Hamburg 2009

Hamburg for 37 years in a row
Hamburg, 5 December 2009 

"We never missed a year since 37 years. Imagine that!" This was John's proud statement about the long history of sold out Hamburg performances since the very beginning of the German tours in 1972. So the Hamburg Congress Centre was packed with people who had their special and individual memories of the Dubliners in all the past decades. "A time to remember" came to life indeed.

The traditionally last concert of the German tour was announced by Barney's friend John-Joe, presenting the lads as "probably the best folk band in the world" and throwing his corduroy cap into the audience. And Hamburg loves Barney with a cheering crowd when his name is mentioned for the first time and later on with standing ovations. So Hamburg is always a bit different from all the other gigs in Germany. And even some misfortunes could not stop the boys. Announcing his recitation of the poem for Ciarán Bourke John noticed that he has forgotten his glasses back stage during the break - "I will try it anyway. I wrote it myself". Later on Patsy's broken banjo cable could only cause a small delay of "Dirty Old Town". So the show went on and they gave it back. Patsy stated that they appreciate the applause for Luke Kelly's songs because Luke is the greatest ballad singer of all times. And John at his part: "Wherever Irish music is played around the world in the future the name of Ronnie Drew will never be forgotten". Well said and nothing to add to this.

So it went on as usual and nearly ended with Seán's final conclusion: "It is always a pleasure to perform in Germany and especially here in … eh … Hamburg!" - a running gag in the country since the former German president Lübke did not know that he made a speech in the town of Helmstedt.

The show did not finish with "Molly Malone". Leaving all the seats Hamburg demanded for more and was rewarded with the "Irish Rover" at last. So Hamburg is always a bit different …

And this time Seán has no reason to ask German tour manager Karsten Jahnke for another invitation in 2010. The next Hamburg gig was already annoucend with a small leaflet which was placed on every seat. The ticket sale started after the weekend and at the end of the first day the first ten rows were completely sold out. A fine chance for this happy people to pick up John-Joe's cap next December. 

Article & photographs: Gerhard Braas, Germany


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