Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Deco Fangirl: Max Raabe and the Palast Orchester

If you are a devote of Art Deco era music, it's quite likely that you've heard of Max Raabe. Herr Raabe is a singer of cabaret and cabaret style music. He studied to be an opera singer, but in the mid 1980s, with a group of friends he got together to rehearse hot jazz charts and ballads from the 20s and 30s. They played their first gig a year later, and much to their surprise, were an instant hit.

He and the Palast Orchester tour not only Germany, but the US, London, (as of this year) and other places. He's brilliant--funny, charming, handsome, and a fine musician with the best comic timing.

My husband and I bought tickets in September of last year for this show, as soon as we heard about it. They played Symphony Hall, in Boston, this past Sunday, March 4. We decided to pull out all the stops, clothing-wise, and made a day of it. We had matinee tickets, so it was 30s daywear. It took me weeks to decide what to wear--I don't have many real 30s day dresses--and a day or two to put it together.

The show was terrific. They are all talented musicians, and the pace of the program was wonderful. Herr Raabe is an elegant figure and will make you think you've fallen into a German film from Weimar Berlin. He was in faultless white tie and tails, with the other men in the group in black tie, and the lovely violinist wore red.

After asking quite a few people inside, we located the stage door and joined the crowd of fans. He did come out, after one of the orchestra members noticed us. I suspect they're all weary of touring, and there was no place inside for a crowd. They probably hoped to get some rest for a change (and I don't blame them). However, he graciously told us he'd tell Herr Raabe, and off he went.

When Max Raabe came out he'd changed into street clothes, and he did look weary, but he was courtly and gracious, and he bent over my hand (fool that I am, I was still wearing gloves, so I did not get my hand kissed...just the same, I'm still fluttering). His charisma is...well. Wonderful. He also signed the new album for us, and was even kind enough to pose for a couple of pictures. From left to right: my husband (in glasses), me, and Herr Raabe.

The new CD is entitled One Cannot Kiss Alone, and it's not quite as much to my taste as the cabaret pieces, but it's clever. If you love 80s music, you should adore it. I don't know if it's available yet here in the normal course of things, but if you are curious about the title song, here is a video they created to highlight the English version.

(Please excuse the absence of a proper link; as usual these days, I can't get Blogger to accept one. Just copy and paste to get to the video.)



C.K. Dexter Haven said...

You're looking radiant as always.

Eileen said...

Thank you! That was one show that certainly came up to our expectations.

SusieQT said...

I thought the band was exceptional- every single one of them played more than one instrument, and not always related ones (trombone/viola?). I wish we could have sat closer to the stage, but it was still a great show. And the ambience of sitting in the balcony at a 100-yr old theater didn't hurt either!

Bob Kidd said...


We noticed you and your elegant husband at the show. You both looked fantastic. Symphony Hall is the perfect venue for Max Raabe & Palast Orchester. Such outstanding acoustics. I, too, posted about the experience and added youtube links. You can see it all here http://robertbkidd.blogspot.com/2012/03/max-raabe-its-nice-to-misbehave-in.html