Guest Post: First Weekend in Berlin Continued by Cynthia Chang

Originally written over a month ago, my good friend Cynthia continues to share her adventures in Berlin

Sunday night my sis and I went to-British rock fans behold-MUSE’s concert! My sis bought the tickets long ago (pricy!) and I was more than glad that my trip overlaps with their Europe tour. The concert took place at The Waldbühne, a beautiful open-space amphitheater modeled on the ancient Greek theater. Later my sister’s friend, Kevin, told me that it was built by the Nazi for propaganda purposes and opened in association with the 1936 Summer Olympics. I was intrigued so I looked it up and found this blog post that summarized its history. An interesting read!

You can check it out here

Apparently a legendary boxing match happened here, and there was a riot when the Rolling Stones performed in the sixties. Later in the eighties Bob Marley performed here, and other well-known singers/bands who have performed here include Queen, U2, Barbara Streisand, and Neil Young. The reason why this place is the ideal venue for concerts is that it can accommodate more than 20,000 people, and it has incredible acoustics. I’m not kidding about the acoustics. Even though sitting dozens of rows away from the stage, the layering of the sounds was amazing. I could not believe such acoustics were possible in an open-space structure like that. I was blown away by the complexity and the texture of sounds. My sis said Hilter had always been a big fan and supporter of Wagner’s operas, so naturally he paid attention to having favorable acoustics and venues.

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Before we got in, a guy was handing out ear plugs for free. I was laughing so hard, saying it’s such a contradiction: a concert and ear plugs. The guy smiled and said I’d be surprised to find them necessary. The concert was supposed to start at six, but my sis said it’s pretty normal here to wait for hours. She went to Portishead’s concert last month and waited for two hours (two hours was hard but I would give anything just to listen to Beth Gibbons sing live). We took our time wandering along the food stands, deciding what to eat. The festive air made me feel like I was there for a ball game. We settled down in the center but quite far away from the stage. My sis guaranteed that the sounds would be at their “normal” volume here (she was right). I was having much fun people watching. Though Berlin is a diverse city, and I see people with different colors on the streets, my sis and I soon realized that we were the only two Asians at the concert. There were no other Asian faces in sight in the whole area (and I’m far-sighted).

At six-thirty the supporting act, an Irish rock band, showed up and sang for more than an hour. The band was pretty good but everyone listened absentmindedly, knowing that MUSE won’t come out till after eight. During this time there were part-time staff selling snacks along the aisles. My favorite was what I called it, the beer supplier. Basically a person carries a belt that can hold many plastic cups, and he carries a huge can of beer on his back, and the beer comes out through the nozzle into the cup. You can see the picture I took. It’s pretty amazing! I’ve listed the gear on my to-buy list if I ever start a career in party planning.

Later I found out that the band is called Biffy Clyro, and they have some pretty good songs (if you are into heavy/alternative/indie rock). There was one song that caught my attention. It’s called “Opposite”, and the first line says, “You are the loneliest person that I’ve ever known/ We are joined at the surface but nowhere else.” I found it the most beautiful yet the most heart breaking.

And finally, MUSE showed up around eight forty-five. Till now I’m still speechless from their performance. Watching and listening to them live is a privilege that every fan dreams of. They lived to my expectations and exceeded them. The night was simply AMAZING. Matt’s voice was unrealistic. His singing techniques were impeccable. For me it was incomprehensible how he could keep his shrilling voice steady while masterly playing the electronic guitar.

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Dominic and Chris were incredible as well. Chris’ magnetic voice was super hot, and I got goose bumps from his harmony along with Matt’s piercing voice. It was unbelievable that their music could have such power over the audience, bringing such ecstasy and exhilaration. The whole experience was almost psychedelic; their music mesmerizing and enrapturing. The audience were grooving with their hands in the air, ears welcoming the sensation and crying out for more. Every one was high not from LSD but from their music, intoxicated by the lyrics, the sounds, and the atmosphere created by the lighting, the visual effects, and the darkening sky.

I waited anxiously for my all-time favorite, Unintended, not sure whether they’d perform it since it was from such a long time ago. As the night went on, they moved to the extended stage, and Matt said, “Next we are going to play a song; don’t know if anyone still remembers it. It is from our first album. It is called ‘Unintended’.” I was shouting with joy and screaming OMGs nonstop. Matt asked the audience to take out their phones and wave with the lights; the scene was truly beautiful. I was lost at that particular moment, forgetting who I am or why I am and feeling completely free. It was wonderful. The lyrics were as beautiful and heart-rending as ever. The night ended perfectly with the haunting melody and lyrics: I’ll be there as soon as I can/ But I’m busy mending broken pieces of the life I had before…

Pictures: provided by Cynthia Chang

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