Short trip to Germany for Bastian Baker? Oh yes, we can do that more often.
Yes, it was my birthday and I wanted to do something special, to go somewhere. “Usual” birthday parties (going out for dinner, clubs etc) or not so much my thing. In the last years it rarely happened that I was somewhere else but at a concert on my birthday. And so this small trip was just right. I’ve already seen Bastian live around my birthday last year in Germany – back then in Berlin for the album presentation. It’s okay to become a tradition 😉
The Schlossgrabenfest in Darmstadt (near Frankfort on the Main) is a 4-days city festival. Actually you could have spent well the whole weekend there. Where else would you get so many known musicians for free? Andreas Bourani, Mark Forster, Wise Guys, Teesy and Daniel Nitt, just to mention a few. And in the middle of it also Bastian Baker. And with the Pentecost weekend, Monday off so, this suited super. Off to Germany!
Because Deutsche Bahn only ended a strike, I didn’t really trust them and booked a bus trip with MeinFernbus.de from Zurich instead. So after the Benken Openair directly from my friend to Zurich and then a 5 hours bus drive to Darmstadt. I can recommend MeinFernbus.de after this journey – enough space in the seat, free wifi, small snacks to buy. It was a pleasant and save ride. Arriving in Darmstadt at the train station, I first was looking for a bus direction city centre. Of course I had no change and the driver was in a totally bad mood. Another passenger came for my rescue then though and took me along with his special ticket. In Germany they seemed to have many special tickets. Why don’t we have them? Well, I am of course already happy with my GA. With this special ticket I could travel along with this man, and was save so from my change misery. I was very greatful.
The hotel was a bit weird. Hotel Ernst-Ludwig. There was none at the reception first. I had to call a number and got the code by a lady for the safe hanging at the door. There I could get my keys and get into my room. I didn’t see anyone else til breakfast or check out the next day. I don’t know, I have never experienced something like that before. You? It wasn’t pure luxury, just a normal room. It was clean and pleasant, and for a night it worked out well. And the hotel was only few hundred metres away from the stage, where Bastian played later. It was ideal.
The concert area
The concert area in the middle of the city was fenced and they let people in until it was full. Who wasn’t there in time had bad luck. During admission bags got checked and drinks had to stay outside. It was kinda chaotic, because the drink stands already ran out of cups. It took a while to get them new ones and then they even run out of water. Not too well organized. Because you hadn’t to pay admission fees, you got to pay € 5 one-time for the cups. But well what are € 5 with so many acts? Practically given.
The poetry slam
There were three stages alltogether, but I stayed at the one Bastian was playing later. In front of the stage there were tables and benches standing. The festival was well visited and to find a seat at this time was practically impossible. First there was a poetry slam taking place. I am not really a fan of such things and didn’t like most contributions very much. There were several candiates taking part, who droped out in several several rounds and finally the winner got chosen. And at least the one I liked best, won. 😉
Chris & Taylor
After Bastian Baker actually was meant to play, but the performances times of him and Chris & Taylor got swapped. Actually it didn’t matter as I didn’t have to catch any trains and the hotel was close. It could become late. Only the explanation was weird somehow: “Mark Forster (who played another stage that evening) forgot his keyboard.” The question of the evening was then: “How can anyone forget the keyboard?”. Obviously they borrowed instruments from each other then or what do I know.
So Chris & Taylor played first. The whole audience moved just at the end of the poetry slam and so there were free seats on the front benches. So I got myself a seat for the Bastian Baker concert. I didn’t stay on my own for long. Several Bastian Baker fans from Germany joined, who also were there just for him. And during the evening I also met several fans from the west of Switzerland.
A trio appeared: singer with guitare, keyboard player and bass player. That the front guy was Chris, I did understand quickly. Only that Talyor wasn’t one of the other two musicians but Chris’ guitare (cos of the guitare brand) was called like this, I didn’t expect. Chris is a singer/songwriter in genre pop/rock from Wiesbaden and is performing since 2008 with this name. Even he obviously had played several performances and concerts before, he seemed shy and nervous. But that made him likeable. Bastian Baker actually wasn’t much different years back. 😉 It was a nice concert and I would go see them again.
These days Bastian Baker was on tour around the world as a duo with keyboard player Simon Jaccard. They only flew in from Singapore and felt the jetlag, though they didn’t really let anyone see it. Okay, Bastian was quite hyper, that was maybe the tiredness ^^. Bastian and Simon both came on stage for soundcheck – you can say, already then the show started and the audience got well entertained even before official concert start.
When they started the actual concert, the place was crowded. In the front all the fans and in the back many curious festival visitors. At the beginning everyone was still seated except of a boy, who was listening to the concert in front of the stage and kept dancing friskily. He was the reason then more people got up and started dancing along until Bastian asked everyone to do so. It was a really great concert. To listen to them in a duo was super. They kept messing around. Simon was singing in the background. I love him singing. And at some point Bastian jumped off the stage into the audience [Video here] to rock on with the fans. From the very first minute the audience seemed thrilled. There was no crushing, none was pushing, you got a lot of space. It was very different to the concerts and festivals I’ve seen in Swtizerland. Esp. compared to the last two years. At the beginning it was more calm as well. He’s just not that known yet in Germany. Next to the usual songs I heard “Tattoo on my brain” for the very first time, what you can listen to on the new album “Facing Canyons” by now. Already back then I loved it and is one of my favourites of the album.
At the end of the concert Bastian took a lot of time for a signing. Compared to Switzerland only few people were queuing – 30 maybe? I don’t know exactly, maybe some more or less. It was calm and pleasant. A good chance to talk to him, Simon and Manger Raphaël a bit longer again.
After Bastian, Daniel Nitt, Keyboard player of Mark Forster and who was also support of Forster back in March in Zurich, played. I didn’t get to hear much of him on that evening, but he’s not really one of my favourites anyway. Mark Forster also crossed my way on that evening. I should have asked him after the keyboard 😉
The next day after breakfast and a short walk through town I went back home with MeinFernbus.de. It was definitively one of my best trips in 2015. Even as it was only a short trip, I totally enjoyed everything from the journey, to the concert and to the return journey. Connecting concerts and travelling is fun anyway – and to see something else once, to get away, is great. I’ll take a look at the programme of Schlossgrabenfest 2016 for sure and will keep an eye on Bastian Baker’s tourplan.
more photos in Gallery