Fink was back on a stage in Berlin earlier this week with an emotionally driven performance and we were lucky enough to be there.
Now well into his second decade in the music industry, Fink is an artist who has more than perfected the art of touring. However, even the most experienced performers can show signs of fatigue and strain towards the end of a tour, particularly when they are no longer as youthful as they once were. This may have been the concern of many of the crowd members attending the Fink concert at Admiralspalast on Tuesday evening because this would be the final performance of his most recent tour for his new album, Bloom Innocent.
Upon entering the grand venue that is the Admiralspalast, Friedrichstraße, you get the impression than anything less than a sterling performance would not appease the expectant crowd within. Owing perhaps either to the significant ticket price that the gig commanded, or the fact that there the promised warm-up act had not emerged, there was definitely a sense of impatience emerging from older crowd members present.
As we edged towards the scheduled 9 pm start time of the performance, the crowd seemed to be growing restless as eager fans began whistling towards the stage in a bid to lure the Fink and his band out. These whistles seemingly did their job as just minutes after, the many doors of the stage area began being slammed shut, the lights dimmed and it became clear that the beginning of the show was imminent.
It’s going to be a good evening, I can feel it already
The crowd’s mood changed in an instant as a ruffle of cheers slowly grew from the audience before the man himself appeared on the stage. This ruffle was then replaced by a roar from the crowd, where the impatient whistles of before were replaced by joyous whistles and a chorus of cheers and claps could be heard as the band took their positions. At the front of the stage, Fink made his first address to the crowd came; “It’s going to be a good evening, I can feel it already”, he said in his soft British accent.
Within seconds, the performance began with We Watch The Stars, the first single from the new album, and people gradually began swaying in the crowd to the mystical sounds of the track. This was followed abruptly by the title track from his last release prior to this new album Resurgam, a more ominous-sounding track which was paired with a red dimming of the stage area which built up slowly to a powerful ending.
Following this, the chord from a track that predates Resurgam by more than half a decade, Warm Shadow, began flowing from the stage which was welcomed immensely from the crowd- with this clearly being a favourite among the attendees. In fact, with each track the crowd seemed to gather pace and enthusiasm, throw off their earlier shivery attitude and began to let themselves go to the lengthy, folky tracks from the man they had come to see.
The performance proved to be one of exceptional quality
After remedying the crowd with some his old favourites, Fink announced to the crowd he would be going into the depths of the new album for a few tracks before “going back to the classics”. He kicked off this portion of the show with the slower-paced, more reflective, Once you get a Taste, which he followed with another track that contrasted this one with a harder, faster and rockier flow but shared the same signature deep vocals. He then slowed it down again, with the mellow, more poetic, slower-paced, and sorrowful, Yesterday Was Hard on All of Us, during which he sat down for the first time during the performance.
By this point, it was clear that there were no signs of tour fatigue as the performance proved to be one of exceptional quality, but Fink still had plenty more to give. As he broke into Cracks Appear, another track from Resurgam, he noted the song was about “perfect being boring” which he stated that “Berlin was a perfect example of” much to the pleasure of the engaged, assumedly Berlin-based crowd. He was eager to converse with the crowd and this became clear more the performance went on.
It was somewhat bizarre listening to his calm, southern English voice after the deep, passionate vocals of his tracks,
Next up was the title track of the new album which he said was about making sure that if “you are unhappy then you do something to change that”, before proceeding into the final stage of the performance and stating it was time to get back to some “good old fashioned bangers”, which the crowd were more than happy to hear. It was somewhat bizarre listening to his calm, southern English voice after the deep, passionate vocals of his tracks, but it certainly made it a much more personal and emotional event from the charming and endearing frontman.
He then moved on to 2014’s Looking too Closely, another very well-received tune that received a roaring ovation from the crowd and was a token of his music; tracks that begin tentatively and build up to dramatic finishes. Before he went on to Outloud, another track from the new album, which he described as a “deep one”, which indeed, it was, and had a very contemplative vibe to it.
The final planned track of the night was This is the Thing, which Fink explained was about “why they do what they do to their girlfriends” who are now their wives. Naturally, again, it was full of feeling.
The band hugged, bowed and walked off swiftly to massive cheers
Before they began though, they called back to their first gig at Quasimodo in Berlin more than a decade ago and apologised that they can’t play for 7 hours as well as to any fans who may have missed out on the tracks they wanted to hear that evening from the vast Fink repertoire. Clearly, their fans are at the core of motivation to perform live, although this had already been demonstrated in abundance through their engaging performance and on-going interactions with the crowd attending.
Similar to the rest of their catalogue of tracks, it had a slow start that gathered pace to an emphatic finish, but this time culminated in what was certainly the most emphatic yet and thus led to massive applause from the crowd. This ended the performance, the band hugged, bowed and walked off swiftly to massive cheers.
However, it was not over just yet. The crowd continued their eruption of cheers to induce an encore from the man himself who gladly obliged. He returned alone and sat down, just him and his guitar and conversed a little while longer with the crowd, before playing a happy, optimistic track that was in fact not his own- a cover of Walking in the Sun by Pang!.
Watching just him alone, singing this folky, cheerful song was a beautiful, emotional and personal finish to what was a memorable performance by the veteran performer.