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.
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.”
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.
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I’ll go check them out. I speak NO German (phrasebook) but WTH, I could use with a fun evening out. Just did my first ICE Hamburg/Berlin (return) on the 23rd, so now I’m a hardened German train warrior™ capable of going anywhere :)
I know about the the fast food, I can’t even look at it without feeling dirty.
BTW, I have to get back on school track. I used VerbalPlanet to start my Skype lessons but slacked. Can you recommend anyone … or do you sell your services for hire? Perhaps? You might enjoy it :D An American who would know what would benefit me the most (bang for buck) would be very helpful.
Thanks for the post brother.
Thanks for making me laugh so hard I almost peed my pants:-) It’s so refreshing to read your point of views about Germany, as I am living the opposite of your life! Viele Grüsse, a German girl living in the U.S.
Hilarious, especially about the farting process!
I know what you mean by being overwhelmed by unhealthy food. I’m a British expat and sometimes I just really want a portion of greasy chips, greasy, fat-coated fish, a large swash of brown vinegar and we probably-don’t-know-where-they-come-from mushy peas!
The other day, while I was at work, my cousin stole my apple
ipad and tested to see if it can survive a 40 foot
drop, just so she can be a youtube sensation. My iPad
is now broken and she has 83 views. I know this is entirely off topic but I had
to share it with someone!
Actually that video is ingenious, and they do a great job doing a really hard sound to do.
This is a nice post – but I have to say I hardly ever go to concerts – unless of course they’re concerts of The Boss – or other GREAT and famous singers I love… even those are rare enough…
Usually it’s too loud and I get annoyed by so many people around me…
But thanks for sharing your experiences!! I just love the way you’re writing!
I know — I avoid concerts like the plague. But this was one interesting.
Thanks for reading Raani! How were your holidays?
Hmmmmm… thanks for asking… let’s see it that way:
One mother – three cats (one of them she’s never seen before) – a smoking daughter who drinks nothing else than diet coke, no internet connection (poor daughter had to connect her tablet to her phone to get her emails done – and only during the night) – every text and email freaked the mother out – jealousy and a lot of hard work…
My God… I have no words. :)
Neither did I. *sigh*
A friend of mine from Stuttgart who came to New York (where I was) to do an internship introduced me to Wise Guys. I haven’t had a chance to listen to much, but they sound pretty cool. She also introduced me to Bodo Wartke who my wife finds quite funny (sounds to me too). He has a couple of English translations of his German songs too.
Cool! I’ll check it out, Josh!
Thank you for reading and commenting!
The Wise Guys were actually my first concert ever. When I still lived in Germany, my mother got two tickets from her sick colleague, and she took me there together with her. It was during summer and an open-air concert (I was… rather young. Perhaps 8 or 9?) so the experience was really amazing, no overtime-working steam machines. Ever since I’ve been the occasional Wise Guys-listener, and I think what they’re doing is pretty darn amazing.I don’t consider myself a fan really, but it makes me proud that they’re from Cologne, since my “little” hometown doesn’t have many famous people otherwise, heh. Overall, I think they’re a very nice (and original band), and they CAN make the crowd go nuts very easily. Especially during summer, it is incredibly tempting to just sing along, and the opportunities they provide are often easy to sing, too, and sound great with a huge crowd. Go Wise Guys!
Totally! I loved the positive vibes as well.
Thank you for reading and sharing with us, Lisa!