February 7, 2003
The concert itself was perfect. The Berlin Philharmonic was superb, and Sarah Chang, the violinist, was out of this world, playing long clear notes high enough to hurt your teeth, then descending to notes that were viola-low. Placido Domingo was conducting a program of Spanish and Spanish-inspired music. He's a very exciting man. We live in Washington, DC, and have seen him conduct the Washington Opera (in rehearsal only, I'm afraid), but he really has a presence and some real excitement.
The Waldbühne is near the Olympic stadium in Berlin, and we could see where the eternal flame had been. The logistics of getting to the venue are easy, taking the U-Bahn to Olympic stadium and then getting on a shuttle bus. We stopped on the way out at a big candy vendor and bought some gummi and other candy.
One strange thing about concerts in Germany was that they do many, many encores. The Berlin Philharmonic must have had an hour of material off the program, and at the end the whole audience was invited to join in. We would, later in the trip, attend another concert with a similar pattern. It was great. At the end the Berlin Philharmonic played a couple of traditional German songs, which the whole audience enthusiastically joined in with, and Domingo left the stage and joined "the public" in singing those songs.
From journal Weekend in Berlin