18-3-2006 7.50 pm
LVC, Leiden, The Netherlands
Review by Marga Taris
Waiting in the cold for the LVC to open its doors for us silly chilly concert-goers, watching unfamiliar - non Cale related - instruments and cases being unloaded from a truck and carried inside... huh?? , the police on mountain bike (typically Dutch – the bikes that is, not the mountains) invading the venue, the band _leaving_ the place and going downtown, and the girl at the box-office trying her best to trace our reservations in `some' computerfile but failing to conjure up our names on the screen, but of course I don't believe in bad signs....
the show is supposed to start, but by then first all guitars need a double-check & tuning by Joe Karnes.
Ok can we begin now?
Enter stage manager, equipped with flashlight and tools of all sorts stuck in his belt... like a bloody carpenter. Setlists get taped in every corner... irregularities swept aside, microphones and wires checked.
The audience's wardrobe is to be removed from the stage floor...
Here comes the grocer to deliver a plentitude of bottles with mineral water on every horizontal spot available ... somebody here must be pretty thirsty.
Guitar batteries are replaced.. just in case. we won't have that funny incident happen a second time! haha...
The lady next to me is demonstrating signs of impatience, she beckons the stage manager and instructs him to tell JC there's people waiting for him. A bit embarrassing but she's convinced it worked!
9.45 pm or so enter JC & band...
My God he looks thin and fatigued, he definitely lost a few pounds on the way.
And what's wrong with European hairdressers. Does he distrust them? His hair has grown uncontrollably wiry since Eindhoven, and although the front locks have been carefully combed back with gel to create the evil Don Corleone look, the back has adapted the shape of Woodstock's coiffure. It's a cute and harmless little bird, isn't it?
New bicoloured sportsshoes in pale- and dark grey pattern `adorn' John's feet, smartly matching with his dark blue/grey-ish trousers and pale grey-ish surgery shirting ... a uniform that wouldn't have been out of place in China... in the Mao-era!, an ensemble that complacently despises fashion. Fantastic!
Yes Ziggy, following the St.Petersburg example there were black&white posters glued to the monitors right in front of me shouting `No Smoking' (I must admit smoke-free zones are a revelation and a recommendation) and 'No Photographs' (only during the first 3 songs without flash!! - which amazed me... I mean this still sounds like an encouragement from a man who shuns the camera?). Strangely enough it forgot to mention 'No Recording' which is usually the artist's greatest fear. I assume that everyone in the back felt free to merrily shoot the event for DVD release then? Keep me informed.(Sorry Margaret, just joking) :)
The band was packed on a cosy little stage that could be easily accessed by 4 or 5 inviting steps leading directly to John's microphone. A bit stressful for the stage manager no doubt, who kept a close watch and was not allowed to lose attention one single minute.
But nobody bothered to climb up there and spoil the vibe, everyone was too absorbed by the music. You just wanted to close your eyes and make the songs, each one a distillation of a different mood, take possession of you. It was a great atmosphere.
If you have attended the Black Acetate Tour earlier on and think you know what it is like... forget it! This night seemed to be taken from a completely different tour compared to two months ago. Many songs have been replaced by others and the ones that remained on the setlist were now rearranged and in different guises, for instance the extended alien/Asian version of Gun (and are those ambulance sirens??), or that strange minimalist Christmas version of Hanky Panky Nohow.. complete with modest jingle bell sound. Very unusual!
The songs played were:
Introduced as: "So I wrote this song about my favourite painter, and I turned on the tv and there they were destroying the Bamiyan statue. And that's the atmosphere in which this song was written".
Mr.W. and I were hoping for this one not to pop up, but hey I'm on the verge of fully enjoying it. I suppose it's an acquired taste. Surprising guitar improvisations here.
Great great ending with screeching guitars. Whaddya mean an `acoustic' song?
"This is a new song that's probably out this summer and the chorus
is: Blame it on the monkey.. that's us"
And indeed we were treated to the proper animal voices & Zoo-noises.
"This is another painter"
An over 10 minute version of Pablo Picasso, with Mary Lou cleverly interwoven. Did anyone recognize it?
And that was it.
There must be a curse on Gravel Drive yes?, but let's not bring up that subject anymore....
The official list for the nigth showed 10 other options of songs, and was a cross between a menu and setlist ... maybe to encourage John to eat?
It seems they now produce extra copies of this list to be able to satisfy the needs of _all_ collectors that keep pestering the crew after the show. A sympathetic gesture, but I tell you it's not quite the same as the real thing that you normally have to 'fight' for :), .. and with the footmarks and dirt imprinted on it.