Your Turn, My Turn
Magic In Here
Streets Of Your Town
He Lives My Life
Draining The Pool For You
Head Full Of Steam
Bye Bye Pride
Easy Come, Easy Go
Cattle And Cane
When She Sang About Angels
Don't Let Him Come Back
Was There Anything I Could Do?
After a succesful afternoon set in Michelle Records, hopes were high for the evening show in the Logo. The show was sold out; thought had been given to moving the gig to a larger venue but that had proved impractical. So the Logo it was. The Logo had a reputation for poor sightlines, and this proved to be the case. A low ceiling, pillars in the middle of the dance floor, and a low stage. Not normally a problem for me, but if in Berlin they smoke like chimneys, in Hamburg they're built like them and it was hard to find a good viewing spot, but eventually I settled beneath a picture of local hero George Harrison, from where I could see most of the stage.
"We're Phoenix...no, we're the Go-Betweens" announced cream-suited Robert at the start of the show. A show with more than it's fair share of problems: a blown amp, broken strings, bashed heads (Robert's - he was too tall for this venue), and forgotten words - Robert, again: the first encore of "Spirit" had to be restarted at the second verse. A bit of a fluffed intro to "Streets of Your Town" caused concern too, but out of the chaos came triumph, and the first four-encore show of the tour. Perhaps it was the sound mix making it more than obvious how good they were, but it seemed to me that this was the show that the Pickvance/Strzoda rhythm section really locked. Certainly, home-town boy Mathias' drumming was a joy tonight, with exactly the driving, expressive beat that suits the Go-Betweens best.
A similar set to the previous night's in Berlin, once again opening with "Your Turn, My Turn," with Grant and Robert swapping verses, the only real change was that "Head Full Of Steam" was played later in the set, making the second half of the set heavier than before, total rock from the heaviest-yet "German Farmhouse" to the closing "Spring Rain."
"Bachelor Kisses" in the first encore was greeted with wild applause, and there was no way that anyone in the venue was expecting just one encore. Back on for the second encore - "This acoustic guitar is the one that Chris de Burgh wrote 'Lady In Red' on and now we have it on tour" was Robert's perverse way of introducing "Surfing Magazines" which, bizarrely, turned into the biggest singalong of the night. Now we know why those few lines from "Surfing Bird" were slipped in to the earlier Michelle Records in-store; it was to subtly inspire the in-store audience to get in a surfing mood ready for the evening's frolics at the Logo. It worked a treat. After sing-along-a-surf came "Apology Accepted" with Robert still working on the perfect feedback interlude. Not quite there yet.
Third encore: just Robert and Grant on-stage for "Cattle And Cane" - rarely played on this tour; perhaps they didn't trust the amps, perhaps it was a special treat for the Hamburg crowd who'd come through the earlier problems with the band. Whatever, it was as beautiful as ever, taking everyone there to another time, another place. Followed by "When She Sang About Angels" and then surprise! "Don't Let Him Come Back" threatened to raise the roof to a sensible height.
And there was no way that things were going to end there; we wanted more, the band wanted more and so more was what we got: a manic punk rush through "Was There Anything I Could Do?" leaving everyone breathless. All apart from road manager Steve Miller, who managed to throw a white towel on stage to remove any doubt that the band could give no more.
Jonathan Turner, 25th November 2000