Review: Spock’s Beard Records DVD at the Boerderij in Holland

iO Pages Festival (with Spock’s Beard & Steve Thorne) – Boerderij – May 25th, 2007

This was the fourth time I saw Spock’s Beard live and the first time I saw them at the Boerderij in Zoetermeer. I was looking forward to this concert with mixed feelings. Last year I bought the Beard’s latest album and I did not like it as much as the previous two (Feel Euphoria and Octane). And then there was this guy called Steve Thorne which I did not know what to expect from.

Before the show started we were told by the organizer of the festival that a DVD would be recorded of this Spock’s Beard concert. Wow! This was really good news! That will be the fourth DVD on which I am present in the audience! The other three are “Symphonic Live” by Yes, “Live in Amsterdam” by Toto and “Instant DeLIVEry” by The Flower Kings. Nice! 🙂

Unfortunately the performance of Mr. Thorne was a bit of a disappointment. He did not have a band to back him up, so he played along with a CD (or a PC with a media player?), completely alone on the stage. He sang and played his ass off and got good reactions from the audience, who maybe felt a bit sorry for him and wanted to support him as much as they could. The music was nice but not so special. I think it will be a totally different story if you put a real band behind him that can really make things rock. The last two or three songs were the best, but I can’t remember the song titles.

After Steve Thornes performance there was a short break in which the band technicians did a final sound check. Just as with the previous concerts there were two drum kits on the stage: one for Nick D’Virgilio and one for drummer Jimmy Keegan, who plays most of the drum parts when Nick is singing and playing guitar.

After the break, Spock’s Beard came to the stage. The opener was the first track from the new album, “On A Perfect Day”, which is a very cool song. The energy was immediately there and the band sounded fantastic. They really rocked, although I had the feeling that they were a bit tense because of the camera men that were walking around on and off the stage. Ryo was as crazy as always, standing on his keyboards during solos and telling dirty jokes like he always does. 🙂

They played songs from almost every album, except from “Snow”. They also played a lot of songs from the new album like “Skeletons at the Feast”, “Slow Crash Landing Man” and the epic “As Far As The Mind Can See”. Fortunately the best tracks of the album (except for “Slow Crash Landing Man”, IMHO).

Unfortunately they did not play “The Light” as an encore, which I really love very much. They had played this song during the past few tours as an encore, so I had high hopes about this song being played live again. But then again I won’t complain because the show was very good overall. I can’t wait to get my hands on the DVD when it’s released.

After the encore the show got a strange twist. The band came back to the stage and Nick told the audience that they wanted to “fix a couple of things”! The band wanted to re-record a couple of sections of the show with the  audience still present. Nick said: “We could fix everything in the studio, but this is more real”, with I totally agree with! This lead to a couple of hilarious moments because of shirt changes that were necessary and Ryo getting a bit irritated  by the process (which lead to some very funny reaction from Ryo and the other band members) because it was taking quite some time for the drummer figuring out were to start the takes and getting the tempo right while listening back to the recording on this earphone.

After these final recordings were finished, the band got back one final time with a surprise. Nick sat down behind his drum kit and together with Dave Meros and Alan Morse they played Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love” with Jimmy Keegan on vocals. What a cool encore! Who would have expected that Jimmy has such a big voice for such a small guy! 🙂

Overall the show was very good, although the setlist could have been a bit better, IMHO. Highlights for me were “Walking on the Wind”, “Skeletons at the Feast”, “Thoughts Part II” and the fantastic drummers duel between Nick and Jimmy. And of course Jimmy Keegan’s crowd surfing! 🙂 My compliments go to the sound engineer for creating a wonderful mix. The only small complaint I have was about Alan’s guitar. Sometimes it could have been a bit louder.

(Originally posted on my journal)