Monday, February 18, 2008

Ballroom blitz, part zwei

I did make it back from the Tokio Hotel show in one piece, though I'm not entirely sure my eardrums have not been perforated. We shall see.

Entering the Fillmore New York at Irving Plaza (the venue formerly known as Irving Plaza), the Sheila and I were surprised by the sparseness of the audience, considering the show was sold out, and by the gray hair. But you see, one enters IP from the back of the main floor, and it turns out the entire crowd (90% female) was pressed at the front, near the stage, thus taking up only about two thirds of the available space, and it was the parents who were at the back.

When the boys took the stage, pandemonium ensued: the shrieks were absolutely overwhelming, along with the crowd's massive swirls, the human mass swaying from side to side like a ginormous single entity; it's a miracle nobody got crushed.

As for the show, I have to say the band isn't quite there (yet?). It plays decent pop-rock tunes, but live it'd be pretty banal without the crucial addition of the crowd participation. Most of the fun for me was gawking down from the balcony and watching hundreds of girls sing along and emulate singer Bill Kaulitz's every move: When he punched the air, they punched their air; when he jumped up and down, they jumped up and down (as much as you can while being one hair away from having your lungs crushed by the throng). I just love this kind of stuff and could watch it for hours.

A big minus: the Kaulitz twins, on vox and guitar, bizarrely play exclusively for each other, superbly ignoring the rhythm-section dudes—the Kaulitzes seem to telepathically emit "Stand back, porkies!" toward their plainer bandmates, which gives off awkward vibes, to say the least, and makes the group appear more mercenary than I think it actually is.

Still, it's pretty great to see American teens get off their asses for a German band. Okay, Tokio Hotel sings mostly in English now, but I never thought I'd ever see a hand-written placard at a NY show saying "ICH LIEBE DICH."


Anonymous said...

I hope you will give them more of a chance. They do perform a lot in German too and many of their fans here in US would have loved an all German show. We love them very much!

Anonymous said...

Oh, so you're not into twincest. That's a shame.

Anonymous said...

I'm an adult, completely bored with my generation's offerings and quite enjoying watching what the kids are up to lately.

I find Tokio Hotel to be really interesting and would have loved to have had the chance to see them. I hope they keep developing and make more headway in the US, because they seem like they could be somewhat of a breath of fresh air.

Fun fact: I heard of them first a few months ago from the States' own squeaky-clean masters of the shrill, young masses - the Jonas Brothers (who I personally see through the hysteria/backlash to love) - when they namechecked them in an interview as the "awesomest new band".

Anonymous said...

Glad you got to witness the splendor of Tokio Hotel! Please note that not all of their fans are young girls.
I'm an older fan. Late 40's to be exact although I admit I'm still a kid at heart. I love Tokio Hotel and wish I could have seen them in person but unfortunately my job doesn't allow me to take off whenever I please and travel to see the greatest band to hit U.S. soil in a long time!
The band is a great inspiration. They started out at a very young age (12?)and have worked long and hard to make their dreams come true. They have sold albums by the millions and have won several awards including Best International at the EMA's. Their popularity in America was based almost exclusively through the internet. Youtube and fan boards were a big part of getting these kids noticed in America.How many other artists have gained so much recognition without ever setting foot in our country,without being seen on any of our television shows, or one note of their music ever being played on our radio air waves? I would say few to none. They also have inspired our kids to learn a foreign language...German. Not many bands have an honor like that!
Glad you noticed the telepathy between Bill and Tom. They are amazing but you are mistaken when you say they ignore their other band mates. Didn't you see Tom and Georg playing the heck out of those guitars face to face? And Gustav can't really move his drums all over the stage now can he??
Although I do agree that the boys aren't quite Van Halen yet...I see know reason why they can't come close to that status once they get more exposure here in the U.S.
Please do a little reading on Tokio Hotel's background (if you haven't already), watch them on youtube and you'll soon understand why fans emulate Bill's every move! The guy is gorgeous!! You will also get a greater understanding of all the love and hype that goes along with the phenomenon that is Tokio Hotel!
Thanks for mentioning them and I'm glad you found something to enjoy out of the experience!

Elisabeth Vincentelli said...

Oh I'm impressed by Tokio Hotel, don't get me wrong! All I was saying is that I didn't find them that great live, but that's a personal preference that doesn't detract from what their fans feel for them—and I'd be the last person to belittle this kind of adulation. As for TH's audience being 90% girls, it may not be the case overall, but that's certainly what I witnessed at that one show.

Charlotte said...

I'm glad that you had a good time at the show, though I'm disappointed that you did not find their musical performance all that great. I'm sure that the next time they are here they will knock your socks off.

I was not at the show so I cannot speak specifically to that one, but I've always noticed that, though the Kaulitz twins have a tendency to stick close to each other, they do include the other two a lot. Any mercenary appearance is just that, an appearance. The band formed independently when the boys were just kids and the "porkies" are just as much Tokio Hotel as the twins are. ("The Kaulitz Twins" wouldn't get far as a band, they tried that, with Bill playing the drums and bass on a keyboard, and it was so pitiful that Georg and Gustav had to help them out.)

As you've noticed, Tokio Hotel are quite the phenomenon and this is not the last you'll hear of them. I hope that you will continue to keep an eye out for when they come back to North America! (And we will have hopefully converted a few more male fans, as well)

Thank you for writing about the band.