Altenkirchen: An evening of inspiration.Tome I: The Location

Forum about the british singer Sally Oldfield. Talk about her music, her life, everything.
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Altenkirchen: An evening of inspiration.Tome I: The Location

Post by Klingsor » Wed Sep 22, 2004 12:18

Yesterday I attended Sally's concert in Altenkirchen. It was a very inspiring evening and ... you'll have to suffer :wink:

The location - the Spiegelzelt (Tent of Mirrors) - is worth a word. From the outside it looks like the tent of a circus. It is a moveable dance hall from the 1920's with mirrors on the walls an on the poles, art decor glass windows and pictures on the walls - a true antiquity. In the middle there's a little arena where most of the audience found their place - such as me. Above us hung a mirror globe producing glitters all over the tent's haven wich had an art deco pattern of it's own. As Sally said before she started performing Mirrors: Probably the best place to sing it. A very unique atmosphere!
For two weeks in September the tent has been planted on the market place of the town Altenkirchen somewhere in the beautiful landscape of the Westerwald. The fandom had to do a little traveling to reach it, but as I said: beautiful landscape.

All seats where covered so that ... alas ... there was no place to dance as I would have loved to. To be honest the chairs where placed so tight that there nearly was no place to sit either. I had some problems allthough I'm not very tall, but a guy next to me - at least 195cm tall, sportive shoulders but not very flexible - needed some help to get his body into the chair.

The organisation has saved the best for last and placed Sally as the last concert in their schedule.
Thus there where some credits before... finally ... Sally & Band started.

I'll come back to you on this in replys to this post!

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Post by Roadstar » Wed Sep 22, 2004 13:11

Hi ;)

I've been in Altenkirchen yesterday, too ;)

So i can underline Klingsors comments, especially concerning the beautiful Westerwald Landscape and the special atmospheric ambiente of the Mirror-Tent..

The evenning with Sally was great, although we didnt reach the place in time, but we found still three chairs for us and had a good view on the show. One reason is, that the tent is comparable small, not as big like a circus-tent. To my rough estimations, there have been just about 320 People in the audience, so it was a real intimate atmosphere, it's been truly an "evening with Sally".

The concert itself was great too and in some points very special and not the same, one may be used from other concerts. In other concerts there is offen loudness and power by electrical gain dominantly - here the most songs came very quite and softly .... a very decent atmosphere...and the audience were quite also and just listening to the fine Music.

Good example was the interpretation of mirrors... it didnt came just like any ususal popsong from the radio, but Sally merely "tuned in". She started with some kind of warm-up voice exercises to prepare her voice for the difficult passages of that song...but it didnt sound like an exercise, but merely like a kind of impovisation within a session, in which the artists began to swing inside with the special vibrations of that song - very similar to an indian Raga, where the artist trys to tune in himself and introduce the audience to the special passages of that song within a small improvisation ...before the the whole thing really starts ;)

I also have to mention the Band-Ensemble, to my understanding the two guitarrists are germans (one of them is also Sallys Manager, as i believe) and the others from elsewhere. But good Musicians, which builded a perfect framework for Sally and supported her special kind of singing in a very decent manner....lets say, they underlined Sallys Parts, but stayed in the background. Especially the Vocalist was helping her well to create that fine / decent atmosphere and had a nice voice, but the other instruments also.

The programm itself was a good mixture, some newer Songs that gave an overview of Sallys recent work, but the old well known highlights like "mirrors" and "mandala" were given too.

The interprattion of "Celebration" was nice, they arranged it in an unusual manner as a kind of reggae song, which it wasnt in the original - but, nevertheless, it sounded pretty good!

OK, so far my first impressions. I am happy that Sally now lives in Germany and i hope, that there may follow more concerts here.

By the way, did anyone made some photos from there? I have no didicam by myself, but would love to see some photos here or elsewhere.

Regards, Roadstar

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Tome II: Opening act

Post by Klingsor » Wed Sep 22, 2004 15:31

The tent open at 19:00 and Sally was supposed to start at 20:00. In this situation normally you here some music from the tape to get you in the mood. The organisation comitee - by the way: a private cultural initiative 'Felsenkeller' - did one better.
There was a piano player named Safwit - if I understood it correctly. His style and music was a little off from Sallies music, but he seemed to be some kind of local hero, because the audience reacted very positive on him.
Nevertheless he was good at it, allthough he sometimes stressed his audience. His improvisations and own compositions sometimes left the pop-rock-jazz consensus and went to free jazz and so called 'new music'. Does anybody know Stockhausen or John Cage? There were sounds of that vicinity which must appear strange to ears accostumed to the cosmic harmonies of Sally.
However: Safwit managed to come back to music that was easier to listen, did some improvisation over more popular themes like "Hava nagila" or Cats and stuff like that.
The audience joined in and was in pretty good mood when finally Sally started.

After the concert I met him when we were cueing for Sallies autograph. He's a decent guy and he seems to be is a regular Sally fan. So we didn't talk much about his music but about her performance.

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Tome III Programm, Band and Technique

Post by Klingsor » Wed Sep 22, 2004 21:19

To be honest: I was to absorbed by the music to keep track on every song she sang. Does anbody have a play list? Anyway: the performance roughly followed the "absolutely chilled"- album as promised on the posters, save "Strange Day in Berlin", "Masquerade" and "Celebration" that were added.
I just remember that the first part ended 'Mirrors'. The song that she wanted end her performance with was 'Mandala' though we didn't let her go before she gave us two more.
The band created a carpet of sound from which Sally's voice emerged like a singular white lilly blossom growing from lawn of green leaves. They did a good job though I didn't have the feeling that they could catch up with Sally's performance. Most of the time I had the impression that they were 'Fripatronics', creating the soundscapes accompanying Sally's unique voice, not more.. but not less.
Only once, when they turned 'Celebration' into Reggae I hat the felling that they actually had fun playing. I was very surprised when they came up with it, but it worked fine and created some party groove. I hope that this version will soon be available on a silver disk :smile:

Sometimes Sally's voice was drowned by the background music. Only when Sally accompanied herself at the piano alone the sound truly brilliant. That's the bad thing about working at the mixer: You're only recognised when you're not perfect. I can imagine that accoutics in a tent are very difficult to manage.

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Tome IV: Sally

Post by Klingsor » Wed Sep 22, 2004 21:27

Sally... hm... Sally... do I need to say something more? Anyway, I want to.

Yesterday night she wore a wounderfull cream coulored ice cream suite :smile:, a lilly blossom, an angel from a distant world. Nevertheless she managed the sound problems in a professional way. Sometimes I even had the impression that she was conducting her band at the same time as well.
She has a way of underlining her singing with movements that express an extraordinary fluxus of power that drove me away from thoughts that I can write down. There were moments of trance, meditation in movement that intensely touched me.
It wasn't the power I recognise in martial arts or the perfection I perceive watching a ballet, it was different, it was healsome.

But what touched me most was her perfomance of "Strange Day in Berlin". It is a very intimate song.There was a broken heart singing. Still bleeding it invited us in.
This intimacy transferred a way of dealing with the adversities of life that truely hurt us, the personal ones. I can't put in words what it did to me. You should have been there.

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Tome V After the concert

Post by Klingsor » Wed Sep 22, 2004 21:29

It was a bit of fun after the concert. The first that cued for an autograph were lead into the backstage area. We had to leave the tent through the backdor, walked some neon lit walkway, entered a house and took an elevator to a doctors office: this was the backstage area. Sally came out, asked everyone for his name before she signed the autograph. She also was willing to be photographed with us.

As I told before Safwit the piano player was with us, but when Sally came out he didn't utter out much words ;-))

When I came back to the tent I found Simone and the lot still wayting patiently. So I had the pleasure of doing a little service for Sally. I guided them the mystical way to Sally's stage door where we met her. It was close to a family meeting, because most of us has met Sally on her other performances. She's very open to her fandom and hopefully she will join us on this site.

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Location: Germany

Post by patty » Fri Sep 24, 2004 22:21

Hello everyone!
It´s great to read all this wonderful experiences from the concert evening.
I was also overwhelmed from Sally´s charme an her professional performance. We took a lot of photos and they will soon be presented on!
Many blessings and alo-ha!


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