GABBA GABBA HEY! MUSICAL IN BERLIN, GERMANY ON MAY 10-22, 2005

Copyright¸ 2005---> : Bram van Schaik (famous journalist who lives in Netherlands) and Jari-Pekka Laitio-Ramone.

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Tommy Ramone is musical director of a Gabba Gabba Hey! musical featuring the music of the Ramones. More information of the musical here .


Loud & fast & 70 minutes, like a... Ramones gig

What? Going to a whát? A Ramones musical? You must have been outta your mind!

Well, I must confess that some of my friends thought I had gone mad. But I picked up my sword, saddled the horse and did the job, drove 670 kilometres to Berlin (and 670 back) to see Gabba Gabba Hey, The Musical. Though I didn't had the slightest idea what to expect and only had a few reviews on the internet to refer to, I must say: it was great fun! The show surprised me in a very positive way. No doubt about it, this is a hit!

It was saturday May 14, a rainy evening, and it was very crowded in Berlin `cause there was a huge multi-cultural festival going on all weekend and we had to cross the Kreuzberg area where it all happened on our way to the Columbia Club. Nice venue, I must say, lots of history, but too rainy to check it out carefully. We were late, too late for the opening at 7.30 pm. But we were lucky, there was only one show that evening - the club first scheduled two shows in case their might be a run on the tickets - so show started at 8.00 pm sharp. Only 70 minutes later it ended, just like a... Ramones gig, yes indeed.

It was speedy, it was funny (even for a Dutch guy who doesn't think in first place about Germans when asked who are the funniest people he met), the stage looked good (plain but effective, the right atmosphere) and the changes between te scenes were smart & fast. The dialogues were in German, with a little NYC slang, the songs in English, it all matched well. The actors grew in their roles (it was their fifth perfomance since the première on May 10), the youngsters but especially the eminence Rolf Zacher whom I must have heard on several Amon Duül albums way back in the seventies. I liked it and I was tapping my feet and stood with a constant smile on the face (not at the moment I dropped the SD-card from my digicam, which I fortunally found within' seconds). I'm not a frequent visitor of musicals. Saw Jesus Christ Superstar in London in 1972 when I was a 15 years old schoolboy and The Lion King only six months ago as an aged daddy with my teenage daughter and between those two I missed them all - with reason. But this one I wouldn't have missed, oh no!

Forgotten Idols did a great job as `orchestra of the house' and it was really cool when guitarplayer Stefan Fiebig entered the stage as the reïncarnation of Johnny Thunders, playing and singing the Heartbreakers song Personality Crisis. For an average vistor the music must sound loud and fast, but the more experienced ones knew the Ramones songs were played on `album-speed': you could understand the lyrics word by word. No problem, as long as the volume stays okay (=loud). In the finale Forgotten Idols showed us how it really ought to be with a blasting version of R.A.M.O.N.E.S. Yeah, that was a great encore.

Wé had the luck to see NYC-vamp Jayne County in one of her two guestperfomances and that gave the show a nice extra. Huh, did I say nice? Yes, Jayne was adorable exposing her charmes and singing us not only I Wanna Be Your Girlfriend (orig. I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend, you might know that...) but also the naughty song If You Don't Wanna Fuck Me Baby, Better Fuck Off!

Well, we fucked off, but only after we said hi to Jayne. She was charming and friendly, just as the rest of the crew we spoke briefly afterwards. But Jayne or no Jayne, if there's an opportunity, I'm gonna see this show again. Gabba Gabba Hey, for sure!

(Thanks again Bram van Schaik, who's in a pic with Jayne County. Photographer: Yvon (Bram's wife))