Arena, August 17th 1997
De Tunnel, Boskoop, The Netherlands
By Ed Sander
When I arrived in Boskoop at 15.30 hours Arena was already doing a sound check. De Tunnel is a nice small venue with a
capacity of +/- 400 people and had a bar area in the back. I hope all visitors payed attention when they ordered their
drinks because some of the staff of De Tunnel seemed to have flunked primary school; I've seen no less than 4 occassions
where people didn't get back enough change, with shortages up to 25 guilders (7 pounds).
After a meeting with the DPRP team on the stairs outside De Tunnel - for some strange reason almost all local pubs and
restaurants seemed to be closed - we had some nice spicy food in a Chinse/Thai restaurant and went back to De Tunnel.
It was a hot sunny day and when people started pouring in around 8 o' clock the temperature started to rise. Although a
cold breeze was blowing down on the audience from the roof in the middle of the hall it wasn't really enough to keep the
atmosphere from getting damp and sweaty.
A couple of minutes after 21.00 hours the same old intro track of William Tell was played. I do hope the band will come
up with a new way to start the gig. This one has long lost its power.
The gig itself was a bit disappointing. Not in the way that the band did not perform well or different than normal; the good
pieces were still very good and the mediocre pieces had not really gained in strength since April. No, the real reason why
the concert was not that wonderful for me was the fact that it didn't have anything new at all to offer.
The set list was exactly the same as the one they played in Utrecht in April (the one which was released on the Lionhearted
video) and has already been reviewed by me (see Concert Review Archive at the Dutch Progressive Rock Page). The only
difference was that Grendel was replaced by He Knows You Know and John Mitchell's acoustic Isolation was replaced
by a short solo on electric guitar accompanied by Clive's keys.
There was nothing new for people who've seen the video or visited the gig in Utrecht. No different versions, no new tunes
or covers, nothing. As a matter of fact, the set wasn't that different from last year's concert in Amsterdam either. I really
don't see the sense in coming back 3 times in one year without offering anything new.
I understand that the material of the band is still limited to two albums but they could have decided to play some of the
Crying for Help parts for a change.
Nevertheless, people who haven't seen it all before must have had a good time.
A couple of thing which are interesting to mention:
- John came on stage wearing one of the rasta baseball caps with the long dreadlocks attached to it. Very funny to see
some hair on his head again.
- Paul's theatrics are becoming better and better. His performances during Sirens and Empire ... really gave me the
- Paul wore a rather weird armour piece during Empire ..... Although his theatrics were good I thought the overall
effect was rather hilarious because he looked more like Robocop than a warlord.
- When Clive had some technical problems with his equipment ('It's so hot up here, the keyboard has melted') John
Jowitt saved the day by taking centre stage and playing the bass line to Stand By Me which was sung out loud by
- I already mentioned that John Mitchell is a great replacement for Keith More in my previous review. John has now
gained more confidence and his playing was wonderful.
- Although the lights stayed out a long time and the audience was still shouting for more, the band did not come back
for another encore after He Knows You Know.
For those who can't guess what the set list must have been:
Valley of the Kings
Out of the Wilderness
- solo John Mitchell -
Empire of a Thousand Days
Welcome to the Cage
- Stand By Me -
He Knows You Know