My thoughts after two nights with Chris.
Last Friday we had tickets for Chris in Amsterdam. Regrettably Shéba (my girlfriend) has got a whiplash, so she wasn’t able to attend this standing concert (there were some seats available in the back of the hall). We waited till Friday morning to make the decision that she couldn’t join me, therefore I wasn’t able to give the ticket to someone else. I arrived at the venue at 14:00h, to start the long wait outside. It was very cold and it was raining, so it was not very comfortable. Till 15:00h I was there waiting alone, till a friend of mine arrived. At 16:30h some more friends joined us (the same group with which I had been waiting in 2006 and 2008!) and not very long till some other people started arriving. At 18:30h the doors of the venue opened and after a short wait at the doors inside we could finally enter the hall (and get a bit warm!). The long wait paid off, as I had the best spot in the hall, right in front of the microphone… At 20:00h Paul Casey started playing. I was positively surprised. I have received all his CD’s from Paul himself (as we have some mail contact) and I have been following him for some time, but I never heard him play live! I think he is really a talented singer/guitarist and luckily the crowd joined him in singing the up-tempo “I do…”. If you haven’t done it, please be sure to check out his work on his website
, he is really good! After 4 songs he left the stage and after a short time Chris and the band (joined by Paul) hit the stage. It was really great to see Sylvin back with Chris (I had already seen them together during the Bush hall gig last September). The show started with a blast and the sound was very good in the Heineken Music Hall (one of my favorite venues). Really loved “where the blues come from” and a wonderful new “twist” to Josephine. After “Looking for the summer” (which has always been one of my favorite tracks, so I was glad to be able to hear it live again) Julia was played. Man, I was blown away… What a wonderful new version of that song. How many ways is that man able to play this song? I really love it and it was in my opinion the best of the set list. It has been said before, but “electric guitar” is indeed a wonderful song played live. I didn’t like the studio version very much, but played live it has become one of my favorites. It has the “old” Chris Rea feeling within this blues song. It was specially the lyrics together with his energetic playing that touched me (I’m gonna make that baby sing… WOW!). “Come so far…” was also better played live then on the record. Stainsby girls was good, but I couldn’t help feeling that he “left a part out”; that it shouldn’t be done when he stopped playing it, cut in half so to speak… It was very hilarious seeing him “shoot” at the audience with his guitar while playing this song. As you may know “the road” is my nr.1 favorite of all time, and though it was great hearing it again live for me it didn’t have the power that I sensed during the last Bush Hall gig or the previous tour. Still loved the song though … As last song “Let’s dance” was played. I have never really liked that song, but I must say this live version was very “catchy” not to mention funny (“I’m never too old to dance”). After this last song he left the stage and the hall was left in the dark for quite some time, which makes people expected another encore… Of course like all other shows there wasn’t any so after some waiting the lights were turned on and people started leaving the hall. It was a wonderful show and as far as I can judge the people around me have enjoyed it very much. There was lots of dancing and jumping and people singing with the songs. On the other hand Chris looked very tired and not well at all, which worried my a lot the whole show. To me he looked nevertheless like he was enjoying himself very much (he even put out his tongue towards someone taking pictures of him – with flash of course – all the time) dancing like I have never seen him dance before (he seems to be dancing more and more every new tour). He recognized me and said hello to me at the start of the show, so that was great!
After this whole experience it wasn’t over for me… We also had tickets for the show in Dortmund on Saturday. Shéba wanted to try attending this concert as it was seating only and it was her Christmas present! Since it was a 200+ km drive we left early (or so we thought), but due to many road construction works and heavy snow we arrived in Dortmund around 18:30h (doors would open at 19:00h). After waiting in line to enter the parking lot for quite some time we only had three cars in front of us before we could enter the parking lot when it was closed by the police (full). So we had to search for another place to park the car while the clock was ticking (and we knew Shéba wouldn’t be able to walk very far). After some searching we found another spot in the proximity of the hall and we started the long walk to the hall (which was very painful for her). Thanks to a very friendly steward we could enter the hall through the “disabled entrance” without having to wait in the line (thank you!) and we could enter the hall in time before ths show started at 20:00h. We had rather good seats in row 10 (seats 1 & 2). When Paul started playing I immediately noticed the sound being very bad, not too mention not loud enough to fill this large hall. The German audience didn’t give him the warm welcome that the audience in Amsterdam did, and almost no one joined him in singing “I do…” when asked. After the support act and a small pause it was time for Chris to enter the stage. Surprisingly enough he looked much better then the day before in Amsterdam, so that comforted me a lot. He played (of course) the same set list as in before. Shéba saw Chris live only once before but that was in the small Bush hall, which has a completely different atmosphere as the large Westfallen halle. She enjoyed herself very much although she couldn’t dance to the music as I did due to the pain. My thoughts about this show are generally the same as above, Julia was still the best song of the list. He played Let’s dance slightly different then in Amsterdam. Same as during previous tours I noticed the audience participation in a seated concert is less, which didn’t stop me from dancing like I’ve never done before. During the last two songs people started walking to the stage and – although I generally don’t like this because people on the front row couldn’t see anything with all these people in front of them! – I got on my feet as well. Regrettably Shéba had to stay seated but I was enjoying myself right in front of Chris. After the show was done I waited for the tour crew to come and break down the stage. Pat Baker (his production manager) came to me to give a hand and asked me how I was… Well, what do you think after such a show
. What I forgot to mention; the stage set looked really great! I know Pat has put a lot of work in it and it did indeed pay off…
All together two wonderful nights and I really would love to see the rest of the tour as well. For all those of you who are going to attend an upcoming show, you will enjoy yourselves, that’s for sure! Have fun and please come share your thoughts here after the show (and of course keep joining us also when the tour is over