March 5th 2014 Ezio at Knust, Hamburg
The number of Ezio gigs that I attended isn’t countless but it’s high. And the effort that it usually takes to get to one is high, too – either flying over to England or travelling by train for many hours. Not once I regretted going. The kick off gig for their German tour in Hamburg on March 5th makes no exception. Ezio gigs are always different – repetition is not a characteristic of Ezio’s shows.
Ezio Lunedei is always different, too and he is always himself. He isn’t embarrassed to discuss what’s next – neither with Booga nor with his drummer, Lars Plogschties. He doesn’t like set lists, he said in Hamburg, simply because he wouldn’t be able to read them: “So what’s the point?” Indeed indeed. Isn’t it much better to let the audience participate in his choice of what’s next? Let them participate by letting them choose as well as by sharing his way of decision making with them like “after a sad song I always feel I should play something to make you all feel happy again”?
This particular show in Hamburg was a special one too because it wasn’t only the kick off gig for the current tour but also the album launch of “Adam and the Snake”. It was a very special one also because it had to do without their absolutely irreplaceable guitarist Booga. Ezio and Booga have been performing together for about 20 years – they are like one on stage, completely understanding each other without any words.
Ezio still didn’t have to manage all on his own because he is lucky enough to have the most incredible drummer play for him like he did on their last three albums (including the new one) and on several gigs in Germany and England: Lars Plogschties. Lars is an amazingly intuitive musician. And that’s probably why those two do so incredibly well together. Both feel nothing but disgrace for rehearsing – it gives them a headache. So Lars often had to guess, or rather sense what to play – and he did that brilliantly. Rehearsing wouldn’t make much sense without a set list anyway nor with Ezio’s choice to spontaneously play old songs (30 and confused, Deeper), song requests during the 2nd encore (Agony, Cinderella) or brand new songs that have never been performed before. One of the two in Texas newly written songs had a fantastically fresh and wide ranging melody and moody lyrics asking something like “you say I always think of myself first – so why do I always end up worst?” – who wouldn’t know how that feels… This song will hopefully make it onto the next album that Ezio is already having on his mind. (Another song written in Texas last year, “Hey little Girl” didn’t make it onto the new album – but was however played on the night with obvious enjoyment.)
The majority of songs on the brand new album “Adam and the Snake” was presented on this night and the audience loved all of them. There is a new roughness, naturalness and darkness about them that suits Ezio very well. It’s just great when an artist’s music grows with his own age. The fans seemed to fully agree. Some Ezio audiences keep wanting all the old nearly hits and don’t seem to move forward in their musical taste like Ezio has moved forward in his musical productivity. The audience in Hamburg, although not as big as Ezio’s audiences in the South West of Germany, was fully prepared to move onwards together with a musical mind that one dares to call a genuine songwriting genius.
What came as a true and complete surprise was when Ezio handed a guitar over to Lars and made him play the chords for a couple of wonderful and rarely played songs from the first Ezio album: Just to talk to you again and Tuesday Night. Wait a minute, Lars Plogschties on guitar? Yes indeed and it worked very well, even in addition to some simultaneous bass drumming. And, what is more, it gave Ezio the opportunity to play some lovely guitar solos on his acoustic guitar that are not so often heard either.
Another unique Ezio gig – special, authentic and unforgettable – that’s what they all have in common.