Review: Classic Toto Line-up Plays Great Show in Amsterdam

Toto – Heineken Music Hall, Amsterdam – June 23rd, 2011


A small part of me died when Steve Lukather announced that “there is no more Toto” in June 2008. The end of an era. I had been a fan of this band for more than 20 years and I was devastated that day. You can imagine how incredibly happy I was when Steve announced a reunion tour in February 2010. The circumstances were very, very sad though. Bassist Mike Porcaro was diagnosed with and suffering from ALS; a disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that control the muscles in your body, which eventually leads to death. The reunion of Toto was meant to benefit Mike to help him pay his medical expenses. “The Groovemeister” would be replaced by bass veteran Nathan East during the 2010 reunion tour.

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Review: Yes Union Live Deluxe Edition 2DVD/2CD Box Set

As a huge Yes fan I was overjoyed when I read the announcement on about the release of the Yes Union Live show on DVD. I was even more thrilled when I read that a special limited edition deluxe box set would be released containing not one, but two DVDs and a double CD containing lots of extra footage and bonus audio material. When this box set was finally available for ordering, it took an other three weeks for the package to arrive at my place. Those were a long three weeks, I can tell you that. đŸ™‚

With so much material to watch and listen to it took me a while to come up with a review. Enough with the introduction. Let’s dive in!

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CD Review: KC levert kwaliteitsalbum met naamloos debuut

Promo-CD van KC's komende debuutplaat

Het overkomt mij slechts een aantal keren per jaar dat ik een plaat opzet waarbij ik na een paar seconden eigenlijk al weet dat ik de hele plaat goed ga vinden. Een plaat die onmiddellijk bij de eerste luisterbeurt al op zijn plek valt en je daarna niet meer loslaat. Een plaat die vervolgens na meerdere luistersessies stukje bij beetje zijn geheimen aan je prijsgeeft en een plaatsje krijgt in het lijstje van je favoriete albums van dat betreffende jaar.

Dit overkwam mij nota bene op de allereerste dag van dit nieuwe jaar toen ik de promo-CD van KC’s komende debuutplaat in mijn brievenbus aantrof en deze plaat op de eerste middag van het jaar aanzette. Een betere muzikale start van 2011 had ik mij niet kunnen voorstellen.

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Review: Joe Bonamassa Rocks the Royal Carré Theatre

The first time I got to know Joe Bonamassa‘s music was when web store recommended me the album “Sloe Gin”. This recommendation was based on the fact that I ordered a couple of CDs and instruction DVDs from blues guitar player Robben Ford. I remember listening to the album “Sloe Gin”, thinking it was okay but not completely my cup of tea, and lost sight of Joe Bonamassa.

(Pictures by @attilladegroot)

That was until a friend of mine mentioned Mr. Bonamassa to me and asked if I was interested to go and see him at the Royal CarrĂ© theatre in Amsterdam. That was in 2009. I can’t remember if I said “No thanks, maybe next time” or if the concert was already sold out at that time and I couldn’t go anyway. What I do know is that this particular friend managed to get a ticket for that show in 2009 a couple of days before the show via the Internet, went to see him and was completely blown away. So when I read a couple of months ago that Joe Bonamassa would return to CarrĂ© on November 7th of this year, I didn’t hesitate and made sure I was going to be there this time, together with this friend I mentioned earlier.

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Engadget’s Samsung Galaxy Tab Review

The Samsung Galaxy Tab gets a fairly good review. When I look at the price tag in the US, which is $600, I think they could learn from that over here in Europe. In the Netherlands for example the recommended retail price is €750, which is over a thousand dollars. That’s an outrageous difference in price.

Link : Engadget – Samsung Galaxy Tab review

CD Review: Gungfly – Please Be Quiet

Ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you mister Rikard Sjöblom. People who prefer listening to progressive rock may recognize this name as the 28 year-old singer, guitar player, keyboardist and writer of the band Beardfish.

Now please, ladies and gentlemen, don’t be scared and walk away because I mentioned the words “progressive rock” and “Beardfish” in one sentence. Mister Sjöblom does not deserve that. At all. Certainly not if you took the time and opportunity to listen to the album “Please Be Quiet” that he released under the name Gungfly.

Musical phenomenon

Rikard Sjöblom is a musical phenomenon. He is a master on every instrument he touches. He played practically all the instruments on the album except for a few drum and bass parts on a couple of tracks. An absolute joy to listen to. Except for the standard instruments like guitars, keys, bass and drums, he even gets away with incorporating the accordion on a few tracks.

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DVD/BD Review – Porcupine Tree in Great Shape on “Anesthetize”

Porcupine Tree – Anesthetize – DVD/Blu-ray Disc (2010)

In the past few years I have seen Porcupine Tree perform five times. One of these shows was the show in 013 in Tilburg (Netherlands) that took place on October 15th, 2008. At the beginning of that show the announcement was made that the show would be recorded for a future release on DVD. Lucky me!

“Anesthetize” is the second official DVD release by Porcupine Tree: the progressive rock outfit led by versatile and productive musician/producer Steven Wilson. The concert film is in fact a mix of the recordings of two nights: October 15th and 16th, both recorded at 013.

Strangely enough the band decided to release the DVD more than half a year after their latest album “The Incident”, which was released in September 2009. Usually the pattern is that a DVD is released right after the tour that takes place in support of an album, which was in this case “Fear of a Blank Planet”. For some reason unknown to me the band decided to ignore this pattern.

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Review: Jean-Michel Jarre Celebrates 30th Anniversary of Oxygene with Tour

Jean-Michel Jarre – Royal Theatre CarrĂ© – March 25th, 2008

The moment I saw that tickets where going to be on sale for the 30th anniversary tour of Jean-Michel Jarre‘s Oxygene album, my heart skipped a beat! And the venue that he chose to play this piece of music surprised me even more. Royal Theatre CarrĂ© is not a very big venue, which is a big contrast with the enormous outdoor events that mister Jarre conceived in the past. So this was really too good to be true! A friend of mine even managed to get tickets for the third row as counted from the stage. (Kudos to Mosphat!)

The view we had on the stage was very impressive with a large amount of old, vintage synthesizers in front of us, centered around four performers in total. Mister Jarre of course stood in the center of the stage, completely surrounded with keyboards, synths and organs. Lots of the instruments were at least 30 years old or more. During the short introduction speech, Jean-Michel told the audience that all of these old instruments needed to be handled like “old ladies”. Each instrument needed to be tuned separately, which the performers did live in front of the audience. Can you believe this? Unforgettable!

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CD Review: Moongarden Opens the Gates to Great Music

Moongarden – The Gates of Omega (2001)

As you could have read in one of my previous journal entries I was having quite some trouble getting Moongarden‘s album “Round Midnight”. Because I got a gift coupon for my favorite local record store I decided to let them try and get an other album of this great band called “The Gates of Omega”.

This almost turned out to become a disaster! It took them more than two months to get a hold of a copy. But the good news is that they did succeed! And I am a happy camper now!  đŸ™‚

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CD Review: The Sum of Too Much Flower Kings

The Flower Kings – The Sum of No Evil (2007)

Yep, this record is definitely Flower Kings! The fantastic guitar playing, the great keyboard sounds, the magnificent bass chops, it’s all there!

There is only one problem: it’s too much. Far too much! At least in my humble opinion. One epic song I can handle, but not four. It’s just too much prog, too bombastic, arranged too death with yet another section added and another section, and another. Structure is totally lost at some places. It’s just too much.

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Review: Porcupine Tree Performs Latest Album and More

Porcupine Tree (support: Pure Reason Revolution) – Melkweg – June 28th, 2007

My first introduction to Porcupine Tree was the album “Stupid Dream”. I read a raving review about the album in a Dream Theater fan club magazine and got interested in the band. After listening to a couple of tracks in the record store I decided to give the album a try and bought it. I would never have thought that now, eight years later, I would be sitting here writing a review for one of their concerts.

I saw Porcupine Tree earlier once, also in Amsterdam in Paradiso, and they played perfectly that evening. The DVD “Arriving Somewhere…” is a nice memory of this tour for me. You can imagine I was really looking forward to this concert.

And what a hell of a concert it was! What a terrific show! The band played absolutely great and the sound was fantastic! It was pretty loud, but it never got annoying (at least where I was standing in the venue).

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Review: Dream Theater Celebrates 15 Years Images & Words

Dream Theater (support: Riverside) – Museumsmeile – June 16th, 2007

Finally I have recuperated from my trip to Bonn, which is almost a 4 hour drive from the place where I live. Yesterday a friend of mine and myself had the privilege to see a very special Dream Theater live show. When we took off on Saturday morning to Bonn we did not have the slightest idea what would happen during that show. I can tell you I was flabbergasted and extremely happy that I was there to experience it!

But what am I talking about here? I think the people that were there and the biggest Dream Theater fans know what I am talking about. To celebrate the fact that “Images & Words” was released 15 years ago, the band played the whole album from start to finish! This was so extremely cool!!!

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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! đŸ™‚

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Review: Jon Anderson Goes Interactive During Workshop

Jon Anderson – 013 – March 24th, 2007

A friend of mine brought to my attention that Jon Anderson was giving a workhop on the 24th of March in 013, Tilburg. There was only one slight problem: he told me this on the evening of the 23rd, and I had to rehearse with my band that evening so I could not arrange anything or call any friends to go. I didn’t even know if there were any tickets left for this workshop and I was very anxious to be a part of it!

The next day I called a couple of friends but they all had made other plans for the evening. The same counted for me actually, but I was willing to change my plans for this very special concert/workshop.  đŸ™‚

I called the venue to ask if there were any tickets left. Luckily there were, so I decided to take my car and a couple of CD’s and drive to Tilburg, which is a two hour drive from where I live. I played Olias of Sunhillow to get in the mood and after that I played the debut album from Pure Reason Revolution, which I can recommend to any progressive rock fan!

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Review: Geweldige performance van Ilse DeLange

Ilse DeLange – Patronaat – 30 november 2006

Het is alweer bijna een maand geleden dat ik Ilse DeLange in levende lijve heb mogen aanschouwen in het Patronaat in Haarlem. Ik was al een tijdje van plan om een recensie te schrijven over dit concert maar het kwam er steeds maar niet van. Hoog tijd dat hier eens verandering in komt!

Het Patronaat in Haarlem is een prachtig zaaltje om artiesten als Ilse DeLange te bekijken en beluisteren. Naar schatting passen er zo’n 600 man in, wat het niet zo massaal en groot maakt als bijvoorbeeld een Ahoy’ of een Heineken Music Hall. Hierdoor heb je veel beter contact met de artiesten op het podium. Andere vergelijkbare zalen waar ik graag naar toe ga zijn bijvoorbeeld de Boerderij in Zoetermeer, of De Kade in Zaandam.

Voordat Ilse op het podium verscheen, mochten we eerst een goed half uur genieten van het voorprogramma: The Junes. En als ik zeg genieten, dan bedoel ik ook genieten! Wat ik heb begrepen is dat deze mannen normaal gesproken met z’n vijven optreden, maar voor deze gelegenheid pakten de heren het akoestisch aan met z’n drietjes. Ondanks deze setting bleef de muziek recht overeind staan. De muziek was voor mijn gevoel een kruising tussen Keane, Radiohead en Venice. Melodisch heel sterk en prachtig gespeeld, met name door de gitarist die ook de zang voor zijn rekening nam. Wanneer volgend jaar het debuutalbum van The Junes uitkomt, zal ik deze zeker eens gaan beluisteren.

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