iOPages Festival (Day 1)
Dilemma, Yogi Lang & Pallas

April 15, 2011 - De Boerderij, Zoetermeer (NL)

For several years, the iO Pages Festival has been one of the most important prog rock festivals in The Netherlands. This year the volunteers of iO Pages Magazine had made a very special edition. To celebrate the publication of the hundredth issue they had organized a three-day concert festival. Together with the management of venue De Boerderij they had put together an amazing program. The first and the second day featured most of my favourite acts. This review is about the performances by Dilemma, Yogi Lang & Band and Pallas on the first day (see also review iO Pages Festival 2011, Day Two).


The newly re-formed Dutch band Dilemma opened the festival. In 1995, they released their debut album Imbroccata. Drummer at the time was Frank van Essen, who later on became well-known as the drummer for Iona. He was replaced by Collin Leijenaar. Some people might know him as the drummer for Neal Morse during the European concerts. He also used to be one of the reviewers for iO Pages Magazine. That was probably the reason why the
band could make their comeback gig at the festival. Two members of the current line-up also participated when they recorded their debut album. It really surprised me that lead singer Butler sounded about the same as on Imbroccata. The aging process has had little effect on his voice. Butler has all the talents to entertain an audience as he showed during the band's performance. During Duck he was dressed like a sort of Dame Edna. This was for him a way to make prog music less serious as he explained after the show. He wasn't aware that he had acted a bit like the late Geoff Mann (Twelfth Night). In the nineties Mann also wore a sort of army uniform to give the songs a certain meaning. However, Butler didn't wear the uniform to make something clear to the audience; it just looked good on stage. Dilemma played several tracks from their sole album, but it was easy to conclude that songs like Duck, Believe, The Horror Of Travel and Goodbye Cruel World hadn't been played for a long time in front of an audience. Although the musicians rehearsed many times, it wasn't enough to convince the spectators. Occasionally guitarist Paul Crezee, keyboardist Robin Z and drummer Collin Leijenaar did some nice things on their instruments, but the overall feeling remained that the band weren't ready yet to do a strong performance. This might change after the release of the new album and some more try-out gigs.

Yogi Lang & Band

In 2010 singer Yogi Lang of RPWL recorded No Decoder (see review), a very strong first solo album. It contained lots of music related to the music of Pink Floyd and his own band RPWL. When I heard that he would perform the album on a live stage, I was very curious to find out if he could manage to equal the studio sound in a live setting. With six musicians on stage - most of them played on the album as well - he had built a safety net which he could rely on. The rhythm section consisting of former RPWL-drummer Manni Müller and
Yogi Lang
former Arena bass player Ian Salmon brought a lot of groove into the music. They kept the music very tight and gave the other musicians enough room to play their solos like we could hear in the opening piece Sacrifice. Yogi Lang played a splendid solo on his new toy: a brand-new Moog Voyager- synthesizer. It was the only keyboard he played on, but he played it excellently as I noticed during the rest of the concert. Markus Jehle, his fellow-musician in RPWL, played all the other keyboards including another Moog Voyager. While he played the main keyboard parts, Yogi Lang focused on the rhythm guitar and of course on his vocal contributions. After the great opening tune the show seemed to move on in a rather slow tempo. The narration of Ian Salmon on A Million Miles Away didn't appeal to the audience either, but when they played the strong instrumental piece Sensvalue the show really came to life. The fantastic synthesizer and guitar solos lifted this song to a higher level. Guitarist Thorsten Weber played the studio parts splendidly, but he proved to be an excellent live performer as well. The first RPWL-piece Sugar For The Ape doesn't belong to my favourites. The second cover Breathe In, Breathe Out appeals more to my musical taste. It was performed after a superb version of No Decoder. It once more showed that Mr. Lang is a virtuoso on his Moog, but also Thorsten Weber proved why Yogi Lang had asked him to play the guitar parts. Before the final song Yogi explained why he recorded A Better Place For Me. He felt this song to be a fine conclusion, because seeing his daughter or a friend makes this world a better place. It was a perfect ending of a live show that came pretty close to an RPWL live performance. You could hear and see that this gig was the sixth of the No Decoder-tour. Most songs were played very relaxed and nervousness could hardly be noticed; the musicians enjoyed playing together.


So far the Scottish veterans of Pallas probably made with XXV one of the best progressive rock albums of 2011 (see review). They were invited to headline the first day of the iO Pages Festival. In my opinion XXV is a masterpiece and therefore my expectations ran high. A friend of the band who saw them in the UK wrote me 'Pallas will blow your mind'. However, I wanted to ascertain myself whether he was right or not. I wondered if the new singer Paul Mackie could perform the typical vocal lines of Alan Reed
Paul Mackie
on stage. Was he able to equal his strong vocal performances on XXV? Could he entertain an audience with the story of the new album? Well, I can answer these questions with a positive 'yes'. Of course, he was backed up by a group of chastened musicians who were willing to give everything to deliver an outstanding performance. It was obvious that the main part of the show would be dedicated to the new album. They kicked off with Falling Down, the opening tune of XXV, followed by Crash And Burn. I thought maybe they play the entire album, but they didn't. Something In The Deep, the third track from the album and one of my highlights was left out, but instead they performed a strong version of Monster. The images at the back of the stage and the light show during the first tracks of the XXV-album were breathtaking. The band had pulled out all the stops to come up with a high level professional show. Also songs like Rat Racing, Ghostdancers and Midas Touch from previous albums got top-notch renditions with excellent vocal performances of Mr. Mackie. Of course, his voice differs from Alan Reed's voice, but he sang those songs with the same passion and emotion. The remainder of the regular live set was again dominated by tracks taken from XXV. With a leather mouth cap on his face Paul Mackie performed the Alien Messiah. This way the track Alien Messiah even had a bigger impact on me together with the images at the back of the stage. During
Niall Mathewson
Violet Sky the lights turned violet and set the right atmosphere for this fantastic song beautifully sung by Mackie. The end of the regular set was quite impressive. The end of the world was very well visualized during XXV Part 2. What was next after this superb live show? How would they end this performance that really blew my mind? I expected the Atlantis Suite from The Sentinel-album because without this wonderful epic piece XXV would never have been made. However, the audience got Sanctuary, a favourite of bass player Graeme Murray. This is also one of my favourite Pallas-tracks, because it features a long guitar solo by Niall Mathewson. He managed very well to make it sound the right way, but it still wasn't the end of the show. Next was Cut And Run, one of the usual encores. It surprised me how strong Paul Mackie sang the vocal lines of the original singer Euan Lawson. Compared to the voice of Alan Reed, the vocal ranges of Mackie and Lawson are much more related. Maybe they should have done more songs from The Sentinel after all, but also without them, for me this performance undoubtedly was the highlight of the first day. Hopefully the band will soon return to The Netherlands to perform the entire XXV-album and record it for a DVD. It would be a crying shame if they don't document this awesome stage show on video.

Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)

Setlist Dilemma:

All Souls
Goodbye Cruel World
The Horror Of Time Travel
The Magic
Comfort Zone Arena

Pictures Dilemma by Arthur Haggenburg

Click on the picture to enlarge.

Line up Dilemma:

(left to right)
Erik van der Vlis:
bass guitar
Collin Leijenaar:
lead vocals
Paul Crezee:
guitar, vocals
Robin Z:

Setlist Yogi Lang:

Our World Has Changed
To The End
A Million Miles Away
Sugar For The Ape
No Decoder
Breath In
Our Modern World
A Better Place For Me

Pictures Yogi Lang (by Arthur Haggenburg)

Click on the picture to enlarge.

Line up Yogi Lang:

(left to right)
Torsten Weber:
lead guitar
Carmen Meier:
percussion, backing vocals
Manni Müller:
Yogi Lang:
lead vocals, rhythm guitar, Moog Voyager synthesizer
Markus Jehle:
Ian Salmon:
bass guitar, backing vocals, narration

Setlist Pallas:

Falling Down
Crash And Burn
Rat Racing
Midas Touch
Alien Messiah
XXV Part 1
Young God
Violet Sky
XXV Part 2
Cut And Run

Pictures Pallas (by Arthur Haggenburg)

Click on the picture to enlarge.

Line up Pallas:

(left to right)
Graeme Murray:
bass guitar, bass pedals, lead and background vocals
Ronnie Brown:
keyboards, background vocals
Paul Mackie:
lead vocals
Nial Mathewson:
lead guitar
Colin Fraser:

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