Kraftwerk perform ‘Autobahn’ in full as London residency begins

Band perform whole album in full at Tate Modern

Kraftwerk opened their eight-night residency at Tate Modern on Wednesday by playing in full their fourth album, ‘Autobahn’.

Boy George and Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark’s Andy McCluskey and Paul Humphreys joined a thrilled audience as the German electronica pioneers played a two-hour set that also included most of their best loved numbers. Those lucky enough to secure tickets for Kraftwerk’s first night in the London art museum’s imposing Turbine Hall were each given a cushion, a crib sheet on the band and a pair of 3D spectacles. However, virtually the whole audience stood to appreciate Kraftwerk’s impressive visuals, displayed on a massive screen behind.

On stage, the four performers stood impassively behind their computers, only one of whom played on the original recording of Autobahn, founder member Ralf Hütter. Having opened with ‘Robots’, the group played Kraftwerk’s breakthrough album in order, beginning with a 10-minute version of the title track.

That left an hour and a half devoted to a wide-ranging journey through the group’s celebrated back catalogue, featuring both digital versions of ’70s classics such as ‘Neon Lights’ and ‘Vitamin’ from 2003’s Tour De France Soundtracks. Highlights included hit single ‘The Model’, the influential ‘Trans Europe Express’ and an updated ‘Radioactivity’ that name-checked the nuclear meltdown at Fukushima.

The set was rapturously received by fans. Steve Kiw from Hove, Sussex, said, “It was what we hoped for and more. We came expecting Autobahn, thought we might get something else and it ended up being absolutely brilliant. The 3D effects were wonderful.”

Silvia Montello from London regretted she could not repeat the experience, adding, “This is the third time I’ve seen them, but tonight has been a massive treat.”

Kraftwerk played:

‘The Robots’
‘Kometenmelodie 1’
‘Kometenmelodie 2’
‘Trans Europe Express’
‘The Model’
‘Neon Lights’
‘The Man-Machine’
‘Computer World’
‘Computer Love’
‘Home Computer’
‘Tour De France’
‘Planet Of Visions’
‘Music Non Stop’

Kraftwerk’s sold-out concert series The Catalogue 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 continues tonight, Thursday, with 1975’s Radio-Activity, followed by sets dedicated to successive albums up to Tour De France Soundtracks.