Over the years, the Old Station in Anderten near Hanover has become a practical and popular starting point for an upcoming Epitaph tour. With the band members coming from Flensburg, Dortmund, Celle, and Berlin, it’s not just convenient, but also, as Cliff says, a good place to recharge your batteries before the show gets on the road. “We’ve been meeting up there for about fifteen years,” says Cliff, “and we also started playing there occasionally. There’s a really beautiful atmosphere.”
The band has been active for nearly 50 years and consists of the founding members Cliff Jackson, Bernie Kolbe, Jim McGillivray, and Heinz Glass (since the mid-70’s).
The recording at the Old Station was fine, and the band had much pleasure. They spontaneously extended quite a few of the numbers, virtually jamming in the middle, and if you didn’t already know the numbers from earlier albums, you’d think this was how it had been planned and precisely rehearsed from the beginning.
Epitaph was pleased to have their old friend Tim Reese (usually with Truck Stop) on stage with them. The brilliant folk fiddler, who actually trained as a classical violinist, will always come in at the right place and with exactly the right melody. He has an innate feel for what is needed and where.
Being just outside Hanover, it made sense to ask Klaus Henatsch (of Nektar fame) to add a bit of keyboard. Bernie had played with Klaus back in the late 70s in a band called Panza, put together by former Epitaph drummer Norbert Panza Lehmann. Klaus had joined Epitaph on stage at the 2012 benefit concert in Hanover, released as the “Live At The Capitol” DVD.
Another guest was Agnes Hapsari, who played piano on “Sign From Your Heart”, a track originally written for Epitaph but released during the Domain period. Domain was a 1980s post-Epitaph project involving Cliff and Bernie, with Volker Sassenberg and Axel Ritt. When it was released in 1988 it had been very much sexed-up, so Agnes turned what had been a very bombastic number, with a lot of synthesizers and massive drumming, into a fresh new Epitaph number.
The material on the DVD is a real premiere, played straight off live in front of an audience and without a single rehearsal. When a bunch of great musicians gets together the result will usually be awesome.
The first DVD bonus track is “One Of These Days”, with the intro from “Rondo Alla Turca”, recorded live at Musik-Zentrum Hannover before the band left for the Fährmannsfest festival. The second bonus track is also from the rehearsal at MusikZentrum; “Fire From The Soul”, for the first time with The Fire Strings. The third bonus track on the DVD contains some impressions of last year’s Fährmannsfest, and the old Epitaph sound is unmistakeable.
Although a relatively small venue, the gig in Anderten drew Epitaph fans from as far afield as Dresden, Leipzig and southern Germany. The “Alter Bahnhof” in Anderten has been a pub, a restaurant and live music venue since the 1980s with proprietor Rolf Rehkopf at the helm. Originally built in 1906 (then it was, of course, the “new” station), the Epitaph gig in March 2016 marked its 110th anniversary.
If you want to experience the particular atmosphere and the superb music first hand, you should definitely save the following date: On April 1, 20117, the band will play a pre-release show at the Old Station.