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Ray Wilson live at the students' club „KKC“ in Essen

An evening about beautiful breasts, filled pants and Abba vs Dylan


The “Kunst- und Kulturcafé" (KKC, café for art and culture) is located on the campus of Essen University. It belongs to and is run by the local student body, and it has seen its share of famous musicians. Götz Alsmann, Sportfreunde Stiller, Slut, Die Sterne and The Busters have performed here, to name but a few. On February 14, 2005, the latest (last?) singer of art rock legend Genesis came here to present his new Acoustic Trio tour.

KKC1Terrible weather outside had no negative effect at all on the concert and neither had Steve Wilson’s limp. He had torn his Achilles’ tendon playing football a week before the tour began. Ray himself must have been cold because he was wearing a cap. 250 people in the KKC soon turned up the heat, though, when Ray intoned No Son Of Mine as the first number. The audience was an interesting mix of Genesis / Ray Wilson fans and curious students who at best knew Stiltskin or the Change single. Many a one could not hide a smile when they saw Steve limp onstage. They may have wished for four or five sets of encores just to see this sight again. Onstage, Steve sat down, of course. He was therefore heard rather than seen, though Ray immediately pointed out his handicap. This allowed Ray to establish a relaxed link to his audience right from the very beginning of the show. And the atmosphere grew better and better with each song. It was good to note that not only the Genesis hits or his own über-hit Inside but also the new material was very well received. By mid-concert, Ray could play anything he liked with the audience really enjoying it.

The live setlist was different from previous days, which shows that Ray still plays without a fixed setlit. As opposed to Schloss Wachendorf, for example, Essen was treated to two Stiltksin songs and to stories about soiled pants. Ray kept telling funny stories to entertain the audience. They heard stories about the Stiltskin drummer who accidentally and drunkenly evacuated his bowels at a festival as well as stories about the musical war at the Wilsons’: Dad listened to Bob Dylan, Mom enjoyed Abba. Speaking of Dylan – Ray had the fixed obsession of filming Bob Dylan who played just before Genesis at the Rock Im Park gig (May 31, 1998). Ray was almost kicked out by the security before he could convince them that he had a job to do onstage. Then again there was the birthday girl in the audience. Ray did a brief “Happy Birthday” for her… Scanning the audience for her, he explained that “I can barely see your forehead… ah, nice breasts.”

SteveIt was not only Ray Wilson the entertainer who did a good job that night. The Acoustic Trio are a good team and they performed a nicely varied mix of classics, ballads, songs that are not meant to be played acoustically and absurd numbers. A grandiose intro to Firth Of Fifth, for example, suddenly turned into a cover of A White Shade Of Pale. The explanation that “you cannot possibly perform this song acoustically – so let’s do it” introduced a remarkably flippy Land Of Confusion. Then That’s All went into everybody’s legs even semi-acoustically. More thoughtful songs like Beach or Another Day raised as much applause as Roses, his current collaboration with RPWL. Ray gets enthusiastic about his upcoming South American tour before he whips out a Carpet Crawlers that focuses on the piano. The regular part of the show ends with Biko, causing Steve to limp offstage for the first time. Soon, however, they’re back. It seems that Ray wants to go easy on his brother, because the Acoustic Trio play no less than seven songs in a row, many of them requests by the audience.
Highlights include Knocking On Heaven’s Door and the Genesis classic Ripples that may well have been the highlight of the evening. The song after that was a real contrast: Swing Your Bag was originally written for Right Said Fred, as Ray explained. When Steve limps off the stage for the second time, it appears to be the end of the concert, but no – they come back for two more Genesis songs.
In the end, two hours and 45 minutes have passed in which there was much laughter and more wonder. After a slow beginning Ray soon got the audience going. Ray, Steve and Irvin stayed to write autograms and pose for photos. Many students who had been unfamiliar with Ray’s music seemed very happy and purchased his new Live CD. Ray said he would love to come back with his band to really rock the place. If the music gains more oomph, the KKC audience won’t complain. But please keep Steve Wilson off the football pitch. 


by Christian Gerhardts

translated by Martin Klinkhardt
photos by Martin Timmerbeil


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