Kaizers Orchestra in New York? Well, I am a loyal fan, but there’s a limit to everything; I don’t need to be at EVERY concert … at least that’s what I decided when the show was first announced. But after some more consideration … New York had been on my list of cities to travel to for a long time, but there had never been a good opportunity to actually do that – and the flights were affordable, May was the perfect time for vacation for me, and it wasn’t hard to convince a friend to come along. So well, why not? A week in New York City, including a Kaizers concert! =:-)
I guess I don’t need to write anything about New York City here – a great city! Unfortunately it was a bit chilly for May (except for the day of the Kaizers concert; that day, the weather was just perfect!), but the city was absolutely impressive and exciting. A great vacation. =:-) And on Thursday it was finally time for Kaizers!
Honestly, I really hadn’t expected much of this concert. Kaizers concerts in new cities tend to be rather “standard”, nothing special, because the “newcomers” to the Kaizers family will be overwhelmed by what they get no matter what – even if they get “only” a minimal concert without much extra effort. In addition, the concert was far from sold out (you could still order very good tickets on the website a couple of days before the show), and that of course is bad for the atmosphere. Also, the audience would probably be made up of a few American hardcore fans and a lot of “oh, fellow Norwegians visiting, never heard of them, but let’s go there anyway”-Norwegians living in New York. But hey – when you’re in New York anyway, you’re not gonna miss out on the concert of course. *g*
The concert took place at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in a concert hall that was probably intended to host classical concerts, ceremonies, or talks. So there were fast seats, a balcony, and a stage without any special decorations – well, of course Kaizers couldn’t bring their video wall. Actually, they even had to rent most of their equipment except for the pump organ and guitars. But with a red velvet curtain in the background, it didn’t seem like anything was missing on stage, the stage decorations were just a little minimalistic. But to make up for it, the Jackal had found his tuxedo again. =;-)
The atmosphere was awesome even before the doors opened – and very very exhilarated and excited. No wonder, many of the fans had been waiting for this moment for years and years! So I got to meet the biggest American hardcore fans before the show (cheers to all of you!), until people made their way inside. In the auditorium, it looked a bit sobering though: lots of empty seats, and – for whatever reason – these seats were all in between the taken seats. Since tickets were for specific seats, this was pretty stupid and looked quite sad, too many empty spaces everywhere. =:-( Still, the excitement grew, and at precisely 7 p.m. the show started. Lights out, spot on, Russian Dance!
And: Screaming on! *g* Yep, of course I had expected excited fans, but that was definitely way over what I had reckoned. Kaizers hadn’t even entered the stage yet, but the fans were already screaming and screeching from the top of their lungs. It definitely didn’t sound like the auditorium was half empty, not at all. =;-) And of course the fans got even louder when Kaizers actually entered the stage, live and in color. Goosebumps, hell yeah! And interestingly enough it seemed that most “real” Americans had managed to get their seats in the front rows while the “Norwegian” Americans were farther back. Perfect!
At the beginning of the concert, the atmosphere was quite weird … On the one hand, fans were soooo enthusiastic, on the other hand, they were in their seats – and had to stay there. The ushers had made that perfectly clear right from the start; it wasn’t even allowed to go up to the stage before the concert started (well, except if you were wearing a Konzertjunkie shirt, didn’t hear about that weird rule, and went to the front to say hello to people there … somehow, nobody sent me back *uhem*).
So we had an audience that was really well behaved and sitting in their assigned seats, shaking and dancing as much as possible in a sitting position, singing along from the top of their lungs (partly in a bit of gibberish, of course), and adoring the band. After the third song, the Jackal couldn’t take it anymore: “Hey, stand up and come all down and to the center!” The poor ushers looked terrified, but the Jackal didn’t have to say that twice – everyone jumped up and crowded in in front of the stage, in the aisles and between the seats. That was when the concert turned from great into perfect. My thought at that moment: They are about to tear down the Met. Wohoo!
Let’s start with the setlist:
- Aldri vodka, Violeta
- Bøn fra helvete
- Svarte katter & flosshatter
- Støv og sand
- Bak et halleluja
- En for orgelet, en for meg
- Veterans klage
- Evig pint
- Kontroll på kontinentet
- Philemon Arthur & the Dung
- Tusen dråper regn
- Ompa til du dør
- Dieter Meyers Inst.
- Die Polizei
So all in all, the setlist was a bit more classical or “old-fashioned”, with a few surprises (Evig pint! <3) and just about two hours of playing time. To jump ahead a bit: I was totally amazed by the concert. One reason was of course the whole situation - there's this tiny Norwegian band that I discovered totally coincidentally ten years ago, on stage in a city on a different continent, in front of screaming fans; and I'm there. =:-o (And in addition to that, I was greeted by lots of people with a "are you Susi" right after I arrived and got lots of comments and thank-yous about this site ... =:-O Guys, you made my day, it's so awesome to hear that the work I do here actually is of help and interest to others!!!) Another reason was that the concert was so incredibly ... relaxed? It's hard for me to put it into words, but it felt like Kaizers didn't have anything to win or lose at this concert, and therefore they went into the show much more relaxed than with other concerts. Usually, they are "at work" and have to deliver. Here, it was clear right away that the fans would love the concert, no matter what would happen on stage - and so there was no pressure at all on the band and Kaizers could play their concert without worrying about anything. They obviously had great fun on stage. The Jackal tended to drift off into "stand-up parts" once in a while, which made the concert even more entertaining. And even though there might have been some problems with the sound and playing - simply because of the borrowed instruments and unusual sound on stage - everyone seemed to have fun, on stage and of course in front of it. There are already a few reports about the concert online, so here are just my notes without too much explanation:
- “Kaizers Orchestra in New York, for the first and last time!” – “It feels somehow weird to come here and promote the band, and then to never come back …”
- The audience sang along very loudly during Bøn fra helvete – and keep in mind that at that time, everybody was still sitting!
- “This might be the best show you’ve ever seen!”
- During KGB: “Can you hop up and down? Bounce, New York, bounce!” *lol*
- During Delikatessen, Omen was busy writing in his diary. When everyone on stage “froze” and stood there motionless, the Jackal asked Hellraizer: “Is everything going fine? Any problems we should know of?”
- During Bak et halleluja, the audience had to shout “wop!” like usual. “Hey, that’s not loud enough!” – and of course it worked even better (and louder) after that! And the Jackal managed to get even the folks on the balcony to stand up.
- En for orgelet was translated to “One for the pump organ and one for me” this time.
- Then it was time for some small talk. The Jackal wanted to know what the first thing was that Hellraizer did in New York. “Oh, I walked over the Brooklyn Bridge, and then back to Manhattan – you know, I have this bridges thing when I travel … You’ll have to tell me what you did in the city in the meantime.” – Jackal: “Oh, so you want to meet Jeff Bridges?” – Hellraizer, appalled by the bad joke: “Uh … sorry guys, the show’s off …” But the Jackal apologized and admitted that it wasn’t a stand-up show. =;-)
- Of course there was the obligatory poll where the fans come from – lots of fans from America in the front, then a whole lot from Norway, two from Germany, one from Sweden (“Get out!! No, just kidding …” works in NYC as well. *g*).
- After Killmaster’s solo in Kontroll på kontinentet, the Jackal complimented him: “They already love you!” But Killmaster didn’t seem satisfied … Jackal: “Well, I see you’re not satisfied with the solo. But you can do better next time! Or … no, actually not, because there is no next time.”
- Before they played Resistansen, the Jackal explained that he has so many interesting stories to tell. “Too bad they are all in Norwegian, so you cannot understand them! But actually, Norwegian is easier to understand than to speak. Right? You probably understand half of what I am saying … in English.”
- Of course the rest of the band already played the intro to Resistansen during the Jackal’s monologue. They didn’t really manage to transition into the song afterwards, so the Jackal stopped Mink: “Stop, it’s not working! And anyway, your cymbal is upside down, that means you’re playing the song backwards!” *lol*
- “Feels like home!”
- “Thanks to the Met for having us! Who would’ve thought we belong in a museum already? I’m not even 40 yet, but only 29!” Next up was a quiz about how old Hellraizer is – right, 12 is pretty close. Actually, he’s 14. *g*
- Before the concert, Kaizers had met some fans on the street already, and they were really glad about that. They always dreamed to play in New York one time, but they would have expected to maybe play in some small pub. “But no – it’s the Met!”
- Before Hjerteknuser: “This is the song that payed for the trip!” *lol*
- Someone in the audience shouted “Maestro” after that statement, but no: “Maestro? That is the song that payed for the last tour …”
- About Hjerteknuser: “Hmm … do you think that could break in America?”
- “We traveled a long way for this – do you mind if we play one more?”
- Of course nobody minded, and Begravelsespolka as first encore got a great response as well. And then, as conclusion: “a song for the Germans – a Norwegian band singing German in the USA”.
An amazing conclusion for a terrific concert – even though the singing didn’t continue this time after Kaizers went off stage. But instead there were gleaming eyes and euphoria all around, and the fans jumped at the memorabilia – setlists, plecs, barrels (which they even managed to smuggle out of the Met in the end, hidden from the security).
All in all it was an awesome concert. No, an awesome experience! It was great to finally get to meet the “US fans” in person and not only via the internet. And the concert was really something special, once in a lifetime, and … hach. A wonderful evening, there’s not really anything else I could say about it. THANK YOU to everyone who was part of it!