A day with Kissin’ Dynamite on their “Europe in Ecstasy Tour”. We joined them backstage for you on April 5th at the Kantine in Cologne.
The moment when it felt like EVERYONE wanted to get to Cologne for the Kissin’ Dynamite concert
A typical Friday in the life of a backstage reporter from NRW. Friday, 2 o’clock, on the way from Bochum to Cologne. Oh great, traffic jams on all possible routes. The GPS is struggling every minute to recalculate the route and both my patience and my mood are hanging by a thread. A short message to the tour manager of Kissin‘ Dynamite, who I’m meeting at 3 o’clock in the Kantine in Cologne. I write him that I’ll probably be a bit late because either everyone on the planet wants to go to the Kissin‘ Dynamite concert in Cologne today or the gods of traffic just wants to exasperate me. “Hey, no problem,” he replies, which eases my guilty conscience (I have a strong sense of duty).
Backstage, initial preparations are underway
I arrive slightly late at the Kantine in Cologne and am warmly received by Joachim, the aforementioned tour manager. I get my triple-A pass and a small tour through the concert hall and the backstage area. On stage, the last of the cables are just about to be plugged in. A few members of the band are already there and waiting for the planned soundcheck. Meanwhile, the light technician is testing the initial settings and I get a first impression of what to expect at the actual concert.
There’s still a lot of stuff lying around in the hall itself. Boxes and cases, cables and materials. In the rear area of the hall, Kissin‘ Dynamite’s merch stand is already being set up. Saskia, who’s in charge of the stand on this tour, puts the prepared T-shirt displays in place, gets the inventory ready, and sets up the “bar” around the stand with tables. Everything is hung with black molleton. You can see the care and almost affectionate way she does this. I have the impression that aesthetics play a big role and I fully agree with it. After all, if we’re honest, we only buy things that appeal to us visually, are beautifully packaged, and have a positive effect on us. On the tour, the band has brought some t-shirts and of course the official tour shirt. But I also see bags, sweaters, CDs, and vinyl. You could say that there’s something to suit every fan.
The soundcheck, or “planning deluxe”
The soundcheck goes amazingly fast. Everybody up on stage, instruments in hand, three short announcements, and then it begins. The band plays a song, followed by a brief discussion with the mixer – which I can barely understand. That’s because not only do I have not much more than a precarious smattering of musical knowledge, but, to make matters worse, the guys and some of the crew are Swabians and speak with a Swabian accent. Oops – I have the feeling that this could wind up being a strange day. I try to concentrate and to hide the sinking feeling that maybe I drove a little too far or took the wrong exit. Am I even still in Germany? Well – whatever the case may be… I actually do understand a few words like… “yes” or “no” and just try to make sense of the rest.
I take a few photos during the soundcheck, approaching the edge of the stage. Andi, the drummer, comes straight over to greet me. “Hi, I’m Andi” Thank goodness, I can understand what he’s saying “And you’ll be joining us backstage the whole day?” I feel relieved – I took the right exit after all. I introduce myself to him quickly until the soundcheck starts again.
I’d say that the length of time during which all 5 band members were on stage actually checking the sound was not longer than 20 minutes. Incredibly fast, very disciplined, and careful.
A pattern is becoming clear. What was the motto? “Sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll”? A “who cares”, punk attitude comes to mind, along with expectations of something dirty, ragged, disorganized. Tour life = rock ‘n’ roll chaos? WRONG! Quite the opposite. With Kissin’ Dynamite, tour life = planning deluxe!
Kissin’ Dynamite show how close they are to their fans at the meet & greet
After the soundcheck there’s a meet and greet with fans. About 15 fans will meet the boys. The event is planned to take about 45 minutes, during which time the band will have many conversations, answer many questions and sign all the merchandise.
I keep my distance and observe the action. It’s nice to see how warm the guys are to their fans, taking time for each one.
The fans, some of whom have come all the way from the UK, are obviously thrilled to meet the band and spend some time with them.
Every fan also receives a Kissin‘ Dynamite bag with a few little extras in it.
How to make Ande sweat even before the show
After about 45 minutes the band withdraws to the backstage rooms. Time to eat, relax, and have a chat. Including with me. I’m giving 4 interviews today. Everyone has a turn. I speak for a good 17 minutes with guitarist Ande about backstage situations and about the life of a touring musician.
To find out everything Ande told me in those 17 minutes you’ll have to read the interview. For now I can tell you one thing: I made him sweat. Well, there are some things that men just don’t think about. But read it for yourself!
Interview with Ande von Kissin‘ Dynamite
Angelina: “Album number 6! How many tours is that for you now?”
Ande: “Ooh, good question, no one’s ever asked that before. I would say, there was a tour for every album. That already makes six. And there were also a lot of support tours.”
Angelina: “I’ll make it a bit harder for you: How often have you been in Cologne with the band?“
Ande: “Oh man, what a difficult question. Certainly on every tour, and then there was definitely a showcase, too. So I think it’s been nine times.“
Angelina: “Is there something that makes Cologne special?”
Ande: “Besides the Carnival, the Kölsch, the Rhine, and the cathedral, I’d say that the people are more open-minded. We’re Swabians after all, and people say that they’re so narrow-minded and not very open. That’s a cliché. But it’s definitely different in Cologne.”
Angelina: “What would you say has changed in general during the years you’ve been on tour?”
Ande: “One thing is for sure: we’re happy to find that the venues we’re playing in are getting bigger and bigger. Since we’re also familiar with the smaller venues, we can appreciate the pros and cons. For example, if you play in a smaller location, the atmosphere is usually intense right from the start. Whenever people are this close to each other, something magical happens. It’s a bit more difficult in bigger venues – not impossible, just a bit more difficult. On the other hand, it’s great to have space on stage and to be able to set up the entire production.”
Angelina: “What kinds of things are on your catering rider, what’s an absolute must?”
Ande: “Good food is definitely the most important thing for us. After all, you are what you eat! This has to be right. Otherwise, we are real beer lovers. We like Bitburger best. I think we’re pretty easy to please. We recently added a good vodka to the rider. Before we go on stage, we drink a small shot of vodka together. This has become just as much a ritual as bumping fists, hugging, and repeating our saying: “bring back stadium rock.”
Angelina: “How about your supporting act, do you choose it yourself?”
Ande: “Yes, definitely. We are even already lucky enough to have bands applying to play with us. Right now we’re touring with the guys from John Diva. We already had a great time together when we met on the Full Metal Cruise. We got along well from the start, first as human beings, and then musically, too. But the human aspect is really more important to us. What’s the point of a band that you can’t stand, even if they make good music. You spend so much time together, and if it doesn’t work out, then it sucks.”
Angelina: “With so many days on the road together, does the band’s individual quirks come to the surface? Or do you even have any?”
Ande: “Yeah, we have a lot of quirks. Well, I can say we know each other inside and out. That I can say in advance. Everyone knows each other’s weaknesses, but also their strengths. Knowing our weaknesses is really important, because not everyone is always in a good mood and in peak condition. That’s just human. They’re very different things. Say there’s bad news from home or something. We’ve been on the road together for 12 years and I’ve learned that if one of the guys has a frown on his face, I’d better not talk to him.”
Angelina: “So it’s safe to say you’re very well attuned?”
Ande: “Absolutely! It’s just like being in a relationship. Sometimes there are arguments and you don’t always have to agree. But at the end of the day you realize again how important the other person is to you.”
Angelina: “If you don’t mind, I have a few half-sentences for you to finish.
…A good backstage area has…”
Ande: “…a lot of big rooms.”
Angelina: “If I could do anything I wanted…”
Ande: “…I’d do it all over again.”
Angelina: “Life as a musician is…”
Ande: “…harder than you think.”
Angelina: “If you weren’t a musician in Kissin‘ Dynamite, what part of the crew would you want to be?”
Ande: “I think I’d be the guitar technician. Because I think I can do that best.”
Angelina: “Dear Ande, the closing words go to you. Is there something you want to get off your chest?”
Ande: “Thank you, Cologne, for having us here. Thank you very much for the sold-out show. Only you can make it possible. Many thanks to K&M for the microphone stands and for your support and many thanks for the interview.”
“Europe in Ecstasy Tour” – everyone’s ready for the concert
It’s time to go: the boys share a shot of vodka, take each other by the arm, and it’s off to the stage.
The Kantine in Cologne, a venue with capacity for 900 people, is sold out, the hall is filled to the last inch, and the raw power of the 900 people waiting in front of the stage is evident. The concert begins. Kissin‘ Dynamite are welcomed vocally and with beaming faces.
Unlike at the meet and greet, there are now plenty of men in the audience. You can see that the first 5-10 rows can sing along to all, and I emphasize ALL, the songs and that some of them have been transported to a kind of parallel concert universe. I think this is exactly why musicians do this in the first place. There’s a very special energy in the air.
Kissin‘ Dynamite put on a great show
The set excites the audience with fast songs, beautiful ballads, lots of pyrotechnics in the shape of firework fountains and a female musical guest. Anna, one of the singers of the female symphonic metal band “Exit Eden,” who also appears on the current Kissin‘ Dynamite album, is on stage singing along with frontman Hannes. A great rock voice that harmonizes brilliantly with the vocal timbre of Hannes. The whole concert is a treat for eyes and ears.
I stay until the end and take in the gigantic finale. The pyrotechnician does a fantastic job and the firework fountains at the end are amazing. I’m totally thrilled.
The guys come off the stage and are soaking wet to the bone and probably about 3 pounds lighter. Simply performing a concert of almost 2 hours is already a huge physical achievement.
A tour day with many great experiences comes to an end
I chat a bit more with the boys, say goodbye, and then head back.
Thanks to the band Kissin‘ Dynamite and to the crew – thanks for letting me be part of the #backstagestories of König & Meyer. It was great to be there and I’d love to come back.
Until then, I wish you a fantastic tour and continued success. You deserve it!