Jenna Rose Robbins rounds up the June highlights at the Waldbühne, the outdoor venue featuring some of the biggest names of the season.
A roundup of the musical highlights at Berlin's outdoor amphitheater Waldbühne.
When the Waldbühne amphitheater opened in conjunction with the 1936 Olympics, architect Werner March anticipated the 22,000-seat setting would be used mainly for sporting events, with the occasional theater performance and
opera thrown in for good measure. For decades after World War II, the venue’s use varied greatly, sometimes serving as a venue for prestigious Berlinale film festival screenings, sometimes lying barren and in disrepair. Today, the Greek-style theater, which benefits from the acoustics of the natural basin in which it was built, is as worldrenowned for its rock and classical performances as it is beloved by Berliners, who often come armed with picnic baskets to fully enjoy a summer evening out of doors. This season’s program offers the varied assortment of performances that has made the venue a summer favorite with Berliners of all ages and backgrounds. By far the biggest name on the roster is Paul McCartney, whose One on One tour lands on 14 June. Reviews from the first leg of the tour are reporting a setlist with a whopping 35 songs spanning all eras of the former Beatle’s career, so settle in for a journey through nostalgia. The Waldbühne’s program offers several opportunities to get better acquainted with contemporary German tunes. On 4 June, the touring Schlagernacht des Jahres (www. schlagernacht.de) brings its annual parade of German pop stars, including perennial favorite Andrea Berg and Beatrice Egli, a past winner of the German version of the Idol franchise. As the name suggests, the concert celebrates the schlager genre, a pop-music style familiar to Eurovision fans around the globe. Then on 7 June, living legend Herbert Grönemeyer, virtually unknown outside the Germanspeaking world, hits the stage with his contemporary rock classics. He was not only the first non-English-speaking artist to be invited to perform on MTV’s Unplugged, he also holds claim to the first and third best-selling records in German history. At the all-day Peace x Peace Festival (6 June), Berlin punk-rockers the Beatsteaks take to the stage, along with Seeed and others, to support relief for refugee children. Fans of Black Sabbath can hope that new seats are released for the sold-out show on June 8, while classical music fans can revel in some of Dvorak’s greatest hits (p. 8) on 26 June, when Yannick Nézet-Séguin leads the Berliner Philharmoniker. Later in the summer finds Sting (1 Aug), Neil Young (21 July), Disney in Concert (2 July), and two nights (8-9 July) of Berlin’s own hard-rockers, Rammstein. For a complete schedule, visit www.waldbuehne-berlin.de.