Effenaar, Eindhoven, The Netherlands
Review by Marga Taris
The comprehensive London and Gateshead reviews pretty much summed it up, the gig in the renovated Eindhoven Effenaar on February 1. It was exactly that, 'Noizy and Rocky and Intense' in the same vein as last year's dynamic shows. There remains not much to add except for the setlist and the odd triviality. Same professional, tight band - John sure knows how to drill his boys, same stage manager - using the same black sellotape that sticks like hell wherever it should not, good old Creed was back to manipulate the sound, Dr. Watson was sorely missed... a new tourbus and a new driver.
8 pm. It's freezing cold! and it has started snowing. There's not a Cale fan in sight anywhere near the entrance doors. The queue has formed inside the warm Effenaar cafe around the corner, thinking they can get access to the venue through the house. Wrong, you gotta get out to get in, making me and my friend number one and two in line.
The band apparently had been a bit worried about continental temperatures too, what with reports of minus 20 degrees Celsius 'somewhere East' in Germany. But Americans speak Fahrenheid .... and did I by any chance know the conversion factor from C to F. ?? No, not there and then, but hey, I just looked it up .. it's - 4 F, which suddenly makes it all look a lot less serious.
The venue has been unrecognizably changed. Whereas the outside somehow evokes images of an unfinished Esher sketch with stairways on all sides, inside - when looking up at the 'ceiling' ( yeah, I do that sometimes ) one feels oneself trapped in some Kafka-esque kind of moviescape. Surreal !! And it's become a smoke-free zone (for one night)
JC must have known the place had undergone a complete transformation, he was quite in style... wearing a shirt with the word CHANGE printed on the back for the occasion. He showed it to the audience pretty often... the very moments one is tempted to inspect the ceiling perhaps... Furthermore there were the inevitable huge sport shoes in bright white, begging to be admired, and looking suspiciously ?new? - see! it's impossible to escape the dozens of shoe shops in Eindhoven - , and funky jeans... with shiny shiny buttons instead of a zipper - not terribly practical maybe, but comfortably safe if you happen to be the centre of attention on a higher stage. :) :)
The show started much later than announced which inspired my friend - who regarded this as a typical case of arrogance - to decide _not_ to give JC any applause on entering the stage hahaha. Well, maybe it was the new driver.... Who cares, I had secured nearby accommodation for the night so I was in no hurry at all. And I noticed that it only took as much as half a song before all was forgiven and forgotten. ;)
Never heard it live before, it's great. The perfect song to shake-that-ass so to speak, how can anyone wish to remain seated at all during opportunities like these? Gateshead?
Took me a while before I got _that_ one....I initially understood something like: 'of Cross(ing) Border nature' ???? but that festival was months ago...! Anyway, the song was almost a solemn experience, I have always adored the Nico versions. Very interesting. Some people in the front tried their best to outsing the band during the she's-a-femme-fatale-bits. Shame, wish they could be happy by just whispering the lyrics they're familiar with.
"This song is in B-flat"
Pardon? Not so apparently, judging by the amused looks on the guys' faces, and next on our faces for that matter.
"Thank you very much, NOW it's in B-flat"
"This is a new song", it's called Jumbo in tha Modernworld, maybe out this summer, .... if I'm lucky" :)
John makes a reappearance... solo! for
Then he's gone again.
We're waiting for the band to show up now.... there's no action... frighteningly quiet out there... We continue clapping our hands till they are sore, banging German-size beer glasses on the stage floor, to no avail, Country music gets played over the PA meaning as much as this is really over. Too short, too soon.... Now what's wrong with playing Gravel Drive in the Netherlands John? it's on your setlist as an encore! And this reminds me again why one always needs to attend more than one or two concerts...
Fortunately this is not the RFH or the Shepherds Bush, one of which is probably responsible for inventing the concept 'Curfew', we don't get thrown out onto the streets immediately afterwards... in fact we hang around till 1.30 am. Enough time to let the music and the drinks sink in, and to have some illuminating conversations. :)
And should anyone wonder about Backstage Wildlife anno 2006..... rumour has it that it's not blonde groupies on the lads' laps... no, ... it's laptops these days !!!! hahaha. So much for Sex and Drugs and rock 'n Roll ... :) :)