Kraftwerk performing their 3D Concert Tour at The Royal Concert Hall Nottingham on Sunday 18th June 2017.

Images and Review by Kevin Cooper

If you have a bucket list and seeing Kraftwerk live isn’t on it, then put it on it now because on last night’s performance at the Royal Concert Hall they are a must see group.

It’s hard to believe therefore that they are a band that released most of their masterpieces at a time when Abba and Slade were in the charts and the fashion item of the day was platform heels. Fast forward to the twenty first century and this is Kraftwerk’s world.

More than forty years on, the German pioneers from Dusseldorf are still exciting and enchanting in equal measure and are still one of the planet’s most influential groups having inspired a number of bands such as Depeche Mode, OMD, Human League and the Pet Shop Boys.

Whilst the group haven’t released an album of new material since 2003’s Tour De France, their live show has most certainly evolved into an audio visual spectacle which benefits massively from the relative intimacy of the Royal Concert Hall.

On accessing the venue, each member of the sold out crowd were given a pair of 3D glasses and as Kraftwerk took to the stage, four men lined up in neon bodysuits and stood behind brightly lit workstations, and the breathtaking exhibition began. Standing on the far left of the stage was Ralf Hutter, now seventy years old and since 2009 the only original member of the classic line up.

With the spectacle taking place behind them on a huge screen, within seconds of the opener, 1981’s Numbers, there was a siege from a barrage of flying numbers. With the visuals accentuating the music, Computer World and Computer Love bring the group into 2017. Neon Light’s from 1978 was a gorgeous ode to the city after dark, with its accompanying dream like sequence of late night bars and beautifully lit streets, whilst 1975’s Radioactivity might have been given a techno makeover, but it is also now an emotive tribute to the victims of nuclear power disasters, the world over.

For Spacelab the 3D effects saw a flying saucer moving slowly antenna first towards the audience before gliding over Market Square and landing outside the venue, whilst cyclists sped out from the Alps and towards the seats for Tour De France. A digital road stretched towards everybody for 1974’s Autobahn with a quaint VW Beetle chugging past its computerised white lies.

With the audience looking like the front cover of Guy Debord’s Society Of The Spectacle, with hundreds of people wearing glasses in amazement at what is happening in front of their eyes, it was the appearance of the red shirted robots that most were waiting for. They took the place of the group onstage for The Robots from 1978’s The Man Machine and were loved by all.

Returning for the encore, a dramatic Aero Dynamik and what sounded like a reworking of Musique Non Stop were the highlights, before each band member left the stage, one by one, with each performing in turn an improvised rhythmic slot leaving Hutter to go last as he put his hand on his heart and wished this enthralled crowd ‘Auf Wiedersehen’.

Without doubt the music was astonishing but this was an event and not a concert, designed not just to listen too but to watch. It was utterly unique and unforgettable.