Het Paard, The Hague, The Netherlands
Review by Marga Taris
Problems with the national railway system causes delays once
again.... in wintertime it's the frozen overhead wires or snow on
the tracks, in autumn it's the leaves, and of course now it's
the 'killing' heat of the sun that expands the rails. I am supposed
to travel via the airport!? Four transfers.
Bloody hell, it's easier to get from Amsterdam to Phoenix than from Utrecht to The Hague!!
But hey, skipping supper and the usual pre-concert drinks with the fans on the outdoor cafe on Prinsengracht meant I was pretty much in time for the show.
9.10 pm: The introduction by the festival presenter reveals John's
urgent request for "No Smoking, no audio, no video, no photographs,
no flash, etc." tonight. And anybody displaying the slightest form
of disobedience could involve our hero leaving the stage immediately.
Oops,.. the legion of determined looking camera men (and women – hi
Anneke ) swarming around the crowds predicted the shortest Cale
concert ever played.
Plus the information left some guys in wonder whether they were allowed to finish the alcoholic drink they just got from the bar!
9.15 John & band enter.
Oh <gulp> he looks good! - quite healthy that is, and serenely
confident - the 3 months break must have done him well. And he found
himself a fine hairdresser.
The poloshirt matched the trousers which were a comfortable imitation of bluejeans.
Ooooww... and look at them shoes!!! The traditional Arizona Cowboy Boots. Now that's what I call "Stage Presence".
And, very considerate I have to say, he was quite in style with his new orange guitar strap. Four weeks to go before this Dutch `oranje' mania is over.... or perhaps just a couple of more days if we're lucky and the team is out. Some folks even painted their house orange. Can you believe it!
There is not much to review music-wise because to be honest, it was
all well known territory and nothing got excitingly out of hand on
stage, no, everything was mildly in control... for Cale standards.
But in spite of that :) a Cale concert with this band is still a
Only one awkward moment might have led to a little catastrophe, when I almost was witness of how he unplugged himself. Ignorent of the fact that one heavy boot was nicely parked right on the cord of the guitar, pulling it rather tight, he was on the verge of swinging the guitar theatrically round his body to achieve some cool Rock'nRoll effect.... well he did just that but alas... had removed his boot in time.
Perfect wasn't in fact all that Perfect. They were in tune alright
but the sound was not synchronous so the song took a peculiar
dimension as of some point. The band looked highly amused behind
this utterly serious frontman's back.
Outta the Bag sounded a bit Out of Place with a rather chaotic start. Pablo was great with its ominous dark percussion, quite like the repetitive, hypnotizing Navajo drum beat which can slowly bring you into a state of trance if you listen long enough... of course we didn't get that chance because time was up and the festival host just couldn't waaait to grab the mic and ensure us in a patronizing kind of way that there were other bands scheduled for the night that were really worthwhile listening to. Ha! That's the frustrating thing about festivals... all is so meticulously timed that it destroys all hope/possibilities for encores or anything spontaneous and out of the ordinary.
I thought the concert was way too short, yet very powerful and
electrifying, a surge of sound that filled every corner, every crack
in the entire building with `noise'.. or music if you like. The
audience was vibrating with energy; so good to see.
Yep, this was a beautiful night out again!
The band stayed at the Ibis hotel just around the corner, only a 3 minutes walk, still JC was chaperoned home. :)
And nice to know.. Hans, the guys apparently consult your website to find out where they're playing the next gig....
As promised I passed on a big hug to Tony. That got him off guard for an instant haha.
Well, it is happily returned and he sends his regards!