OMD went to a Kraftwerk concert – “Incredible”
Kraftwerk’s opening show at the Tate; incredible, say OMD
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The first of eight shows by German electro pioneers Kraftwerk has taken place at London’s Tate Modern. Among the 1,250-strong crowd were Andy McCluskey and Paul Humphreys, whose music with Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark has been heavily influenced by Kraftwerk. What did they make of the performance?
McCluskey described it as “the best multimedia arts project on the planet”.
“It gets better and better. I saw them three-and-a-half-years ago at the Manchester Velodrome and now that the whole show is in 3D, with surround sound, it’s incredible.
“It’s amazing that 40 years into their career, they’re still relevant.
“The whole remit of Kraftwerk, when they moved away from that early jazz krautrock roots, was that they were trying to get away from Anglo-American cliches. When I saw them in 1975 they had their names in neon lights and they had some projections.
“They were already quite minimal but they were moving away from the cliches. This now, with the whole show in 3D, is taking it to the nth degree, 30 odd years later. It’s a wonderful extra string on their bow.
“I have to admit… some of the songs reflect the fact that they are so distilled that it’s hard to put [visuals] to them, but for two hours the whole show was incredible.”
Fellow OMD member Paul Humphreys added: ” To move from concert halls into museums is the perfect move for them, because even from the very beginning they were performance art, except they were playing in concert halls.”
“They have changed a couple of things,” noted McCluskey.
“It’s noticeable that Radioactivity has now become an anti-radioactivity song. And Ralf is now singing in Japanese. We thought they’d changed some of the words to Man Machine – made it slightly more sinister and negative.
“Because the music is so highly conceptual they are able to mutate and twist it. They’re not going to play the exact same song with the same riff and the same lyrics, they can vary it and it’s quite an interesting concept,” he said.
“For us it was incredible to hear both comet melodies live. This is what’s incredible about this series of concerts. They are going to play tracks that they have never played live before. The Autobahn album – trimmed down – is not very long, so the rest of it was essentially their highlights, their greatest hits.”
Humphreys added: “They are one of the most important bands for popular music.
“People say the Beatles were the most important band to change popular music but I think Kraftwerk were. Their DNA has permeated the blood of bands since then. There’s parts of Kraftwerk in all the popular music today.”
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