Saturday, 30th March 2013
Schouwburg, Rijswijk, the Netherlands
Musicals and progressive rock are not a common combination. While Clive Nolan stayed close to prog to tell a story,
Dutch band PBII (formerly known as Plackband) produced a show from the traditional musical side.
There have been several other articles about their show and the band have been very active in promoting the project and letting the world know,
but for the few people reading about this for the first time, I will explain briefly by saying PB II recorded an album (1,000 Wishes) and made a musical show,
the proceedings from which are all donated to Foundation KiKa, a Dutch organisation funding research to childhood cancers.
For the CD the band received input from other people, most notably for prog fans is Steve Hackett.
I imagine the people attending Nolan's shows to be regular prog fans, while the (seated) theatre where I saw the 1,000 Wishes show was,
as far as I could see, a mixed bag of people interested in the charity cause and the players. I was not sure what to expect and whether
a setup like this would work for a progressive rock band. The show was well organised and you could see how many people had been involved
and how many hours they must have spent. The theatre stage was almost full with the orchestra. A setup above the orchestra
(the VHJO, or Hofstad Youth Orchestra) gave room for the band. All areas next to the band and orchestra were used by dancers and actors.
As with a regular musical, the story was the most important part, with the music telling part of or enhancing the story.
In short, the story is about a boy who is in the hospital for cancer treatment, meeting another boy who eventually dies.
It has several elements that add some layers to make it not just your regular school play.
Frits Lambrechts, a famous Dutch actor, plays the grandfather who has his own history and issues with cancer, the nurse, losing a friend, the message, etc.
Since you're reading this on DPRP, chances are you are primarily interested in the music.
This was different from a regular live performance and although the band were keeping the live music to a level it remained part
of the whole show instead of stealing it, I could clearly hear the songs would stand out on their own as well.
The band did not compose a different kind of music because of the musical setting.
I suspect some arrangements will be different when the band play some songs during regular gigs, but the songs are good songs on their own.
It's a real PBII (almost wrote Plackband, there...) collection of songs and I can't wait to see and hear those songs played live.
The only minor glitch was the sound mix. I could hear the actors very well, all elements of the orchestra were audible,
but sometimes the sound of the band got a little lost. I was seated at the back of the theatre so that probably had something to do with it,
but I've attended more theatre shows where the house sound system simple was not prepared for rock music.
So although it was an unexpected combination, I think it was a success from several points of view.
The charity case seemed happy and I can imagine exposure like this, with the unusual setting, is always good publicity.
For the audience, whether musical minded or related to the cause, the rounds of applause tell me it was an interesting and very enjoyable experience.
All people on stage seemed very happy, enthusiastic. The actors and dancers did a really great job, even the younger ones.
I guess for the orchestra this was something out of the ordinary, but the arrangements were worked out very well and it really worked,
as they added am extra layer to the music.
Prog is only part of my musical interest and although musicals are not high on my list of interest, I had a surprisingly great night!
The two shows were a big succes so played PBII picked another date for a third concert,
it will take place on Sunday the 9th of June also at the Schouwburg in Rijswijk.
Perfect Day - part 1
Perfect Day - part 2
Land of 1000Wishes
Into the Light
1000 Wishes Official Website
PBII Official Website
DPRP's Review of PBII's "1000 wishes"