|Eisern Union :
We had heard about the boys playing a "secret" gig to promote 'To The 5 Boroughs", or maybe reward fans, who knows. All of us assumed they'd choose a city like London or maybe in their political way Moscow or whatever. On sunday around noon I think on the official site, there appeared a link for the Berlin gig. It had not been there in the morning (German time). A guy I haven't spoken to for five years called me and told me to be in Kreuzberg as soon as possible in order to get tickets
for the gig. I showed up there about 2 hours before the ticket office was rumoured to open (6pm) and there was maybe 100 people waiting as if there was bananas selling in the GDR, but the guy who called me let me in at maybe 20th position. As time approached 6pm, the road was more and more crowded, the old english queing up was forgotten and at 6pm the door opened and it was more of a football game in the park. After half an hour I was allowed (there was a guy who controlled the door) to get in, for 17,50€ I purchased a voucher that was only valid together with my personal ID. It was a very physical experience to get out of that store, too. I heard about 400 tickets being sold freely, although there was no official statement anywhere to be read in Berlin. I think about 1000 people were fighting for position in just the area where usually the first of may riots take place. It must have been strange for people who didn't know and just passed.
On Monday we arrived at the 'Maria am Ufer' at 7pm. It is situated on the river Spree that used to seperate East from West Berlin just there. The club is I think the basement for a skyscraper-to-be that has never been built. The security was really strict and thorough. Mobile phones had to be left in the entrance area. After showing your ID you got a wristband and were allowed to enter. Inside there was a wired DJ playing a strange mix of music (Tom Waits followed by N.E.R.D.) and on the walls the covers of Beastie Boys records were projected and on TV sets the music videos were shown without sound. The starting time should have been 8:30, but I think they started at about 9pm. The club was well filled, as I said about 400 tix for fans and a sound technician told me about a guest list of 200 names, but only half of them showed up. Very basic and small stage, no light show (I know about lighting), just the pure basic house lights and obviously no-one to care about the progamming. Mix Master Mike stepped on the stage, had an incredible mix intro, and then the boys came too and began to perform Root Down.
It was astonishing that the audience was in contrast to big concerts real good. Not just did they celebrate and jump and scream, most of them even seemed to know the songs ;-). That's the advantage of secret gigs. The problem about the club is the missing ventilation system. There is only one big tube on the ceiling that is charged with that task but fails. As a result, the walls are covered with condensated sweat. It's not just damp, rather wet and clammy. Very social.
The boys were okay in their performance, on two or three occasions they obviously forgot what to perform next, so Adrock stopped one song just in the beginning. But they were jumping up and down the stage, told us to make our American friends
vote against bush, and after all made it a real good show. Adrock somehow behaved a little like the guy in 'Rainman' between the songs and apologised for having to stop now but I didn't get why. He wore an interesting shirt. "krunk? moi?" was written on it, which works as a multilingual joke in Berlin. They said good-bye and left the stage. The audience was waiting, shouting like in a football stadium but after 10 minutes they got croaky and stopped. The stage was dark you
could only see a sound technician with a mag in the mouth doing things on the dj's place, and when I saw at the monitor desk some sound crew members unplugging the xlrs, it was obvisus they wouldn't show up again. The DJ took over again and transformed the club into some kind of highschool disco, so I left.