Another Message Of Peace

October 13, 2023 - Parkvilla Theater, Alphen a/d Rijn (NL)

Last year the people of Serious Music Alphen invited Antony Kalugin and his band to give them the opportunity to bring 'A Message Of Peace' on behalf of Ukraine to the Netherlands by giving a special concert (see review). At the time it was a blast!
Now more than one year later the war is still raging in Antony's fatherland and he is living in Poland as a refugee. By September 2023, the war had led to almost 10,000 civilian deaths, according to the United Nations. The Ukrainian army has also already suffered more than 70,000 deaths and 120,000 injuries. So I guess 'Another Message Of Peace' is needed to stop all this violence and bloodshed. And above all give the Ukraine what the band wrote on their national flag; "ATACMS FOR UKRAINE", meaning to give Ukraine short-range ballistic missiles to stop the war and bring peace back to their country. Well I guess Kalugin is not really superstitious, because on Friday the 13th he and his fellow band members returned to our country to give a one off concert that was again a blast!

To come up with a set list for a concert when you have an impressive oeuvre of more than 30 studio albums released with Karfagen, Sunchild, Hoggwash and also as a solo artist isn't easy I can tell you. Furthermore if your wife (fellow band member Olha Rostovska) tells you that you have to include more progressive rock related compositions compared to the last concert done on Dutch soil you even have a bigger problem. And if she
Mariya and Antony (►more pics)
needs to stay with their son Tony Jr., because they couldn't find anyone who could stay with him for a few days well, that's another problem. And if you can't do rehearsals together as a band you have another problem to solve. But hey, Antony fixed them all and managed to come up with a slightly different list of songs that were done with a band that sounded as if they play and rehearse together every week. So compliments to the fantastic musicians Kostiantyn Shepelenko on drums, Mariya Panasenko on vocals, Vladyslav Karbovskyi on bass guitar, Anton Barsukov on guitar and of course Antony Kalugin himself on keyboards and vocals.

As for the songs performed it was a great mix between more lyric related material and instrumentals divided between two sets. The more lyric related songs were also the songs on which you could more or less dance and sing-a-long with. Songs such as Shall We Run?, Day Of Destiny, Another Friday Night and The Reason Why. But also a ballad such as Rain Drops is a more song-oriented composition. As for the instrumentals and the songs with many instrumental parts, they are the compositions which most of all make the hearts of the die-hard progheads beat faster. Songs such as Out Of Darkness, Father and the tribute tune to the Dutch prog named Ode To A New Life. But also compositions such as Magicians Theater and Shapeshifter. All songs on which Barsukov and Kalugin could shine on their instruments by playing excellent solos.

That he got mixed up a couple of times in the order of the songs on the setlist, is something which can happen if you don't have a paper on the stage with the songs on it. Or maybe he was a little bit distracted by the singer's red jumpsuit, as Panasenko told Kalugin on stage. But with several new songs on the set list it is easy to make mistakes. We are humans after all. Sometimes you are too eager to perform a new piece from your brand new Sunchild album Exotic Creatures And A Stolen Dream (2023, see review). Even if it is just the single version of Northern Skies.

That the musicians on stage were on fire is probably an understatement for those who were present. They could see all five musicians shine while doing their parts the best possible way. The band was on top of their game and acted like a well-oiled musical machine. Both singers performed very strongly on stage, interacting with each other at times whilst singing their parts. Just like Edward Reekers and Cindy Oudshoorn did in
Sing along with Ukraine flag
the past when they were still singing in Kayak. You just could tell how much fun they had singing all those excellent songs. Most of all Panasenko gave all of her emotions and good moods to the audience like a beacon of light and shining star. Well that's just how it supposed to be!

Just like last year the emotions of course ran even higher when Antony and his band performed the Ukrainian song specially written for this Message Of Peace concert. While the band performed the song Вільна (Vil'na) a woman in the audience stood up with the national flag of the Ukraine in her hands and started to dance and sang along with the band. As expected the Ukraine flag also was brought on stage by the musicians and had the special message mentioned earlier.

The concert ended perfectly with the encore A Day Without Rain. Too bad the crowd didn't asked for more encores, otherwise maybe they could have done Visionary Sights as well. But the people out there found it good enough . Their musical needs were satisfied and it was a great way to end a superb concert in which the five musicians performed the best possible way. This way everybody went home with a good feeling even though it was raining cats and dogs outside.

Finally and big thank you to the people of Serious Music Alphen for inviting Antony Kalugin and his band a second time at the Parkvilla Theater in Alphen aan de Rijn. Hopefully next year will there be a third time. So I will say for now C U next year. Same time, same place!

Henri Strik (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)

Live video

Henri, Eden & Roel Strik

Shapelifter (4:54)
Land Of Chameleons (4:58)

Setlist Karfagen:

Set 1
Ray Of Light
Magicians Theater
Day Of Destiny
Land Of Chameleons
Another Friday Night
Let The Lady Smile
The Invisible Line
Set 2
Out Of Darkness
Organ Intro / Ode To A New Life
Close To Heaven
Northern Skies (single)
Shall We Run?
Rain Drops
The Reason Why
A Day Without Rain

Pictures Karfagen by Arthur Haggenburg

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Line up Karfagen:

(left to right)
Antony Kalugin:
keys, vocals
Kostiantyn Shepelenko:
Mariya Panasenko:
Vladyslav Karbovskyi:
bass guitar
Anton Barsukov:

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