A celebration of 80s pop from Nena

German 80s pop legend Nena played the last concert of the year at Rockhal on Friday night.

Back in 1983 Nena bust onto the scene and rose to international fame with her German new wave song “99 Luftbalons” and she has stayed an ever present in the German charts since. Although like many artists Nena had a slight slump halfway through her career but over the last decade her last 5 albums all reached the top 10 proving just what staying power she has.

With the release of her 17th studio album “Oldscholl” last year, she played to a sold out den Atelier but this time round she was upgraded to the Rockhal and it’s clear she still has quite a draw, including young children, teenagers and all those who was hitting up the dance floors in their brightly coloured dyed hair and denim jackets back in the early 80s.

With a boisterous Friday night crowd, it didn’t take long before the audience all had their hands in the air swaying side to side as they kicked off proceedings with “Genau Jetzt” from the new album. With such a reaction to new material it must be heart-warming to see how well received her work is after so many years.

Even with the new songs being received so warmly nothing beats a slice of 80s pop perfection like her debut single, 1982’s “Nur Geträumt” which kept that Friday feeling going. This impeccably constructed new wave German sound which utilized the electro synth exposition of the time, sounds just as fresh now as so many current artists are trying hard to emulate 80s pop but few can recreate the immediate and arresting ethos of the originals like this.

With an impressive 9-piece band behind her including her son and daughter, she took a moment out from jumping around the stage to sing a German rendition of Dylan’s “Blowing In The Wind” with her children, which was a touching intimate moment for a show so full of energy and excitement.

With such a diverse audience some were of course more excited about earlier tracks than others and when the first few bars of “Wunder Gescheh’n” kicked in the woman in front screamed and cheered to the embarrassment of her children who were telling her to be quite, which only encouraged the mum to keep screaming. It’s these touching scenes between families that shows the power of timeless music and whilst Nena might not have become a mainstay everywhere else Europe she has in Germany and her music clearly transcends the generations there.

Of course she left the smash hit “99 Luftbalons” to the end, as they threw out two massive balloons over the crowd they kicked into that irresistible groove, although they introduced some cheesy 80s guitar riff on top, which took away the impetus of the classic bass intro. I can understand that after playing the same song for over thirty years it’s nice to shake thing up a bit but to take away the essence of the intro, it just left the song a bit flat.

However, the many slightly inebriated weekend warriors did seem to sing and dance along to a song which was no doubt a soundtrack to their youth.

Rockhal – 16.12.16

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