Alphamania in Kiev, May 16-18, 2003 (written by Olga Sudakova)

Kiev! I heard so many good things about this city... And Alphaville gave me a good reason for this trip: the band was invited by the local authorities to participate in the festival organized in honour of the Europe day in Ukraine. The event was planned for May 17 on the Europe Square of Kiev.

This time the Alphawhales team consisted of 6 people only: me, Oleg, Sveta, Lena, Ilona from St.Petersburg and a new person for us, Sergey. We arrived to Kiev on Friday morning, one day before the festival. After a short rest we met in the centre of Kiev, walked around the city and visited the main squares - the Square of Independence and the Europe Square where we saw the huge stage being prepared for the festival. We also watched the beautiful sites of Kiev from several view points (the center of the city stands on high hills), lots of churches and amazingly wonderful buildings. Kiev looks great!

By the evening we got tired and returned to the Europe Square hoping to find out something about Alphaville, but nobody knew anything. We saw technicians and musicians who were going back and forth in the same direction - the Dnipro (Dnepr) hotel, a large and not particularly attractive building located some 500 metres away from the stage. The intuition told us to enter the hotel. We sat down next to the reception desk hoping to get some relaxation and in the meantime looking carefully at the people in the hotel. About half an hour later I saw a familiar face - Michael, the sound engineer of Alphaville, the tall handsome guy whom I'd known since 2000. We greeted him and he seemed to be very happy to see us again. He took us to a restaurant close to the hotel where we saw several people belonging to the Alphaville crew. Daniela was kind enough to sell us 4 CD sets of Crazy Show, they were ordered by our Moscow people. She told us that Marian and other German people had arrived to Kiev at around 5 p.m., while British musicians were supposed to arrive the next day, just a few hours before their part of the festival. She still had 2 more sets of Crazy Show with her and we just HAD to find the money to buy them as well. Daniela was supposed to call us on a mobile phone or to leave a message at the reception desk on Saturday with the information when and where to meet; we waited for her call all through the next day and went to the reception desk hoping to find her message there, but she didn't have time for that.

After the whole day of exploring Kiev (our legs were aching like hell again!) we reached the Europe Square at around 6 p.m. We needed some rest, so the Dnipro hotel seemed to be a perfect choice for us to sit down hoping to catch someone from Alphaville. Dnipro became our headquarters for 2 evenings in a row :) The staff didn't mind us sitting there, so why not use the opportunity? This time we saw Dieter from ASS Concerts (he introduced me to another person from their company, Mick - I was surprised how good his English was!); then there was Rick, the lighting engineer whom I met back in 2000 and haven't seen since, Martin, Pierson and finally Christian - I really mised him in St.Petersburg. They all hardly recognized me with the new brown hair colour. Christian looked really exhausted which was quite natural - they had to get up very early in the morning in order to catch the plane and to arrive to Kiev on time. There was still no trace of Marian, however we weren't complaning, we had lots of fun chatting with other members of the Alphaville crew, they are all amazingly cool people!

Alphaville was supposed to start playing at 8.30 p.m., by that time we pushed through the crowd of young Ukrainians who came to see the free concert. We stopped on the right from the stage, close to the screen where the professionally filmed views of the concert were projected. It was about the middle of the London Beat performance - a band with 3 black guys famous for their 2 big hits of the late 80s, "I've Been Thinking About You" and "You Bring On The Sun". Recently the band made kind of a comeback with the remixed version of "I've Been Thinking About You" which however wasn't too much different from the original one. We saw London Beat at the reception desk earlier (recognizing them only because the guys were black which is so rare for Kiev!). They looked at us and at our German and English flags that we bought to honour the German/English compound of Alphaville with a humble hope that we would ask for their autographs - which we of course didn't do :) Nevertheless, they were very energetic onstage singing mostly well-known hits of other bands, and the crowd seemed to like them a lot.

After they finished, there was a 15 minutes pause. A Ukrainian guy, the emcee of the whole festival, was filling the pause with his hardly understandable for us words, while the technicians were preparing the stage for Alphaville. The white straps needed for the light show fell down from the ceiling, the musicians checked their instruments, and Daniela took her place among the VIP guests in front of the crowd, just some 3 meters away from us. We started fooling around; I took my crimson lipstick and painted the cheeks of my friends with ALPHAVILLE while Ilona painted mine. Earlier me and Lena painted ALPHAVILLE and CRAZY SHOW on our hands with the golden pen that was difficult to wash away. It was the craziest thing to do, and people around looked at us with some kind of respect and thrill at the same time :) We were probably among 20 only fans of Alphaville, and we just HAD to show it! During the show there were 2 girls, a reporter and a videographer, who did a short story about the concert, and while they were filming the crowd, they stopped right in front of us because of our ALPHAVILLE cheeks and gave us particular attention as if we were the only crazy people there :)

Even though it wasn't still exactly dark outside (which is needed for the light show), Marian started the show at around 9.15 p.m. The playlist was slightly different from the previous one in St.Petersburg: because they played only 55 minutes instead of 90, new songs had to be cut from it: (1) Elevator (2) Guardian Angel (3) Dance With Me (4) Big In Japan (5) Carry Your Flag (6) Ways (7) Sounds Like A Melody (8) A Victory Of Love (9) Wishful Thinking (10) Forever Young.

The light show was completely different from the one in St.Petersburg which could be explained by different technicians as well as the difference in the equipment. Of course, it couldn't be shown in the full range because during the first half of the show it wasn't dark enough outside. I was filming the concert and sometimes I had to film the screen instead because my first row wasn't close enough to the stage. Marian was smiling most of the time between the songs and saying something short ("I love you!", he also introduced "Ways" as "This is a song from my new album Crazy Show, I just love it!"). I also noticed that in St.Petersburg he held his eyes closed most of the time, while this time he looked straight in front of him, as beautiful as they have always been. As a matter of fact, he sang "Big in UKRAINE" during the last part of "Big In Japan" - something completely unexpected for all of us - and even though the sound itself seemed to be worse than in St.Petersburg and there were less songs, Marian's voice sounded kind of more relaxed and self-confident. The people in the crowd weren't reacting much though: most of them knew only big hits "Forever Young" and "Big In Japan" and must have waited for Alphaville to finish because of the headliner, the Ukrainian band that they adore...

Alphaville was the only band that played for almost an hour, while others, including the headliner, performe: "I have one questionS for you, Marian! You WAS in Kiev 2 years ago, right? Or 3 years?". Marian smiled and replied: "Actually four!". Not confused at all, the emcee continued: "Do you think peopleS IS different in Europe and Ukraine?". Marian didn't get at first what the emcee meant ("What???"), but eventually his answer was: "All the people are different. Long live difference!!!!" - and he left the stage with a happy smile across his face :)

We crawled through the crowd of Ukrainians dancing to the horrible music of the headliner band and found ourselves in front of the Dnipro hotel again. There were a few people standing there and the entrance was blocked by security guards. We realized that they were waiting for Alphaville to return from the backstage. We were hoping for the best but expecting the worst - we didn't have any particular agreements, we didn't know where Marian and musicians were going to go after the concert, so only our good luck could lead us to the personal meeting with him. The intuition didn't let us down again - very soon we saw Marian accompanied by Daniela, they both quickly sneaked into the hotel, without looking around and noticing us. We still had to buy 2 more sets of Crazy Show from Daniela, so we decided to wait some more. Very soon Daniela came to us and said that she can let 4 people in. Only 4 - and we were 5, not speaking about maybe 10 Ukrainian fans who also came to greet Alphaville!!! We held our hands and managed to get inside, as well as several unknown people - later we found out that among them was Lena Phoenix with her friend Vadim. A huge guy dressed in the dark blue t-shirt of Alphaville that he must have thought in 2000 pushed Daniela aside when she tried not to let him in, saying in Russian: "I've waited for this moment for 13 years, nobody can't stop me!".

So, we were about 10 lucky people in the hotel bar, Marian stood right in front of us with a glass of beer, and all of a sudden we felt really nervous as if it was our first personal meeting with him. We stood aside watching how the Ukrainian fans occupied all the attention of the singer - we didn't want to look intrusive or impolite in his eyes, besides we thought that other people also deserve Marian's attention, we shouldn't be the only lucky ones in the world! Our chance came rather soon, Marian greeted me and other Alphawhales with a huge smile, and we had a real pleasure to handle our gifts to him. Don't forget that our cheeks were still painted with ALPHAVILLE, we must have seemed crazy for others, but we didn't really care!

How much we anticipated this sweetest moment, how carefully we were choosing the gifts and how we were hoping that the musicians would love them! I approached Marian with a plastic bag in my hands (red on black - the Crazy Show style, with the word BOSS on it - isn't he a boss after all???): "Marian, it's one week before your birthday, so we'd like to give you some gifts". "It's not for birthday then, otherwise it means bad luck", he replied. "Ok, just a few presents for you". I started with a big picture book of St.Petersburg, the best one that we could only find. "You said you love St.Petersburg, so here's a book for you!". Marian opened it and started looking at the pictures with great interest: "It's even in German! Thank you very much!". "Yes, you can read it because it's in German", I said. "I'm not that stupid! Even if it was in French or English. Russian would be a problem!", Marian laughed back at me. "Oh, I've been there!", he pointed his finger towards one picture. I continued with a big egg painted by Nika from St.Petersburg - she has already given 3 eggs to Marian during our after party in Liverpool: "Do you remember that girl with the eggs?", I asked. "The girl with the eggs!", Marian of course remembered her. "She's got a new egg! What a big one! Thank you very much!". Again he couldn't believe that this masterpiece was done by a single person, so quickly and so professionally. One side of the egg represented the Isaak Church in St.Petersburg, on the other side Nika wrote "To Marian, from Russia with love, Alphawhales". Finally, there came the last gift - a comic portrait of Marian: "Now we have the most wonderful gift", I said hoping to make him smile, and he did smile widely. "You can take an autograph of the author, she's here", I pointed at Ilona who drew this portrait just a few days ago. Marian really appreciated Ilona's work by kissing her.

Marian signed quite a few CDs and CD booklets that we brought. Earlier this day we bought a golden pen for autographs ("Gold. From Gold. With Gold!", Marian joked). I usually don't ask for his autographs (got too many back in 1998 and 2000 when I was their tour manager in Russia)), but this time I asked him to sign the "Wishful Thinking" promo CD, Marian opened it and exclaimed: "It's not a bootleg! I can't believe it!". While signing Sveta's "Salvation" booklet where Bernhard and Marian sit together on opposite pages, Marian pointed towards Bernhard's photo as if with disgust. "Is that your enemy?", I asked jokingly. "He's not my enemy", he replied seriously. "Ok, just another person in Alphaville marriage!", I said. He drew a big heart on the booklet between his and Bernhard's photos and said: "Please show this to the Golden Feeling fanclub!". In the meantime we couldn't resist the temptation to thank Daniela, the sweetest person around who did so much for us, by giving her a funny white rabbit with black spots. She is a wonderful woman indeed!!!!

Marian was so sweet and nice with us! Even though he hardly had a chance to drink his beer :) Finally Marian had to go, he thanked us for our time and gifts ("I hope to see you again!") and left together with Daniela. After he left, we kind of continued the after party with other musicians. We prepared 2 souvenir packages of local vodka for Martin and Pierson and a little wolf for Christian: this tiny toy had the same astonishing grey eyes like Christian, and we thought that his son might like this gift.

Having taken several pics of and with Martin, Pierson and Christian, we chatted with the Ukrainian fans for a while. Lena had to travel a long way from America to Ukraine, but she seemed to be very happy about the concert, just like we were. Even though the conversation was short, it was a real pleasure to meet the people from another country who share our interests.

It was midnight already, so Lena and Vadim had to leave, and we finally decided to wash our cheeks that still carried the Alphaville name. Just when I was coming out from the restroom, much to my surprise I saw Daniela, Martin, Pierson, Christian and Marian himself, Marian hugged me tightly and repeated how much he enjoyed the short after party. We said goodbye to each other and they were gone, but then I saw Michael - obviously happy - who asked whether we are going to accompany them to the night club called Drum. Michael asked Daniela whether it was ok if we join them, and she didn't mind! We couldn't believe our ears! But when we asked about this night club, nobody seemed to know it. Later we found out that it was very close to the hotel, just 5-10 minutes of walking, but back then we were already too exhausted both physically and emotionally to make further inquiries about the club and to spend the rest of the night partying. Besides, we didn't want Alphaville to get tired of us!!! So, we walked around the night Kiev and returned home by 1 p.m.

There was one more day in Kiev that we spent sharing our impressions and walking around the city together with Oleg from Kiev, a big fan of Alphaville and Depeche Mode, and his friend Slava. We really loved both botanical gardens of Kiev, as well as all of the city centre. In the evening we jumped on the night train that took us back home and gave us a sweet return back home...

After St.Petersburg trip I had a feeling of incompleteness - anticipating the Kiev trip, hoping to see the city and to give our gifts fo Alphaville - I just knew that we had to meet again, Alphaville was the only thing I could think about and it was kind of driving me crazy. Kiev's trip kind of helped me to find the feeling of total satisfaction, the one that leaves you NOT wanting MORE. I really needed this feeling :) And even if it's the last time I ever saw Alphaville, it's not important anymore. What matters is what has already happened! :):):)


Copyright(c) 2003 Alphawhales. All rights reserved.


Hosted by uCoz