(this page last updated 01 February 2012)
"PUNK URGENCY, ROCK`N´ROLL BREVITY,
AND POP INVINCIBILITY!"
*** Please note that this page is in two parts
The CHEAP TRICK Tribute Night" is going
to take place on Friday, January 27 2012 at the Onkel Toni
Music Club, Osnabrück,
Germany from 9pm-12 midnight.
is no admission fee to the show. Although the club will be open to the public,
the tribute show is for friends and fans, and is being played for enjoyment and
for no commercial gain. Already, fans are expected to attend from Germany, the
Netherlands, France and the UK.
Kai lives in Bonn, and is well known amongst international Cheap Trick fans. As well as attending CT shows in several countries, he has played lead guitar on a Cheap Trick fan tribute CD as part of the "Beef-a-Roo Experience" with a number of American musician/fans - read more at http://onmilwaukee.com/music/articles/beefaroo.html . It is believed that Kai regards Milwaukee as his second home!
The Onkel Tony can be found at:
Johannisstraße 46 - 49074 Osnabrück - Telefon: 0541
The nearest airport is Munster/Osnabrück, though Dortmund is also just 1 hour away. In addition, Osnabrück railway station is served by a direct service from Amsterdam Schiphol (see NSHispeed.nl) amongst other places. Osnabrück is also well served by main road routes.
(As posted by Jorn to the CheapTrick.com messageboards on 10 Dec 2011)
Some hotels near the venue:
And finally, Jorn has given the following disclaimer - ** The "CT Tribute Night" will take place WITHOUT any involvement, assistance, cooperation or approval of the band Cheap Trick or any of its members and in absence of their authorisation** !!
Pt 2 - THE REVIEW
Cheap Trick Tribute
Show – Osnabruck, Germany
There have been many Cheap Trick cover or tribute bands over the years, with most being in the USA (particularly Los Angeles and the Midwest), and at least a couple in Japan (with the most well known being Cheap Track). But there has never been one in Europe… until now.
In the latter part of 2011, German fans/musicians Kai Fritzschen and Jorn Mutert came up with the idea of performing a tribute show in Germany. The idea soon grew, and it wasn’t long before a date was set and a small club venue booked in Osnabruck in the west of Germany. The show was announced online, in Cheap Trick fan forums as well as on this website and my unofficial newsletter mailing list. Cheap Trick’s show (supporting Deep Purple) at the O2 Arena in London in November 2011 was another opportunity for Kai and Jorn to inform European fans about the show, and several decided straight away that they’d travel to attend.
Kai, Jorn and the other musicians involved (mostly from Jorn’s long-running band, SMILE) squeezed in rehearsals in Osnabruck in Dec 2011 and Jan 2012 (no mean feat given that Kai and Jorn live a couple of hours apart, and have very different weekly schedules).
So, the scene is set. Let’s now fast-forward to showday…
Fri 27 Jan
As usual (though I’m normally travelling west over the Atlantic rather than east!) I was up very, very early to catch a 6.15am flight from Leeds/Bradford to Amsterdam, catching the sunrise on approach to Amsterdam Schiphol. I then had a couple of hours to kill at Amsterdam Airport before a 3 ½ hour train ride to Osnabruck, but luckily I was able to relax comfortably in the KLM lounge because of my frequent flier status. The food/snacks in the lounge vary in taste from visit to visit, but the Dutch Bread Pudding with Orange Custard today was a treat!
I reached Osnabruck a little after 2pm in the afternoon, and was met on the platform by Jorn. He and his wife Britta had very kindly offered their hospitality once more. It was chilly but dry as we drove back to Jorn’s house for an hour or so. En-route Jorn confirmed that he had collected other British fans Roger & Mandy and Chris at (I believe) Hannover Airport earlier in the morning, so good to know they’d got in safely. It was nice to have time to relax a little, shower and change before Jorn, Britta and I headed back into Osnabruck centre. Moments after we arrived at the entrance to the venue, Kai and his wife Barbara arrived too. Jorn had the venue key so we were able to carry up instruments and equipment up the back stairs and into the Oncle Tony Club.
The first floor club was a nice size and shape. I guess if packed full it could hold 250-300, but 50 would be intimate enough. The barely raised stage was at one end of the room. Jorn and SMILE had already brought some equipment here late last night, but it still took the best part of a couple of hours this afternoon to set up the stage. During this time the other members of SMILE arrived, so the stage area was a mass of activity. One of the fun jobs was putting up the checkerboard backdrop that singer Flow had supplied. That gave a very nice CT touch to the stage. Of course I’m no musician, so the best I could do was be an extra pair of hands to carry and move things, and to make a photographic record of events!
One interesting part of the stage set up was an “autocue” screen and laptop at stage front/centre for the singers. Whilst Flow and Britta are professional singers with SMILE with a large mental database of song lyrics, they were both fairly recent Cheap Trick fans. So a little help with the lyrics (if required) was certainly a good idea, to help ensure that things went smoothly during the show. It must also be remembered that, whilst Flow and Britta both speak good English and sing a lot of English language songs during SMILE shows, their native language is German. Anyway, the small screen was unobtrusive, and unless you knew about it, you would not really have noticed during the show.
Soundcheck started at around 6pm, with the musicians playing “High Roller”, “Downed”, a killer “Need Your Love”, “California Man” and a little later, “House is Rocking” with keyboards.
We went out after soundcheck to grab a quick bite to eat, before heading back into the venue for the performers to change and be around to greet friends and others who came in for the free (ie no admission charge) show. It was a particular pleasure for me when Roger, Mandy and Chris came in – I’ve met them and spent time with them at several CT shows, and they’re very nice and fun people. And Chris had given up a big Cup match at his beloved Watford this evening to be here! It was also nice to see long-time friend Niels who had driven a couple of hours from Holland, and to meet a few other people too. By 9pm or so, there were probably about 50 people in the club, which was a good turnout, especially as the club is quite unobtrusive from the street. It may not sound like a large crowd, but it was enough to generate a good atmosphere, and most were friends of the various musicians so everyone was supportive and enthusiastic.
The show started at 9.30pm. The lights went down, and we heard the familiar looped drone from CT’s “Stop This Game”, which built up the tension for about a minute before I stepped up to make the live announcement from the stage – “Ladies and Gentlemen, meine Damen und mein Herren… Please welcome to the stage the best Cheap Trick tribute THIS town has ever seen…” I stepped off, the musicians came on, and the show began.
Stop This Game, Way of the World, He’s a Whore, High Roller, Borderline (Jorn vox), IWYTWM, I Can’t Take It, IYWML (Hangovers version), Lookout (Jorn vox), Need Your Love, House is Rocking, My Obsession, Downed (Jorn vox), Invaders of the Heart, California Man, Dream Police (Kai did RN part), Voices // (encore) Clock Strikes Ten, Surrender, Goodnight Now
I know many of the musicians had been nervous before the show, wanting to put on a perfect show, but they didn’t need to be. From the start they did a great job. Vocal duties were mostly shared by Flow and Britta, with Jorn singing three songs too. Mid-show, Flow called me up to see what was showing on his autocue between songs… artistic inspiration! (see 4th picture along, below)
They played a nice, varied setlist, and did a great job with everything considering some of the musicians were less familiar with Cheap Trick than Kai and Jorn. I really can’t do a song by song assessment, but it was a nice surprise to hear the extra bridge/verse in “If You Want My Love” ala the “Music For Hangovers” version. “Need Your Love” was again superb, and I was very surprised and touched by Kai’s words as he introduced “Invaders of the Heart”. The musicians did a great job, especially as they had not been able to rehearse this song together, though we didn’t get the multiple drum endings. Maybe next time! However, this might well have been the first, complete version with vocals ever performed live! Fun to hear Kai do Rick’s part during “Dream Police”, ending up with “They persecute me right here in… Osnabruck, Deutschland!” It was cool for me to be invited by Barbara onstage to help with backing vocals on “Surrender”, and a signed “flat” was duly thrown out, and retrieved by Mandy (though there wasn’t quite the scramble that you see at a Cheap Trick show!)
The show finished at 11pm-ish, but the fun didn’t stop there, oh no. Plenty of time to congratulate the performers over a beer or two (or three), catch up with friends, have a schnapps, talk some more, have a “final” schnapps, see some of the stage kit dismantled, be persuaded to have an “absolutely final” schnapps, sing along to CT songs played on the club PA, have a “definitely the last” schnapps, take group pictures, have “one last schnapps for the road”… you get the picture. The last of us left the club at 4am on a dry but very chilly morning, and bed was very welcome at 4.30am! It had been a very long day, but a very fun one too.
Saturday 28 Jan
After such a late night, it was noon before I got up. After a very nice lunch, Jorn, Britta and I joined Alex who, from 3pm, drove us for over an hour to the hotel where SMILE were playing tonight. Tjark, Flow and Kuwe arrived at the hotel at roughly the same time. I was glad to be able to be vaguely useful and help carry equipment in, though the band members had to do the proper work of setting up their instruments, soundboard etc on the small stage they had in the large function room of the hotel.
After a couple of drinks and food (and changing into stage clothing), SMILE started playing a little after 8pm, and played through until 2.30am. They only had 4-5 short breaks during this time, several just taken onstage when other things were taking place on the main floor in front of the stage. As at their show I went to last June, I was again very impressed at their performance, their energy and stamina, and how well they motivated and kept the crowd dancing and singing along for hours. They play covers of popular American, British and German pop songs and pretty much every song had the crowd singing along or dancing, or both.
After 2.30am we had to dismantle all of the bands equipment and carry it out through both the dancing crowd (a DJ started up after SMILE finished) and through the drunken people in the adjoining bar. I got to bed at 5.30am.
Sunday 29 Jan
Up at 1pm today… boy, I’m not used to these rock’n’roll hours! Anyway, nice takeout pizza for lunch, before Jorn kindly drove me to Osnabruck train station. It was dry and overcast, but bitterly cold with a few small snowflakes in the air. I caught the train just before 4pm to Amsterdam Schiphol, which took 3 ¼ hours. Unfortunately my Kindle reader had run out of battery power so I mostly just watched the countryside go by and chilled out. Had a couple of hours downtime at Schiphol, some of which I killed in the KLM lounge – warmed chicken wings and Mexican tomato soup were my supper there! The 60 minute flight from Amsterdam got me back to Leeds/Bradford Airport at 10pm, and as I only had carry-on I was quickly out and to my car, and I got home at 10.45pm. Bed was very welcome for a few hours before being up before 6am on Monday morning for work.
It had been a GREAT weekend, with lots of great music and lots of good time with many great friends.
MANY THANKS to Jorn, Kai, Britta, Barbara, Flow, Alex, Kuwe and Tjark for all their hard work in rehearsing for and putting on such a great show. Particular thanks to Jorn and Kai for organising the event, getting a venue and all those practical things. Thanks (once more) to Jorn and Britta for their very kind and generous hospitality, and thanks to them and everyone in SMILE for again allowing me to join them at their show on the Saturday night and who made me feel very welcome. Last but very much not least, thank you to those friends I met on Friday night – Roger, Mandy, Chris and Niels – it was a pleasure as always to spend time with you!
Kim Gisborne – Leeds, England 31 Jan 2012
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