Martina Topley Bird

Massive Attack at Abbaye de Neumünster 02.07.14

Massive Attack at Centre Culturel de Rencontre Abbaye de Neumünster in collaboration with den atelier.  02.07.2014 We got to venue relatively late as it had been announced quite late in the day, that Massive Attack would only start at 09:45 pm, but in actuality they took the stage at 10 pm once the sun was low enough to allow for their lightshow to develop its proper charm.  The night had been opened by local DJ Tollek, and the part of the set that we caught was not all that, so we were quite happy to have gotten there later.

Massive Attack was welcomed to the stage with a massive round of applause, and they launched into Battlebox with Martina Topley Bird on Vocals, which was a new track for me. The sound for this track was quite clear and good, but not loud enough yet. The sound at Abbaye de Neumünster is always a peculiar issue, due to the three bare walls reflecting the sound to create a lot of natural hall, standing in one spot it can be close to perfect, and when you move a meter or 2 it can be just the opposite, so we were quite lucky to be standing in a really good spot, pretty much creating the tip of a triangle with the front speakers.  With the beginning of United Snakes the volume went up considerably and from thereon out, at least where we were dancing, the sound was quite good for this particular venue.

Rising Son came next followed by Paradise Circus were next, and sounded close to the album versions. From then on, starting with Girl I love You, the first track to feature Horace Andy on vocals, who is still on top of his game, the songs were played in variations of their original album version to be more powerful and heavy, backed by 2 drummers to render the live versions even more organic than the originals.  Most shows I have seen have been heavier than the albums, but this particular show at least for me had another level or 2 on top.  The heavier versions also ended up benefitting from the venue’s natural hall, or maybe they played the songs heavier in order to maintain a decent sound, not sure, but either way it ended up being quite gnarly where we stood!

Overall they pretty much played a best of set, and none of the hits were missing. The only minor down side was the fact that the show was relatively short; including the 2 track encore they played for about 80 minutes, which in my opinion is really on the short end of a solid concert, 90 minutes are a minimum for me, and 2 full hours are more than preferred.

The Encore consisted of Splitting the Atom, and as always gnarly rendition of Unfinished Symphony!

The visuals were powerful as always, although for years the same messages have been spread on the screens, which is not a complaint towards Massive Attack lacking innovation, but rather a sad fact the same problems still dominate the world, and people still need to be reminded of them in every possible way.  The cool part was that some of their messages had been translated to Luxembourgish, French and German, covering all 3 locally spoken languages complemented with the standard English messages.  The visuals for Angel reminded me of the Mezzanine tour back in 1997, white lights only trippy flashing and taking us along with the music to another level.

My personal highlights went actually over quite a few tracks from Paradise Circus straight through to Inertia Creeps.

With regards to the venue, it was, as is often the case, short staffed on the drink outlets, which pretty much made it impossible to get a drink before the show without a lengthy waiting time.  Since the show had been sold out for quite a while, a little better planning on that end could made the experience even better, but overall, it was a hell of a show (depending on where you stood).

On a positive note, the crowd was actually quite active for Luxembourgish standards, so people were for once not too pissed off about us dancing and having a good time, of course there were a few exceptions, but as I always say, if you just want to peacefully watch a band without moving at all: go get a DVD and sit on your couch.

Below are a few picture courtesy of @Jo Nee, as well as an image of the setlist, please note that although Atlas Lair is on the setlist it was not played and the encore was only 2 songs, Splitting the Atom and Unfinished Symphony.

Pictures by @Jo Nee

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