In 1970 Kraftwerk played for the very first time live, and that was
at Berlin’s techno club Tresor in Soest, a small town in West Germany. The rare recording which was hidden in the WDR archives is up on YouTube and can be viewed below. To be precise, the upload already happened on March 25th 2014, but has only gathered 60.000 views so far, not much for such a historical document.
As you can see the band was still very hippy as far as dress code goes (it was recorded 45 years ago), just like their audience, only later would Kraftwerk adapt a more styled outfit. The line-up during this concert consists of Ralf Hutter (organ, tubon), Florian Schneider-Esleben (flute, violin, percussion) and Klaus Dinger (drums).
Kraftwerk enthusiastic Alan Wilder (Recoil, ex-Depeche Mode) had this to say about the live show: “Kraftwerk as proper hippies is pretty cool though – lot of hair in the audience, and chat by the sounds of it – probably brought on through the bemusement of listening to the sound of a thousand bees on acid. I think this is what they used to call ‘a happening’. I’m sure I spotted Art Garfunkel in the live audience :)!”
Metroland, a Belgian indie electro act with a sound etched on that of Kraftwerk (listen to their new single “Re-design” for instance), were quite amused when watching the video: “The grains were there, albeit extremely rudimentary and quite difficult to access, but the harvest a few years later was huge.”
The 4 songs played during the 48 minute long set are also the ones you can find on “Kraftwerk”, the first album by Kraftwerk. It was released in Germany in 1970, and produced by Konrad “Conny” Plank. That album was still very much Krautrock style, just like the next album “Kraftwerk 2” (1972) and “Ralf and Florian” (1973). These 3 albums consisted of experimental rock without the pop hooks or the more disciplined song structure of later work. Post-production modifications to these recordings were used to distort the sound of the instruments, particularly audio-tape manipulation and multiple dubbings of one instrument on the same track. The first 2 albums were purely instrumental.
Here’s the concert, with in chronological order the following tracks played live: “Vom Himmel Hoch”, “Ruckzuck”, “Stratovarius” and “Megaherz”.
For more footage and stories about contemporary music and artists from the past check out thevore.com‘s best music documentaries.