Remembering the time Kraftwerk played a field near Luton [June 1997]…

Since the launch of their Tour de France Soundtracks album in 2003, Kraftwerk have been touring fairly regularly – 909originals has been lucky enough to see them five times – and despite the lineup changing every couple of years (longtime member Florian Schneider stepped aside in 2008), it’s always a special occasion…

Back in 1997, though, Kraftwerk gigs were as rare as hen’s teeth, and thus it was quite a coup for the organisers of the Tribal Gathering festival to secure Ralf Hütter and the boys for that year’s event – in fact, as this New York Times article illustrates, it even made the news on the other side of the Atlantic.

”We developed in the end that we were the robots, and I didn’t want to be a robot any longer,” former member Wolfgang Flur recalls in the articlle. ”I could not wait always six or eight years for the next album or tour. If robots stand still, then they get rusty. They always have to work.”

As for the gig itself, it’s notable for a slower, pared-down version of Numbers to kick things off, however, by the time they get to Pocket Calculator, about 28 minutes in, it’s a full-on, rip roaring affair.

[Kudos to The Kraftwerk Database for the upload]

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