Live aus Berlin

Cold Steel / Peter Fox

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Live aus Berlin Review

by Jason Birchmeier

Live aus Berlin, billed to Peter Fox & Cold Steel, is a dazzling live album featuring the Seeed vocalist on tour in support of his solo album debut, Stadtaffe (2008). One of the most successful albums of the year, Stadtaffe spawned three Top Ten hits ("Alles Neu," "Haus am See," "Schwarz zu Blau"), won a bunch of Echo awards, and was hailed by critics across the board. Something almost all critics singled out as remarkable was the awe-inspiring orchestration of the Deutsches Filmorchester Babelsberg, whose mammoth and quite unorthodox string arrangements make Stadtaffe such a unique German reggae effort. Unable to replicate the Deutsches Filmorchester Babelsberg in concert, Fox promoted the American drumline Cold Steel to co-billing status and compensated for the lack of orchestration with additional percussion and marching band choreography (as seen throughout the DVD accompanying some editions of the album). In addition to the drumline, Live aus Berlin finds Fox accompanied by a large horn section and numerous backup vocalists, along with featured guest Miss Platnum, who steps out front late in the show for a couple songs of her own, most notably her hit collaboration with Fox, "Marry Me." Live aus Berlin is a well-paced show in which the aforementioned Top Ten hits are spaced out with the anthemic "Alles Neu" saved for last. Without the orchestration of the Deutsches Filmorchester Babelsberg enveloping the songs, the Stadtaffe material is cast in a new light that should fascinate those who know that album inside out. Given the choice, fans should opt for the CD/DVD edition of Live aus Berlin rather than the abbreviated audio-only edition. The concert is impressively choreographed, and not just the drumline but the entire band, most notably Fox himself. Moreover, the DVD includes documentary footage, the promotional videos from Stadtaffe, fan videos, and more. More than just a live album, the CD/DVD edition of Live aus Berlin offers hours of entertainment for the legion of fans who took Stadtaffe to the top of the charts in Germany.