O-TOWN DOES COLOGNE
On Wednesday, December 18, 2002, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to attend O-Town's penultimate show of the "Christmas Tour 2002" at the E-Werk in Cologne, Germany. For the first time, I had been granted press credentials by Actual Management and was therefore able to attend the concert whilst at the same time representing Inside O-Town and meeting the band for the first time. In addition, an Inside O-Town board member, Candy, who I previously met in Cologne when attending the Comet Awards (where O-Town performed) also accepted the assignment and accompanied me as an Inside O-Town photographer.
Having never met O-Town before, I was slightly unsure of how the system would work and what exactly I was supposed to say to each member of the band as and when I met them. I was able to spend the majority of the Meet & Greet taking photographs of the guys for Inside O-Town, and went into the line to meet them towards the end - and I wasn't disappointed. Each of the guys was polite, generous and patient, and they all appeared incredibly cheerful, despite the fact that they were in the middle of what must have been a difficult week for them, having already performed shows in Hamburg and Berlin, with a show in Munich the day after Cologne.
I was able to shake their hands, and introduce myself as being from Inside O-Town. Ashley in particular was interested in how many visitors we had to the site and message board, and when I explained that we were on course for 2 million visits to our board before the end of 2002, he, Erik and Jacob seemed particularly happy - Ashley also asked me to write down the URL of our website. I had bought Belgian chocolates for the guys, since I had been in Brussels earlier that week and they seemed to like the idea of, as Ashley called them, "truffles from Brussels." I was even able to take a picture of Ashley holding the truffles - it's a photograph that no doubt will provoke a smile every time I look at it.
Being able to watch O-Town interact with their fans was a true privilege - it was so nice to see the way they made their German (and British!) fans so happy with a simple smile or autograph.
The show itself was wonderful. Candy and I were able to spend the first two songs in the photo pit, and so were able to take photographs of the guys while they sang both "Suddenly" and "We Fit Together." We were then able to return to the main part of the hall to watch the rest of the show.
Once again, O-Town showed their skill as a live act. Retaining just three songs from their debut album as live performances, a happier, more relaxed and ultimately more passionate O-Town performed a roughly 70 minute set emphasizing their musicianship and their pride in their self-written material. Though it may sound trite to say it, O-Town have quite clearly grown up. The guys were superbly supported by their band, and their live performances of The Joint, From the Damage and Over Easy all made it quite clear that the material from their sophomore effort is in all senses a much better fit.
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