Reviewing the Cologne Gala Event

View a slideshow of the pics from the Cologne Gala Event by clicking on the photo above or go to Flickr to see the photoset.

The Cologne Gala Event was both Midzi's and my favorite show thus far because the sound was perfect! It was the first show that we heard every person in the band. At all the other shows that we've attended, we haven't been able to hear vocals for at least the first three songs and not hear Mix Master Mike throughout the entire Gala Event shows. For a long time, we were wondering what the heck Mix Master Mike was doing at the Gala Events because we couldn't tell that he was contributing anything. To our surprise, we learned at the Cologne Gala Event that he contributes quite a bit.

Before the show, as we waited to be let into the venue, we noticed the makeup of the crowd standing behind us was a bit unusual for a Beastie Boys show. The majority of the audience was at least 25 years old and up. Midzi and I thought that a mature audience might mean a sophisticated show, but after the first song, we realized something was very wrong with the audience. I'm not sure what was going on. I suspect the audience was ill-informed and thought they were coming to a hip-hop show. There's no putting it delicately: the audience sucked balls. They booed the band during some of the instrumentals. We looked around us and thought, "What the hell is wrong with you people?!"

DSC01228The audience sucking balls was a true shame because the band were in high spirits. They came out with a lot of energy and spunk. Adam Horovitz was especially frisky. Midzi seemed to think he had enjoyed a few beers before the show, but I think he can be frisky without any influence. Even the normally stoic Adam Yauch was acting goofy.

For the first 20 minutes of the show, I felt the band were walking through their set, like they simply wanted to finish the show, hop on the bus, and get to the next city. The audience's strange, negative reaction to the instrumentals, however, seemed to be a challenge to them -- and they decided to take the challenge and do something special with the show. What could have been the worst show ever turned into something unique.

Despite the audience sucking, Horovitz spoke kindly to the audience frequently and tried to "soothe the beast." Before "Ricky's Theme," he spoke about how the song reminded him of a summer's day in which they would go to Ricky's lemonade stand. It was B Boys story time.

Horovitz also addressed the audience's constant chanting of "Ali Baba and the forty thieves." (The "Rhymin' & Stealin'" chant is what made me think the audience was ill-informed about the Gala Event.) With one eyebrow raised, Horovitz slyly said, "It must have been a big hit here." He told the audience that they would play it the next time they come to Cologne. (I don't think there will be a next time in Cologne.) He attempted to explain how the Gala Event was "something different," but the audience either didn't understand or didn't want to understand.

Horovitz took time to introduce each member of the band, pointing out where they were from. "Gardenia, Manhattan, Manhattan, Brooklyn, LA, and...?" He stopped and gave Mix Master Mike a questioned look, as if he wasn't sure what the proper answer was. Mix Master Mike answered "San Francisco."

There were some song flub-ups, which they handled in typical B Boys humorous fashion. They had to restart "B for My Name" because Yauch was playing the wrong song. "My mistake. I was playing the wrong notes," he apologized with a grin. Horovitz stopped "The Gala Event" and requested a do over for reasons that were unclear to us. The performance of "The Gala Event" was complimented with a mirrorball light show. We saw the same thing in Berlin, but thought the mirrorball was unique to the venue. It seems to be a permanent addition to the Gala Event.

"Futterman's Rule" was my favorite song performance of the night, followed by "The Maestro." Again, a lot of it had to do with being able to hear the songs properly. Midzi's picks were "So What'cha Want" and "The Maestro." We both enjoyed "The Maestro" because most of the song was performed directly in front of us to our delight. Nothing beats Diamond and Horovitz being goofy and playing off each other.

DSC01295Yauch gave us the extended dance version of the "Gratitude" intro that we hoped for and were very pleased to hear again. It adds a little umpfh to the song. The extended intro seems to be exclusive to the Gala Event.

At several points, Yauch goofed around, playing the "Sweet Leaf" riff. Midzi and I were more amused by Yauch's hair than his bass antics. His hair was sticking in the air for the first quarter of the show. Yauch also entertained us with his kung-fu moves. (See above photo.)

The usually very talkative Michael Diamond was strangely silent for most of the show, except to say that he thought Horovitz looked good in his blue shirt and what a bold fashion statement it was. At a later point, Mike mentioned the message board, saying that people were talking about Mix Master Mike's sexy legs. Huh?

The surprise of the night was a performance of "Song for the Man" -- which I had strangely mentioned to Midzi the day before that I'd really like to hear. We really like and respect that the band can pull a song out of a hat. Surprises are what we hoped the Gala Event would be about.

DSC01182 When the band reached the end of the set, Horovitz began his typical introduction to "Sabotage" being dedicated to a certain someone, when he was interrupted by boos and whistles -- and not the nice kind of boos and whistles. A mischievous look came over his face and he made the decision that the band would do another instrumental. I got the distinct impression that the extra instrumental was thrown in as "punishment" for the idiots who kept demanding something other than what they were getting. The extra instrumental was "Honky Rink," which Horovitz did a kind of scatting through. We couldn't make out what he was saying. When the song finished, Yauch stepped to the mic and finished the "Sabotage" dedication that Horovitz had begun.

The lighting for the Gala Event has been evolving with each show. The band are using strangely shaped lights/video screens, which I've been calling "potato chips" because that's what they look like to me: big Ruffles and small Cheetos. For the Cologne Gala Event, we noticed videos being displayed on the screens for the first time. Also new to the Cologne Gala Event were police lights in Mix Master Mike's booth.



7:09 AM #. said...

Strangely enough I didn't get the impression that there was something wrong with the audience. Maybe you were standing in the wrong place because everyone around where I was standing was totally (and legitimately) blown away by what was going on in Cologne.
I did notice that some people were flipping the band off from time to time (which is, of course, absolutely stupid), and I did notice that Horovitz seemed to be bemused sometimes, but I didn't think any of this was meant to be rude or anything like that. On the contrary, from my viewpoint I got the impression that everyone was totally (and legitimately) enjoying the show.
I agree, however, that the sound was very good (although at first I couldn't hear the guitar). The setlist was also fabulous.
As for the age of the audience - I guess most of the people were even 30+ which in my opinion was actually due to the fact that the show was announced as "An Instrumental Gala Event". Another reason for that might be that in Germany the Beastie Boys mean a lot to people who grew up with them (and banged their heads along to "Fight for your right" when it came out) and not so much to younger people. The Beastie Boys are not a band for teenies here (anymore).
Anyway - too bad you got the impression that Cologne sucked balls. As I said, it must have been the people around you. Sorry about that.
Greetings from Cologne, #.
P.S.: Very nice blog, by the way...

7:34 AM Hot Sauce said...

Not everyone was an asshole. We had some cool fans next to us on the rail who were enjoying the show. The assholes seemed to congregate in the middle of the venue floor. The people in the balcony seemed mellow. The balcony was probably a good spot to enjoy the show.

The audience did not affect our opinion of Cologne. We loved the city and had a very good time there.

8:21 AM Klepto said...

i'm a big fan of yauch's sexy legs, i dunno which message board mike was on where people are talkin' 'bout mixy's! LOL i've never seen his legs before but i bet they are sexy. ;P

goofy, hair stickin' up, wrong song playin', kung fu fightin' yauch! i didn't know he'd break out the kung fu moves again, i'm glad he did! :D

10:31 AM Cheeky1025 said...

Wow- great play by play. I like to read that the "gala" is taking on something of its own. What do you think? Are the boys reading your blog? Maybe they will have the "gala" defined by the end of the tour? Hmmm I wonder...

3:55 PM pshabi said...

Stopping the Sabotage intro and deciding to play "Honky Rink" is pure fucking gold. Philly better get a god damned Gala Event.

Great review, btw.

4:01 PM pshabi said...

Upon viewing the slideshow, I need to suggest that Mike either

A) Get a new pair of shoes to wear


B) Get rid of the tapered legs on the suit pants.

That shit is redonkulous!

8:08 PM Manuel said...

To me, the audience didn't seem so bad. All around me people seemed to enjoy the show. No booing etc. and I was in the centre of the crowd. As for the "Ali Baba" chants: considering they even played a few punk songs (which I found surprising), it is not clear to me why you found the request for "Rhymin' & Stealin'" so outlandish.

9:34 PM Hot Sauce said...

They haven't played "Rhymin' & Stealin'" since 1995. You are not going to hear that song in 2007.

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