I owe the Germans an apology. Last week I suggested that at parties they just stand around, wallflowering, while South Africans, despite the restraining force of bad techno, give it their all unashamedly on the dancefloor. Sorry, Germans. I was wrong. It appears that all you need for a really good party is really good music. And one litre glasses of beer.
The Burg, where I live, came to sparkling life this weekend with two live open-air concerts at the meadow on the river. The first was a Night at the Proms affair – complete with little Union Jacks to wave – featuring the Neuen Philharmonie Frankfurt and the soprano Anna Maria Kaufmann. If we were lulled into thinking that it would be a mild evening we were soon re-appraised by this young and vibrant orchestra – the evening may have begun with God Save the Queen, but it arrived at Deep Purple via Elton John, Mel C, Elgar, Mendelssohn, Andrew Lloyd Webber, The Who and the Beatles. It was a great evening, and by the end all the Burg pensioners were up on their feet, waving their Union Jacks and yelling “Smoag on the Va – ter” along with us.
Let it also be said that the oddness of fluttering British flags with a crowd of Germans while singing Jerusalem and Land of Hope and Glory did not escape us. Neither did the Sekt.
Last night, in a bid to get to the bottom of what really rocks the Germans, your intrepid correspondent joined 15 000 people (who managed to double the population of the Burg in one evening) at the Rosenstolz concert. Born in the cool centre of the planet, Berlin, this pop duo of singer AnNa R. and songwriter, keyboardist and singer Peter Plate have been together for fifteen years and they are extremely popular. Imagine a group that combined Michael Stipes with the love-child of Grace Jones and Madonna, plus extremely hot back-up musicians, and you would get Rosenstolz. They belt out fantastic dance songs, ballads, a bit of erotica and are not scared of humour. The Germans LOVE them. And, after a couple of litre glasses of beer, so did we. We sang, we danced, we lit metaphorical cigarette lighters and swayed. It was a really good party. And thousands upon thousands of Germans danced.
I was wrong. The Germans CAN dance. But only if they want to.