After debating whether to give my coat in at the cloakroom, the answer became evident: Amadou & Mariam had brought the African summer to take the chill off autumnal Berlin. A blind, but aurally gifted (as is often the way) couple from Mali, they have been creating music together since the 1980s, but have gained increasing prominence in the past few years due to the recommendation of Jools Holland and an album produced by Manu Chao. And deservedly so, confirmed by the warmth in the room which radiated off the diverse, embracing audience. For this kind of act, Berlin is possibly the perfect pairing: both embodying a relaxed, yet passionate, attitude towards merrymaking.

I had somehow managed to position myself in druggie corner; bewitched girls danced beside me as if possessed, animatedly and unaware, while the pungent smell of marijuana drifted through the air. The performance itself was intoxicating, relaxing us and leading us into a positively altered state of mind. Lighting was minimal; the band illuminated only by a few complimentary-hued blue and orange spotlights. Even the blue light somehow appeared warm in their presence. The extreme darkness forced us to use our ears not our eyes, putting us on an equal playing field with Amadou & Mariam themselves.

Far from passive, the audience was ever ready and willing to participate. Whoopi Goldberg's braided doppelganger on guitar led us into a clapping extravaganza, closely followed by a chorus of 'ahaaaaa' that lasted the entire song. In that moment we became part of the band, each and every one of us a backing vocalist. Probably their most well-known song, 'Masiteladi', was sped up to considerably more BPM than usual, leaving the crowd breathless. Whilst appearing somewhat traditional, Amadou demonstrated during an insane electric guitar solo that he is in fact Jimi Hendrix in a kaftan.

Having witnessed them live, it is clear their recordings do not do them justice whatsoever. On stage is when this pair truly shine. It was touching to watch, as Mariam tenderly stroked her husband's hair, her practised fingers deftly tracing down the nape of his neck. Their distinct and obvious openness is to be appreciated, not only with regards to their performance, but in general as musicians and people. They also demand very little of the audience; there is no prerequisite that one must know the songs, as despite the multilingual lyrics, the end product successfully manages to be widely accessible to speakers of any tongue.

Knowing exactly how to keep the momentum going and the dynamic ever fresh and exciting, we were clearly watching masters at work. After one encore, just when we thought things couldn't get any better, then appeared a vibraphone whose juvenile, baseball-capped maestro looked as though he'd dumped his skateboard somewhere backstage. Appearances can be deceiving, and his percussive talent shone through. Nevertheless, the gluttonous crowd demanded more. A second encore ensued, which just serves to corroborate my view that Amadou & Mariam do indeed put on an exceptional show.