The wait is over.
Ten years can be quite a long time. T--E--N! This is how long it has been since the legendary group last performed. Now, in late June 2017, the long wait is finally over: Freundeskreis begged and many fans of hip-hop at its finest are headed to the new festival grounds by the Mercedes-Benz Museum. Everyone has scored one of the rare tickets. A colourful and relaxed crowd sporting a summer look, some of them carrying thin rainproof wind-breakers. The weather isn't entirely solid. But the atmosphere definitely is. The anticipation apparent in the faces actually says: even more is possible. No suprise, there is tremendous pent-up energy after the decade-long wait – which today can be released without mercy.
The stage fills lickety-split.
The opening act is not a band. DJ Friction has stepped up to his turntables and is the first to get the crowd fired up. Soon after, Don Philippe approaches the adjoining set-up and adds his sounds. Both were and are part of the Freundeskreis line-up, and true fans know that this mega-concert has finally started now, yes, now: Heads and bodies start to sway in unison and fully arrive in the concert summer. And then all of a sudden things start to happen very quickly. All other positions on the huge open-air stage are filled lickety-split and ignite the fireworks in an instant. The first hit by Max Herre and Joy Denalane: 'Esperanto' from the album of the same name of the distant year 1999. At the time, the band picked this name because hip-hop was said to be the Esperanto of the young generation, thereby connecting people. However, who here needs an explanation? It's obvious, isn't it?
'Kolchose-Pulsschlag' for two and a half hours.
And as if as confirmation, the sun pushes through the dark clouds and bathes the raised hip-hop hands in a golden evening light. Reality can be quite corny. After the first song, Max Herre welcomes the fans still a little out of breath: 'For the twentieth birthday we give you Kolchose-Pulsschlag directly from Stuttgart!“ Insider vocabulary, but it might be general knowledge that Freundeskreis once set out to change the world through hip-hop, at least a little, which echoes to this very day. 'We are playing a retrospective: The twentieth anniversary of our first album 'Quadratur des Kreises', the last concert ten years ago, and now we are together on stage again'.
Easy feeling and respect.
The raucous crowd applauds and jumps, because it didn't hope for anything less. Ultimately, it will be two and a half hours of 'Pulsschlag,' which still thumps mightily, the heartbeat of artists of the word and the beat. In addition to Max Herre and Joy Denalane, this is also ensured by Afrob, Sékou and Megaloh as well as five-piece band headed by Lillo Scrimali. Hip-hop – for some it is the only relevant living environment. For many others an enigma. One that can be cracked here and now: Just going with it and succumbing to the flow of the music, that is the simple recipe, and right away the attitude towards life becomes palpable. It is characterised by a strong easy feeling, by live and let live and thus by mutual respect. This evening in front of the Mercedes-Benz Museum feels like a super-cool beach party. Of course, the weather could be better, it flips back and forth between beautiful and dreadful, but fortunately without being totally horrid.
The kick-off concerts.
Freundeskreis provides the intense start to the Mercedes-Benz concert summer. And the band even did so twice. After the tickets for the first show sold out within hours, the organizer quickly scheduled a second show for the evening before. The tickets to that show also sold out at turbo speed. Of course, Freundeskreis is a band from Stuttgart and the show here is a home match. But that is not the only factor in the success. Rather it is the band playing again live after a ten-year hiatus. Each of the musicians pursued own projects during that time. Admittedly, it would be wrong to say that Freundeskreis is more mature now: its music was already mature to fully mature during the earlier era.
Every song is like seeing an old friend again.
The billed retrospective is a total hit. Each song leads to the next, and thus Freundeskreis bounces throw its legendary repertoire. 'A-N-N-A,' 'Leg dein Ohr auf die Schiene der Geschichte,' 'Mit dir' or '1ste Liebe', the Stuttgart hymn – it's all there, and with every song the fans celebrate revisiting a good old friend after a long, long time. The fans haven't forgotten a thing and sing along with the show on stage line by line. A swaying mass fully succumbs to the music and the atmosphere.
Cool party with all the ingredients.
The concert flies by, no: it flows by. Please, we want more of it – and the applause of the crowd succeeds in bringing the band back for encores. But even the most beautiful of summer evenings has to end sometime. Around 10 pm. Freundeskreis bows to a huge crowd with the Rio Reiser song 'Halt dich an deiner Liebe fest“ set to a reggae rhythm. Bodies and hip-hop hands sway in unison with the music one last time. What a cool beach party. It had all the ingredients. Except for the sand between the toes, that was missing.