Friday, 16th January 2009
P60, Amstelveen, The Netherlands
I was eager to attend my second Focus concert, this "old" band is still going strong and is still attracting new followers.
First time I saw Focus was at the first Symforce festival in 2007, what I remember mostly about that concert was the magnificent guitar playing of Niels van der Steenhoven.
The rhythm section is very jazz influenced, excisting of drummer Pierre van der Linden and bass-player Bobby Jacobs, providing a solid basis for Thijs van Leer and Niels van der Steenhoven to show their craftsmanship.
Thijs is more than twice the age of Niels and the chemistry between those two musicians is still amazing.
The venue was nicely filled, not packed but a nice turn up for a progressive rock concert.
I was surprised by the variety of people, some people were already around when Focus started and others had not even been born when Focus disband the first time.
Also surprising was the amount of young people, rarely seen at a progressive rock concert, especially for a band that has been around for so long.
Every old song was welcomed warmly and all new songs were easily accepted, though not to all familiar. The new songs all have that typical Focus sound which makes them easy to grasp.
All four were clearly enjoying themselves and their musical ability was proven during the many solo spots.
Regretfully I must say that I still did not enjoy the drum solos by Pierre van den Linden.
During the songs he plays excellent with an enormous amount of energy, his solos are messy and incoherent.
In this field of play he is the exact counterpart of Neil Peart.
Eruption is a song in which many different emotions are portrayed.
Many time changes and complicated melodies but all played flawless, skillful playing like I have never seen before.
Eruption is also the name of a Van Halen song in which Eddie van Halen for the first time showed his amazing ability's.
During his solo spot Niels proved he mastered all the techniques of Eddie, many tricks passed by flawlessly.
After the break Focus was experimenting more and several songs contained melodies that to my ears belonged to another Focus song.
The co-writer for the song Round Goes The Gossip, Nico van der Linden, was present in the audience and was warmly welcomed by Thijs van Leer.
The same can be said for Paul Stoppelmans, another Focus composer who took the effort so support them in Amstelveen.
La Cathedrale De Strassbourg is a bombastic song about the bells of the cathedral, a favourite song for Thijs van Leer.
From the church to the pub is only a few steps away, Harem Scarem is about the influence of alcohol.
One of the famous Focus songs that they are obligatory to play.
This certainly is the case for Hocus Pocus, probably their most famous song.
Just like at Symforce it was played with a lot more power than the studio version.
For some people in the audience this was clearly the highlight of the evening, much movement during this song.
With only one short encore, Focus I, the concert was suddenly finished.
Focus again amazed me with their performance, Niels van der Steenhoven again showed he is a more than worthy replacement for Jan Akkerman.
Though I enjoyed myself I would like to make one comment, they do have to bring something new next concert to maintain my interest.
The setlist bore great similarity to that of Symforce one year ago, some extra old song and new song Focus 7 was changed for De To O de Mi from the album Focus - 8.
Their latest album Focus 9 ~ A New Skin dates back more than two years so I was hoping for something different than what I heard at Symforce.
Nevertheless I was still impressed by the performance of Focus, I can only hope I don't have to wait long for a new album.
Sylvia’s Stepson – Ubutuba
House of the King
Round Goes The Gossip
La Cathedrale De Strassbourg
De To O de Mi
Focus Official Website
DPRP's Review of "Focus - 8"
DPRP's Review of "Focus 9 ~ A New Skin"