Worms actually almost qualified as a local gig for me, which is always nice. The train journey was disastrous due to railroad construction works - which really isn't the norm here! But in the end we got to the venue in time for a nice second row spot – to be precise, we could have turned up half an hour later and still got second row. It was a small town square, quite pretty but I was panicking that no one might show up because there really weren't many people there even during the support act's performance. But I needn't have worried… By the time Ronan came on stage, the square had filled up nicely, and the audience was brilliant. Ronan was so up for it – even though I really think the set list is a bit old now, this was an amazing show. I've never seen him on better form and you could see how much he was enjoying himself. He spoke about how grateful he is that after all these years he still gets to make music, said that the songs were "a massive part" of him and meant so much to him, and thanked us for coming. There's some songs that I'll never get tired of, and although this year the guitar only made an appearance for two songs instead of three, this always gets me excited. He quite impressed me when he talked about Worms being "the oldest city in Germany" – which even I hadn’t known about, but apparently it is true, although there's a handful of cities trying to claim the title and there's no definite proof which is the oldest out of them. Also, he made extensive use of the word "Danke" (German for Thank you) :) He was wearing the same lovely jacket as in Dortmund the month before, but after a couple of songs he took it off and whilst chatting to us, he casually rolled up his shirt sleeves - which still works for me every time.
He didn't come down for handshakes during The Way You Make Me Feel, but then halfway through Lovin' Each Day he suddenly ran off the stage, so I knew he was on his way down to us. He then couldn't get back up on the left side of the stage, so walked back along the front to everyone's excitement. He threw a guitar pick into the audience after In This Life, and a towel towards the end of the show, which made a few girls really happy. But for me the best thing was that he repeatedly mentioned how he "went solo in 2000" and finally spoke about himself as a solo artist again.
There must have been someone in the audience that he knew because he waved at someone and later blew them a kiss. I'm guessing it was his cousin because she lives nearby. I also noticed that Kieran Kiely was back in the band - remember the tiny dark haired guy on keyboards in the early days when Ronan started out? It was lovely to see him back. He was probably there in Dortmund already but I didn't notice him then.

On to Berlin the next day, which was a long but enjoyable train journey. I hadn't been to Berlin in years but wished I was staying longer because the city was so much nicer than I remembered. The festival took place in a kind of amphitheatre in the middle of a forest park. It had begun in the afternoon and most people were probably there for a day out in the sun, happy to watch whoever was performing, as tickets were cheap. The downside was that many people were drunk long before Ronan came on stage, which would turn out to be unfortunate.
Just like the night before, Ronan and his band were brilliant. He was only on for about 45 minutes but his set was really good; my only criticism is that it was all old songs, the newest ones being Friends In Time and Summer Outside. On the other hand, I can't think of any newer ones that would make sense at a festival :( He really needs to work on that.
There was a catwalk and Ronan was constantly running from one end of the stage to the other, which really adds to the atmosphere in the crowd. But then halfway through his performance, someone in the audience threw a piece of lemon at him and it hit him in the face, which really upset me. I do hope the person was drunk, which is not an excuse, but I'd like to think people wouldn't normally do this. What amazed me was that Ronan took it in stride and just carried on singing even though I imagine it really annoyed him. Many people didn't even realise anything had happened. I felt so proud of him and his professionalism, but disgusted at the idiot that did this to him. It slightly spoiled my mood.
He impressed me yet again by talking about it being 50 years to the day since the Berlin Wall went up. I'm sure he'd only just been told so himself but I like how he takes an interest in the places he visits. This time, the jacket came off to reveal a white vest top - need I say more?
Again, my absolute highlight was the way he talked about himself as an artist. He actually said "I used to be in a band", whether that meant anything or not I don't even care, but just to hear him talking like that completely made my day.

All in all, it was a fantastic weekend and I actually enjoyed it more than all of the tour last year. If we get more of this in 2012 then we've got so much to look forward to.

Photos of Worms and Berlin are in the gallery.

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