13.04.2001 Alphaville's first unplugged show

Abducted by Alphaville
written by Randal Banagas

You will soon learn why I have named my experience with Alphaville "Abducted by Alphaville."  I had the grand opportunity of spending 3 full days with my favorite band of all time-Alphaville.  I hope any one reading this will be able to feel the excitement I felt as I got to know a more intimate side of Marian and the other band members.
It all started at the Salt Lake City International Airport. I had spoken with Brady earlier and mentioned to him if he needed any help with the concert to give me a call.  I actually met Brady about a year before the July 1999 shows.  I met him in conjunction with trying to plan an AV concert here in Utah back in 1998.  I expressed my desire to help out at the 1999 show but Brady informed me that they had all the help they needed.
But, persistence pays off ! I found out that AV was coming to do an unplugged show and I called Brady again to let him know I wanted to help out. He said he would let me know. Then, I received a phone call from Brady, and he informed me that I would be helping him with the show-he called it being his "right-hand man." I was so excited to finally help out with anything associated with Alphaville. After all, they are my favorite band.
So Brady and I go to the Salt Lake airport to pick them up on Wednesday night about 10 pm.  We were looking for the terminal they were supposed to be coming in on and couldn't find it at first.  I had my video camera with me-Brady said it would be cool if I video taped them.  I didn't want to see to much like an overwhelmed fan, though. Because after all, I was in a professional capacity too.
I ended up going to far down the terminal and Brady shouted to me "hey, they're down here." As I was walking briskly back to where they were coming off the plane, my heart was beating out of control. Then I saw them, dressed in all black of course, and WOW ! I couldn't believe it. Marian carries such a presence with him. All I could think of was "man, this is the guy on the cd. The voice that I've associate so many memories with." Truly amazing !!
Martin was there along with Christian (the new guitarist) and Michael (with sound).  Of course Tobias and Judith were there too. We all piled in two cars-mine and Brady's.  All I could think of while I was driving was "wow, Alphaville is in my car!!" I was literally living one of my dreams-to meet and hang out with AV.  We took them to the hotel and hung for a bit.  We all went down to the bar before turning in.
I didn't know if I was welcome to stay or what. So as I was leaving, Marian calls over to me  and says "Randal, come sit down." I had to think about it for a minute. Just kidding, I was over there in a heartbeat.  I sat down right next to Marian. I didn't know what the heck to talk about. I was trying just not to make a fool of myself. But Marian is harmless and very easy to talk to. He asked me about myself and was really listening to my responses.  I tried to ask him some questions too, but really, I knew so much about him already. I tried not to make it obvious, though. Because here sat one of biggest idols in life and I had to act like I was just meeting him.  After a while, though, I began to see Marian in a whole different way. I went from #1 fan to a genuine friend. Marian is very easy to become friends with.
I hate to leave the others out too. They are also so awesome. Martin cracking all the jokes, Christian being the sensible one, and Michael wanting to stroll off on a tour of Salt Lake City all by himself.  Judith was with Marian almost the whole time like a good manager should be.
The next day, Thursday, AV was scheduled to do a radio appearance and also two CD signings.  The radio performance was awesome.  Many fans who won a local contest were invited to watch it too. Alphaville sang three songs that were being recorded to be played later on the radio. The CD signings went well too. Many faithful fans showed up to have memorabilia signed. Marian is very good about signing everything until the very last person is there.  By the time we were done with the radio appearance and CD signings, the band was very tired and we went back to the hotel.  I was invited to stay for dinner.  I was pumped.
During dinner, I had a chance to get to know Marian so much better. We talked about various songs that I was curious about. He told me the meaning of the lyrics to Big in Japan, Lassie Come Home, and others.  He never once got bored with telling me about them. After all, they are his creations.  While talking with Marian that night, I realized how intelligent the man really is. He reads tons of books and is caught up on the world's political happenings.  By this point, I began to see Marian as just any other person. I had gotten to know another side of him. But that would never diminish my immense respect for him.
The next day (Friday), was the day of the concert. I was able to sit in during the soundcheck, which was awesome. After Christian tuned his guitar, he let me play it. I started to play "Summer in Berlin" and the next thing I know, Martin is playing right along with me on the keyboard. I must have left the ground for just a moment.  That experience really meant a lot to me because "Summer in Berlin" is my favorite AV song.  Marian showed up and they ran through a few songs. They sounded great.
The show itself was awesome, and it was nice to see so many screaming fans. It was a much more intimate show than the 1999 show.  Marian was wearing a Batman shirt that he bought in some shop downtown that day.  Marian even exchanged some German words with some German-speaking fans in the crowd.  Just how an unplugged show should be. They played many new songs which might be on the next album. Let me just say to the fans, you are going to be very excited to hear the songs.
After the show, AV and fans went to a local dance club. I was so tired I just went back to the hotel and hung out with Michael.
The next day (Saturday), we had a dinner for all those who helped out with the show. It was very nice and a nice way to end AV's visit to the states.
I finally came back home on Saturday night. My roommates didn't see me for almost 4 days! They told any one that called for me that I had be abducted by the group Alphaville !

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