A few technicalities concerning date and venue: at "Rock
im Park" Moloko were on the festival bill for June 05, technically
though the show took place after midnight in the early hours of
June 06 (0.10 - 1.25 AM). The festival took place in the former
Nazi Party Rally Grounds. These grounds were built between 1933
and 1938. Most of the original, huge and monolithic buildings remain,
some in ruins. The "Main Stage" of the festival was in
the Zeppelinfeld, the main open air arena of the Rally Grounds.
Moloko appeared on the "Alternastage" which was in a field
right next to the Zeppelinfeld. Moloko topped the bill on the Alternastage
and by my estimate their show was seen by approximately 20.000!
[Also this show should not be confused with the "Rock
am Ring"-Festival which took place a day later at the Nuerburgring
(the Nuerburg speedway) in the city of Nuerburg, which is several
hundred kilometres north of Nuernberg. There Moloko were on the
bill for June 06 and appeared early on June 07.]
A shortened festival set, but a great, great show. Among the
acts appearing before Moloko were Phoenix from Paris, Starsailor
and Ben Harper. There was some light rain, which stopped before
Moloko's performance, and it was quite cold for June. This did
not deter Róisín and the boys who put on a show
for the ages. After the band had started the first song you could
hear Róisín before she walked out on stage. She
sang parts of the song "feeling ... feeling ... I'm on my
way ... I'm on my way" and then appeared stage left. She
wore a knee-length multicolored wide and flowing dress with thin
halters and no sleeves, fake fur around her neck, red-metallic
high-heeled pumps and a silver US army helmet. She gave a military
salute at the centre of the stage and went right into the song!
She's worn the helmet before of course, but on this very day (the
60th anniversary of the invasion of US and British troops in France)
and in this place (which was built by the regime that was brought
down as a result of the invasion) it took on a special, airy significance.
I don't know if the band were even aware of this, because after
the first song Róisín said "Where the fuck
are we? We waited ten hours!"
For "Come On" she took off the helmet and for part
of the song she wore large, round shades. At one point she draped
herself across her stage monitors, bent backwards towards the
audience and kicked one leg in the air, which sent her shoe flying
into the pit in front of the stage. A stage hand quickly brought
it back, while Róisín limped to the front of the
stage. During the coda of the song she also took off the fur even
though it was so cold that you could see her breath, steaming
in the cold air. After the song Róisín again referred
to the fact that they had spent the entire afternoon and evening
at the venue: "We waited ten hours to play for you!"
The great "Fun For Me" and the quieter "Day For
Night" followed. In comparison with the concerts at the start
of the tour in the spring of last year the shows these days are
even more extravagant and outgoing, with Róisín
cleverly using props and costume changes to accentuate the content
of the songs. With this show she proofed again and again that
she simply is the greatest singer and performer of her generation.
She's got that rare quality of the greatest singers like, say
Billie Holiday who can sing whatever they want it always comes
out sounding totally original. You can discern the influences,
but it's always totally Róisín. The band is exactly
that - a great BAND, not just backing musicians, with Eddie of
course very prominently deepening the mood of the songs and the
great Mark Brydon pumping out the rhythms on bass. The setlist
is now made up of songs from all four albums, which is nice, too.
For "Cannot Contain This" Róisín wrapped
a chain of lights (looked like a glowing garden hose) all around
her until she was "contained" as if in a straight-jacket.
Before "Pure Pleasure Seeker" she enquired if we loved
"dirty bitches", kicked off her shoes at stage right,
sat down and started to put on her already legendary dominatrix
outfit - knee-high, high-heeled black leather boots that an assisstant
threw from the wings and a black leather visor cap. During the
song she again bent over backwards across her monitors, kicked
her legs in the air waving her cap around and also goose-stepped
across the stage. All that was missing was a whip. Maybe next
time ;) After the song she said "This is quite an exercise,
I hope you'll give some of it back now" and then "Do
you know what time it is? The time is always now!" "Time"
followed. At one point Róisín carefully stepped
down a steep flight of metal stairs at stage right that led to
the pit in front of the stage. She then climbed on the rail in
front of the audience and sang her heart out while seemingly riding
on the sea of people below her. For many this was the highlight
of the show. Róisín in complete command of the huge
crowd, many of whom had come over from the main stage, where the
programme ended before Moloko's performance.
Next Róisín sang some lines unaccompanied: "anybody
... to love me ... to love me". "Forever More"
started and at stage right her assisstant handed her a big bunch
of red roses in a white wrap. During the song she tore off the
heads of several of the roses and showered herself and the stage
with the petals. She then bit off one head and spit the petal
leaves into her microphone. During the course of the song she
literally hugged the roses to bits and threw them around as if
in a desperate rage until the stage was strewn with the remains
of the flowers. Eddie stood on the keyboard of the organ at one
point during the song.
Róisín then asked "Do You Like My Tight Sweater?":
"Where Is The What (...)" followed with Róisín
wearing a golden kimono with orange lining. At the start of the
song Róisín stood on a box stage right - just like
a statue. A sensual, dark and moody performance.
"Sing It Back" was next. Róisín wore
a light and shining hooded cape for this. For part of the song
she also put the helmet back on. The song was presented in the
long version also played earlier on the tour. Eddie sang the vocoder
parts. During the second half of the song Róisín
again climbed on the rail down in the pit and held the microphone
in front of the crowd who sang along to the chorus.
A short pause followed, Róisín left the stage,
Mark took photographs of the huge crowd. Róisín
reappeared in a tight, colourful, shining dress, still wearing
the black boots, and also a mask with long feathers along the
top and sides. She smoked a cigarette and started the great "Caught
In A Whisper", her big voice filling the entire space all
across the wide field. Gave you the chills! This segued into "Indigo"
which turned into a monster of a performance, Róisín
even went over to Dave de Rose who then sang the "collossus"
part of the chorus. Dave Cooke stood at the edge of the stage
one leg raised, foot on a stage monitor. Róisín
went over to him and swung one leg over his as the band turned
the song into a gigantic maelstrom of sound. Róisín
was then led down the steps into the pit, took off the mask, again
climbed on the rail and jumped into the audience twice. Floating
on the fans' outstretched hands she was pulled back into the pit
by her minders. After her second jump she disappeared completely,
but reappeared quickly, again floating above the crowd. After
that she stood on the rail for the rest of the song headbanging
like crazy, letting the roar of the band and the energy of the
audience flow through her. A mesmerizing sight. She got back up
on the stage after that: "It's time to thank the band!"
Mark and Dave de Rose took photos of the other members of the
band, the crowd and Róisín in front of the audience.
Róisín introduced the band. And with the words "I'm
Róisín Murphy" it was over, she and Dave de
Rose disappeared to the right, the rest of the band exited left.
The last thing you could see before the roadies started to pack
up all the gear was a guy emerging from the pit. He walked up
the metal steps and carried Róisín's discarded mask.