Founded in 1978, Pendragon began their career touring with the likes of Marillion....
Some thirty years later, the band is still going strong and Pete Gee (bass), Clive Nolan (keyboards, vocals) and Nick Barrett (composer, guitar, vocals) are still working together.
With their current drummer (I lost count how many they had) Scott Higham, who has been with band for a number of years now, they found a new 'engine' to help keeping the fire burning.
A special edition of the brand new album Passion had a special release party in The Netherlands with a special event: Megadaze.
A bit like Marillion, but instead of a whole weekend with the band, Pendragon chose 'just' to play two nights in a row.
The special package for the two shows included that special edition of the new album, a T-shirt, a key chord with laminate (for what?) and support act Andy Sears (Twelfth Night).
The first night around 400 fans turned up to see the show and collect their special package.
The current front man of Twelfth Night, Andy Sears, opened for Pendragon accompanying himself on keyboard,
with music from his i-pod or on his (actually it was Nick Barrett's) acoustic guitar, he played and sang several tunes from different era's.
The Twelfth Night songs sounded pretty good, but since I didn't recognize all of the songs there might have been some of his own.
A rather modern sounding pop tune seemed a bit awkward to me between all those rather proggy songs.
Still Sears proved he has a remarkable vocal and his rendition of Love Song was truly outstanding.
Pendragon opened with a nice song from The World album appropriately titled Back In The Spotlight, because it had been some three years if I'm not mistaken,
that the band performed live in The Netherlands.
The atmosphere was great from the beginning and Barrett was obviously in a good mood.
He revealed that the setlist of tonight would hold some surprises because the band would be playing material never played live before.
Further on during the show he also stated that Not Of This World was a very special album to him because of the lyrics matching his state of mind at the time so perfectly.
The band played very well indeed.
The ever so modest Gee moving around on stage a bit, Nolan in a superb form in spite of being probably one of the most 'heavy' keyboardists in the whole prog-scene
and Barrett grinning more than once and interacting with the audience frequently.
The biggest 'attraction' was Scott Higham, drumming loudly and bombastically but enjoying himself tremendously behind his kit and putting himself in the spotlights more than once.
The light show was nothing special in my opinion, no extra's, very modest with Nolan, Gee and Barrett in the shade most of the time.
A small disaster from a photographer's point of view.
The sound however was great although up front the mix wasn't all that perfect: drums too loud, guitar not loud enough but this was probably only true for the first few rows.
On the Saturday night show most of the songs were from the nineties with the emphasis on the melodic songs.
Swinging, swaying and moving around in the crowd therefore was limited.
The show wasn't too long and not a single song from the new album was played that night.
The song the band picked as the encore were also not the most powerful and up tempo songs and therefore there was no real climax.
While it appeared the band seemed to come back for another encore, they or the mangement obviously decided not to.
Still the band left the stage leaving most of the fans in a state of pure admiration and I heard a lot of positive comments.
On Sunday night (I wasn't there, so all photos were taken on Saturday night!) Sears played a shortened set compared to the Saturday night, but basically he performed the same songs.
Pendragon started their show earlier than announced via the media and therefore quite a few fans will have missed the first part of the show.
Most of the fans had taken the opportunity to listen to the new album before coming back to Zoetermeer, so the songs were already somewhat familiar.
The band's performance of the new songs was superb, The only downside was that the band decided not to play Passion in its integrity but to mix it with older songs instead.
Again the show was not too long but the idea of having a 'prog-idols' contest in the afternoon was fun.
The Freakshow was performed twice by the band with one winner named Marco and again with thirteen year old winner Pippin
(Who said Lord Of The Rings wasn't a major influence on prog-music for both musicians and fans?).
Around 100 fans decided to stay at home or do different things so looking back, the band would probably would have been better off by playing just one night,
performing the new album before the break, the older stuff after the break, making the crowd go wild by playing old 'up tempo' favorites and no support act.
Still this experiment shows courage and most of the fans enjoyed their 'special package'.
It will be interesting to see how IQ will manage with the same kind of event later this year.
With Passion, Pendragon proves to be still one of the major progressive bands around these days
and I'm also really looking forward to the new album by Nolan's 'own' band (with Pointer of course): Arena!
Back In The Spotlight
Not Of This World
If I Were The Wind
And We'll Go Hunting Deer
Am I Really Losing You?
This Green And Pleasant Land
Last Man On Earth