Review & Photos: SEEED in Hamburg, Germany 11/26/2012
11/27/2012 by Gardy Stein
Hamburg, Germany @ O2 World 11/26/2012
S to the three E D – SEEED descended on Hamburg! The band that was only an insider’s tip ten years ago tonight filled one of the biggest venues the city has to offer. According to the staff, about 12.000 people had found their way to the O2-World-Arena on the outskirts of Hamburg – SOLD OUT!
Theophilus London, a celebrated Brooklyn-based rapper and producer, opened the evening at 8 pm, struggling to touch the listeners who clearly didn’t come for him. A few moments after he had cleared the stage, the anticipation was rising and the shouts for SEEED became louder.
9:15 pm the big moment was there. The silky drapery lifted and opened the view to the stage construction dominated by a huge illuminated balloon. First to be seen were DJ Luke and Dubmaster Reibold (Keys), uncoiling the sound carpet for the intro. Rudeboy Rudy (guitar) and Tobsen Cordes (bass) joined in next, followed by drummer Based and Alfi on percussions. The wind section bore a surprise. Additionally to the usual line-up of Tchamp (trombone) and Mo Delgado (sax), two newcomers had joined the band: Tobias Weidinger (trumpet) and Jasper Bieger (sax). To a remix-version of the Dancehall Caballeros (as we will see, RMX was one of the big themes in this show), Eased, Ear and Enuff entered the stage in choreographic unison and unleashed their lyrical fire.
The second song Twisted already had even the seat-rows dancing and cheering, and during the chorus of the subsequent Schwinger, the crowd proved itself lyrically firm when Enuff held out the mic to them. Introduced by the first dedication of the night ("For the Hamburg Dancehall posse!"), Waterpumpee was enthusiastically greeted by especially those present who have seen this band rise years ago – SummerJam Feeling! New fans were likewise satisfied. Starting with M.O.L.O.T.O.V., altogether 8 songs from the new album SEEED were performed. As in the artwork of its cover (developed along with the new logo by the local think-tank Rocket & Wink), red was the dominant colour in stage illumination.
Grosshirn was up next, pumping its characteristic Dancehall-Bass through the people. Another dedication to the "Reggae Massive", the song Respectness and its conscious lyrics showed a glimpse of the old SEEED, but were only appreciated by a minority of the crowd. Most people came here to party, a fact that became clear with the following song "Waste My Time". Rock riffs and (almost) physical contact with frontman Eased made the crowd go wild. As on the album, a seamless transition to the following piece Deine Zeit kept the tension high. Both songs lacked the lyrical back-up of the audience, however, an honour that was given to the subsequent Release along with the first lighters of the night.
As stated in the beginning, now it was remix time. Alles Glänzt, a song on Peter Fox' solo album, was presented in a seeedy style before the original version made thousands sing along. The atmosphere thus heated up, Enuff evoked a scene of the movie Slum Dog Millionaire before plunging into a remix of Dickes B. Actually, this medley saw the first real interaction with the spectators, chanting along with the crowd about "Hamburg Ladies" and "St. Pauli Gangsters" and making them JUMP!
Calming down during the next two pieces (Lovelee with a focus on singer Ear and the Roots-Reggae-stylish Walk Upright), the fire was on again when Music Monks came up. In fact, this song saw the first and only pull-up, while the explicit choreography of the three frontmen generated fresh rounds of applause. The mood thus heated up, the following Augenbling was clearly the most celebrated song of the night. This time without being told to, people jumped and cheered and obviously got exactly what they came for. Next in line were Seeed’s House and another well-known Peter-Fox-tune, Schwarz Zu Blau.
Certainly a surprise to many, this song was followed by the Pitbull-Cover Lations in Paris, which ended in a rapid solo by Alfi (actually the only band member introduced at all – one of the few shortcomings of the concert). How fast time can fly, in this case 90 minutes, became obvious when Enuff announced the twentieth and "last song for tonight". During the typical intro, the floodlight rows in the background were lowered, giving a dramatic effect to Aufstehn!. After that, the departure from stage was not even complete when a deafening roar of shouting and stamping started until the band was back on.
All in a sweat by now, the three "E’s" performed both Beautiful and Elephants with a focus on choreographic elements. As if their dancing alone wouldn’t be enough, they announced a Dancehall-Queen-Contest to the sounds of Schüttel Deinen Speck, another extraction of the Peter Fox Album Stadtaffe. Three ladies entered the stage and the winner (by public voting) received a Tour-Shirt and a special surprise solo from the trumpeter. The evening was closed with the danceable Ding, which saw all band members come to the front of the stage to give it a final blast. And even though it seemed that the energy of the audience slowly faded, a last Encore was given. With the words "Actually we don’t have any song left!", the band reappeared on stage and played another remix – this time Augenbling.
The spectacle was over at 11 pm. An impressive array of 24 songs had bridged the gap from the old to the new. Given that this "new" is not undisputed in the Reggae community, it remains to be seen if the old fans go along with it. As Eased (Dellé) once said in an interview, SEEED is not playing Jamaican Reggae with Dreadlocks and Rastafari – SEEED is the vibrating proof that Reggae music in Germany takes new directions and conquers new audiences.
On my way home in the crammed train, a handy is ringing. The ringtone: SEEED!