Clowns next to heroes: pop meets not so much classic at Nokia Night 2008

Top atmosphere in Hannover during the Nokia Night of the Proms: the Eighties in full Kim Wilde bloom. The pop icon had lost nothing of her erotic attraction. The got the audience on their feet. There was also a lot of noise for Robin Gibb from the Bee Gees.

Kim Wilde swept away the 8000 people in the TUI-Arena, Tears for Fears brought the Eighties back. Despite this the Nokia Night of the Proms were lukewarm.

Uwe Bahn is moderate, he is not presenting as abundant as he used to. A few times he speaks the old Nokia command “Music! Maestro! Please!” in the TUI Arena for conductor Groslot and his Orchestra Il Novecento. And when he presents “Ninth of Beethoven”, you know he’s exaggerating, it could just be part of “Beethoven’s Ninth” with the Schiller’s Ode tacked on to it. Then, when after just two minutes the ubiquitous New York Gospel Choir adds their “Joyful”, even those familiar with Nokia appetizers are put off. On Khatchaturians “Spartakus”-excerpt a ballerina dances aboven on the screen – the buhne remained empty. And let’s not mention the two Classic Kaspers!

Igudesman & Joo they are called, a Russian violinist raised in Germany and and a British pianist with Korean roots. The Clever and Smart of e-music. Joo lets Igudesman play Mozart’s “Alla Turka” in a more positive major, then colours it in in an oriental way. Later there’s “Fur Elise” in Kung Fu style, and a a mixture of Gloria Gaynor’s “I will survive” with Europe’s “The Final Countdown”. Funny musicians, these two, but not for this place. For the Proms the rule should be: throw out the clowns! Instead: Music, Maestro! Pleeeeeze!

In the pop segment: Kim Wilde. She’s not just sexy like the times when the “Bravo” Starschnitt was hanging above your bed, she sings her “Cambodia” and her “Kids in America” still as cool, as if the Eighties have come for the second time. In high heels and skinny jeans she raises the audience from their seats and earns her applause. Styx-singer Dennis De Young sings a throttled version of “Boat on the river” (a song that on record was such by his absent colleague Tommy Shaw). And Tears for Fears transform the electrogospel “Shout” and the Beatles-esque “Seeds of love” with neat Penny-Lane-trumpets in popsymphonic mini-dramas. One would love to see a complete concert from Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith.

But not from 10CC, no thanks. The atmospheric ballad “I’m not in love” is perfectly translated with a sequencer, but the reggae in “Dreadlock holiday” remains as stiff as singer Graham Gouldman. The man with the Buddy Holly glasses has the right to the band name but represents only a quarter of the original line-up. And so you have to find out for yourself if he’s one of the “C”‘s, the “1” or the “0”.

No, Robin Gibb does not work under the pseudonym Bee Gees. But he sings the songs, so vulnerable, but surely during the short version of “Massachussetts”. During the disco classics “How deep is your love” and “Staying alive” the higher notes fail him, which his brother Barry always did so effortlessly. The Angels in Harlem take care that he doesn’t fall completely. During the solo hit “Juliet” it sounds a bit like a frog in his throat. “Is slim like Nosferatu and sings like Jabba the Hutt” one colleague describes. “Na na”, one says to the man, “do better!”

The approval rushes for Gibb, the feet drum, but one celebrates not the voice, but the nostalgia and the big hits. There were no hits from now. If it stays that way, the Nokia Nights will only be the bombastic oldies shows for all.