Oh Yeah! YELLO – one of electro pop’s most influential groups ever – have confirmed details of the release of a live DVD, YELLO LIVE IN BERLIN, filmed and recorded at last year’s residency at Berlin’s Kraftwerk, a former power station of vast dimensions. For the previous 37 years, the duo had abstained from performing live, but having announced the release of Toy – which would turn out to be their most commercially and critically successful album since 1988’s Flag – they stunned fans with the announcement that they would perform four shows in October 2016.
“I always thought,” says Boris Blank, who formed YELLO in 1979 with Dieter Meier, “what’s the point in standing behind my computers pressing buttons? But then I invented the Yellofier App, a sampler and pocket studio for smart phones. I began to perform with the Yellofier in front of large audiences, and, I have to admit, I developed a fascination for the stage.”
YELLO LIVE IN BERLIN documents the show – performed in the turbine hall, a space reminiscent of an industrial cathedral – in its entirety. The show’s set list comprises 20 songs: ten from Toy, and a selection of hits from their vast catalogue, including Bostich, Oh Yeah, The Evening’s Young and The Race. In addition, during the encore, they engaged in a Yellofier app improvisation, with Boris Blank sampling Dieter Meier’s voice while he rapped improvised lyrics. Their live band featured a 5-piece horn section, a drummer, a percussionist, three backing vocalists and a guitarist, as well as two guest singers, Fifi Rong and Malia.
In retrospect, these debut concerts were probably the most complex performances ever staged by a ‘newcomer’ band: a top-notch PA provided full-on 360º surround sound for Kraftwerk’s difficult-to-handle main floor, while, on a gigantic LED wall behind the massive stage, YELLO presented a mesmerising stream of edits and loops from their lengthy history of groundbreaking music videos, each directed by Dieter Meier.
The extreme energy and physical effort of these Berlin shows was finally spent when, on October 29, a delighted YELLO at last left the stage. As Dieter was greeted by a row of friends, he delivered his since oft-quoted line: “From cyberspace to reality!” YELLO LIVE IN BERLIN documents this extraordinary transformation.