Helge Schneider at the Leipzig Park Theatre

Leipzig. Who you are to others is sometimes out of your control. For example, because you don’t even know who you want to be, or you don’t pretend to be. Or because other people make you someone you never wanted to be, but you can’t do anything about.

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Neither of them applies to Helge Schneider. And he worked hard on it. The 67-year-old jazz musician and comedian – to whom much can be credited – does not want to be what is tragically said about him over and over again: bullshit, Joker. And he resists it.

The crowd is under tight control

For example, during the second half of his two-hour performance on Saturday evening at the Park Theater in Leipzig Clara Zetkin Park. That’s when he started with “Autumn Leaves,” a jazz standard coined by Schneider’s youth champion, pianist Duke Ellington. So, Helge sits on black Steinway Street and braces himself for minutes. Which, for a jazz concert, certainly wouldn’t be long. But here it is, after all we’re at Helge’s party, and there are always those who are impatient who shout a little too loudly, and who keep calling the headlines of Helge’s hits. Yes: who came for Helge nonsense. Shows you limits. “Ah, now another song has been called,” he once said that evening. “Too bad, I was just about to play.”

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Helge Schneider on stage in Clara Zetkin Park.

Helge Schneider has always been in control of his audience, even in Leipzig. He also succeeded because he fired three big hits at first, thus removing them from the road: “specialist sausage seller” (whose new meaning is still to be debated), “telephone man,” and “sad Meissenmann.” in a linen suit Curly gray, Helge twists his limbs to the three strokes in a way that only Helge can, of course.Because the twists have a deeper meaning: sometimes he takes a pose and stays in the spotlight for a moment, as if he could take out of the world all the terrible solemnity, all the crises, fears and fears of our time. Yes, a beam. Helge presses a key on his keyboard. Disturbing, twinkling sounds similar to those of aliens in science fiction movies. Helge makes a face.

touch songs

Helge Schneider is a musician, gifted at it, fluently switching between guitar, piano, trumpet, drums, melodica and vibraphone, even playing some at the same time. His music not only makes you laugh but also moves you. Towards the end of the evening, he takes his place in front of the stage with an acoustic guitar and begins to sing “Don’t Be Petty, Love Isn’t Awkward”, a 30-year-old Helge Love song. Today’s German emotional pop singers can only dream of the sentimental lines in it, such as “Come, let’s delve into sensitive feelings again.”

Helge Schneider on stage in Clara Zetkin Park.

Helge Schneider on stage in Clara Zetkin Park.

Between his songs, Helge Schneider always does a live stream, he says. About his fog machine, which he bought from Tina Turner. about his slip-on pants (“But, well, most stars don’t wear their pants anymore”). About the “negative wig” of his bald dancer Serge Gillimann, who emotionally performs yoga for some songs on stage. Helge’s stories don’t always have a punch sentence. Sometimes they slip into the utterly absurd, into the incomprehensible and Dadaism. Or helge himself with accent makeup. OR: In full imitation of Odo Lindenberg. Anyone who listens to Helge, the most unreliable narrator, tell the story, knows that anything is possible. This is the beautiful thing.

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substantive issue

Once, which Helge rarely does, he took up a current topic: the gender debate. Should you add -in to everything these days, and -in? Helge explains that he started this discussion himself, many years ago, with his song “The Sausage Specialist” from 1997, which says in a very gender fluid way: “I’m the sausage specialist.” In another song, Helge sings about “Samba until your bra breaks”—then adds, “I wrote the song long before the discussion about whether you can say a bra, so it’s a cultural advantage.” It means all this, how in reality everything, one might suppose, is not as irresponsible as it seems at first.

Unfortunately, the public does not act. In Erfurt, Helge is said to have improvised jazz throughout an evening when contact with him was too much for him. No nonsense, just piano music for hours. It was once called “criminal jazz”. Most of the spectators are said to have stayed in their seats. Leipzig deserves nothing like this on a Saturday night. There is also a remarkable appearance: a song about a man who lost the most important woman in his life; Who, as Helge reveals with one last word, is his mother. Then Helge shouted: “Great crowd!” And he, in turn, means him seriously, it seems. allegedly.

By Joza Manya Schlegel

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