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Current page: Concert Diary 2007

Current page: Concert Diary 2007

Concert Diary 2007

Hervormd Centrum, 't Zoaltje, Bierum - 21st November

Chris Simpson writes - This was a Jan Bos gig.

He has an agency which he runs out of the above town; is married to the lovely Fien and is a huge, likeable bear of a man. He is also straight in his dealings, which is not just unusual in the shady world of agents, it is downright startling.

He also gets concerts in remarkable places. Last night was no exception.

Jan rolled up at our cabin in the woods earlier than expected as he'd looked at the map again and figured we needed to be off a tad ahead of schedule.

On up the motorways crowded into the back of Jan's transport, the Dutch accents mixed with occasional bursts of static from the radio. Traffic jam warnings etc.

A road stop at a garage and Matt pulls a muscle in his back.It got worse as the day went on.

Dutch gas stations sell many things, from pornographic DVD's to cuddly toys; flowers, coffee and crokets. The latter are wondrous, a sort of sausage shaped phallic symbol with an interior of what looks suspiciously like dog meat. The quality varies from station to station, but their redeeming quality is firstly they are hot, and secondly if you smother them in Dutch mosterd, they are passably digestable.

We travel on up into Friesland and across the Polders under a lowering November sky, one of those nights when the soul shrinks and the wind howls across the flatlands like a banshee.

'God, this is the end of the world', mutters Jan as the road ahead disappears to turn right. We find the village clustered around the ancient church like chicks around a mother hen, and there is the big man awaiting us.

It ain't exactly Madison Square or the Albert Hall. It is a village hall in north Holland. There is a scent of woodsmoke across the rooftops. We load out and in comes the sound man- a Willie Nelson lookalike.

The room is laid out, tables and chairs and would you believe, coffee and cake.

What on earth would Keith Richards have made of that?

Jan lights a brazier outside for the smokers to stand around and soon it is 8.15 and on we go.

Matt's back is giving him a lot of trouble and he even has to beg a stool. That I have to add with a certain malicious sense of satisfaction, cut our boy down to size.

It is almost full by showtime; the coffee cups have admitted defeat to the beers, wine and so on and on we go.

There is no real lighting. It is a village hall miles from anywhere.

The clientele vary from 'saw you thirty years ago' to just checking us out.

Linda and Matt lead in and we're off. The boy was in real pain.

We consoled him on stage and I added, with a bizarre sens of compassion, that if he died before the end of the show,well, could I have his laptop?

The first half ends as ever on 'Fields of Eden.'

These are farming people at a point in Europe where the northern polders in Holland in the grip of an ice freeze and bordered by the bitter winter waters of the North Sea can be the most desolate place around. They understood the piece perfectly.

Out for a cigar by the brazier, and guess what,I end up talking to some folk who first saw us thirty years ago in Groningen...

The second set normally has Matt leaping about in 'Backroads,' No chance this time, but John, a Dutch fan who follows us everywhere, he has been to ten shows so far on this trip, stepped in and mimed Matt's part to stupendous applause. By the time we had reached 'Paradise Row' is was all there and our crippled boy had made it through.

These are fine people.

We signed CD's and were then treated to a fine thick Dutch farmhouse soup made on the spot, cheeses, meat and bread. Lord, we even got paid.

Load out and the wind whipping sparks from the embers of the brazier across the village square above and over the old church.

Fond goodbyes all around, 'sad smiling au revoir,' ( For the Gypsy ) and Jan muttering as we coast our way through the black northern night across the windy polders to the distant stream of light that is the motorway.

Well, that is another one down and as the great,late, Chet Atkins said, "fooled 'em again".

Some  of our audience
Left Arrow Winterswijk, Holland Lochem, Holland Right Arrow