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Ray Wilson live in Worpswede

Ray Wilson live in Worpswede 2021

MusicHall Worpswede - 5. November 2021

After the concert in 2020 could not take place due to COVID restrictions, Ray Wilson finally returned to the MusicHall in Worpswede on 5 November 2021. For those who don't know it: Worpswede is a small town in the "Teufelsmoor" near Bremen, also known as an artists' village. The MusicHall is located in an old building with a thatched roof and offers space for (estimated) a few hundred guests. What is Ray Wilson doing in such a small village? Well, the Music Hall is a very cosy music club, and usually the atmosphere at concerts here is always excellent. That is certainly one reason why Ray Wilson's concert in Worpswede in 2004 was immortalised on the double CD Live. The MusicHall is one of a handful of clubs in Germany where Ray Wilson has played practically every year for almost twenty years.


To write a report about a concert visit in these times without mentioning the circumstances of the event with regard to Corona would be to ignore something very important. Concerts are not yet something that can be taken for granted again; there are still nowhere near as many as there were before March 2020, there are sometimes great regional differences in the measures against the pandemic, and despite all the good planning and preparation, scheduled concerts can also be cancelled, postponed or moved at short notice. Therefore, at this point: the concert in Worpswede took place under 2G conditions, i.e. the ticket holders had to be either vaccinated or recovered from Covid19. At the time of the concert, this was still optional in the German state Lower Saxony and probably still somewhat unusual for quite a few of the fans there [author's note: this text was written two weeks after the concert, and the pandemic situation in Germany has worsened so much in the meantime that "2G" has now become almost universal standard, among other things at concerts and in the catering trade, if events take place at all]. In addition, by means of an app and the leaving of contact details, the possibility of hopefully not having to track contacts later on was provided for. This made it possible to fill the MusicHall almost to capacity, and inside it was possible to dispense with mouth and nose protection.

1So the anticipation was all the greater to see Ray Wilson again in the MusicHall, and the mood was really good, as the concert could take place without any significant restrictions. Since, just like Ray Wilson, there are also numerous fans and music enthusiasts who are drawn to Worpswede from near and far (almost) every year, it was wonderful to meet up with some old acquaintances even from further away after a long time..

The concert was once again played by six people: Ray Wilson (guitar, vocals) was joined on stage by his brother Steve Wilson (guitar and background vocals), Marcin Kajper (saxophone, clarinet and bass), Kool Lyczek (keys), Alicja Chrzaszcz (violin) and Mario Koszel (drums). This composition of the band is now the one that can be found at most of Ray Wilson's performances. Unlike in most previous years, Lawrie MacMillan (bass) and Ali Ferguson (guitar) were not part of the party this time; both live in Scotland, and due to the Brexit and other reasons, their appearances as part of Ray Wilson's band in continental Europe have unfortunately become very rare. This is a great pity, but even without them, the Worpswede show was a great evening.

As almost always with Ray Wilson, the concert consisted of two parts plus an encore. The setlist was a good mix of old and new: sometimes with a Genesis reference - exactly half of the 26 tracks played were from the Genesis "universe", some from Ray Wilson's solo work, plus other covers. Here is a quick run-through:

2No Son Of Mine is often played by Ray Wilson at the beginning of a concert, to warm up the band and the audience - as was the case at the concert in Worpswede.

The audience was decently activated with the relaxed That's All. The saxophone solo towards the end should be highlighted here, in which Marcin Kajper played the melody line with fervour and made it clear that full commitment would be given at the concert..

Take It Slow from the album Chasing Rainbows then brought some calm back into the game and also included a great saxophone solo, but this time played rather deliberately. It's great what Marcin Kajper can elicit from his soft-sounding instrument.

Lemon Yellow Sun from the Stiltskin reissue album She was again reminiscent of James Blunt's Stay The Night, which, however, was released much later. In Your Eyes by Peter Gabriel began - unlike the original - with only vocals and acoustic guitar, to which the whole band joined in with the first bridge.

Carpet Crawlers is not only a Genesis classic, but has also long been one at Ray Wilson concerts. Since the beginning of his post-Genesis period, he has played it again and again, sometimes greatly reduced, sometimes with a full band. So in Worpswede, too, the band gradually joined in. The guitar solo was taken over by Steve Wilson, who, however, plays a bit straighter than Steve Hackett. At the concert, the announcement before the piece caused a few smiles: Ray Wilson was already about to announce Change - the next piece - and had to be reminded by his brother to stick to the planned setlist order.

That Change came next was therefore no longer a surprise. The piece has changed only insignificantly in all the years since it was written - the version played in Worpswede was therefore very close to the studio version, which is almost twenty years old..

Not About Us was the first track from the album Calling All Stations. Close to the original and nice that Ray Wilson plays it again and again, because this creative period of Genesis itself is virtually ignored.

With Almost Famous the show continued similarly quiet. The piece was the first of a total of four from the current album The Weight Of Man, which were played in Worpswede. Here the 12-string guitar was used by Steve Wilson, as in the following tracks also.

Symptomatic was the second "new" track. In quotation marks, because it had already been played frequently during the previous months, only on this evening it celebrated its premiere in Worpswede. The quiet intro was played by Kool Lyczek and Alicja Chrzaszcz - with a lot of vibrato in the violin playing..

Follow You Follow Me was another Genesis classic, always interpreted by Ray Wilson in a more guitar-oriented way. For the solo actually played by Tony Banks on the keyboard, which was now played by Alicja Chrzaszcz on the violin, there was some extra applause. This was the end of the first half of the show.

The second part of the concert got off to a rocking start with Calling All Stations. Ray Wilson hasn't been able to reach all the high notes in this really demanding Genesis song for some time now, but that didn't detract from the quality of the piece or the enthusiasm of the performance.

Makes Me Think Of Home was possibly the highlight of the concert. In particular, the ever-increasing instrumental part never fails to excite, as it provided an opportunity for the entire band to show off their playing quality. I, Like You was another new piece in which Steve Wilson played the lead guitar excellently..

With Home By The Sea, the tempo increased again. Maybe Ray Wilson will play the second part sometime? Land Of Confusion was another track that without a doubt everyone in the audience knew. The arrangement strongly resembles that of Genesis - with the exception of the violin, which set fine accents.

3In The Air Tonight by Phil Collins started quietly and without a drum machine; the drums by Mario Koszel were then furious, and then the piece was played much rockier than the original. Alone again provided some calm, even cooling down, so to speak. The piece was announced, as usual, as the one that reminded Ray Wilson of his native Scotland. You Could Have Been Someone was another track from the current album, including clarinet playing in the intro.

With Another Cup Of Coffee by Mike + the Mechanics the finale of the concert was introduced. Similar to the beginning That's All, the audience was once again encouraged to clap along.

Wait For Better Days, another track from the album Chasing Rainbows, convinced with similar arrangement as in the studio version. Somehow fitting to the overall situation was the text: how could a resting optimism be better expressed than with "Be patient and be true and wait for better days"? Here the saxophone was once again used as a solo instrument - first soulfully, then dramatically increasing and finally loudly.

Solsbury Hill by Peter Gabriel was the crowning finale of the main part of the concert, accompanied as usual at Ray Wilson's concerts by Steve Wilson's 12-string guitar.

The band disappeared backstage for a few minutes after the piece, the hall was boiling, and the hoped-for encore was not long in coming.

The show continued with Congo, during whose extended intro Ray Wilson presented the band members individually and the audience gave them a thunderous applause.

5This was followed by Inside - the track with which Stiltskin and thus Ray Wilson celebrated great success in the mid-nineties. The song is still rocking and has a lot of kick, although at the concert in Worpswede Ray Wilson was somewhere else in his mind during the first verse - in any case, it seemed as if he had forgotten the lyrics and had to improvise a bit. This showed: with all professionalism there are also things that are not perfect - and therefore special and likeable..

Not on the setlist, which was pasted on the stage floor by the musicians, were the last two pieces, which were obviously played spontaneously. These formed a fine finale after the faster, rockier numbers before. First, Knockin' On Heaven's Door by Bob Dylan took some of the tempo out. Mad World by Tears For Fears formed the quiet and also melancholic end of the setlist. "It's a very, very mad world." Indeed.

Everyone could be satisfied with the well-balanced setlist - both those who had come for the Genesis reference and those who had been looking forward to Ray Wilson's solo material in particular. Finding a balance between these two "extremes" when putting together a setlist is certainly not that easy due to the now huge repertoire of songs that Ray Wilson and his band have in their quiver. And it's also a challenge to find an appealing balance between the old and the new. Ray Wilson succeeded excellently in both on November 5, 2021 in Worpswede..

For someone who had been lucky enough to see Ray Wilson live several times - also in 2021 - the setlist didn't contain many surprises. However, it should be emphasized that four pieces from the current album were played, which has only happened a few times before. Because of that and because of the special circumstances the concert will remain in my memory very well..


The bottom line is that this was once again an excellent concert, for which the quite long journey was worth it, as always, and at the end of which many happy faces could be seen. And besides, it is great that the MusicHall in Worpswede has survived the long corona-induced dry spell and can offer its guests a great program again. Since the Ray Wilson concerts in Worpswede always take place in November or December and the days are short then, I have never been granted to see the artists' village once in daylight. Maybe next time: hopefully in 2022 and with pleasure again as great as this year!

Author: Sönke Bohm
Concert Photos: Christian Baltrusch
Ticket Photo: Sönke Bohm
Videos: Michaela Ix / Volker Warncke