Versengold – Nacht der Balladen @ Theater am Aegi
17.03.2023 – Theater am Aegi, Hannover, Germany
Check out the gallery HERE
There´s bands, that know how to go full force and straight into your face, there is bands that hide their ballads on CD and on their b-sides – and then there is Versengold, who started quite a fewyears ago already to give their ballads an appropriate space, atmosphere and appreciation. And they do so with their event-series called “Nacht der Balladen” (Night of the ballads). And these shows draw people, like there was no tomorrow – the concept is working well, and that throughout Germany. The excitement was huge when the presales started, and most cities, just like Hannover, are either sold out or only have a couple of tickets left.
But not only for the fans it´s always a highlight – it´s also for the band, that gets supported by additional strings and a percussionist, an experience – you can see and feel that especially at the start of a tour.
Once everyone had found their seats in this theatre, the light was turned off. Growing string sounds opened the evening, and you waited for the band to neter the stage. You could literally grab the excitement and impatience, it´s been this present. Thus the happy faces were numerous when the band had entered the stage, lights were on and this ride through a mostly emotional evening started. It surely offered some good laughs here and there, and a surprise as well as some chances to be dancing, but it´s all about the ballads in the end.
My personal highlight happened right at the start of the whole show – “Vom Zauber des Wildfräuleins” is one of those songs, that did not only make me fall in love with it big time, but also the rest of the audience started sinking into melody and music. You could feel how slowly but steadily the everyday life was pushing out of the door and you were diving into this world of ballads. Full of desire it continued with “Windsbraut” off the latest album, before we kind ahad to ignore the ballads theme for a second or two – “Küstenkind” is not a classical ballad, but as we´re in Northern Germany, this song for all the ones from the coastal area had to find its place. We quickly switched back into ballad-mode again, and songs like “Tjark Evers” (performed in Low-German) and “Herz durch die Wand” did magic to the audience. But also topics that unfortunately are still present – like the current war madness with all of its consequences – found their time in this first set of the show, and that happened with “Meer aus Tränen”. Whilst many artists try to avoid making their fans think critically, Versengold happily touch and present society critical topics and do so very well and careful, yet it feels like a stab into your heart every time.
After a lot of heavy feelings and thoughts, we happened to enjoy the probably most special ballad of the night (played each and every time) – “Das Bier ich in der Rechten trug”. After all those years I am still wondering how it exactly qualifies as a ballad, but it´s fun nevertheless. Especially when singer Malte is trying make is way through the rows of seats in the venue and drives his band mates crazy with all his story-telling breaks he takes during the song. No matter how funny this little trip outside of the balladuniverse was, it was gone and faded just as quickly as it had come as at the end of the first set we were presented “Lautes Gedenken” – to memorize all those that left before us. A song, that really goes straight to your heart – especially as it´s not been released yet and you literally had no chance to prepare for how emotional this is going to be. Not only my eyes got watery, there´s been plenty when looking through the rows.
And then it´s been there – the break. You were left to recover a bit, maybe to use the time to search for the paper tissues or just to get back to a not so emotional state of mind. I am not really sure of “Lautes Gedenken” is a good last song of the first part of the set and if not maybe something happier would be better…at least for my taste, there´d be better songs. And as time runs during such events, the bell rang to signalize that the break was coming to an end quicker than we expected (I wonder if I was the only one who had a setback to school times?).
We started into the second set with maritim feelings, and with “Auf in den Wind”, and continued like it with “Winterflut 1717” until there was another excursion into the world of politics. Malte had been writing this songs last year, totally unplanned yet necessary, when the war in Ukraine had started. And as this topic keeps on being a big one, “Alte Männer” was now played just on acoustic guitar and with vocals before the band played another unreleased track “Tod und Trommeln”, which was also happily embraced by the crowd.
Then, twi classics followed – “Haut mir kein Stein” has probably not been missing on any setlist ever since it was released, as the audience keeps requesting it because it touches them so much – and then there was the not-so-ballad song “Paules Beichtgang” that brought at end to all the stiff sitting on the seats. Finally the crowd got moving, as there is simply no other way than to get up and start dancing when this track is played. It continued in the same manner with “Thekenmädchen”, so everyone was able to sing and clap along.
At the end of the show we then got a totally unplanned addition to the setlist – if you´re playing a show on St. Patrick´s Day and got tracks that cover Irish topics, it doesn´t come as a big surprise that someone of the crowd comes to request it to be played. And that´s also what the band did, and played “Kobold im Kopp” – the audience went wild and partied like this was no quiet night of the ballads. The real end marked the thoughtful song “Mondlicht” and their own little tune, and then the band left stage and an emotional, entertaining and very nice evening had come to an end.
The light went on, the magic vanished, the normal life was back. Until next time.