Review by Uli Schmid:
WATCHING TV IN STUTTGART
The story could go as this: on May 4th I went to Stuttgart and watched a bit
of TV with some friends...
But in fact, it was a little different: Viola came from Berlin and then we drove
to Stuttgart. When we arrived at the venue 'Die Roehre', we found out that T.V.
wasn't there yet, indeed he was searching for the club together with his friends
from Switzerland who had picked him up at the train station. After they found
us in front of the club we said our hello's and I introduced myself to René
and Marianne (whose names I somehow knew through T.V.'s tour diary). We followed
them into the club and then watched the setup of the stage and of the wonderful
"Useless" backdrop. Marianne told us about the t-shirts they had brought
along (which they'd already sold at the Swiss tour the week before), later we
had a look at them, well done! (I bought myself the grey-white one with the
Useless logo, because so many band t-shirts are black, this is different...)
They also sold CD's, caps and buttons.
When Tim did the soundcheck he played "Lion And The Lamb", which
sounded quite well. All of a sudden a girl turned up - as she was too early,
the bar staff told her to wait outside at the entrance until doors opening time.
I recognised her from the gig in Tübingen, it had to be Jessica! So I followed
her to the door and we talked a bit until it was official opening time, then
we paid and went back in. Viola also knew her through the internet, so we had
a bit of a "fan meeting" and chatted nicely while a few people arrived.
Well, 'Die Roehre' is a bit of a bigger club, so I feared it would turn into
a cold gig atmosphere with not so many people in. The staff had put a few tables
and chairs right in front of the stage (probably expecting T.V. would be more
of a quiet singer/songwriter musician). But, in the end everything turned out
Meanwhile some friends came, Wolfgang (who already was at two T.V. gigs before
this) and later Michael (who plays in a band called The Nerves). I also recognised
a whole contingent of new fans who had travelled down from Karlsruhe (at the
gig T.V. had told them to come to Stuttgart)! The Adverts fan who had seen his
first T.V. gig in Karlsruhe also arrived with his girlfriend (unfortunately
they missed the last few songs because they had to catch their train).
As there was some kind of "alternative rock disco" afterwards, T.V.
started early today at about 10pm, at the beginning he played more of the slower
songs (with some exceptions of course like "Immortal Rich") and included
lots of rare stuff in the set (e.g. the Adverts b-side "We who wait"),
some I'd never heard him perform before! Jessica whished for "Straight
and narrow" (thanks, it was a good idea, I loved to listen to it). That
Adverts fan shouted for "Television's over", which T.V. promptly played,
but only after telling the guy to take the blame if he made a mistake (he didn't
anyway)... I am not a big fan of the second Adverts album but I really enjoyed
this song very much!
"Tomahawk Cruise" was soon followed by the next single of T.V. Smith's
Explorers: "The Servant", he told us the sad story of how the first
one (on a small label) had done well, while the second one (for a major label)
was a flop (in commercial sense only)...
In his typical fashion he told such stories or explanations to most of the songs
in German language. This is something that makes him very special, because only
very few musicians do this. Two songs were sung completely in German: "Es
stoert mich nicht" and "Eurodisneyland von morgen". Apart from
classics like "Gather Your Things And Go", "Great British Mistake"
and rarely performed album tracks like "Statute Of Liberty", T.V.
played many new songs (which will soon become classics), e.g. "Soon As
I Found It I Lost It", "Driver or passenger" and "Ticket
out of here"
The gig went on and on, even though time is flying when I watch T.V. play,
I realised that this was becoming a long one. T.V. said on stage how he'd expected
the club being too big for a good atmosphere, but in fact he felt it turned
out very intimately. And you could notice it in his performance! He kept playing
for two and a half hours... This was a big relief after what we'd firstly feared
about this venue!
In the second half he played more of the faster songs, towards the end the tables
in front of the stage were pushed away and some people were dancing. Despite
the long playing time he broke only one guitar string, resulting in "My
String Will Snap" being played next, which was fine by me as it's one of
my favourites (he did so many of them at this gig, incl. "Luxury in Exile"
and "Can't Pay Won't Pay")!
During the first part of the gig someone had wished for "I Will Walk You
Home", but obviously T.V. didn't want to walk us home too early, so he
played it as the last song, a perfect ending to a great gig!
Meanwhile quite a crowd of people had gathered at the back of the club, obviously
waiting for the disco to start. (I knew this before but it was still a bit frustrating
to see so many come to listen to the DJ's records and not T.V.'s songs! Hopefully
at least some of them realised what they had missed when they witnessed the
last few songs...)
Later I went to the backstage room with Jessica where we had a good chat with
Tim, Viola, Marianne and René. Tim told us that he'd just broken his
own record and performed at least 40 songs! (Sorry, TJ, hope you're not too
shocked about having missed this!)
He wasn't quite sure himself as he might have forgotten one or two. With the
help of Jessica I made a list the next day, at the last count we came to 41
(not counting his punk rock poem)! Let's see what the setlist on the website