear focus on ethno-pieces with an oriental flair and sacral ballads. It only took a few bars of the traditional “Saltarello” to evoke frenetic cheering and some spectators even jumped up from their seats. This was then to be followed by the beautifully puristic “Wind that shakes the Barley”. Even though Gerrards voice transported the deepest of emotions, there was no real closeness to the audience and the band didn’t even address the crowd for most of the concert. “Dreams made flesh” saw the main characters close as never before, as they stood side by side. The rhythmical pieces saw more and more fans dancing ecstatically and a small mistake at the beginning of “Rakim” finally melted the ice between the group and their audience. This, however, already proved to be the end of the regular set.

“Black Sun” marked the beginning of the encore-section, with the brass section still vividly in my mind. “Salem’s Lot” was basically a solo track by Lisa, which she wrote for the TV-series of the same name: Another solemn aria, which she perfectly combined with the hypnotic “Yulunga”. After “Severance”, which saw Brandan at the microphone once more, the band went off and on the stage again to perform the fantastic finale “Hymn for the Fallen”, which came close to being a lullaby and marked the end of a perfect concert. Unfortunately, this may yet turn out to be a singular pleasure, as the future of Dead Can Dance remains uncertain.

Written by helianthe
Pictures Copyright by Karsten Thurau
translation by tocafi

Source: Dead Can Dance/Berlin Philharmonie 29.03
Homepage: Dead Can Dance

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