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Hundred Meter Dash

October 13, 2009


I had totally forgotten about the Raphael Saadiq concert, which we had been looking forward to for months after he passed up Berlin during his last tour. We would have missed it if Edward hadn’t hummed a certain song earlier that day, “da da DA DA dadada da da da”.

A few hours later, Raphael Saadiq opened up with exactly this tune, “Hundred Yard Dash”.

The venue was Festsaal Kreuzberg, an outwardly unassuming building near Kottbusser Tor. If it weren’t for the line building up in front of the little box office we wouldn’t have been able to distinguish it among all the other gray concrete slabs. It’s a saloon-like place, small enough to be intimate. The walls and ceiling are painted red and go well with the chandeliers.

Along the sides and the back is a small viewing gallery, but who wants to view a Raphael Saadiq show?


After playing “which 90’s hip hop song jacked this funky joint?” with the DJ for a while (yes Luchini!), Raphael and the band finally came bounding out onto the stage looking mad dapper in their soon to be shed black suits and ties. Raphael was sporting a shiny white Telecaster and a grin to match.

It was an irresistible set of tracks from “The Way I See It”, including a metal version of “You Should Be Here” courtesy of Detroit guitarist Rob Bacon (who looks like a young Butchie from The Wire).


Even after a sustained full court press by every twirling tie on stage, the crowd was not about to let them go. Raphael encored to deliver his best ecstasy, “Staying in Love”, followed by an extended version of “Let the Sun Shine”. The lights came on, but the chanting didn’t stop, then came the screaming, then the stomping, then the ape whooping once everyone’s vocal chords were blown out.


Raphael came back out to put out the fire he started with a blue lullaby. He busted out his first instrument, the bass, and proceeded to lay down a previously unknown tune. He was deep in the groove for at least ten minutes. A glimpse of the deep sea makes coming back down to earth so much nicer.

When it was really time to go and everyone was okay with that, Raphael said, “I will remember this night for the rest of my life”. He might just say that to all the major European cities, but we feel the same way.


He threw, I caught.

Festsaal Kreuzberg
Skalitzer Straße 130
10999 Berlin (Kreuzberg)
030 6165 6003
One Comment leave one →
  1. November 5, 2009 18:23

    WOW! I’m so jealous! What a story! Great pictures!

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