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The last one: Berlin (DE)

Well…. this is it… the last one… We played in the Columbia Club. Just a few months ago Dream Theater played in the Columbia Halle, next to the club. It is a famous club, and a beauty! What an honour to play in such a place, with so much rock and prog history there!
After the soundcheck, we really felt that this would be the one! Some guys came with nice HD-camara’s to record it, Camiel was there to record it on 24-track, it all looked great!
But then came the first part. For me it was really a dissaster. At time of soundcheck, I had the most perfect mix on my in-ear monitors. It sounded great! But when we started, without touching the mixer, everything was gone, and I just had piano on my monitoring. AAAHHHHH…..
We tried to fix it, and during the first half of the show it got better, so I got more into the music. But it was still hard to play. There where many and very strange techincal things going on. The keys went on and off, guitaramps that started humming, monitors that cracked up. Really strange, up to now we still don’t know what caused this trouble.
But hey… that’s the technical part. You have to go on, there are people in the venue, that deserve a good show, so that is what you do then. Just play your heart out, and that is exactly what I did.
Later, after the show I heard that they did not notice all those monitor-problems, so I am thankful!
Playing the encore was very emotional for me, I almost cried during Wind At My Back, because it was the last song. And it was the last time we where on stage together with Neal, for this tour.
I know that we will be back, but this tour was simply to short for me, I could go on for another two weeks. But hey, you can’t have it all, they say…
I’ll keep you informed on what is going on with me, the band members and possibilities for other shows/tours with Neal.
Thank you all your fans out there, for showing up during this tour! It was sooo much fun!!
See you all some other time!!

7th concert: Hamburg (DE)

After a long, long drive from Siegen to Hamburg, BUT a good rest in the hotel, it was time to go to the Logo. A club near the centre of Hamburg. It is one of the oldest music-clubs of Hamburg. It was a small stage, but the crew worked hard, and where able to get everything on the stage. The only thing I had to leave in the truck was my Gong-drum, that did not fit on stage.
The club was packed with almost 300 people, and was allmost sold-out. And it was HOT…. sooooooo hot inside. But because we where all on stage so close to each other, it made the playing so much fun and easyer.
I think it was one of the best gigs we did during this tour.
When we where ready, all our clothes where soaked with sweat. It was really hot, I drank more than 4,5 liters of water DURING the concert, and it still was not enough…
Afterwards we had a great time chatting with some fans. some people came from France, and where everywhere, the whole tour, exept for London. A nice couple from Groningen (sorry forgot your names), came on from Verviers, until the end of the tour. And so on.
Oh, in Rijssen, there was this guy from India, who came all the way just to see Neal perform…. wow.. respect!!

6th concert: Siegen (DE)

I am writing this in Hamburg, we have just arrived for the concert tonight. We had a long day of traveling, stood still in a trafficjam for 1,5 hours, but have managed to get here on time!
Yesturday we played in Siegen, in the Bismarc Halle. It was a nice hall, but with a lot of reverb, so I was curious if the sound could be good here. But when the people started to enter the roon, the acoustics changed for the better.
We had a great night, for me personally it was one of the best shows we have played. It rocked, the sound was great, the audience looked like they where really into it.
Now I have a little time to shower and get ready for tonight.
See you soon!
edit: by the way, we had some great reviews in the Siegen newspaper. A prog review in a ‘normal’ paper! That’s cool!

5th concert: Kelsterbach (DE)

After a nice relaxing time of sleeping in the hotel in Verviers we went to Kelsterbach, a suburb of Frankfurt. A drive of almost 3,5 hours. When we arrived we checked into our hotel and went to the venue. A big hall, with a nice stage.
The concert was in my opinion a good one, I soo enjoyed playing. Neal playing ‘Bridge Across forever’ during the encore left me with goosebumps all over! Everytime, what a song!
The people here in Kelsterbach are so warm and welcome, they really give us a sense of home. We will be off soon to Siegen, but not before a brunch prepared by our friends here in Kelsterbach from Petrusgemeinde.
I hope to see you all soon in Siegen, Hamburg or Berlin!

4th concert: Verviers (BE)

I am standing at the bar right now, loading a soundfile with the concert of tonight. So I can listen to it tomorrow in the car on our way to Kelsterbach.
It was a great concert, sound was great, playing was great! We really had fun. The stage was really small, but the crew managed to get all the gear on stage, AND leave space for the band to stand behind the instruments 🙂
The sound was great, the atmosphere was great, the small audience was great, Spirit of 66 was great, so I look back at a great gig in Verviers!
Tomorrow we will be joined by a friend of mine, Camiel, who will go with us for the last part of the tour. He will record the shows on 24-track, so hopefully we will have some great recordings, to share with you all… well, that’s up to Neal of course.
Well, I have to go in a few minutes to the hotel, and see you all in Germany this week! Looking foreward to it!
See you soon!

3rd concert: London (UK)

Well……. what a day….  It is now a few days later, I’ll try to get all the details correct.
We left for the airport quite early. The crew and band split up for the flight, ‘cause of the planes and their available seats. So the band went to Weze, a place in Germany and the crew went to Eindhoven. And disaster struck…. we both missed our flight, by 10 minutes…. ‘Gate closed’. How is that for the start of a day? They did not wanted to wait for us, so at 10:00 a.m. we still where driving around in The Netherlands trying to find out what to do. The truck with all the gear and instruments had been driving all night after the Rijssen gig, and was in London already. Neal was on his flight almost in London, and the rest was unable to get to London. No other flights available. The only thing that would be a fairly good idea was to drive to Calais and get the boat. But then we would arrive around the time the concert would start. Finally Derek, the guy who organized the concert in London found a nearly empty plane, leaving from Rotterdam.
We took the flight, landed around 15:00 drove for 1,5 hours, so arrived at the venue around 16:30. That is 4,5 hours to late.  And we need 3 hours to set it all up, one hour to soundcheck, and half an hour to get ready, so that is 4,5 hours. The concert would start then on 20:30, last for 3 hours (with intermission) BUT there was a licence until 10:30. So we would miss one hour of music.
So band, crew, local people everybody worked their ass off, to get the PA up and running, all the instruments in place. What a day… And there was no right power supply, so they had to arrange something. Three minutes before the concert would start officially we had power, did a line-check and without the proper soundcheck we started 30 minutes to late.
The playing was hard, because of all that happened that day, but we managed to pull it off. I did enjoy it, and reading the messageboard on Neal’s website, I can see that a you all did to!
Thanx to God for helping us with all this!
The next day we had a free day, so we went into the city of London, to drink some nice coffee at Starbucks, had a lunch at the Burger King, bought some CD’s at Virgin and saw some of the sights. Very nice and relaxing!
And then a very short night (two hours sleep), and left for the airport (to) early, so we did get our flight!!
Off to Belgium it is!

2nd concert, Rijssen (NL)

Well, I have just returned from Rijssen, it is now 01:45, and in a few hours we will drive to the airport to catch the plane to London. I think I can sleep for 5 hours or so….
The concert today was fun, but also heavy on my part. More than yesturday, I had some strugle with my sound and the monitoring, but it all turned out fine, I guess.
a lot of people showed up, and I think they had fun. We did!
After the show, Pieter Sabel, a reporter of the Dutch Slagwerkkrant, (a drummers magazine), did an interview with me, and took pictures of the concert. I’m honoured that this magazine had the interest in me, so I am looking foreward to the next ‘Slagwerkkrant’.
Tomorrow we will play in London, and I can’t wait! The first time for me to play in London! Actually it is the very first time, I will visit London, I only have been on the airport, changing planes… 🙂
Looking foreward to that! (London that is).
Sunday we have a day off, I’ll try to edit some of my drumcam-footage, and will put it online, as soon as I have internet connection (and be done with watching the final of the worldcup)
Well, I go and pack my bag now, not much time left.
See you all! London, here we come!

The first one: Ede (NL)

So, I just returned from Cultura, where we had the first concert. It was a blast! So much fun, so much energy, a small but great audience! It was in a small theater, so it was cosy, and intimate.
I was a little nervous how this first gig would be, but it turned out great. I was sooo enjoying playing all this great music, that I played with a lot of energy. Nice for the music, but not so nice for my gear. Here at the first gig, I broke 3 sticks and my favorite Zildjian A-Custom 17” Crash… aaaaahhhhh….
The sticks I don’t mind, but my soooo beautifull sounding A-Custom crash is gone…. That’s the downside of it… Now I hope that I can find a shop near to the next gig where I an buy a new one… Hopefully it will sound as good as this one did.
We played for more than 2,5 hours. If you wanna know what we played? Well, come and see for your self! 🙂
Well it is now 01:44, time to go to bed. In about 10 hours we are driving to Rijssen for the second gig.
See you there, or some other place!

Rehearsal ‘In the Fire’

Today is the big day, the first concert. I am really looking foreward to it! To get you all a bit in the mood, here is a movieclip of my drumcam during the rehearsals of ‘In The Fire’. Remember, it’s a rehearsal… 🙂
See you tonight, or some other night during this tour!

2nd day of rehearsals

I have just returned from the 2nd rehearsalday. I started at 9 this morning with changing all the drumheads, and tuning the kit together with Ruben, my friend and drumtech. After that I helped Henk (the keyboardplayer) with some programming. At eleven we started with playing. We played through the whole setlist, and tweaked where needed.
This week we have a so called ‘hitte golf’, don’t know that in Engilsh, but translated it sould be something like ‘heatwave’. It means 5 days in a row with 30+ degrees celcius, and no rain. And it is hot…. pppfffff, BUT where we are rehearsing they have airconditioning, so that’s great 🙂
I am really looking foreward to playing with the band before real audiences. I think it will be soooo cool! The music is soo powerfull, I really enjoy every minute of it!
I promised a videoclip of the rehearsal, but we where so busy, I did not have the time to set it all up. Maybe tomorrow! I do know that Neal has filmed some parts of it, and he will try to get it online. So check his site!
I usally close with… ‘and now off to bed…’, but I hope that I can sleep, it is about 35 degrees Celcius in my room… ppffff…


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