Ich Liebe Dich: ‘Unsanitised account of the world of Kurt Weill’

‘I wanted a title that said everything and nothing at the same time,’ says Friday about ‘Ich Liebe Dich’, a musical theatre show based on the work of Kurt Weill, commisioned by the Dublin Theatre Festival. ‘They asked us to put together anything we wanted once it involved the music of Kurt Weill.’

For their first performances in Ireland since 1996, Gavin and Maurice were joined on stage by Renaud Pion (wind instruments), Michael Blair (drums/percussion), Julia Palmer (cello) and Des Moore (guitars/banjo).

It is in some sense a return to their roots, as they have used Weill as a touchstone since their earliest collaborations (The Blue Jaysus, 1986). Friday was first introduced to Kurt Weill through the late great Agnes Bernelle, in 1978, and has included Weill’s songs in his live performance over the years, notably ‘Benares Song’ and occasionally ‘Alabama Song’ and ‘Mack the Knife’. Though the songs are of another era, they have not lost their relevance and many of the lyrics to Weill’s music fit the current climate.

Friday: ‘We’re working on about 21 songs and various instrumental extracts, but won’t decide on the final song list till mid band rehearsals. There won’t be much talking and I’d say that about 75 percent of the songs we’ll be doing will be from the Weimar era, with the rest coming from the Broadway era. There won’t be the same theatrics as there was in the Prunes, as in there’ll be no pigs between my crotch. But then again, I’m a theatrical whore — I was born with a spotlight on my head. Anything could happen.’

Fergus Linehan, director of the Dublin Theatre Festival on ‘Ich Liebe Dich’ in The Irish Times: “It is an “unsanitised” account of the world of Kurt Weill which promises to bring him “back into the gutter where he belonged”.

Tivoli Theatre, Dublin

October 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14 – 2001

Excerpt from review by Peter Murphy (Hot Press)

‘But really, you have to hand it to the man Friday; he shows no fear. It’s one thing to dominate an audience willing to be dominated, quite another to face the intimacy of a club with your Ich Liebe Dich hanging out.’

Review by Caroline van Oosten de Boer

Gavin, Maurice and the Friday/Seezer ensemble played their second to last sold out ‘Ich Liebe Dich’ show in the Tivoli theater on October 13th, 2001

Somewhere between madness and serenity lies the perfect performance. This was a night where the band was ready for anything and Gavin was in control.

A stillness fills the room, the singer’s on a chair in the middle of the audience, a single light outlining the man who is looking more and more like his 1983 Prune-self.

Renaud breathes into his instrument, conjuring a moribund rattle – a lonely foghorn. From the depths of his imagination, Gavin paints us a corpse, still drowning, a new form of beauty. Then, surfacing, he is Pirate Jenny – prodding people, that’ll learn ya, an I’m not me for the 00’s.

We were dragged along in Gavin Friday’s world where sex is always obsessive, love never bland. There’s never a meaningless note, and there’s an edge to every joke: ‘You are Irish, sir, you can tell by the jumper… sorry.’ Whether raging against the ‘Ibiza-mentality’, a loss of morals, or lamenting a lost love and exorcising the loneliness of an empty house, he’s 100% there. In the moment, living the song.

In the afternoon, at a public interview conducted by RTE’s John Kelly, Gavin stated he wants to ‘get lost in the music’. Consider us equally afloat.

Setlist:

Lost in the Stars

Benares Song

Alabama Song

September Song

Bilbao Song

Speak Low

Lonely House

Mandalay Song

Ballad of Immoral Earnings

Mack the Knife

What keeps mankind alive?

Pirate Jenny

The Drowned Girl

Cannon Song

Oh Heavenly Salvation

Lilly of Hell

Pirate Jenny.

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