Wednesday, 2 December 2015

fun, fun, fun auf die autobahn

After some years of trying and with a long incubation time to anticipate—and intervening events that made public gatherings a show of defiance and courage—H arranged for us to see the legendary and pioneering Kraftwerk at the Jahrhunderthalle in Frankfurt, a brilliant and classic performance in living 3D, not just the performers on stage but spectacularly also their backdrop.
True to their founding principles, the group, harking back to a formative time in 1970 in Düsseldorf when the genre of electronic was theirs to define, the ensemble gave a dazzling and unforgettable performance whose message is yet resonant throughout the decades—especially poignant considering how the whole audience, despite, in spite and rather because of their seniority were also viewing ad preserving the concert on their mobile devices. Their now signature use of the minimoog and the vocoder for synthesized voices on their 1975 album Autobahn cemented their international reputation and to English-speakers, the title song—progressing out of the experimental and desparaging label of “Krautrock,” fahren, fahren, fahren was a misunderstood lyric.
There was a significant pause while the stage-hands put out the iconic figures, during which I entertained for a moment the idea that the band might have invited the talented elementary school class in nearby Darmstadt that made their own version of Wir sind die Roboter to appear with them but I knew it was already well past their bedtimes.