January 19, 2024 - De Gigant, Apeldoorn (NL)

Sometimes they say that history repeats itself! This might also refer to the CD release parties which the Dutch progressive rock act Mangrove did in June 2009,15 years ago, for their album Beyond Reality (2009, see review)
Album art "Bridge To Fiction"
and the release party for its successor Bridge To Fiction (January 2024, see review). Both concerts started with a first set containing a selection of songs taken from their back catalogue followed by a second set presenting the new album before it ever was heard by their fans. Both concerts were also held at the same venue and city. Namely at Gigant in their hometown Apeldoorn in the Netherlands. Only the circumstances were different. Back in 2009 it was Summer and it was rather hot in that venue. The temperature almost rose to thirty degrees Celsius. Which was no problem for the musicians at the time. Now 15 years later Winter was knocking at the door with temperatures below zero outside. Even inside the venue it was rather cold. Again, no problem for the musicians on stage because they were in the limelight presenting their old and new songs. As for the musicians on stage also some changes could be seen. A different drummer and keyboard player compared to the bands last CD release party!

When you play a selection of songs from the albums released earlier there is always a possibility that you might disappoint several of your fans. Because you can't play all of the songs from the albums you have released so far.
Roland van der Horst and Pieter Drost (r) (►more pics)
But I guess if you are a band who have always released strong albums you hardly disappoint anybody. Therefore, each and every song selected and played during the first set gave much pleasure to the ones who were listening to them. From their debut Massive Hollowness (2001), an album which might not been available anymore, they played Zone divided into three parts. From the follow up album Touch Wood (2004) one of my all-time Mangrove tunes was featured as well. Wizard Of Tunes has everything which makes a prog heart beat much faster. Music wises its the best of Camel and Genesis with lots of strong solos performed on the synthesisers and electric guitar. Unfortunately, other highlight from the album such as Fatal Sign, Penelope and City Of Darkness were not played. Instead, we got Back Again from the same album, which is of course also a great tune! From Facing The Sunset (2005) they did only the title track as the opener of the first set. Unfortunately, from this album There Must Be Another Way was not done. Without any doubt one of my all-time classic Mangrove tunes. On the other hand, all of the songs of Facing The Sunset I love to hear during a concert. With songs taken from the bands masterpiece Beyond Reality we got lucky. Because the band chose to play Daydreamer's Nightmare, Time Will Tell Part 2 and Voyager. Voyager is of course the perfect song to end a set. With an incredible musical ending the right way to say goodbye! Just ending the first set with a BANG! A set on which the band still showed that they can do even better live renditions of the sometimes too clean recorded studio versions of those songs.

Just like 15 years ago some of the songs from the to be released new album were already part of the live set before the album came out. Songs such as Bridge To Fiction, Reflection, Stay and the oldest of all
Lex bekkernens (►more pics)
A Call To Arms were already played during other performances from the band. But unfortunately, they haven't stick in my brain yet and therefore most of the compositions from the new album Bridge To Fiction sounded rather new to me when they were performed during the second set. Done in the same order as you can find them on the new album. At first when you hear the new songs, you realise that the band didn't want to make a Beyond Reality part two. Which lead singer and guitarist Roland van der Horst mentioned after the concert as well. They just wanted to broaden their horizon and bring in more musical influences from a band such as King Crimson, as you can hear on A Touch Of Light, next to elements that were already present from bands such as Camel and Genesis on songs such as Bridge To Fiction and A Call To Arms. Even a mix of jazz rock, fusion and progressive rock was brought in on a song such as Chasing Something. Sometimes the band sounded rather experimental on those new kind of different sounding songs. But also, it seemed as if the drum parts of Lex Bekkernens were more upfront in the new compositions.

But in the end, it is still Mangrove that you hear on stage. The excellent live reputation is still there. The passion of the musicians still radiates from the stage and you can still expect orchestral keyboard parts, rumbling bass sounds, driving drums and lyrical guitar work as usual. The sometimes-polyphonic vocals intersperse the songs, which are played dynamically, excitingly, but sometimes also subdued are still present. All in all, everything you always expect during a Mangrove concert. And if you end with an encore such as Beyond Reality the whole performance is just complete and perfect for me.

So well done Lex Bekkernens on acoustic and electronic drums and some of the excellent backing vocals! Also well done to Ebert Zwart on keyboards and backing vocals! Well done to Roland van der Horst on lead vocals and electric and acoustic guitars. Last but not least well done also done to Pieter Drost on the bass guitars and bass pedals! Thanks for again setting the stage on fire and giving so much pleasure everybody in front of it!

Henri Strik (edited by Dave Smith)

Setlist Mangrove:

Set 1
Facing The Sunset
Back Again
Zone I
Zone II
Zone III
Wizard Of Tunes
Daydreamer's Nightmare
Time Will Tell Part 2
Set 2
Bridge To Fiction
Chasing Something
A Touch Of Light
Raindrops Falling
A Call To Arms
Beyond Reality

Pictures Mangrove by Arthur Haggenburg

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Click on the picture to enlarge.


Line up Mangrove:

(left to right)
Ebert Zwart:
keyboards and backing vocals
Roland van der Horst:
lead vocals and electric and acoustic guitars
Pieter Drost:
bass guitars and bass pedals
Lex Bekkernens:
acoustic and electronic drums, backing vocals

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