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Current page: Concert Diary 2008

Current page: Concert Diary 2008

Concert Diary 2008

De Halte, Eext - 18th May

Chris Simpson writes - I have played in some interesting settings in my time, but this one was kind of special - maybe on account of the good people who ran it. Thinking back, I have played on the back of a pick-up in the grounds of a mental hospital; someone inadvertently drove it off in the middle of our set to some fancy pyrotechnics, and then silence. A concert on a billiard table in Tilburg, Holland; on an island in a park in Spain with the electricity cables running under water... in a portacabin in the Omani desert and an outside temperature of 42 degrees...

This was different.

A beautiful day and we left Matt's house to run up into the country.

It had to be interesting as this date came in at the last minute from a fan. 'Doris' the Satnav does all right until we hit roadworks not far from the venue. Doris does not like to be argued with and with frequent shrieks of 're-calculating' got well boxed in in the melee of diversions.So it is a mobile call and we are suddenly there. A kind of caravan park but also an old railway station and not a few old carriages still parked on the remains of the tracks.

We pull in in front of a carriage built in 1924 as I learn later. I thought of the time when it was built and a world in blissful ignorance of the hell about to be unleashed by Adolf. Oh, the stories it could tell, like Herman Goering's sailing boat he used to use, still there in Spakenburg.

I digress....

Marcel, the owner welcomed us and we had coffee outside in the sunshine.A kind man who introduced us to his wife, Lenie, daughter Kyra, and son Dewi, who also looked after the sound.

So we are playing in a railway carriage. It was great.

His son Marco had a fine little acoustic band, Madam's Pie, with a tasty string bass player and they opened up.

Hospitality was typical Dutch and we waited for an audience. People did turn up but I sensed the same old problem we have had so many times before. You simply will not get Magna Carta people coming to strange or off the wall concerts. Period. Dozens of phone calls asking if it was the real Magna Carta and yet, all in all it only amounted to about twenty people in the end. We played a tight single set to a great response, but I felt kind of sorry for Marcel. He, on the other hand was blown away and said to me that he was just so glad he had done it for it fulfilled a dream.

'I decided,' he said, 'that I was not going to reach eighty and regret not having my favourite group in my own place'. We ended on 'Paradise Row', and after that as if by magic, dinner was prepared for some fifteen of us, including Jet Lovink and daughter Hanneke, who came to sell CD's and were not exactly overworked! The food was wonderful, singlehandedly prepared by a truly wonderful character who's name escapes me. We all had a great time and sadly, as ever, said goodbye to the little family group by the door. I checked out my mirrors - sure enough, they waved us out of sight.

Unique; special and one of those concerts that in terms of my thirty nine years on the road, will stay in my memory forever.

Sunset over the Polders and it is Switzerland next, ten hours away by road.

Left Arrow Het Eekhoornnest, Holland Right Arrow Concerts 2008