“If these guys are supposed to replace my antidepressant medication for the evening, their act better involve hurling bottles of single malt Scotch into the crowd.”
The Wise Guys are an a cappella group from the early 1990s, originally from Cologne, Germany. If you are an American, you might have heard their hit single, “Jetzt ist Sommer” (Now It’s Summer).
As a Christmas gift, my German brother-in-law bought us tickets to see the Wise Guys in Göttingen for their Antidepressivum Tour 2013. (Here’s the official promo video. It’s actually pretty cool):
It’s a cappella with iPhones! That’s just adorable.
So we went to Göttingen and saw the show, and now that I’ve been to a Wise Guys concert, I would like to make a few remarks about the experience:
- It took place in a seemingly abandoned warehouse. After arriving in Göttingen, we walked into the venue and found ourselves in what appeared to be the basement from Fight Club, only much, much bigger. There were exposed I-beams in the ceiling, a cement floor, and lots of industrial-looking chains hanging all over the place. (The only things missing were pools of dried blood and a greased-up Brad Pitt.) My brother-in-law explained the building used to be a factory for making automobile components which, in turn, explained why it was so goddamn cold in there.
- The smoke machines were working overtime. I can appreciate the dramatic effect smoke machines bring to a concert just as much as the next guy, but the Germans running this show took it to the next level. I could hardly see my wife walking in front of me through the haze of fog juice. I don’t know what they were pumping through those machines, but it smelled of mineral oil and felt like tepid cotton candy sifting through my lungs.
- Recording videos was ‘verboten.’ As the show began, we were informed picture taking was allowed, but recording video was not. Now, I am an American, which means I was born to break the rules. (You know those old “Piracy, it’s a crime.” videos they used to play before feature films to discourage downloading pirated films? My answer was always, “Actually, Sir, I would steal a handbag.”) Anyway, as I was filming my 10th video clip of the Wise Guys, a flashlight from behind suddenly lit up my iPhone like it was on fire. A security guard had caught me. He tapped me on the shoulder, gave me an adorably reproachful look and waved his finger as if to say, “You stop that now, you naughty little American schoolboy.” I nodded, flashing my pearly whites, and resigned myself to recording videos down low, between the seats, where the Fuzz couldn’t catch me no mo.’
- For Germans, a cappella music really is an antidepressant! The crowd went nuts for the Wise Guys! They were swaying from side to side, singing along and standing up and clapping. It was awesome. Everyone knew the lyrics (except for me) and they really seemed to be having a great time. Not one frown in the place, which is exceptionally rare for such a large gathering of German people. There was a palpable vibe of happiness in the air. I enjoyed being a part of it, despite the fact that I was inoculated at birth against the effects of cheesy a cappella bands.
“Don’t try and make me smile, you nerds. Ronald McDonald couldn’t pull it off and neither can you.”
After the show, The Wife and I walked to Bahnhof Göttingen and waited for the train to take us back to Hannover. I thought it would be a brilliant idea if we had beer for the ride home, so we went inside the nearest Burger King for a couple pints. (Oh yes, you can order beer just about anywhere in this beautiful country.) And as my wife was ordering from the woman behind the cash register, I reached over her shoulder in a sudden, stroke-like jerk of impulse, pointed to the big sign overhead and yelled, “–And that! We’ll take that giant bastard too.”
The result: Two beers and ‘Der Big King XXL.’
I don’t know what came over me. I hadn’t eaten fast food in over a year and a half, so I must have been overwhelmed by that gigantic golden burger looming above me like the glory of the Sun. And in that picture above, my wife is holding only the remaining half of the burger. It was bigger than her head, and so greasy and wonderful it absolutely destroyed our digestive tracts. We were both rippin’ ass the whole way home, and I’m not just talking about innocent little toots here and there; we were dropping bombs on that train. So noxious they burned our little pink balloon knots.
If you’d like to learn more about the Wise Guys, check out their website at www.wiseguys.de, and if you’d like to learn more about Der Big King XXL from Burger King, check out the website at www.burgerking.de/menu/big-king-xxl.
Would you like to experience another (fascinating) German event with us? Check out our video from the 2013 Hannover Oktoberfest.
If you liked this post, please follow our blog by entering your email address in the upper right corner of this page. You’ll receive future posts directly in your inbox! No spam, ever! You can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook.