Saturday, 28 September 2013

Ed Kowalczyk, The Concertgebouw, 16 September 2013

I guess what I need to remember is that sometimes a gig is not all about me.

When I thought of what may be install for the EK gig at the Concertgebouw I had higher hopes and expectations than what would eventuate with the actual performance. But what I did love about the evening is that it highlighted what one “mans” disappointment, may also be another “women’s” enjoyment, we are all different and I am far from the gospel according to music. That being said here is what the show meant to me……

First off, this is an amazing venue and I think 9/10 times I would be super happy to head there even if it is to drink in the ambience and history of this iconic Amsterdam venue.

That being said, I think the music that engulfs this magnificent hall has to respect the way it was designed all those years ago. I think it was David Byrne who said (and I will paraphrase here) that ‘not all music can be played fantastically in all venues’. And unfortunately I felt this was very much the case on this night.

Almost to prove the point, the support band performed their show faultlessly and really captured the essence of the venue. Whilst the songs were in English and the banter was in Dutch, it was really the fact that they played totally acoustic with violin, brushes etc, no plugs or amps in sight and they were rewarded by the venue with a fantastic sound.

Alas Ed and the other dude up on stage played with amped guitars and this was for mine, not acoustic enough. Therefore I found the overall sound was not as good as it could be, and it resulted in a lot of reverberating around the whole venue.

I felt like Ed played as though he was in Paradiso, not a classical venue. I mean I think he has the voice to play totally acoustic and he certainly has the style of songs to pull it off. Upon reflection I think this was my biggest disappointment. Or was it the fact that in Paradiso it would have been a more relaxed affair and maybe, just maybe, if I had have had a beer in my hand I would have felt better?
Also it didn’t feel as though the crowed want this show to be in a classical venue they wanted a rock palace they wanted to get involved, sing those rock anthems and enjoy their youth all over again. And as far as reliving his forma years he did do that. He played all of his hits and he did belt them all out, and as to be expected of a “solo” artist who use to play in a band “of note”, there was a lot of fill for the last and “new” album.

Now my next criticism I am not 100% sure if it is totally justified or just how I felt on the night, but as the venue did have aspects of a church I felt like occasionally I was witnessing a Christian rock show. What it did have was crowd participation when he belted out his hits every man and his dog joined in and Ed gave them every opportunity to sing along. And hands down the best song of the evening was “lightning crashes” and this was nearly and I say nearly worth the price of administration on its own.

As the set progressed Ed played a pretty average version of the Springsteen’s “I’m on Fire”. It could have been better and his monologue about meeting the great man did little for me where I think it usually would have. Maybe it was just that I have just seen the Boss twice this year at his best and this version of the song was not even at 70% of what Bruce would have given it. [Editors note – that is if the Boss had have bothered to play that song in his 6.5 hours of performing we saw. Still a little bitter on that one]

All up it was a solid performance and one that I am sure many people on the night enjoyed, I think catching the full “Live” band back in the 90’s, at their height killed me for his show and maybe if it had have been in a smaller, more intimate venue I would have liked it more.


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