This evening I went to Apeldoorn to see Mangrove
with their acoustic show. I went with no preconceptions, but of course I thought
about it, beforehand. I wanted to experience this event as open and honest as I
could be. I believe it's important not to have expectations, they can sometimes
ruin the experience. It was hard because not so long ago, there was an acoustic
tour by another band, one I like very much, with almost the same name. Luckily
I didn't have much time to think about anything, because due to the horrific
Dutch roads, I
almost missed the whole show.
Thankfully, when I did finally get
there, it turned out I only missed one or two songs. And now that it's all in
the past, I can easily say: the band more than made up for the parking ticket I
From the moment I walked in, till the moment I left, I
was mesmerised. Although I realised that some of that was caused by the
environment - seated places and the intimacy of a small theatrical venue - most
of it had to do with the beautiful music. I know Mangrove's music very well,
but to hear it in this plain form was captivating. Mostly they stuck to the
original length of the songs. They just played them more gently.
used an acoustic Spanish guitar, and added some different
rhythms. Chris Jonker
was playing the grand piano, along with his keyboards, while
was doing his usual thing, playing the
bass guitar. The tones of the music drove me back to the old days, when
'Unplugged' was very popular on MTV. I remember seeing
the impact that had on me. I could understand why now. It makes the music and
the whole atmosphere so much more intimate and profound.
The stage where the
three musicians of Mangrove were sitting was beautifully lit. The men were
wearing white, the same colour as the mannequins showcased around them. It
looked very artistic! What also was of great value was the new 'member' of the
band - new member for the time being anyway. Drummer
joined Mangrove tonight. And how. He played on the djembe and in some other
songs an instrument which got the name cajun. He even did a solo, which was
amazing. Really renewing, yet prog in all its simplicity. From four members,
the scenery changed constantly. It was either the whole band, or only Chris at
the piano, Chris with Roland, only Roland doing his guitar solo, and even
Roland on drums! There was never a dull moment.
But for me, the highlight of the whole night was the
young and talented Chris Jonker. Man, can he play the grand piano! Probably
this is just a matter of taste and preference. I got all kinds of flashbacks
from my childhood, where I played piano and went to classical concerts with my
parents, much to my dismay. But now I can reap the rewards and can fully enjoy
and admire his talent. He also mentioned that the song
Love And Beyond
was written by him when he was only 19 years old. It's a beautiful song. After
the break, the only thing that I was disappointed about was the fact that he
sometimes used his keyboards as well. To me, that was unnecessary, and it
somehow broke the spell of a magic night. But magic it was!
Roland was doing a great job also, and not only on his
guitar. His voice is one a lot of people disagree over. I think it fits the
music. It was only when he sang Here comes the Flood
that I had to think back of the time John Mitchell
was singing this very
song, not so long ago. I do believe Roland was there as well. I liked John's
version better, but that's just my humble opinion. If I hadn't heard that
version before, I would have thought differently. Roland may not be the world's
best singer, but he's got passion in his voice, for sure!
I also found it a little disturbing that in the middle
of a song, Roland jumped up, and started dancing (or something that looks like
dancing). He is famous for that in his electric shows, moving through the
crowd, with his guitar. But I didn't find it so appropriate in this acoustic
setting. Anyway, I had to say something negative in this review, because I'm a
critic. Overall it was a concert which gave me goosebumps, and smiles all over.
It makes me proud to be a Dutchman, or woman, and being in some way in the
circle of Mangrove.
The term 'the circle of' I learned the day before, when
was playing in a sold out 013 in Tilburg (NL). It
wouldn't be fair to compare these two, but I can honestly say, I had a better
night at de Gigant.
After the show, it wasn't all over. PBII
was playing in the Bluescafe nearby. Actually I
didn't mean to review this, because I expected a small after-party, but they
did a full set, so it's only fair to write about them as well. Not everybody
who was attending Mangrove came to the Bluescafe. Very strange, in my opinion.
Actually, very little people came. It must be said, the sound was very loud,
but it didn't bother me!
It was a feast of recognition, when the first tones of
echoed through the cafe. The intimacy of de 'Theaterzaal'
in de Gigant, made way for the closeness of the Bluescafe. Finally a chance to
talk to all the people I knew, which meant that I couldn't concentrate fully on
PBII. Well, that wasn't the plan either. But from time to time, I abruptly
ended my conversation, and started listening to the music. I could see
Tom van der Meulen
do his thing at the drums. Impressive.
Harry den Hartog
bass wasn't so impressive as I remembered him to be. I just don't know why. The
music and the vocals were like I'd heard before. I didn't notice a difference
in the music, didn't even miss John Jowitt
or John Mitchell, but that
must have been because I didn't pay enough attention. Or maybe I don't know so
much about the music, or my range of concentration is limited'
The only thing I can objectively say is that they did
a great job. There were lovely lights in the background, which gave everything
a professional look. They played long, even repeated the first two songs, for the
people arriving later, and also because the owner of the Bluescafe
loved them so much. The song Book Of Changes
you can feel in the pit of your stomach and in the tips of your toes. Can't
think of a bigger compliment than that!