Finally a suitable opportunity to put on the Udo Lindenberg hat – that’s what some of the 22,000 spectators at the concert by Udo Lindenberg in the sold-out Waldbühne must have thought. The sunglasses, Udo’s other trademark, which he probably even wears in the shower, are rarely seen on this anyway cloudy Friday evening.
But lookalikes can still try so hard: the 76-year-old musician still looks the most Udo-like himself. The crumpled face alone, which you can clearly see at least on the video screens in the huge open-air arena, remains inimitable.
Everything changes, but Udo remains Udo. He is the great original of German-language rock music.
The guy who lives in a Hamburg hotel and mumbles his cool sayings in interviews, while he likes to give a hand to the rich and powerful. That’s why people love him. And how. Not only once does he fill the Waldbühne this weekend, but a second time the following day.
Lindenberg not only delivers a solid Udo show, but also a real spectacle at times. You experience more than just a concert at which Linderberg and his venerable panic orchestra perform classics from “Honky Tonky Show” to the inevitable “Alles Klar auf der Andrea Doria”.
No, the whole thing is a revue with a children’s choir, guest musicians and dancers. Even people dressed up as flamingos can be seen. Lindenberg himself changes clothes twice: leather jacket, navy blue uniform, black jacket, the Udo looks of the last few decades.
And he’s political. Just like he always is. He speaks out against Nazis and shows the finger. In “Bunte Republik Deutschland” he pulls on a symbolic giant spliff: a pointer to Karl Lauterbach to finally push ahead with the announced legalization.
And songs like “What are wars for?” and “We’re moving to peace” seem more urgent than ever. We need utopias again, says Lindenberg, it’s about the future of the children. Meanwhile, the “Peace” sign is projected onto a screen behind him. In view of the real situation in Ukraine, this may seem slightly naïve, since Putin appears unimpressed by such messages. But a little more peace in the world can certainly never hurt.
When you see Udo Lindenberg walking back and forth on stage and performing these special Udo dance moves, you think: Mick Jagger couldn’t be fitter either. He doesn’t allow himself a break, at most to nag “awesome here” and “completely the Flash” in the direction of the audience.
It is also interesting that Lindenberg wants to be more than an old white man. It almost seems woke that he not only intones duets with two guest singers, but also clears the stage for his saxophonist and has the most striking guitar solo not performed by his good old panic orchestra buddy, but by a woman.
Lindenberg is no longer the youngest. But he is not a fossil that ignores social developments. Diversity in rock music? But please with Udo.
At some point, of course, there will also be a special train to Pankow, and the audience will heartily sing along to lyrics such as “Hinterm Horizon geht’s weiter” and wave their cell phone lights. Now the show could also slowly coast to a halt. But then something else comes along. A special guest enters the stage and Lindenberg feigns surprise. “How cool that you’re here,” he says, and then Otto is on stage with him, Ottifanten-Otto, who used to be really funny, but has only been rehashing his own gags for decades.
He then tells a few old Otto jokes in the forest stage. The laughter remains subtle. Otto and Udo Lindenberg have known each other for half an eternity. You once lived together in a legendary flat share with Marius Müller-Westernhagen. That’s decades ago. And today Otto is still a friend of Udo Lindenberg and now sings a cover version of AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell” with him. “Only on the way home does it get light” is the name of the song for the two, who imitate AC/DC guitarist Angus Young’s famous waddling walk as an extra show. Luckily Otto disappears again soon.
On the way home from the Waldbühne it’s not yet getting light, but more than two hours of Udo Rock in the bones ensure exhilaration. You could also say with another great rocker: Hey, hey, my, my, Rock’n’Roll will never die.