Aug 10, 2011

INXS / Berlin - Ram's Head Live

By Bob Suehs

www.rocknrollexperience.com

BERLIN / INXS

August 10, 2011

Baltimore, Maryland



I'll admit that I was actually too young to experience Berlin when they burst onto the scene back in the early 80's...the band's sound was 80's New Wave & they earned a name for themselves in part to the channel that used to call itself "Music Television" because it showed videos.

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Terri Nunn was always the main attraction when it came to Berlin & in the 90's I became aware of Berlin's music when System of a Down did a cover of "The Metro" & industrial rockers Rorschach Test did a cover of "Sex".

www.rocknrollexperience.com The same thing also happened when Orgy covered "Blue Monday" by Joy Division...the band turned a new generation on to classic 80's new wave music.

"Take My Breathe Away" is arguably Berlin's biggest hit & was used in the movie "Top Gun", but that particular track is a slow, sappy love song & not very representational of what Berlin's overall musical pallet is flavored with.

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This was my first time seeing Berlin in concert & I had no expectations because whenever you see an artist from the 80's you have to expect the worst...most artists only hold up so well over the years & what I didn't expect to see was a total re-invention of Berlin...the only original member is Terri on vocals & the rest of the band are younger guys who, on a musical level, create a sound & a show that's equal parts Kill Hannah meets Orgy!

I purposely posted the pic where the band members faces are blurry yet you can clearly see the background because it represents the amount of energy the band puts into their live show & there's no denying that the star of the show is Terri Nunn!

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Equipped with a guitarist, a keyboard player & a drummer, there's NO bass player onstage yet there's numerous samples, sampled beats & rhythms & the onstage presence of Terri is comparable to Britney Spears meets Madonna with just a touch of Gaga for freshness sake!

Terri has sex appeal like few women do onstage, her hair asserts her wild side with total blonde on the outside & total black underneath, her "caution tape" dress was a perfect fit for her personality & after the first few songs Terri commented that she loved the stage she was on because it vibrated constantly & she compared it to a giant pulsating dildo! She told the girls in the crowd that it was the kinda stage that you could get off on VERY easily!

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The set included numerous new tracks but the highlight of the night was when Terri adorned the head of a large security guard at the club & she made her way through the crowd several times while riding the guy's neck & Terri shook hands, high fived fans & the crowd was cool, mellow & appreciative that Terri was so down to earth that she was willing to go out amongst the crowd like that.

After the safari through the crowd was over Terri commented that the ride was good for her & she hoped the security guy enjoyed it as much as she did!

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"Sex" was the nights closer & the last half of the song featured Terri dropping to her knees & pulling down her guitarist to simulate sex onstage. Berlin's set was fun & I personally thought they were the highlight of the evening.

Before leaving the stage Terri commented that this was the last night of the tour & that this was the night anything could happen & sure enough that was the case all night long.

INXS were the nights headliners & they had a large backdrop that had hundreds o' LED lights which created various textures, words, the bands logo & it added an element of a "big" rock show to a mid sized club show.

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INXS did all their hits, they all sported suits throughout most of the night & JD Fortune did a damn good job of filling the shoes o' Michael although I'll admit that his stage moves reminded me ALOT of Scott Weiland & the man tends to push his ass out alot ala Paul Stanley.

In the middle of the set JD left the stage & the band did alternate interpretations of "New Sensation" & "Change"...."New Sensation" was done country style with a female singer while "Change" was done without drums & sang by the band members without JD...of course by the nights end both songs would be performed in their original form with the full band.

There were 2 encores on this particular night & the final encore featured Terri Nun joining the band on vocals.

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Throughout the night I wandered the crowd to see where the best spot was for sound & vision and what happened about 5 times to me was I kept getting confused for the guitarist in Berlin so after the 5th person came up & hugged me & told me "They enjoyed my set" I found a safe place to watch the show away from the general crowd & after the show was over I ran into Terri Nunn who also confused me for her guitarist!

Terri came over, hugged me and as I asked her to autograph my ticket she replied, "Who is this for?" & I said, "It's for me." & she took a second look at blurted out, "I thought you were my guitarist at first!"

The tour ended on this night, the show was a success, and the after party was at INXS's hotel where their drummer was also celebrating his birthday on this particular night.

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Berlin impressed me with their live show and I was elated with how they managed to keep their entire show very modern & fresh!