Concert Review Archive

 
Night Of The Progs 2011

Martigan, Sky Architect, Threshold, Riverside, Eloy, Haken, Vanden Plas, RPWL, IQ, Dream Theater, Anathema

Friday - Saturday, 8th - 9th July 2011
Loreley, Germany

Article By Gert Hulshof and Dave Baird
and photos By Menno von Brucken Fock and Dave Baird

Gert Hulshof

For the sixth consecutive year Wiv Entertainment presents the Night of the Prog, one of the most spectacular prog events of the year. The line up this year consisted of mostly Progressive Metal bands with the Headliner of the festival being no other than Dream Theater of course with Mike Mangini behind the drumkit replacing the departed Mike Portnoy.

The festival takes place of what must be one of the most beautiful venues to hold concerts at, The “Freilicht Bühne am Loreley” near the small village of St. Goarshausen. Not only the is it a smashing stage, but the complete site itself, you have a great view of the artists from all areas, from way in the back to the front, from the left side to the right, really fantastic. Night of the Prog is a confusing name for a festival that is taking place over 2 days, presenting 11 bands.

This year's line up festival we have Martigan to kick off followed by Dutch youngsters Sky Architect. Next up is Threshold, with Damian Wilson once again followed by Poland's Riverside and as the closing day are Eloy - back on stage for the first time in 13 years.

Opening the second day another newcomer to the prog scene in Haken, to be followed by Vandenplas stepping in for Moon Safari who had to cancel. RPWL, IQ, headliners Dream Theater and closing the festival, Anathema.

Looks to me all attendees were in for a smashing good time. The weather god was with us providing two sunny days. The crowd was in a good mood, Food and beverages present. All ingredients in place to make a grand feast.

Dave Baird

This was my first visit to Loreley, my main driver for going this time was to see Dream Theater with Mangini. The lateness of my decision meant I couldn't find a room in a hotel, so I had to sleep in the back of my car - not really ideal, but do-able for one night. I also arrived two hours late due to heavy traffic and accidents on the way, the drive from Brussels taking about 6 hours rather than the GPS proposed 3 and a half...

My initial thought when arriving was "why the hell didn't I do this before?" Really it's a beautiful place. The drive along the Rhine to get there is lovely, maybe even a little dangerous as I was forever distracted by the road by some wonderful sight - boats on the river, castles on the side of the valley, pretty little villages. The venue itself is just exceptional being a natural amphitheatre with loads of seating (albeit on hard stone walls) for all. There are ample bars and places to buy food along with merchandise vendors mostly at the top back of the seating, where there's also a nice grassy area which is great for relaxing and to allow for families with kids to also take-in the event.

One criticism I would have of the catering is that there appeared to be very little choice - it was basically frites and sausages/burgers, which is OK up to a point, but I would have liked the option of something a little healthier. Also in the drinks department there was no bottled water on sale, you had to buy in 33cl glasses from the beer tent for pretty much the same price as the booze - now that's extortionate! OK, I came prepared with some food and water, but it was a bit of a trek back to the car each time to refresh.

The organisers kindly provide toilets and shower facilities for those staying overnight, a word of warning though, the shower was cold, very cold, very, very cold, I would estimate about 3° above absolute zero, at least that's how it felt. Still, as I had consumed quite some alcohol on the Friday and not slept so well in the car it was perhaps just what I needed early Sunday morning...

I had the honour of being DPRP's official photographer for the event - basically that gives access into the area in front of the stage barriers. Most of the time this wasn't even necessary as there were good vantage points to be had from many areas of the amphitheatre - the exception was Dream Theater when the place was absolutely packed, everyone decided to stand up and we (the photographers) were excluded from the pit. So for Dream Theater the photos aren't as good as they might have been.

This year they decided to place a load of bass bins along the front of the stage and these were constantly blasting us all the way through, it was quite a physical challenge at times and I congratulated myself on several occasions for remembering to bring my earplugs! This was my second criticism of the event; the general volume levels were just way too loud. Even when you stood at the limits of the venue you couldn't talk without shouting. Even worse, the sound man insisted on playing the music between the acts at the same volume. At one time he turned it down, the crowd rose, cheered and applauded madly - he must have been blind as well as deaf, or perhaps just a bit thick, because he put the volume back up, everyone booed, but it stayed there.

I took 2500+ photos over the course of 18 hours - I cannot tell you just how painful my shooting hand was after that!

So some small negatives along the way, but an overwhelmingly big thumbs-up to a brilliant event. It was in fact my first festival and I plan on it being my second next year. I can only highly recommend that all prog fans try to make this at least once. DPRP had six members present on the Saturday: Gert, Joris, Dries, Bart, Menno and myself, and the event must have been close to, if not fully, sold-out on the Saturday evening.

And as a final pre-amble, it's a great place for the public to meet the artists. Many of them went into the crowd after their sets (quite literally in Damian Wilson's case), and most of the rest went to the gates at the side of the stage to meet and greet fans both before and after their shows; a tremendously relaxed and fun atmosphere.

 

Friday, 8th July 2011

Martigan
By Gert Hulshof

As said first band to play Martigan. German band Martigan (Official website/Myspace) are around for awhile yet they are not that well known in progressive circles as they perhaps be should be. It is always tough to play as first band at a festival, not everybody who visits the festival will have arrived yet.

SMartigan

Starting the show as scheduled Martigan showed straight away that they are a bunch of great musicians. Playing songs from their last two albums Vision and Man of the Moment. I had never seen Martigan play live before and was really interested to see if they could bring the sound on their album onto Stage.

Martigan

I must say I was pleasantly surprised by the joy and play at which Martigan performed the show, knowing that when playing a festival you cannot play all you want and only have limited time. In this limited time they managed to get the people going, the atmosphere was great after their show and could only mean we were going to enjoy a fantastic festival. The Neoprog of Martigan was well received by the crowd who wished to hear and see more even after the first band.

Martigan

By Dave Baird

I'm afraid I missed their set as I was delayed in traffic.

Setlist Martigan
Intro
Boatman’s Vision(part 1)
Mask & Raven1
Touch In Time
Images And Tales
Much More
The Pride
 

Sky Architect
By Gert Hulshof

Next up Dutch prog band Sky Architect (Official website/Myspace). The band are newcomers to the scene in the way that they have delivered their debut album, but later this year their second album is about to be released or has just been released.

Sky Architect

They are a relatively young band but this did not show much on stage. The band gave it all, their best shot and played like never before, certainly not nervous about their performance at an open-air prog festival.

Sky Architect

The crowd were instantly approving of Sky architect moving along clapping hands, shouting singing along if they could. The five boys from Holland gave the audience what they were expecting great songs. After this show the crowd kept demanding for more and more. But as things go at festivals no encores this time, just a short set of about 1 hour and then it stops on to the next act.

Sky Architect

By Dave Baird

Arrived in the final 15 minutes. I was a little bit distracted with getting my shit together, but my impression of these very young guys was overwhelmingly positive. They sounded quite neo-prog to my ears and played with quite some texture and energy. A band I shall investigate further.

Setlist Sky Architect
Deep Chasm
The Grey Legend
Melody of the Air part 2
Excavations of the Mind
 

Threshold
By Gert Hulshof

In this case next up were Threshold (Official website/Myspace), in their midst once again Damian Wilson. After the more neoprog sounds of Sky Architect we now got treated with prog-metal of the highest level. And what a performance it turned out to be. The crowd were immediately taken into the slipstream of one Damian Wilson, running from one side of the stage to the other. Jumping, leaving the stage climbing on the front row speakers, to vanish into the audience for the first time giving the guard near the stage a hard time.

Threshold

He was enjoying himself very much and wanted the audience to join him in his joy; as Damian is a showman he succeeded in this splendidly. Once again jumping into the audience, leaving no doubt he wants to be among the fans. Leaving his mates on stage time and time again, scaring the guard in the pit.

After this performance the crowd were absolutely going wild, hungry with an appetite for more.

By Dave Baird

Having liked Threshold since the Subsurface album I was very keen to see them live. Already when they began at 18:00 the crowd had grown considerably - I guess a lot of people arriving at the end of the working week. They played a nice selection of songs from the more recent releases and I was personally pleased to hear my favourite The Art of Reason and it seems it's front man Damian Wilson's also, or at least that's what he said.

Threshold

What an entertainer Damien is, I don't think I've ever seen a singer with so much dynamism and energy! I mean the whole band were really excellent and moving around all over the place, but Damian was just astonishing and a pleasure to photograph as he's forever saluting the crowd, jumping onto the speaker stacks, jumping INTO the crowd, running around the venue and striking all manner of rock poses. Just totally amazing and giving his all as though it was his last performance. In fact he did say "This is Threshold's last live performance... before we record a new CD", what a performer!

Threshold

To top it all, when the set finished and the band left the stage he just jumped back into the audience to drink and chat for the rest of the evening. Now that's what I call METAL, brilliant!! I met Karl Groom and Pete Morten in the crowd after and had a nice chat too.

Slideshow Threshold

Setlist Threshold
Slipstream
Pressure
The Ravages of Time
Long Way Home
One Degree Down
Hollow
The Art of Reason
Pilot in The Sky of Dreams
Mission Profile
 

Riverside
By Gert Hulshof

The next dish were Riverside (Official website/Myspace), celebrating their tenth anniversary this year. Mariusz Duda and the boys had prepared a set that took us through their entire carreer so far. Giving the crowd Voices in their heads until the curtains fell.

Riverside

Very festival unlike, Riverside went of the stage to return again and play an encore. This was the second time Riverside played NOTP, the first being in 2009. Mariusz Duda made a remark about that when he asked the crowd to join him and sing along with one of the songs. Afterwards he said, “we were here 2 years ago, and I must say you guys can sing a lot better than last time”.

Riverside

The long and moody songs of Riverside seem to be specially made to be played in environmenst such as Loreley. The band really enjoyed them-selves as was clearly noticeable in the energy that came with every song. The audience could not get enough. A thoroughly enjoyable show by the mood masters from Poland.

Riverside

By Dave Baird

After the antics of Damian Wilson, Riverside were always going to be up against it dynamically, but I trusted that their music would shine through and with them being one of my favourite bands I was eager to see them live, also for the first time. For some strange reason though, despite loving their stuff, they really didn't do it for me, they seemed a bit too ponderous - could be because Mariusz Duda is the only one of them that really moves on stage...

Riverside

I think the set list had something to do with it though, opening with After was fine, but I really expected Volte Face and we got instead Living in the Past from the new EP - which I, and I suspect a lot of others, don't yet know very well. Of course the band played flawlessly, but they didn't at all reach my personal level of expectation and I was a left a little disappointed to be honest.

Slideshow Riverside

Setlist Riverside
After
Living In The Past
Ultimate Trip
Conceiving You
Egoist Hedonist
Left Out
Loose Heart
Panic Room
Second Life Syndrome(part one)/Parasomnia (excerpt)
The Curtain Falls
 

Eloy
By Gert Hulshof

Around 22:00 hours just one band needed to climb the stage of the Lorley Freilicht Bühne, they were none other than famous German symphonic specialists Eloy (Official website/Myspace). Frank Bornemann and his man all dressed in black for the occasion climbed the stage for the first time in 13 years. One can say they have not forgotten what it means to play live. Naturally Eloy already have extensive catalogue of music spanning a 40 year long career in music. For this event Eloy had prepared a set consisting of music from long agao as well as some recent songs.

Eloy

On the stage they had a background choir of two / three girls dressed in black and white. Bringing songs from Ocean, Silent cries and mighty echoes but also Visionary. Leaves no doubt these boys still have it. A solid performance although I must say the sound wasn’t always to my liking, there were times you could hardly hear Frank Borneman or the two girls sing. Unfortunately this was not only the case with Eloy but also in acts before them. A shame really, but it’s a festival and you can’t win them all can you?

Eloy

After playing their set Eloy left the stage only to return again and play 2 encores. When they came back on the stage drummer Bodo was dressed like the notchback of Notre Dame, climbing behind his kit like an old man. The last song left Frank Borneman alone with the girls singing a nice song.

By Dave Baird

I've never heard Eloy before other than the name and if I'm totally honest I'm not at all in a hurry to hear them again and I can't recall in my mind any of the music they played. The crowd seemed to like them well enough, so I wouldn't take my word as gospel. They did have a nice light show though, what with it being totally dark by then, and they also used some attractive female backing vocalists with shortish skirts. Us photographers were kicked out of the put for this one too so shooting angles were a bit limited (and I would have liked to have seen those backing singers from closer proximity...).

Slideshow Eloy

Setlist Eloy
Child Migration
Paralysed Civilization
Mysterious Monolith
Age of Insanity
The Apocalypse
Silhouette
Poseidon's Creation
Time to Turn
The Sun Song
Illuminations
Follow the light
Awakening of Consciousness
The Tides return forever
Encores
Ro Setau
Thoughts
The Bells of Notre Dame
 

Gert Hulshof

So ended day 1, going back to the campsite trying to get some sleep, which was very difficult. At the campsite a few campfires were raised and people gathered around to celebrate further, someone played some awesome acoustic guitar and there was singing and drinking beer. Around 4:30h everything went silent and all were sleeping some were snoring. At the first light of day the early birds rose into what was going to be day 2 of a superbly organised festival.

Dave Baird

So off to my mattress in the back of my car with a nice big bottle of strong Belgian ale to help me sleep. I'm glad I wasn't in the campsite with all the noise going on, but I'm afraid I may have disturbed some people at 2:30AM when I had to get out of my car for a pee and forgot that the doors were alarmed. I'm not sure what will have disturbed them the most, the noise of the alarm or perhaps seeing me stark-naked in the middle of the parking field having a wee :-D

 

Saturday, 9th July 2011

Haken
By Gert Hulshof

Around 12:00h the first band was set to go on stage. New-comer band Haken (Official website/Myspace) were due to play at the festival, with only one album behind their name. released in 2010 with great reception by all the press especially in the progressive corner. A band that is being said is going to make it.

Haken

Expectations were pretty high, would the guys be able to live up to the standards of their album. It was hardly noticeable that these boys have not played an open air festival before as pointed out be singer Ross Jennings. Playing at a festival at the timescale they did is a difficult task to grab the attention of the audience.

Haken

Looking around there were a lot of Haken shirts, the fans had gathered to make the show a real happening. From the first notes the reception was awesome. Not long into the show the snare drum of drummer Raymond broke down. As the technicians in the back prepared a new snare for Ray, the band got into a Jam session, keeping the audience busy while waiting. An absolute great idea to do, keeps the audience with the band and performance, and the band going.

Haken

These boys really made waves with their album. Here at NOTP they have done absolutely the same thing as a live performer. Entertaining to the fullest degree. Great showmanship and superb musicianship well prepared for a show at an open-air festival. An absolute smash, the audience was loose from take one of the day.

By Dave Baird

I had never heard of this band before and was pleasantly surprised. Their music was an eclectic mix of prog, jazz, metal and even some death metal sections with cookie-monster vocals. Multiple time and tempo changes with a lot of quirks and shifts. Really very interesting, with influences from many different genres.

Haken

Despite being the first act of the day they had a very respectable audience and quite some Haken t-shirts in the audience too, so they've clearly got some following. This is a band I will certainly check-out further and anyone that likes their prog a little on the crazy side is well advised to do the same.

Setlist Haken
Point of No Return
Streams
Eternal Rain
Nocturnal Conspiracy
Drowning in the Flood
Insomnia
Celestial Elixir
 

Vanden Plas
By Gert Hulshof

The second band to come on stage were Vanden Plas (Official website/Myspace), although they were added to the line-up at the very last minute singer Andy Kuntz left no doubt that they were very pleased they could play at the festival. In his words, "we have always wanted to play an open air festival as night of the progs" they finally succeeded.

Vanden Plas

OK, Moon Safari needed to cancel, but put that to one side. Vanden Plas are your regular heavy metal prog band, loud and symphonic. Prog-metal has quite some followers; it is more popular than straight progressive rock, even than neo-prog. This was obvious from the start, with an intro tune and climbing to the stage. Fans instantly were clapping along whilst Vanden Plas went through their catalogue to give the audience what they wanted.

Vanden Plas

As little as Andy may be as big a voice he has. Running up and down the stage, quite similar to Damian Wilson the day before. With the exception that Andy did not go into the Audience to sing. A steady show.

Vanden Plas

By Dave Baird

Vanden Plas delivered a blistering set of technical prog-metal, but I have to say I don't personally get on with their music at all. On this occasion I was certainly the minority as the crowd absolutely loved it and gave the band a great reception. These guys are all tremendous musicians, really, super, but I just cannot get into their stuff and so it's very difficult to judge the performance and I'll leave it at that! Nevertheless the performance was so professional that it has motivated me to listen to their studio CD's again.

 

RPWL
By Gert Hulshof

From Freising to Loreley, a short journey by car a great step for RPWL (Official website/Myspace). The boys celebrated last year with the start up of their own label, studio etc. Now a performance here at Loreley, and what a performance it was going to be. Kicking in with Sleep followed by Start the Fire, bringing the audience to celebration point. Then taking the first rest from the day in Breath in, Breath out.

RPWL

RPWL is said to be prog but don't think so themselves. Yogi Lang clearly stating in a short introduction that they recently learned from a magazine that a prog song under ten minutes is not quite a prog song. So RPWL got all their songs from up and around ten minutes to play them today.

RPWL

About half way through the concert, the boys got into This is not a Prog Song, which is an homage to prog songs. During the bridge, break, interlude call it like you want, the band go into playing all sorts of prog melodies. From Kayleigh to Smoke on The Water to Stairway to Heaven to Money to you name them. The audience always loves this bit and did so now.

RPWL

RPWL started as Pink Floyd cover band and now always make remarks about this in their own sense of humour. It's songs like This is not a Prog Song, with the break that show just how brilliant these guys can get. A smashing performance showing Kalle Wallner at his guitar best.

By Dave Baird

Dave: Yet another band I didn't know, but had heard a lot about and was very interested to see. Unfortunately they didn't really appeal. I suppose this wasn't helped by the long monologues in German that lead-singer Yogi Lang gave between every track. The highlight for me was their This is not a Prog Song medley which was made up of twenty or so snippets from a lot of well-know songs of the prog genre. Must be said that the way they stitched this together and pulled it off live was very impressive, excellent skills and invention. They seem to be a big thing in Germany though and once again the crowd loved them.

RPWL

Perhaps I will check-out a CD or two and give them a second chance - at least there'll be no blah blah blah between the songs...

Setlist RPWL
Sleep
Start the fire,
Breathe In Breathe Out
Silenced
Stranger
Gentle art of swimming
This is not a Prog Song
TTKTS
Roses
Hole in the sky
Have a cigar(Wasted land)
 

IQ
By Gert Hulshof

IQ

IQ (Official website) is up next, I have never seen these guys play live before although I listen to the music from the beginning of the 1990´s. So I was anxious to learn a live performance of these Brits as one of the icons in symphonic prog or how it is sometimes called Neo-prog.



The overall sound was good, for the first time there seemed to be a good balance in the mix between voice and other instruments. This may of course have had something to do with the wind, not blowing that strong during the IQ performance.



I honestly must say that after the RPWL performance, the IQ show was rather Bleak. Not much going on. Sure the band can play very well, and may be not agree with me when I say. The show was steady and stable but looked as if it was a must do performance.



A professional performance nevertheless but it also did not seem to grab the audience that much. This of course may have something to do with the line up. Whereas IQ are completely in the symphonic corner most of the other bands were not. May have been rather strange to listen and see a band performing the more “softer” prog altogether.

IQ

By Dave Baird

Having been into IQ for more than twenty years, but never seen them live, so another I was really looking forward too, but not without a certain trepidation given all the recent line-up changes. I was truly wondering if Tim Esau could convincingly play all of John Jowitt's bass-lines, well he can, he was really just fine - and very relaxed looking too considering the huge crowd that was now present. It was nice to say hello to Pete Nicholls as well to express my admiration of the band (and show-off my DPRP shirt – as Pete has a long association with DPRP), but I'm not sure he wasn't a bit tired or a little unwell, because I don't think his voice sounded on top form, his dead-pan British banter with the crowd was a great laugh though.

IQ

They delivered a great set and got a tremendous response from the crowd - I wasn't sure how well known IQ were to this audience but they really went down a storm and it must have been very satisfying for them. I thought perhaps the set list drew too much on older material - as a long-time fan it was great to hear The Last Human Gateway, but I would have thought more material from Frequency would have been appropriate a lot of the audience too as I heard many shouts for Ryker Skies and the like. Personally I missed Life Support, but The Darkest Hour was fantastic to hear.

Slideshow IQ

Setlist IQ
Intro/Eloko Bella Neechi
Outer Limits
The Darkest Hour
Stronger than Friction
Born Brilliant
Frequency
State of Mind
Human Nature
Guiding Light
The Wake
The Last Human Gateway
 

Dream Theater
By Gert Hulshof

Now for the Headliner of the festival, Dream Theater (Official website/Myspace), and the first show for me with their new drummer Mike Mangini. All of us were eager to see Mangini play, and see what happens to a band like Dream Theater now one of the founders stepped away.

Dream Theater

Opening almost half an hour late, the band climb on stage during a Hans Zimmer song Dream is Collapsing moving straight into Under A glass Moon. The tone is set for a highly energetic show of cunning. James Labrie gave apologies of the band for starting late - there had been some technicalities which the crew needed to solve, and they done a good job. After three songs, the band go into play an Endless Sacrifice, ending this or running into Ytse Jam with the absolute inevitable drum solo by Mike Mangini. At the end of his solo we can state, “Goodbye Mike, Hello Mike". The drum solo was absolutely fascinating, hardly ever a show of hands like that is seen.

Overall the band played with a joy and fun that was very refreshing. A new drummer, it seems this is what Dream Theater needed after all to get back to the joy of playing live, making music. There was more a band on stage than in previous performances, the craftsmanship is not that different, but the sheer joy of Mangini is flowing towards the other members. Petrucci seemed to go faster than ever.

Dream Theater

Dream Theater is alive and well they have proven so with this show at Loreley. Mangini is a great choice as replacement for Portnoy, two different characters but both, entertainers. Did the drum kit of Mike Portnoy look like a giant bungalow park? Mike Mangini's is more like the new empire state building. What a tremendous drum kit. Loreley environment makes a sound environment for great shows.

By Dave Baird

Dream Theater So, to the main event, Dream Theater. First up I was devastated when we got kicked out of the photo pit, I mean this was the main reason I was here - I think it was so the photographers didn't interfere with all the cameras that were being used to relay video to the big screens, but what a big disappointment. Added to that the place was now packed so getting a clear line of sight for some shots was really hard and I had to move around a lot, pushing though a lot of very excited people which meant I really couldn't take the music in very well (which is already hard enough when you're photographing).

Of course the big deal here was the arrival of Mike 'Genie' Mangini behind the drum kit given then much publicised departure of Portnoy and the search for his replacement. The band did Mike the honour to be first on stage, albeit 45 minutes later than planned due to technical problems, and the roar from the crowd was just deafening, Mike seemed quite overwhelmed and placed his hand together to bow to the people - I suspect this pattern has been repeated at all shows. The rest of the band came on stage and Dream Theater delivered a really great show.

What was clear very early on was the new dynamic on stage, the band seem so happy. Genie Mangini never stops smiling and is clearly so into and absorbed by the music. He emanates positive vibes that have clearly totally changed the band for the good. Of course Portnoy was a really great drummer plus he also did a lot of the crowd-talking and it was going to be interesting how this evolved. Genie played everything perfectly - different from Portnoy, it has a new flavour, but not a missed beat as far as I could hear. As for the crowd interaction, well James talked a lot more than he used to - he sounded a little awkward at times, but I reckon he'll get the hang of it. Most impressive was the demeanour of John Myung - he was totally into this show and clearly getting off on the whole experience, I've never seen him so dynamic. Petrucci and Rudess as always were just amazing, regardless of your opinion of their music there are fewer better players on the planet and it shows.

Being his first introduction to the fans, Dream Theater allow Genie a drum solo in the middle of Ytse Jam and I know a lot of people find these boring, me too a lot of the time, but this one has a special significance and the crowd were mesmerised and amazed in equal measure. Mangini is known as one of the most technical drummers around and he showed off many of his chops, in particular the single-handed snare rolls while playing out rhythms with the other hand is just, well you have to see it to believe it, I guess a quick look on YouTube will do the trick.

Dream Theater

Of course Portnoy was in charge of the set list too and with him out of the picture the band, perhaps by chance, perhaps not, came with a track from pretty much every album, none of them with Portnoy lyrics... It was really fabulous to hear Ytse Jam again, and Peruvian Skies too. Fatal Tragedy was just amazing and even some of my personal lesser favourites, Forsaken and The Great Debate, sounded fresh with Genie behind the kit. Of course the new track On The Backs of Angels was there too and the very wonderful Count of Tuscany to finish up. It's a static set list for the tour, which is understandable given Mangini's new to the job, but it's a varied and interesting one.

Needless to say the crowd went nuts through the whole set. Mangini was more than welcomed by the Dream Theater faithful and he won himself many admirers - not just for his impeccable playing, but for his positive energy and attitude. Dream Theater are sounding new and fresh again, I can tell you in advance that the new CD is really excellent - watch for the DPRP RTR review in September - and I had the pleasure to interview Jordan Rudess too, so that will be around at the same time.

Personally I can't wait for Dream Theater to headline tour Europe now - having seen them about 15 times since 1995 I had grown a bit tired of them live, but now they've clearly got their mojo back and I'm gagging to see them again... An astonishing performance.

Slideshow Dream Theater

Setlist Dream Theater
Dream Is Collapsing
Under A Glass Moon
These Walls
Forsaken
Endless Sacrifice
Drum Solo
The Ytse Jam
Peruvian Skies
The Great Debate
On The Backs of Angels
Caught in A Web,
Through My Words
Fatal Tragedy
The Count of Tuscany
 

Anathema
By Gert Hulshof

And then for the last but not least band to perform at NOTP VI, Anathema (Official website/Myspace). After the gigantic sounds of Dream Theater we needed a more relaxing easing sound to go off into the night at last. Anathema for me seemed to be one of the lesser known gods among the bands, the audience showed me I was wrong altogether. Didn't almost ¾ of the audience leave last year after the Marillion show? We now saw an entirely different crowd. More than ¾ maybe even 90% of the audience stayed and saw one hell of a performance from Anathema.

Anathema

With a well-prepared set list Anathema did what the Enid had done at NOTP V really surprise the audience. A song like Angels Walk Among Us needs an atmosphere opposite of what the rest of the festival had been, a peaceful mood. The audience seemed to understand this perfectly making way for a splendidly performed song. The shortest set was even shortened due to the technical problems Dream Theater suffered before they started. Anathema gave a good performance with a smashing ending in a cover song from Pink Floyd, Comfortably Numb.

By Dave Baird

Anathema So to the final act. Anathema were a band I didn't know until recently, but seeing the video for Dreaming Light on DPRP's news blog, a few says before the event, I was instantly hooked and grabbed the CD We're Here Because We're Here, and it very quickly became one of my favourite releases of recent years. So this was another act I was anticipating and they didn't disappoint reproducing their music with the same feel and atmosphere as the studio versions. There were two issues with the set though; firstly it was shortened due to Dream Theater's late start and having a fixed closing time for the festival, secondly, for such beautiful music they were just way too loud, and by way too loud I mean you had trouble walking in front of the stage without being knocked over with the sound coming from the bass bins. My other gripe was the very subdued lighting they used - no doubt a nice visual to accompany their music and end the event, but a bugger for taking decent photos. OK, that one doesn't really count..

Anathema are a band that appear to have re-invented themselves from death-metal in their early years to this ambient Porcupine Tree/Radiohead type beast and it works really well. Knowing really only the most recent CD it's obvious that these tracks are the ones that really did it for me, especially those with the added female vocals of Lee Douglas, and I was stoked that they opened the set with the first four tracks. To be fair though some older tracks also were appreciable on first listening live, Closer was particularly nice and fits well with their new material. I get the impression from checking set lists on the web that they would have played pretty much the whole of the new album had they more time, shame...

Anathema closed the festival off with a nice rendition of the Pink Floyd perennial favourite Comfortably Numb leaving a couple of thousand people to wend their weary way home - I myself incredibly tired, but really quite satisfied at a tremendously enjoyable and successful event. Looking forward to next year already (although I want a) a hotel for the night, b) for the second night too, because driving home so late and so tired was more than a little dangerous…)

Slideshow Anathema

Setlist Anathema
Thin Air
Summernight Horizon
Dreaming Light
Everything
Closer
A Natural Disaster
Angels Walk Among Us
Deep
Flying
Universal
Fragile Dreams
Comfortably Numb
 

Gert Hulshof

And thus another Night of the Progs has ended, leaving fields with litter and trash: lots of beer, pommes and Bratwurst had been consumed. A very happy crowd, at least 1500 - 1600 people turned up (Some were going home straight after the festival; others went to their hotels or to the camping nearby. The after party at the campsite saw campfires, someone spitting fire, but most of all a lot of happy people. It all stayed noisy until the very late or should I say early hours. I myself did sleep a few hours, had a neat breakfast and headed home.

Until Next year at NOTP VII, I'm looking forward to it already. But first there's another prog festival in Germany. Completely new called Generation Prog. This is taking place September 23 and 24 in Nurnberg.

See you all!

 


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