9.8.2007 Kaizers Orchestra (Sziget Festival, Budapest)

Kaizers Orchestra at Sziget Festival! And as it happens, I’ve been wanting to go there again for quite some time now, more precisely for 7 years. Because in 2000, I was at Sziget and I just loved it. That time, Die Ärzte were the reason for me to go to Hungary, and since then I have been keeping an eye on the line up – but it never was quite good enough to convince me to take the trip again. Kaizers alone wouldn’t have been enough either, but as there were a lot of great bands apart from Kaizers playing as well, the plan was clear: I’d finally make it back to Hungary for a nice summer-sunshine-vacation with Budapest sightseeing during day time and lots of great music at night! =:-)

OK, the part with the sunshine didn’t really work out exactly as planned, as it started raining just before Kaizers came on stage and it stayed a bit cooler and rainy after that (up to Sunday, which probably was the day the last Kaizer left the country, or so *g*). But the last three days were perfect and sunny.

Since 2000 (when the festival was still called Pepsi Sziget), Sziget changed a lot: It has become much more international. While you were at a loss with English in 2000 and had to utter completely unpronuncable and absolutely incomprehensible words to order your food (hoping that you would not get cucumbers with chocolate – hmm, which actually wouldn’t be that bad, at least the chocolate! *g*), this time you could get by with English without problems. And you could always just point at the food you wanted. Generally, this time nobody would look at you weirdly if you didn’t understand some hungarian questions. So, that was really good, but of course, not everything was better than in 2000. The area is even larger now (and for the smartass asking “how can an island become larger?” – last time only parts of the island were used as festival ground), so the walk between the stages was even longer this time. And there were a lot more people, so the paths were terribly crowded. But this didn’t matter too much, as we managed to find out the secret paths fairly quickly and so we managed to get near the stage even before the headliners went on – perfect! But another negative thing I noticed was the fact that Sziget is being “taken over” by more and more “Non-Hungarians”. Last time I was there, we few Germans were really an exception. Now you hear more German and French all around than Hungarian… and especially when there were German bands on stage, it felt a bit like a German colony on Mallorca… *sigh* But no surprise, of course. If the festival turns more and more international, people from abroad will come as well. Especially if the prices are so low (not only the ticket, but also the food – on the island, you payed as much for a complete meal as you would pay for a sundae in the city). But I shouldn’t complain, I was one of the stupid Germans as well… =;-)

OK, but that’s enough about the festival now. If you want to read a bit about the rest of the week, you can do that in my “real” festival report (in German) as soon as it is online. This report is about Kaizers only. *g*

While the crew was preparing the stage (and Killmaster, Mink, Omen and Thunder showed up as well), it started raining, as I mentioned already. Grr, great. *grmbl* But the fans that were there already (mostly from Norway, Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands) didn’t mind too much. At least the Germans are used to that anyway – and this time, the rain was warm for a change! *gg* Luckily it stopped raining again just before Kaizers came on (well – and it started again directly afterwards, turning the festival grounds into a mud puddle… but well, I’ll complain in the real report then *g*). The crowd in front of the stage grew (stupidly I didn’t think of going to the back and checking out the crowd and atmosphere from there until Kaizers were done, so I can’t really say if they managed to get it on there), and Kaizers came on at 16.30 precisely.

There were no surprises in the setlist. Only at the very end, the songs were in a different order than you would expect (probably because the time was up and they didn’t know for sure how many songs they would be able to play). But apart from that, I would have guessed the setlist exactly right: Ompa til du dør, Bøn fra helvete, Hevnervals, Container, Veterans klage, Senor Flamingos Adieu, Blitzregn Baby, Mann mot mann, Kontroll på kontinentet, Bak et halleluja, Sigøynerblod, Maestro, Resistansen. There were no real encores or a clear break between set and encore, just a few discussions about whether they would be able to play one more or not.

The barrels were… interesting. *g* Rusty and without any paint, and I had to laugh out loud when Hellraizer hit the barrel for the first time. Because there was a cloud of dust blowing up all around him. *gg* And yep, Sziget and dust is basically a synonym, even though this year, you only noticed it during the first one and a half days, because after that it was a bit wet. =;-) And when the Jackal hit his barrel for the first time, his bat broke and flew through the air.

In general, they played their set really tight, probably because they didn’t have much time. But even though I’ve seen festival shows where it was obvious that they were under time pressure, this time it didn’t really show. The Jackal just took the time to interact with the audience, and the audience went along nicely. The only thing that could have been better was the question about where the audience came from: “Anybody from Germany here? Anybody from Norway? From Denmark?” – nobody from Sweden, luckily. *gg* And then: “Anybody from… uh, this region here?” Of course, hardly anybody raised their hand to this question… =:-/ “From Hungary” would have been a better question, probably… *cough*

Anyway, the answer to the question if they should come back was a clear YES. And hey, I’ll be there as well, of course! =:-) Then the Jackal informed us that it had stopped raining by now. And okay, we couldn’t know, but the had known all the time that it would stop when they come on.

The Jackal didn’t venture on speaking Hungarian – which is more than understandable. But I didn’t really understand why there suddenly was a “Einmal mehr!” in Bak et halleluja. *gg*

At the end, we had to show them our love of course and scream “we love you very very much Kaizer!” from the top of our lungs. But we love to do that, it’s the whole truth!

Then a final “This was Kaizers Orchestra – you must be Sziget!” – and that was it. A great festival show which was a lot of fun and surely conquered some new fans. But it WAS a festival show, much too short and pretty well-known. So nothing you just HAVE to see when you are a fan. It was great seeing Kaizers play again, but those fans who couldn’t make it didn’t miss anything special or unique. Well, except for Budapest and Sziget, of course. =;-)

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