Damian Wilson Band & FeedForward

October 10, 2009. De Pul, Uden (NL)

Damian Wilson called his spectacular live performance at De Pul in Uden Ďa perfect celebrationí. The concert took place just a day before his birthday. The concert that Damian and his backing band gave had such an impact on me that I almost forgot Dutch band FeedForward, the support act that performed a few hours earlier. When they started their set with a great instrumental intro, I thought the band had changed their musical style to progressive rock. The intro differed a lot from the moderate music on their debut album Barefoot & Naked. However, I will make an exception for the strong instrumental piece Moving. They performed this Dream Theater-like piece at the end of the set, but the new song Confused sounded as most of the material from their debut album: a mixture between prog rock and melodic metal. Guitarist Mario van de Bogaard is capable enough to play fantastic solos just like keyboardist Job, but in general, the compositions are too mediocre. New female singer Patrice replaced Bienjanka who went back to Finland. She performed the best way she could, but she couldnít change my final judgement: an average band with a moderate repertoire.

The Damian Wilson Band started exactly half past ten. For me, Damian had his most successful musical period being a member of Landmarq. I still listen to outstanding albums as Solitary Witness and Infinity Parade on a regular basis. Therefore, it gave me a lot of pleasure when the band started with Forever Young. The show became rather special when Damian stepped into the audience and had a quick chat with some people including myself. It was a special event for him too, because back in 1993, Landmarq did their first gig outside the UK in the same venue.

After this great start, the audience could enjoy music from Damianís back catalogue. The band performed a remarkably strong medley from Rick Wakemanís King Arthur. Chris Mars did a great job by accurately playing Rickís fabulous keyboard solos. After a fine rendition of Ayreonís Into The Black Hole and a rather moderate version of Starship Trooper (Yes) everybody left stage. I had expected a better ending for this classic Yes piece.

Next, an acoustic set followed that showed a quiet and subdued side of Damian Wilson. First, he sang a couple of songs accompanied by himself on acoustic guitar. During the set, more musicians entered the stage to join him. Keyboardist Nic Slack made everybody laugh by playing a short piece taken from Monty Python. Damianís younger brother Paul Wilson did some fine harmony vocals with his brother. Most songs of the acoustic set were taken from Damianís first solo album Cosmas. This is a mellow album, which also features the audienceís favourite Homegrown. This fine song brought all the other musicians back on stage.

Towards the end of the show, Damian played another Landmarq-song. I got almost tears in my eyes during the performance of Solitary Witness. The keyboard parts by Chris Mars were not the same as on the original recording, but it didnít matter at the time. However, Ruud Jolie turned out to be a guitarist who plays very strong guitar solos. That is something he almost never does in his own band Within Temptation. When I said so after the show, he told me that people often make this remark. After Ayreonís The Castle Hall, with a strong guest performance of singer Marjan Welman, Chris Mars had a surprise in store for Damian. The band and the audience sang Happy Birthday Dear Damian together. ďIf I had enough money to spend I would have given everybody something to drinkĒ, he joked. Instead, he got a beer from the manager of Dutch prog rock band Casual Silence and then someone from the audience gave him a very big glass of Leffe, a first class Belgian beer.

The regular set ended with Thresholdís Sanityís End. Afterwards there was another birthday surprise when a nice lady entered the stage and gave Damian a slice of a birthday cake. Now the party really started and Damian asked the audience which songs they would like to hear. I asked for Pilot In The Sky Of Dreams from the latest Threshold-album. Although he heard my request, many more titles were mentioned. One of them was Johnny B. Goode, an old rock-and-roll song written by Chuck Berry in 1958. Ruud Jolie picked up the tune and soon the band joined. Damian had to sing the lyrics whether he liked it or not. This somewhat weird, but funny performance of The Damian Wilson Band ended with another piece of rock. If You Want Blood from AC/DC got a short, but rather good guest performance from a real talent in the audience.

This gig by The Damian Wilson Band was a night to remember. Luckily, the whole show was filmed with several cameras. I sincerely hope that the images will capture the spirit of the evening, so that we can enjoy this concert repeatedly on DVD.

Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)

Setlist Damian Wilson Band:

Forever Young
King Arthur Medley
Into The Black Hole
Starship Trooper
I want To Built My World
Please Don't Leave Me
Nothing Without You
Quietly Spoken
She's Like A Fable
When I Leave This Land
Solitary Witness
Castle Hall
Best Years
Sanity's End
Johnny B. Goode
If You Want Blood

Pictures Damian Wilson by Arthur Haggenburg

Click on the picture to enlarge.

Line up Damian Wilson

Kristopher GildenlŲw:
bass, backing vocals
Chris Mars:
main keyboards, backing vocals
Nic Slack:
Paul Wilson:
guest vocals
Dirk Bruinenberg:
Damian Wilson:
lead vocals, acoustic guitar
Ruud Jolie:
Marjan Welman:
guest vocals (not visible)

Setlist Feedforward:

Stop To Think
Thin Ice
Fade Away

Pictures Feedforward by Arthur Haggenburg

Click on the picture to enlarge.

Line up Feedforward:

(left to right)
Mario van den Bogaard:
lead vocals
Pieter Verstappen:
keyboards (not visible)

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