Guano Apes , Alex Mofa Gang ,Melkweg, Amsterdam, 5-11-17

On Saturday the 4th of November Jorge was due to arrive.

Whilst still at The Hilton, in the morning, Andy went off for a wander. I think he’d planned to visit a couple of museums. Of course, he had to ask Urethra at reception for directions (Any excuse eh mate ? 😉 ) As i didn’t have a great nights sleep the previous night, i decided to stay there a bit longer 😉 (Hey, at least Andy can joke about the snoring lol). Later Andy came back, we had some rubbish coffee & then left to go check into the hotel i’d booked for me & Jorge.It was very close & as we’d passed it the previous day, no trouble to find it. As the room wasn’t ready yet,i stayed in reception whilst Andy went off again. Apparently, he went to Moco Museum to check out the Banksy and Roy Lichtenstein exhibition…& i’m sure that he would be going via various bars 😉 Once the room was ready, i went up & was quite surprised how good it was.
Whilst this hotel was nowhere near as “plush” as the Hilton, it served it’s purpose & was good value for money (also added bonus of being closer to Melkweg etc).  I decided to just chill there until Jorge arrived. Soon enough he was here & i went down to meet him. Jorge also seemed quite impressed with the room.
Eventually we went out for a wander & arranged to meet Andy near The Bulldog on Leidseplein, to try find a place to have a meal together. We walked up & down the street & eventually decided to go in the Sherpa Nepelese restaurant.(We’d been there before on a previous trip, so knew it was good). We were lucky to get a table as it was very busy. I think everyone enjoyed the meal there. Once we’d finished, we decided to have a walk to the Red light District. Jorge had only previously visited there with female company, so he was keen to visit again. We told him we’d show him around the “Meat & 2 veg” section for a laugh 😉 By the time we got down that end of the city, it started to piss it down. So we decided to go have a beer at “The Old Quarter”. (That’s a place we’ve stayed at a few times over the years. We stopped staying there when there was a change of management & the cost wasn’t as good value as previous times. Not only that, but they stopped doing the evening meal which we loved. It was some kind of Dutch Stew & was gorgeous!). It was good to get out of the rain ! After numerous txts from them,  Kitti & Benoit came to the Old Quarter. Was nice seeing Kitti again as hadn’t seen her for a long time. Sorry,but not sorry, to say it, but, Benoit was being a bit of a dickhead. (I wasn’t the only one who noticed it!) As we’d been there a while already, we decided to go visit another bar, just up the road. It’s called “The International”. I stayed a night there years back as The Old Quarter was sold out. Had a couple of drinks & then decided to head “home”. As it was still raining, we walked to central station & took a tram back to our respective hotels.

Gig Day 5-11-17

Jorge & myself had breakfast in the hotel.It was quite nice.(Andy was at his hotel & went to Bagels & Beans) Later Andy came to the hotel & i took him up to our room. Think he thought the room was ok. We had a brief little game of “indoor mini basketball” !  We all then left for more wandering around.As we were going past Melkweg, we saw the tour bus was there so i had to take a photo or Andy & Jorge next to it.  As we walked along various streets i saw a fuck off big bird sat on a car. It didn’t give a dam.(See what i did there? 😉 )  Eventually, we stopped off at “Rooie Neli’s” & had beers. 
Walking along another street we saw a couple of interesting things. The 2nd photo is of Jorge “Checking out the competition” 😉 Our next stop was “Cafe Kalkhoven”. I think we all might have had food there. I remember Andy having some kind of beef patte with a bun, followed by apple pie complete with slagroom 🙂  I’d prearranged with Henning that i’d phone him when we got to the venue as we wanted to see the soundcheck etc. All 3 of us managed to do it.We were walked through & went up on the end of the side balcony. A great viewpoint.
It was interesting to see how they had the stage set up. What was that little drum set all about? The screens looked cool as they depicted images from back in the ’90s. I really should have worked out straight away what they were gonna do, but i was a bit slow if i’m honest.
Something i STILL cant get my head around is the fact that Sandra never seems to do soundchecks with the guys* (The only time I’ve know that to happen is if they’re doing a show for TV OR first night of a tour)
* So if anyone was outside the venue & thought they heard Sandra singing, it wasn’t her! It was a tape of her vocals & the guys played along to that. 
After soundcheck finished, Henning came to have a chat with us. As i’m writing this, Andy reminded me that when Henning came up to us, he said that we “….looked like a scene from the Muppets “! (If you’ve seen The Muppets, he’s referring to the old geezers up in the balcony who would always berate Kermit etc)  I had to ask the age old obvious question ” When do you think you’ll come back to play a show in the UK?” 😉 Whilst he didn’t confirm anything, after what he told me, there is now more hope that it could happen 😉 I think he asked what i thought of the new/old album. Well, as it was only released in Germany (NOT a smart move by the record label) i didn’t have much time before the gig to listen to it. ( I also had other gigs before GA, so wasn’t home enough to listen !). I thought a couple of old songs sounded totally different, but at the time, i couldn’t decide if it was a good thing or not. I also asked if the idea of the new(old) album was potentially gonna make them try playing in other markets (Hence the previous answer about touring 😉 ) There was so much more i would have liked to have know about the album, but we didn’t have time to talk for very long. Oh yeah, i also mentioned to him that even though i’d got a photo pass i was a bit paranoid that i might get shut down by security (Like last time when i filmed at this venue). He then kindly said he’d go have a word with the venue manager, to make sure nothing like that would happen. Thank you Henning, it was most appreciated. Also thanks to the venue manager (Sorry, i can’t remember her name) We left Melkweg to go have food. Outside we bumped into Pezi. Was nice seeing her again. Had a brief chat, then went our separate ways. (I think Pezi went to meet Kitti?).
When came back later, going through queue to get in early, i almost lost a pass as wasn’t stuck very well on my jacket. Fortunately Jorge spotted it. Holding it towards me he said “Erm, i think you’ll be needing this!”
Once inside the foyer, there was a female member of security. I asked her to let is in the main hall, but she wouldn’t let us in ! Ended up having to phone Henning (which i didn’t want to do). When he came security bitch wouldn’t let him walk us through even with him having his AAA laminate !! I could see Henning was getting annoyed with her & i felt really bad for putting him in this situation. What is it with these jumped up power hungry security dicks? In the end someone phoned the venue manager. She came rushing down the corridor ” What’s the problem?”. As she took us through, she grabbed a seat for me & took us up to balcony. (Yet again, huge thanks to Henning & the venue manager,whos name i’ve forgot,sorry, for helping us out).
Once doors were open, it soon got a bit busy. During the course of the evening, many of my old friends came in. Some came up to the balcony to say hello & others stayed downstairs. The opening band were “Alex Mofa Gang”. I’d never heard or seen them before. They were quite a decent opening act. Even though they sang in German, they had a good sound. (Andy liked them so much that later he bought a t-shirt 😉 ) There was a cool moment where the singer did a crowd surf with a difference…he managed to stand on some kind of a mat & the audience carried him along 

So,nice warm up & next it’s the main course 🙂
The lights go down & Dennis is the first one to get on stage. He sits down at the small drum kit & starts playing a familiar drum beat. Stude walks on next, closely followed by Henning. It’s immediately obvious that Henning has a problem with his guitar & he walks off stage whilst Dennis & Stude continue to jam the intro(along with a tape of Sandras vocal) of the opening of “Maria”. When Sandra appears on stage,Henning is still sorting out the problem with his guitar. Tbh, the start is a bit of a mess ! They take a little while to get into the groove with things ( Hmm, not the best start that I’ve seen…) During this opening, there’s very little lighting on the stage. Only the “boards” behind them with the old images are really lit up. I’m wondering how Sandra will sound tonight as they cancelled/rescheduled a couple of gigs earlier on the tour. During “Maria” she seemed to hold back with her vocals (Probably a wise thing if the cancellations were connected to that 😉 ). After that, someone in the crowd shouts out “Lords Of the Boards!” C’mon ! as if they’d play that song so early !?! Sandra then kinda cracks me up by saying “..no it’s not Lords Of The Boards…it’s quite similar to that…” They then play “Rain” ! Hmm, now i’m really confused! Rain doesn’t sound anything like LOTB ! (Neither the original or the 2017 version sound like LOTB)
We then get the first cover song of the night. It’s Eminems “Lose Yourself”. It’s pretty much a straight cover version. I like Eminems version, so it’s interesting hearing GA cover it. (I think there were a few confused faces down in the crowd during that one).

Next up it’s most definitely a crowd pleaser, namely “You Can’t Stop Me”. The band are now really getting into their stride. At the end of YCSM, Henning extends the outro with a little doodle,then goes into the classic opening riff of “Quietly”. Queue huge cheers from the crowd. Tonight, i can only describe “Quietly” as a strange version! To me, it sounded like Sandra couldn’t make up her mind whether to sing it high or low (Again, could it be to vocal problems still ?) 
Next we get the new version of “Crossing The Deadline”. I quite like the new opening riff that Henning came up with. The song, in general, compared to the original version, is quite different at the beginning. Still sounds good,but i prefer the original as it had more balls to it 😉
By now, we’re probably about half way through the main set. Another crowd pleaser is next; the incomparable “Open Your eyes”! This gets a load of the crowd po-going down on the floor. It’s great to see everyone having so much fun down there (And yes, i wish i could be down amongst it… 🙁 )

Then we get the new version of “Suzie”. On the album, i reckon this one is probably the most different to the original version. I love what they’ve done with it. Easily the best new old song. Sandra sounds amazing when she really belts it out. It comes over great live as well. After that they play the new version of “Never Born”. Whilst it’s good, i prefer the original version. I really like their cover version of “Precious”.

Before “Pretty In Scarlet”, Sandra spotted a little kid down the front. He was lifted up on stage & watched most of the song. Then he got what was probably his best experience of his lifetime : Dennis let him have a go at playing drums ! It was so sweet & cute to see that.  The main set finished with the pop of “Sunday Lover”. If you’re in the crowd downstairs & not bopping away to this, you need to check your pulse, as you might be dead ! 😉
The encore was something i’d wanted to see since the last time i saw them. Over the years, the guys have a jam song they played at the gigs (minus Sandra). When i saw them in Barcelona, they had a new jam called “Lez”. I always much preferred the original “Trompeter” jam as it had so much more swing to it. So, seeing them jam “Trompeter” tonight was a fantastic moment…& a hark back to the old days 😉

They then did something out of the ordinary. One of the guys started to play “Aint Got Time” (it’s not on the set list). Sandra said “Should we try it?”. After a quick false start, they almost found their way to do it, but Stude threw his hands up in the air & stopped it. Sandra blamed it on Stude “You’ve got altzeimer!”. But as Dennis said, they did have a try at doing it (Even though they hadn’t rehearsed it). Respect to them all for trying.
Henning starts playing a short riff (was it the start of Lose Yourself again ?) maybe checking if the guitars in tune? Whilst he’s doing that, over the other side, Stude grabs one of the cymbals(complete with stand) & hands it to the audience. Hey, even a cymbal gets to crowd surf tonight 🙂 Sandra asks if there are any drummers in the audience, but no one came forward.She then says this is “Big In Japan”. Again, it’s great to look down at the audience & see everyone jumping around like crazy. One lucky soul even got the chance to sing a verse when Sandra pointed the microphone to him.
We already know which song they’re gonna finish with, the song that pretty much launched their career, all those years back “Lords Of the Boards”. Of course, i had to film this one !

Again, great seeing everyone enjoying themselves. When the song finished, Stude trashed the bass drum with his bass, Sandra knocked down some cymbals (I often wonder what Dennis is thinking when this happens 😉 ) & for sure, everyone on stage had had a great time. Sandra then says to the crowd “Thank you so much for all coming out tonight”. Then she spotted me & screamed ” Simon ! Siiimon !” She then said ” cmon Simon. C’mon on stage. We need to have a photo with you….Simon..Simon is the one & only British fan, from i don’t know..20years…. Simon is here tonight”. As i was tentatively going down the steps, past a few of my friends, Sandra said something like ” *Simon is a real fighter * “…”Thank you so much cos you’re a real fighter”. As this is happening, the crowd then start chanting “Simon! Simon! Simon!”. What she said was all very emotional for me & kinda bizarre to hear the crowd chanting my name. It’s a moment i’ll never forget. Whilst i was being lifted up to the stage by Dennis, Stude went crowd surfing. Henning asked “Where’s Stude? We need to have the family photo”. He then notices that he’s at the back of the hall! . Sandra says “C’mon lets get the photo”. I pass my camera to Stilli (i think?). 

 

** If you don’t know me & are reading this, you’re probably wondering what Sandra is referring to when she says Simon is a real fighter. Well, the brief explanation is that early 2016 i had a seizure & was later diagnosed with having brain tumors. They said i’ve probably got 2 years left to live. I couldn’t believe it. So i had to endure multiple hospital visits to have both radio & chemotherapy. Whilst it’s not curable, i’ve carried on as much as i physically can, with my passion of still going to gigs.**

Dennis gets the young lad to join in the photo as well. What a fantastic way to finish the night. After the photo is took, i have a brief moment with Sandra. As we hugged & she gave me peck on the cheek, we both had tears running down our faces. For myself, it was a moment of reality. I suddenly realised there’s a possibility of this not happening again (seeing Guanos). I got very overcome by my emotions. It’s quite ironic when i think about it. I mean, such a unique super happy moment for me, switched to being low in a blink of the eye.
When i got my camera back, i took a few quick snaps of the band, the crowd & that little lad crowd surfing.  Eventually got off the stage & went back up to the balcony. I was probably blubbing all the way! Had some chats with my mates, struggled to get my  flag untied & then we went back down to main floor. I think at this time, Rob, Kristina & Anne went to meet Ronald & Vinnie at a bar. After that we went to the merchandise place to see who, from the band, would come out to hang with everyone.
I bought a T-shirt. Had chats with Henning, Dennis & Stude. Again, there was so much i would have liked to asked them, but my mind was all over the place. Then photos were took etc. I think the photo with Dennis clearly shows how emotional it had all been for me.  Unfortunately, a bit later, this great experience came tumbling down. One person started being a total dickhead around me (again) & as much as i hate to say it, i got really wound up by his actions. A couple of my friends could see that i was getting pissed off with him & if it wasn’t for Jorge getting between us, i would have probably punched him to the ground. I’d had enough of it all. So i thought “Fuck it! Lets get out of here & go join Rob & the others”. When we stepped out of the Melkweg, it was a horrible rainy night (Kinda how i felt in my mind at the time). Greg led the way, using his phone as a sat nav. Typically, it took us the long way there. Once there, sat down at a table with Rob,Kristina, Ronald, Vinnie etc, said quick hellos. But in all honesty, i was feeling pretty down. With a combination of the highs & lows of the day, i probably shouldn’t have gone there. I must apologise to my TRUE friends who were there, as i wasn’t being very sociable. A bit later,Jorge & a few others arrived at the Cave & took another table. After a while, i decided it best that i leave & go back to the hotel. Me & Andy said our goodbyes to everyone…. & as we we doing that “the annoying one” came over & kept trying to kiss me. I had to dodge that & push him away. So, yeah, what was a great day was ruined for me because of his actions.
*Now i’m pretty sure some of you reading this may be thinking “Simon sounds like he hates Benoit”. Hate is a pretty strong word. I wouldn’t use that to describe our “friendship”. I think “annoying” would be more suitable. Truth be told, i kinda feel sorry for him. I think he hasn’t got many friends & he is super sensitive when he’s around people (especially women) & the slightest little thing that he doesn’t like he has a hissy fit. Hell, we’ve even talked privately about that stuff (BEFORE this gig in Amsterdam) in the hope i could help him with his love/hate scenarios with some people. I guess he’ll never learn though.
I will also say that he has since apologised to me about his stupid behaviour. So i appreciate that he finally did that.

When me & Andy left the Cave, apparently, he carried on being a dick with someone else !
Later that night (or was it the following day?) Jorge told me that when they were leaving the Cave, he booked a taxi & offered Pezi/Kitti a free ride to their hotel (It was still raining). He wanted to make sure they got back safely & didn’t have to walk in the rain. Very kind & chivalrous of him to do that. But guess what? Benoit had a hissy fit about it ! Seriously, he needs to grow up. Jorge said they could share his taxi, nothing more,nothing less.
Yet beno couldn’t understand it. He has since called Jorge some childish nasty names (In a private GA forum).
As far as i’m concerned, he also needs to apologise to Jorge.

So, summing up, it was a weekend of highs & lows. Great seeing Guano Apes again & also cool to see some of my old friends who i’d not seen for a while.
I truly hope that Guanos make it back to the UK, before i pass away. (I even briefly considered paying for it to happen using my pensions i’d cashed in. But then when thinking about it more seriously, i thought it wasn’t a wise thing to do, for a couple of obvious reasons)

My friend Julia pretty much summed it up about the  last photo : ” Simon that’s amazing, I am so happy to hear this. You deserve it more than anyone else in this world. Hope you had an amazing trip xx “

 

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Wolf Alice , Melkweg, Amsterdam, 3-11-17

Originally, i planned to go see Guano Apes in Berlin & Leipzig. Then travel to Amsterdam & have “a day off” on Saturday, before the GA show at Melkweg on Sunday. Was gonna do that with Marc, but, even though he was initially interested in doing Berlin/Leipzig, he lost interest. I didn’t fancy doing the shows on my own,partly because of my illness & partly because i’m not as confident doing stuff out of the UK nowadays (This is coming from a guy who made multiple flights & train rides to see all the “final” GA shows back in 2005). Oh another thing, due to my condition, i cannot get any “holiday” insurance. So in the end, i had to cut it back & just go to GA in Amsterdam. However, my local mate Andy (G) kinda came to the rescue. He’d booked 3 nights hotel in Amsterdam whilst i’d only booked 2 nights (Sharing with Jorge). Andy suggested i fly out with him & i could share his hotel room on the first night (+at Gatwick as well). He’s a good mate for sure. As i’d waited so long for Marc to decide, flight prices were going up & i really needed to get on with things. So i took up Andys offer & booked train tix & flights to Gatwick.

This whole trip started after Curry Night on Thursday 2nd November. Went staight to Boston train station to travel to Gatwick airport.Was a smooth journey, with no hickups along the way.Soon got checked in & once in the room had a good, if short, nights sleep. No snoring either 😉 The flight went well & we quickly got into Amsterdam. Bought a 3 day travel card as Andys hotel was quite far away. I fancied walking it as it wasn’t too far from the area i know & it’s always good to have a packup plan if trams have any problems. As we walked along Damrak, i decided i need to start the day with some chips & mayonaise ! (Didn’t have any on last trip to the Dam, so had to have em this time!) We walked the route we’ve done many a time & soon got to Leidesplein. As we were there, thought we’d quicky go to Melkweg. (Backtracking a bit… before we travelled over to Amsterdam, Andy had mentioned that “Wolf Alice” were playing at Melkweg on Friday. I immediately thought “Hmm that would add to the trip”….but i wondered if i’d be knackered already & didn’t wanna wear myself out on the first day, which could potentially ruin the whole weekend for me. So decided to make up my mind once there). We then carried on to find my hotel. Once again, it was in the pefect position for Paradiso/Melkweg/ Rijksmuseum etc. Then carried on to find the hotel Andy had booked. Having not been there before, it took us a while to find it. Funniest thing was we actually walked right past the place & didn’t realise it ! When we doubled back, i said ” Andy, see that big sign that says Hilton?” was funny at the time. We soon got checked into the hotel by a lass that Andy took a shine to. Didn’t quite catch her name, but sounded like “Urethra”. Hence forth that was her name 😉 Whilst we were in our room, there were some chaps outside cleaning the windows! I also noticed, down below, a boat connected to the hotel (i assume) Hilton Marina . 

I decided to stay in the hotel for a while, to recharge my batteries, whilst Andy went out for a while. (Any excuse eh mate ? ;-)) I think Andy came back just over an hour later. We then went or our usual pilgrimage to the various bars etc. Mr T. wasn’t with us this time, but he’d sorted out Andy with his infamous stickers on the the map 🙂 First place we had a beer was Cafe Hoppe. Later we went to Tomaz Restaurant for some grub. It was busy, but managed to get a table. Had a good old chat with the waitress & i said something like “When i think of a pie, i imagine it to be some pastry with a filling”. What she recommended , was actually a tart, but they called it a pie! Apparently, she’d been saying this to the management for a couple of years, but they wouldn’t change it to what it really was . She even suggested i should review the place & mention about how people visiting expect a pie (as i previously described) So, that’s where my comment of “When is a pie not a pie? When it’s a tart!” came from 😉 After filling ourselves, we went for another wander & somehow we ended up back at the Melkweg 😉 We decided that as we were here, we might as well go see Wolf Alice 🙂 It wasn’t sold out, so getting tickets on the door was a doddle. Maybe it was because we got there early, but the place wasn’t very busy. Managed to find a nice spot on right side of balcony & we stayed there all night.  
Tonights gig was good, but not great. I couldn’t put my finger on it,but, i kinda felt that something was missing. Andy seemed to enjoy it, so that was good to see.

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Delain , Paradiso, Amsterdam 10-12-16

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“At trip to Amsterdam including an insight into the snoring techniques of my mates ”
This one will be more about the time in Amsterdam than the gig review…..
We booked this some time back & for a change, we decided to travel via ferry. Plan was to have a few days in Amsterdam & visit various places old & new. The journey started on Thursday & it seemed only right to visit the Wetherspoons in Louth as it’s “Curry night”. There was some disapointment amongst our group as the meal wasn’t up to the standards we were expecting. After Andy G. getting replacement WARM rice & then the lass asking if we were happy or not, we all got free coffees 🙂 Afterwards we drove up to Hull to catch the ferry. (I think maybe the last time i took a ferry might have been back in ’99 going to Rock Am Ring in Germany). It was a very smooth overnight sailing, but i really suffered a lack of sleep due to the “3 part non-harmony” of my mates SNORING ! After enduring it a while, i could easily work out WHO was doing the snoring by the different sounds they made (sad?) I’ll leave it at this: One had a very deep gutteral snore, one a “breath through the mouth” snore & the other a nasal snore with a kind of “wimpering” sound on breathing out ! God knows what or who he was dreaming about 😉 ( I guess we all snore & i’m supposedly no exception! My mate Rob says i was super loud when we went to Angelfish in Glasgow. Of course, i knew nothing of it,but the others did,as is always the case lol) It was a l-o-n-g night but at least once we get to our hotel i’ll be able to sleep as only sharing room with one of the guys….famous last words eh 😉
Over the next days we planned to visit various places in the Dam. Some we’d been to before & others were new. Andy T. was very organised having brought a map on which he placed stickers indicating locations to visit 😉Andy Ts map

First day we tried a pancake house. The guys were impressed, but i wasn’t. Around midday we checked into our hotel. http://www.backstagehotel.com/en I last stayed here when over for Garbage gig. A nice reasonably priced place located very close to Melkweg/Paradiso.

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Andy queues up a day early ;-)Then it was off for more exploring visiting places like Cafe Gollum & an early evening meal at a Nepalese restaurant. After the disappointment with the pancakes, this place was great !DSC08743DSC08748

I confess, by this time i was so damn knackered, that i decided to go hotel & try get some sleep. Couldn’t believe it! It sounded like above our room they were moving furniture & were generally very noisy. Then i realised our room was directly below the bar area! If you ever stay here, make sure you don’t have room 002 !! In the end i couldn’t stand it anymore & about 3am i went to reception to tell them we need to change rooms. ( Remember i’ve been awake since Thursday evening & it’s now the early hours of Saturday morning ! ) The chap was very nice about it & i moved to a bigger 3 bed room. Funny thing was, later i found out Andy didn’t even realise i’d left the room & came back to collect my bags later! (Can’t say i appreciated the msg from someone at 8am though…shoulda looked & realised sleep was needed !)

Gig Day : Once up, we wandered off to find the nearby bar to indulge in their apple pie + cream on top (Or as they call it “Slagroom”, which i still find hilarious as i’m English) DSC08759
Myself & the two Andys then went to another bar ” Cafe Chris”. We were the first in as they were just opening up at 3pm. Apparently the place dates back to 1624.
Later we went to Cafe Gollum again & finally went to a steakhouse for grub. Before going to meet Rob & everyone, i went to check on the early entry time at Paradiso.
Oh yes, need to explain that : My good friend Jan fell on the stairs when we were all at the Garbage show. The venue/management later arranged for him to have guest list places for future gigs. He offered me these,but as i said to him, they are for him. So i asked if maybe he could arrange something with regards to myself & Kristina getting in early as with my condition (brain turmors), this often happens in the UK. Sure enough, Jan sorted it out very quickly with Bram. All i needed to do was go to side door & ask for Rob who is the manager. Rob couldn’t have been more helpful & professional about it all. I explained where we’d like to sit on balcony & he even said i could take a couple more in with me! I don’t abuse the system & by not offering the places to others no ones nose was put out of joint ( ” Hey! Why you chose them instead of me?! “). We arranged to come back about 15mins before doors opened. Outside in the queue i met old friends from Bulgaria ; Venelin, Ned & Kristina (another one). Of course, Benoit was also there 🙂 We then went to Cafe Kooper on Leidseplein to meet up with all the others which included Jim, Diana, Rob, Michel & (a nice surprise) Anne 🙂 Hugs all round, lotsa laughs etc. 6.45 we went back to Paradiso & left the rest boozing away.
Getting closer to the venue, we realised they’d already opened doors! Reason being cos it was raining. How nice of them….wouldn’t happen in the UK 😉 Rob had reserved the seats for us, but they were not quite where we wanted to be. ” No problem! Go where you want “. So we moved along another 7 or so seats as it was a better angle to view from. The venue soon started filling up (was sold out). I sent txt to Andy to say there was one seat next to me if he could get there soon. But they were staying in the Irish bar till queue died down. Of course, they ended up on the top balcony. Around same time i got txt from Benoit saying he was on balcony left side. Didn’t take him that long to realise there was that seat next to me. (Snooze/booze & you lose Andy lol )
Tonight was a special gig celebrating 10 years since they released their debut album “Lucidity”. What better way to celebrate than playing one of THE best venues in the world, the “Church of Rock”, Paradiso, Amsterdam & filming it all for posterity?!! Many fans travelled from all over the world for this one.
After the intro tape, they go straight into “Hands Of Gold” from their latest album “Moonbathers” (I confess i’ve not got the album yet lol). It was a bit of a shock that they had the singer from “Arch Enemy”, Alissa White-Gluz join them on first song of the evening (She later also joined during “The Tragedy of the Commons”). But that was setting us up for an evening with quite a few guests & old band members joining them. The song finished with confetti cannons firing over the stage into the crowd. Already we have plenty of bang for buck 😉 Next it’s ” Suckerpunch” (again off “Moonbathers”. Maybe i should get the album 😉 ). I knew this one after seeing the video back in February…phew 🙂 What ?! Another one from same album? This time “The Glory & The Scum”. Gimmie something i know !! Finally, the big hitter “Get the Devil Out of Me” is aired. Bloody love it. (No coincedence it’s one of my fave Delain songs). The crowd is really into this one 🙂
During “Hurricane” confetti is dropped from the ceiling. Made for a nice effect.
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There then followed a very heavy version of “April Rain”. I love the synchronized headbanging from the guitarists at the beginning…

Next up there’s another guest appearance. This time it’s Burton C. Bell from “Fear Factory”. He joins for “Where Is The Blood”. After this, there was an intermission which gave Charlotte time to change her outfit. Upon returning they played a great version of “We Are The Vultures”.
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During “Fire with Fire” there was a real cute moment where Charlotte got on her knees in front of Merel. From the angle i was looking from, even on her knees,she almost seemed the same height as Merel ! Funny & cute 🙂
As previously mentioned, Alissa White-Gluz once again joined during “The Tragedy of the Commons”.
After another short intermission the band returned to the stage. Or rather, a “different” band returned ! Old band members,bass,guitar & drums, played “Sleepwalkers Dream”. That was pretty cool 🙂

During “Your Body Is a Battleground”, i’m looking for where the backing vocals are coming from. Then realize they’re playing a video of Marco doing said vocals. I guess they couldn’t get all the guests they wanted tonight.
Another guest appearance was during “See Me in Shadow”, when Liv Kristine joined. There was also the addition of a cellist up at the back of stage.
The main set finished with “Pristine” & included another guest appearance (dunno who he was lol)
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Back for the encore & Charlotte has once again changed her outfit. It’s the white one she wore in the “We Are The Others” video (Though it’s only the top half for the super observant 😉 ). A great version of “Mother Machine” was this first encore. I loved the audience participation for “Don’t Let Go”. The whole floor was jumping & shouting “Hey! Hey! Hey!”. Bloody loved it.
Of course, they had to finish with the obvious “We Are The Others”. A great finisher for a great night.
It’s funny, but at the time, i wasn’t as “into” the show as i should have been. A combination of lack of sleep & annoying people affected me big time. But upon reflection, i realise this was a top show. Pryro,smoke,costume changes,guest musicians & quality songs. The crowd was also just great. The fact that they were filming the show will be a great memory of a great night for sure.
Afterwards a bunch of us briefly went around the bars. Of course, i again turned in early in the hope of catching up on sleep 😉

Morning arrived too quickly. We set off for a wander in search of a decent priced breakfast. Mr T. had already scoped out the place “Bagels & Beans”. Nice place & nice staff. Of the 3 different breakfasts, we all chose the “Good Morning” one (no coincidence it was the cheapest!) ” Good Morning breakfast please”. “Good Morning” *smiles* lol You had to be there 😉 I can’t imagine what Mac would say if he saw the ” Power Breakfast” (Ok, i can. Insert inappropriate word). Take the napkin for later…
Afterwards, we split up,with Ady going to some museum/gallery & myself & the two Andys going to more refined areas 😉 ( I obviously jest). Another quick visit to The Old Quarter. Looked like the cat hadn’t moved since yesterday!

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Finished the day with chips n mayo & last bar was ” In het Aepjen “, which was close to the bus pick up point. Of course, with us “checking in” to most places, we were stalked by Rob & Kristina as they popped in a few minutes before our departure 😉 Nah, actually it was nice to briefly say goodbye till the next time 🙂
Once on the ferry, i knew i wouldn’t get much/any sleep. So whilst the others rocked out to the house band (lol) i turned in early ! Was it a better nights sleep for me ? Lets just say i’ve never looked forward to being in my own bed !
To sum up the whole experience : “Would i travel via ferry again ?” Nope. Will always be flights/trains from now on. “Would you if it was different travelling companions?” . Again, nope. The journey takes too much time.
Upon reflection, over all, it was a decent enough break. Cool to meet old friends & a decent gig 🙂

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Garbage ,Paradiso, Amsterdam 30-5-16

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So, Garbage in Amsterdam, for numerous reasons, i really thought i wouldn’t make it , one of which was being able to get to Luton airport !
Once again, an old school friend, Dusty, came to my rescue & offered to drive me to Luton & pick me up on return! Thank you mate, it was really appreciated. The journey got off to a bad start as once on the plane, we were delayed 2 hours ! (Due to thunder storms in NL). Once in NL ,everything ran smooth. First walked to Jeffs hotel near Leidsplein

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Then we went to meet Greg & Jerome at a bar. As we walked up, both Rob n Rijkels were also arriving. Later Marta joined us. All the other girls were still out shopping 😉 Come 18.30 some of the guys were talking about going to the ” J.P. bar ” instead of Garbage gig !. Notice the empty pint glasses. If you’ve ever wondered where the phrase ” Rijkeling a pint ” comes from, he’s demonstrating it here 😉

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Myself & Rob left for the venue where there was already a few awaiting such as Anette, Paul, Marco, Boris etc. Rob & Rijkels had already decided they would join me up in the balcony tonight 🙂  In a total shock, i saw Greg & Jerome take opposite position on other balcony ! (Though it didn’t last long) The Pearl Harts were their typical rocking selves. The audience did seem to take a while before waking up though.

So to the headliners ; Garbage. I thought opening with “Sometimes” was a bit strange (& the lighting was rubbish!), but at least “Empty” brought up the vibe.

We then got a couple of old classics ; ” Stupid Girl” & “Special” which brought things into overdrive. It was great to see a bunch of the Trashers down near the front just rocking out…yes, i kinda wished i could have been down there 🙁

A very special moment for me was during ” #1 Crush” where Shirley sang directly at me 🙂

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Halestorm ,@ Melkweg, Amsterdam 20-4-14

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On the 19th flew over to Amsterdam where i’d arranged to meet Kristina. Off to a bad start, as her phone died & took a while to find each other. Quickly showed her around the important places of Amsterdam 😉 then we took a train to meet Michel & Rob in Rotterdam. Drinks were drunk. The following day, myself & Kristina left for the Dam & the others would join us later. I met a great American guy here Kevin here. He had an extra VIP Meet n Greet, which he kindly offered to me! Thanks so much mate, you rock ! I then gave my ticket to Kristina,so she could pass on to Michel/Rob as they were gonna get tix off touts. It worked out ok, me & Kevin got Kristina on the front row. Another killer gig. Had txts from Rob about meeting later only for them to bail as Michel had got himself propper pissed & Rob had to take him home!

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Skunk Anansie , The Jezabels, Ziggo Dome, Amsterdam, Netherlands 25-11-12

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This was a good one. Myself & a few local friends made a weekend of this. Flying over on the Saturday, doing the usual stuff in Amsterdam, then on Sunday it was Skunk @ the Ziggo Dome.My mates came back to Boston on the Monday, but i traveled on to Cologne for Garbage gig.  Got to Ziggo, met a few of the Dutchies & Cass took us in early. This venue is huge. Was interesting seeing stuff being set up etc. As ever, Mark was gonna run his GoPro cameras & he’d got a new item : The head strap mount ! He asked who’d like to try it. Theo did ..P1020298

It was the last night of the tour for The Jezabels, so Mark had made a nice little video to be played behind them…mate !

Still to be finished…

 

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Guano Apes, Royal Republic , @ Melkweg, Amsterdam, Netherlands 22-5-11

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Wow ! A dream come true : Seeing my fave band in the Melkweg & being able to film the show. Unfortunately, it ended up being an absolute NIGHTMARE ! Due to a lack of communication, Melkwegs security were somehow not aware i was allowed to film. About 3 songs into the set, security downstairs start shining torches at me. Then i feel someone grab my leg from below ! (I was on balcony & it was pretty much directly below where the sound desk was) Security told me to shut down. Obviously, with all the volume etc, it wasn’t easy to try explain…especially to a total dickhead security guy ! Talk about shot down in flames.  There was really no need for this to happen. On previous tours, i’d always get an AAA laminate-no one messes with those-but for whatever reason, i just got the stickies this tour. Yes, a recipe for disaster if there ever was one.

A great show, but i just couldn’t get into it after the B.S.

P.S. The security didn’t totally “win”. Me being me, i still carried on running audio of the full show with my mic in plain view !

P.P.S. Royal Republic totally rocked the show tonight. They’re such a fuckin great live band. Here’s a little footage i shot of them 🙂

As for the Guano Apes footage? Nah, it’s staying with me & not gonna upload it ever 🙂

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