If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my various adventures with this band, it’s that effort, travel and a degree of uncertainty are often prerequisites to having unique experiences. Given the supply and demand for this tiny acoustic concert in the studios of radio SAW, the odds of a miracle were definitely not in our favor – around 5,000 online applications alone for the 20-some spots in the building. Hanna and I decided to pay a visit to the event anyway, for several reasons – we weren’t doing anything, the bus fare was cheap, we love TH, and what the hell.
It turned out to be an utterly enjoyable trip. We arrived around midday, waited with other ticketless fans, chatted with radio and press workers and watched the chosen few slip through the station doors. As the show was about to begin, we strolled around the side of the building to chill in the shade. At that moment, the soft sounds started coming through an open window right above our heads.
We were joined by most of the fans outside, who did something I’ve rarely experienced at a Tokio Hotel show: kept quiet. After a short bit of “shhhing,” the fans went silent, turned ears upward and held recording devices aloft, swayed to the acoustic adaptations of the new songs, lips moving soundlessly, smiles on their faces. Between songs, the fans inside and outside clapped and cheered, then returned to hushed, rapt attention. At the end of the last song, the listeners briefly joined in, a reflexive choir paying tribute to the new material.
The band played “Girl Got A Gun,” “Louder Than Love,” “Automatic” and “Love Who Loves You Back.” To hear the three new songs from this complex electro-pop-rock album arranged in such a simple acoustic fashion was entrancing. Stirring chord progressions, strong basslines and Bill’s soft voice – just fantastic. “Automatic” sounded just as it does in the acoustic version recorded by “Rolling Stone” a few years back. It will be fascinating to watch how they arrange their new and old material on the next tour.
After photo ops, signings and a studio interview indoors, the band came to the station windows, absolutely beaming. Bill greeted the fans below and called down, “Wir haben euch gehört!” (We heard you!) All four looked relaxed and happy as they waved enthusiastically, and I think we all felt privileged to be there, hearing this music and showing love – regardless of where we were standing. All in all, a great joint action by the band and radio SAW, and one of the better Sundays I’ve spent recently.