Kraftwerk | Sage Gateshead | 14 June 2017
Reviewed for The Northern Echo
German electro-pop legends Kraftwerk are simply one of the most influential groups to have ever existed, inspiring countless bands over the past forty plus years.
The North-east was fortunate enough to have their spectacular 3D tour arrive at Sage Gateshead this week where Ralf Hütter – the last remaining original member – and his colleagues, clad in their “Tron” like suits, delivered an often jaw-dropping two hour show that spectacularly combined music and visuals.
Hütter counted in the opening track of Numbers and the digits on the backdrop screen flew off and away into the venue, above our heads. It was an indication of what was to come. The first few numbers included Computer World and Computer Love – the latter written in 1981, when computers were in their infancy, yet still a song freakily prescient of a modern world of online dating and Tinder.
Autobahn with its “Wir fahr'n fahr'n fahr'n auf der Autobahn” mantra was performed to a simple but effective backdrop of driverless cars on grey roads cutting through lush, green countryside.
During Spacelab, we were aboard a craft flying above Earth as Newcastle’s location appeared on a satellite map. A spaceship was seen on screen flying along the Tyne before landing on the Sage forecourt to huge cheers.
The Tour de France segment was outstanding, the relentless pulsing of the music matching the physical rhythms of the cyclists in the archive TDF footage. Radioactivity has transformed into more of a cautionary warning of past disasters and future dangers instead of the celebration of radio waves and communication it once was.
The encore began with The Robots, the group off stage with four creepy robots in their place literally going through the motions, before the group returned for Aéro Dynamik and a closing medley of Boing Boom Tschak, Techno Pop and Musique Non Stop, during which each musician left the stage individually until finally Hütter was left to bid us goodnight, bringing the curtain down on a mesmerising concert
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