Alphaville, the German synthpop band that formed 36 years ago, is still going strong — so much so that they're offering U.S. fans a crazy-close experience: Watch them play the historic Whisky a Go Go in Hollywood over two nights, help them choose their setlist, party with the band and meet them all!
The VIP Package is $899 and includes:
- Entrance to both nights at the Whisky a Go Go part A and part B (25 & 26 May 2018)
- Voting privilege to suggest songs for the sets (each night will be different with more than 30 songs never before performed live - many old ones and a few new ones).
- Complete box set for both nights on DVD/Blu-ray & audio CDs (between 4 & 6 hours of on stage time) with commemorative book to remember this amazing experience.
- Entrance to the after party - Marian's birthday celebration.
- VIP meet & greet with Marian and the band at the hotel in small groups (on Sunday or Monday after the shows).
- Swag Bag will be available.
There is a $420-per-person hotel deal involved as well, or — for less fans — the option of paying "just" $350 for one of the gigs.
Alphaville is a band I sort of rediscovered in the early 2000s. Having always loved "Big in Japan" (1984) — truly one of my favorite songs of all time — as well as the irresistible "Forever Young" (1984), it suddenly occurred to me I knew so little about them, so I bought all their albums and fell in love.
Herewith, 7 Indispensable Alphaville Tracks:
(7) "Jet Set" (1985) from the album Forever Young (1984)
Love the halting, electro beats of this throbber, as well as the loose grasp on English, which makes the lyrics all the more creative: "We are the jet set / Society / We are the jet set / And that means liberty" and "The Russians seem to be that way / We love 'em like we love D. Kaye." Plus, lead singer Marian Gold is having way too good a time in the no-frills, goofy video.
(6) "Romeos" (1989) from the album The Breathtaking Blue (1989)
Kind of an a-ha sweep to this more introspective tune. I love the whine in Marian's voice when he gets going.
(5) "Jerusalem" (1986) from the album Afternoons in Utopia (1986)
One of the band's most idyllic, most beautiful numbers. That chorus is a killer. I'd love to hear this remade or sampled.
(4) "Dance with Me" (1986) from the album Afternoons in Utopia (1986)
Fans of Depeche Mode or Yaz will warm to this propulsive foot-tapper. The video is a big-hair, long-coats study in how to be as 1986 as possible.
(3) "Sounds Like a Melody" (1984) from the album Forever Young (1984)
As close to poetry as '80s music ever got, this wistful song is a good example of why Japanese girls lost it over British boys during this era. Marian's falsetto is divinity.
(2) "Forever Young" (1984) from the album Forever Young (1984)
It's possible this one is so ubiquitous it's lost some of its impact, like Cyndi Lauper's drastically overplayed "True Colors" (1986). But for my money, it's still one of the best 1980s singles, and it asks that question you can't resist, "Do you really want to live forever?" When Marian sings, "It's so hard to get old," one can't help but ponder who true that was, and how little we understood it 30+ years ago.
(1) "Big in Japan" (1984) from the album Forever Young (1984)
The bassline is lethal, the video effortlessly dystopian in a Kenneth Anger way, and that Oriental chime judiciously used not to mock Asian culture but to underscore the cynicism of the song, all about power and fame and perhaps even cultural appropriation in a way. When Marian seethes, "I will wait here for my man tonight — it's easy when you're big in Japan," it was impossible not to see it and him as gay, gay, gay. Instead, the official explanation is the lyric refers to a drug dealer, which was less controversial then. And now? No matter, it still oozes queerness, accidentally (occidentall?y) or not.
Yeah, I’ve loved Alphaville since a high school friend gave me a tape of their first album back in the mid-80s. In 2001, I had the pleasure of interviewing Marian in Berlin, and I could tell that he’s the type of person who will never slow down.