News and Reports on festivals and gigs that I visit, intend to visit or am simply made aware of. Keep an eye out here, so you won’t miss out if BunChakeze, Corvus Stone or David Bowie decide to play live after all.
It’s been a little over a month since I posted an overview of most popular blog posts here. So here’s the new set. I left the home page in this time, because it belongs in the list. After all, from there people click further. Also there are less tracks of the day in the list this time, because they appear only twice a week, to create more room for album and gig reviews.
Happy reading, if you find something here you’ve not seen before.
It was a rainy evening in The Heart of Amsterdam when we, with hundreds of others lined up in front of the entrance of De Melkweg for the opening show of The Gentle Storms 2015 tour. A show that was planned to start less than a week after the album The Diary was released – as a proper tour in support of an album should.
After spending some time in the rain, we got inside just after opening act Stream of Passion, started playing. A fitting choice, having one Arjen Lucassen project opening for another, also because lead singer Marcela Bovio and bass player are part of the live line up for The Gentle Storm. Pity De Melkweg proved its reputation on not having the best sound, from where we were standing (right behind the sound guy!) the sound was a bit muddy, with the lows coming in a tad too strong. Then again, maybe it’s been a bit too long since I last saw a metal band play live. Stream of Passion does look and sound like a band that have fun on stage, everybody was moving around the stage, and interacting with each other and the audience. And Marcela’s violin still adds something special to the music. A short set, but a good warm up for the main act of this evening.
Stream of Passion setlist:
A War of Our Own
Street Spirit (Fade Out) (Radiohead cover)
In the End
After rebuilding the stage, or at least replacing some keyboards and guitars, the lights on the stage were dimmed a little, and familiar sounds started playing – for those who already had heard the album. A smiling and waving Anneke van Giersbergen ran onto the stage, dressed in leather pants and jacket, and a bright red blouse – shortly followed by the rest of the band, to guide us through the first track from The Diary, Endless Sea. Of course, the Gentle tour was already done, so we were treated to the Storm version of the album here. After Endless Sea, we got The Heart of Amsterdam, but from there the band certainly chose not to play the full album sequentially, nor to stick to just the album. In the end, the whole album was of course played, but in a slightly different order (weird, for adiary). Only The Gathering‘s Eleanor interrupted the flow.
Half way, the moment everyone anticipated finally came; Arjen Lucassen coming on stage for this opening gig, which was announced by Anneke coming on stage on her own. With only an acoustic guitar she gave us her version of Wish You Were Here, and then the big, wel at least tall, man himself came on. Together, accompanied partly by Marcela and guitarist Ferry Duijssens (guitar) and Joost van den Broek (keyboards) they played the ‘gentle version’ of The Moment followed by three acoustic Ayreon covers: Comatose, Valley of the Queens and Hope. Arjen played guitar, sang and in his soft, shy voice thanked everyone and the band for their hard work and support. One of the most modest people I’ve ever seen on a stage.
After this intermezzo, a one off, as far as we know now, The Gentle Storm continued with two more tracks from The Diary and a number of tracks from other bands and projects Anneke was or is involved in : Ayreon, The Gathering, Agua de Annique and The Devin Townsend Project. They closed the (long!) evening with a great version of Shore of India.
The sound during The Gentle Storm was quite good, surprisingly after what I noted earlier. Somehow, the sound engineer managed to get rid of the low drones that mudded Stream of Passion. From the same place we were before, we could now hear all the instruments and really enjoy the contribution of the individual musicians. Merel Bechtold playing a 7-string guitar as if she was born with it, bass and guitar duo Ferry Duijssens and Johan van Stratum, drummer Ed Warby, and keyboardist Joost van den Broek were the perfect companions for the voice of Anneke van Giersbergen and Marcela Bovio. The over 40 instruments used on The Diary were not included in the show of course, which made it all sound slightly heavier and a little bit more metal than the album, but for this live setting that was actually a good thing. A great show, for a very nice album, and played by a great band. Glad I get to see them again tonight – at Rock Ittervoort.
The Gentle Storm setlist:
The Heart of Amsterdam
Eyes of Michiel
Eléanor (The Gathering)
Wish You Were Here (Acoustic, Pink Floyd)
The Moment (Acoustic, with Arjen Anthony Lucassen)
Comatose (Acoustic, Ayreon, with Arjen Anthony Lucassen)
Valley of the Queens (Acoustic, Ayreon, with Arjen Anthony Lucassen)
Day Seven: Hope (Acoustic, Ayreon, with Arjen Anthony Lucassen)
Looks like my weekend in Germany in July won’t get any better. This week Lesoir and Neal Morse (with Mike Portnoy) were added to complete the program. Times were shuffled a bit again – but here’s the program. Let the good times roll come July, what a way to celebrate the 10th anniversary of a festival!
Friday, 17.07.2015 Get In appr. 13.00 h
13.30 h LESOIR
15.00 h BEARDFISH
16.30 h ANNEKE VAN GIERSBERGEN PRESENTS THE GENTLE STORM
18.20 h PENDRAGON
20.30 h NEAL MORSE & BAND (incl. Mike Portnoy)
23.00 h CAMEL
Saturday 18. Juli 2015 Get In appr. 11.30 h
12.00 h LUNA KISS
13.30 h IO EARTH
15.00 h SYLVAN
16.45 h LAZULI
18.30 h THE ENID
20.30 h RIVERSIDE
23.00 h FISH – 30th Anniversary Misplaced Childhood Show
Sunday 19. Juli 2015 Get In appr. 11.30 h
12.00 h SPECIAL PROVIDENCE
13.30 h KAIPA DACAPO
15.00 h HAKEN
16.30 h STEVE ROTHERY BAND
18.15 h PAIN OF SALVATION
20.30 h STEVE HACKETT plays for the last time “GENESIS REVISITED”
I tried a few times now to take good pictures during live gigs. It’s hard, but I’m getting better at it. Main challenge: capture the right moments, while not using flash.
These were made last weekend, during a show of Italian prog band The Watch. I’m happy with the results, although I would’ve preferred a darker background on the drummer and bass player to match the other foto’s. My goal was to get exactly this atmosphere – dark background and profiles of the musicians, showing them either fully focussed, happy, or both.
My current gear: Nikon D3200 (simple, effective even if a bit slow sometimes) and a Nikon 70-200mm F.2.8 VR objective.
Now you can’t know every track of every band that ever made their way into the progressive rock arena, but one has to know U.K. And maybe to have seen them as well – which will become difficult now that they are on their ‘final tour’. So, I went to see them, at De Boerderij in Zoetermeer. Without my camera, since camera’s and other recording devices were not allowed.
I did bring my phone, but the pictures I took with that are not blog-worthy, so this will be a text only report, unfortunately. I’m glad I left my camera at home though: people’s phones were almost smacked out of their hands by security when they tried to take a photograph. Rules are rules, but prog fans are not exactly hooligans, dear folks of De Boerderij…
Now, to be honest, I had not played any UK album for a few years before I went, so I had to prepare by playing their Reunion live album on the day of the gig. Which I did. And I played it on the way back home as well, to hold on to the feeling of the concert. A concert that was not extremely spectacular, but that made me feel like I had a great evening.
The band opened with Thirty years, initially with only Eddie Jobson and John Wetton on stage, joined soon by drummer Virgil Donato and guitarist Alex Machacek.
The band took us through a nice set of UK classics (see list below), with Jobson and Wetton, the old guys, taking the lead of course. That means that there was a lot of keyboard and violin violence, supported by a massive layer of bass. Eddie sure knows how to send a drone into the audience, glad De Boederij is a solidly constructed building. On the other hand, if part of it had collapsed, the problem of finding a parking space would’ve become much smaller.
Where necessary, John clearly indicated his voice hasn’t gotten worse (nor better), and both men took their time addressing the audience, with short stories about the past of the band and the occasional joke. There’s enough energy there to complete the tour, I’m sure – but apparently these men have had their share over the past 40+ years – of which U.K. only covers a meagre 38.
It’ hard to say which of the songs the band played impressed me most, given that I wasn’t completely up to speed with their works. I enjoyed the concert a lot, and was pleasantly surprised with the power the band still radiates. Only minus was that the Eddie and John show seemed somewhat disrespectful toward Donati and Machaceck. Donati got his (brilliantly executed) drum solo, Machacek remained in the shadows of (mainly) Eddie Jobson. At some point, I saw people wondering how Alex played these high notes on his guitar so low on the neck, only realising after a few seconds they were actually listening to Eddie playing ‘guitar’ on an electrical violin. Pity to see a good musician being overshadowed in this way. This focus on the band’s founders was confirmed again in the encore, which they did as a duo, and the other two did not show up for the final applause.
A small blemish on an otherwise great concert, but I guess the two have agreed to this before for the entire tour. Either way, if you have a chance to catch them on one of the remaining gigs of this tour – by all means make sure you get a ticket.
Carrying No Cross
Time to Kill
Violin/Keyboard Solo (E. Jobson)
Drum Solo (V. Donati)
In the Dead of Night
By the Light of Day
Presto Vivace and Reprise
Forever Until Sunday (Bruford cover) Encore:
Caesar’s Palace Blues
The Only Thing She Needs
Carrying No Cross (reprise)
Earlier I blogged about my pending visit to Night of the Prog festival at Loreley Amfitheater in Germany. Now, and I missed it last week, more fun is added to that weekend: Gentle Storm (Anneke van Giersbergen, Arjen Lucassen) and Pain of Salvation were added to the line up.
Currently, the program is listed as follows:
13.30 h TBA
15.00 h IO Earth
16.30 h Beardfish
18.20 h Anneke van Giersbergen presents The Gentle Storm
20.30 h Pendragon
23.00 h Camel
Saturday 18. Juli 2015
12.00 h TBA
13.30 h TBA
15.00 h Sylvan
16.45 h Lazuli
18.30 h TBA
20.30 h Riverside
23.00 h Fish – 30th Anniversary Misplaced Childhood Show
Sunday 19. Juli 2015
12.00 h Special Providence
13.30 h Kaipa DaCapo
15.00 h Haken
16.30 h Steve Rothery Band
18.15 h Pain Of Salvation
20.30 h TBA
TBA = to be affirmed – Bands and Times can be changed