Coming Up For Air (35th Anniversary Tour)
4 January 2008 Cultureel Centrum Harderijk, NL
12 January 2008 Boerderij, Zoetermeer, NL
25 January 2008 Isala Theater, Capelle a/d IJssel, NL
Article By Jeroen Kooistra
Way back in 1973, Kayak released their debut album. In 2008, Kayak travel around Holland on their “35th anniversary tour”. But it’s not all about nostalgia: Kayak have just released their (great, and well-received) new studio album Coming Up For Air. And this album was featured heavily in the setlist.
Guitarist/singer Rob Vunderink (since 2001), singer Cindy Oudshoorn and guitarist Joost Vergoossen (both since 2003) and bassplayer Jan van Olffen (2005) are relatively new members of the band. But with singer Edward Reekers and founder members Ton Scherpenzeel (keyboards) and Pim Koopman (drums), there is still enough ‘authentic’ Kayak present.
On the day of the album’s release, the new songs were played live for the first time. Obviously the band were nervous, and concentrated very much on playing all the right notes. The result was a rather ‘stiff’ performance, which was nonetheless very much appreciated by the –seated- audience. New songs like Selfmade Castle and Man In The Cocoon are amongst the heaviest that Kayak ever did. Both on CD and on stage, Cindy Oudshoorn plays a leading role nowadays. She has co-written some of the new songs, and her powerful voice suits the harder stuff perfectly. But, as she proves in Hold Me Forever, she doesn’t do too bad in ballads either.
Edward Reekers has always had a silken and very recognisable voice. In oldies as Niniane, Where Do We Go From Here and Sad To Say Farewell he was in top form. Act Of Despair is always a highlight, and from the new album, Time Stand Still (in typical late seventies Kayakstyle) and the title track (a duet with Cindy) are most memorable.
And the rest of the band? Well, with so much experience on stage, one would expect a tight unit. And that’s exactly what Kayak is. Two brilliant guitarists (all credits to Joost Vergoossen for the instrumental Irene), a very skilful bassplayer (probably the most ‘technical’ and subtle bassist Kayak has ever had), a rocking drummer and a master at the keyboards. What else can one ask for??? Good backing vocals, perhaps? No problem: Rob Vunderink has a soaring, high voice, delivering essential backing as well as great lead. And with Koopman and Scherpenzeel also joining the choir, there’s not much left to be desired.
The older stuff was accompanied by video footage from the past. And Kayak were not too fussy about who could be seen on the screen. During Merlin, ex-singer Bert Heerink was to be seen almost constantly. And Starlight Dancer for instance showed an almost completely different band than the one on stage. For old fans like myself, it’s always good to see people like Max Werner and Johan Slager in action, even though they’re not playing on stage. I was not too keen on the pictures that came with the Merlin and Nostradamus material. Taken from the context of the rockoperas, the pictures looked like a random collection of dancers, ex-members and orchestras. To me, they were a bit distracting. But that’s about the only point of criticism I can think of. The ‘video interludes’ with stories from the past, were OK and sometimes funny. People like Frits Spits (Dutch DJ), Kaz Lux (support act in 1974) and ex-members Cees van Leeuwen and Theo de Jong recalled their fond memories in a few words.
Of the 15 songs on the new CD, no less than 9 were played. In the remaining time, Kayak peddled through their rich history. Although die-hard followers would have liked to hear some more surprises, I guess this setlist was quite appropriate as an overview of 35 years of Kayak. After all, most people don’t come to see the band every year. Those people are obviously very pleased to hear Ruthless Queen and Wintertime to name a few.
The show in Capelle, 3 weeks later was, saw a much more relaxed band, with more room for improvisation. In theatres, Kayak play for about 2 hours with a break in the middle. At De Boerderij in Zoetermeer they had a support act, and Kayak played for about 90 minutes in one go. As a result, some songs were skipped. As always at De Boerderij, the crowd was very receptive. This lead to a very energetic and powerful, rocking performance which pleased the crowd and the band alike.
My conclusion: Kayak is certainly not a burnt-out ‘golden oldies’-band trying to cash in on old successes. The new album –their 5th studio album since 1999- and tour have a fresh sound (and -thanks to Cindy- a very fresh look as well...), that certainly appeals to lovers of melodic progrock. The tour will go on until the end of April. I can think of worse ways to spend a saturday evening...
Time Stand Still (Reekers)
Man In The Cocoon (Oudshoorn)
When The Seer Looks Away (Oudshoorn/Reekers)
Sad State Of Affairs (Vunderink)
Where Do We Go From Here? (Reekers)
Medley: Lyrics/Wintertime/Mammoth/See See The Sun (Reekers/Vunderink)
Only You And I Know (Reekers)
Hold Me Forever (Oudshoorn)
The Student (Vunderink)
Epilogue – The Fate Of Man (Oudshoorn)
Act Of Despair (Reekers)
Coming Up For Air (Oudshoorn/Reekers)
Close To The Fire (Reekers)
Starlight Dancer (Oudshoorn/Reekers)
Chance For A Lifetime (Reekers/Vunderink)
Ruthless Queen (Reekers)
Selfmade Castle (Oudshoorn)
Sad To Say Farewell (Reekers)