DJ & Music Writer from the UK

Diary of Dreams – A Listener’s Guide

reLive a-Live Show

Diary of Dreams tour frequently – indeed for the past 4 years, that’s all they’ve done, playing up to February 2020 before lockdown stopped everything, and even squeezing in a few shows in late 2020 during a brief period of permissible outdoor gigging in Europe.  And they’re back on the road as I write this.  The majority of their shows are in Germany (obviously) but they also play to a significant following in Russia and pockets of fans elsewhere in Europe – trips to the Americas are rare.

Diary of Drems - aLive (Cover)

There are a couple of live albums for those of you wanting to know what they’re like on stage.  aLive was the first, released in 2005.  As with many live albums, it’s pieced together from multiple shows – all in Germany.  It’s significant because it was the last tour where songs from the 90s albums were played with any regularity, though despite closely following the release of ‘Nigredo’ and ‘MenschFeind’, the setlist is primarily based around the ‘Freak Perfume’ album from three years prior. 

The song aren’t substantially different from the studio versions – Gaun:A adds guitar to songs that previously didn’t have it, and Torben Wendt contributes some additional keyboard parts and backing vocals.  There’s also an extended outro for “Traumtänzer”, which became something of a crowd singalong whenever there were enough German speakers in the house – something that usually happens even when they play outside their homeland. The most notable diversion from the albums is the solo piano-dual vocal version of ‘AmoK’, which would later be re-recorded during the ‘The Anatomy of Silence’ sessions (covered above).

There’s also a DVD Nine In Numbers, the same setlist but with a chance to see the lads in action in Madeburg.  The Diary of Dreams stage show isn’t as theatrical as those offered by many of their German counterparts, though the quality of the live footage is reasonable.  The show can be viewed with or without ‘Fragments’ – short clips of behind-the-scenes footage that you find on almost every live DVD.  In addition, there’s a reel of still photos taken on the Nigredo research trip to Iceland, and a half-hour interview with Adrian, Gaun:A and Torben.  In German, naturally – but English subtitles are thankfully available.  The assembled trio aren’t the most engaging characters in conversation, but the insights into the project’s background and purpose will be of interest to those minded to read articles this long.

Diary of Dreams - reLive (Cover)

ReLive followed in 2016, a double CD on this occasion.  It’s a chance to check out some of the newer material in live form – indeed, only three songs appear on both collections.  The live show has also developed somewhat.  Whilst offering songs from all their 00s and early 10s albums, there’s a much rockier feel to many of the songs, particularly apparent on songs like “Butterfly:Dance!”, which is now more a case of “Butterfly:Rock!”.

The downside of this album is the fact that the show is built around some of their weaker albums, so it’s not the most ‘classic’ setlist.  Indeed, I openly admit that having seen the London version of this show from the same tour, I skipped their set at Wave-Gotik-Treffen a month later in favour of some old-school EBM (and SA42 rocked the Stadtbad that day so I don’t regret it).  However, the version of “Kindrom” that finishes this set is reminder of how immense this collective can sound when they fire off their biggest hits.  No more softly-sung lighter-waving ballads to finish on.  Go out with a bang!

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