I’ve always thought of Pendragon as the crown-prince of progressive rock.
Unfortunately Pendragon never become a king. The band was formed in the early eighties and
I have been a fan from the days they released Fly High, Fall Far up till a number of years now.
I guess for me personally the change in admiration for the band and the level of
‘digging their music’ came when Clive Nolan and Peter Gee started to become involved
in all kinds of side projects, some of them with quite a lot of success (Arena for example).
When it became obvious Nick Barrett not only wrote all the material but was the undisputed leader of the band,
my interest in the band started to fade a bit. Still I went to see their shows regularly
but with their new album Pendragon cannot enchant me anymore with their music.
So my review of the show in Zoetermeer must be considered as written by a prog-fan who doesn’t
take an interest in the band as they are now.
Due to quite a long detour on the way from the eastern part of our country to Zoetermeer,
we arrived too late at ‘De Boerderij’ so I didn’t hear much of Gary Chandler’s performance.
The Jadis-guitarist played some tunes, backed up by all kinds of electronics so it seemed
like a band was playing rather than an acoustic solo-performance as one might have thought it would be.
I heard just enough to be able to say: what a pity Jadis isn’t as productive as earlier on.
Gary still knows how to play guitar, his voice is still strong,
he looks quite okay but maybe other activities and/or a writer’s block prevent him and
Jadis to come up with new material regularly.
The album Photoplay dates back from 2006 and the last studio-album See Right Through You is from 2012.
According to the website there’s a ‘Medium Rare 2’ coming up with some excellent songs,
live versions, unreleased tracks and some acoustic songs.
I only got one or two shots from Gary because it took me some time to make my way up to the front rows.
Cultuurpodium de Boerderij must have been sold out -or very close to it anyway-
because there really were a lot of fans!
After a break of about half an hour Nick Barrett, Clive Nolan,
Peter Gee and (professional) drummer Craig Blundell entered the stage and the quartet opened
with a track from Not Of This World: If I Were The Wind.
Obviously all devoted fans were gathered in ‘De Boerderij’ because from note one the atmosphere was great,
a fantastic crowd for any band to play live for!
Anyone could see the two good
looking women standing in the back of the stage to support Nick with backing vocals,
but between the songs Barrett explained how the band had decided to give themselves
a facelift and with a grin he announced ‘the facelift’: ‘I give you …….
Clive Nolan!! Looking quite pleased Nolan bowed with a grin.
Of course this sense of humor was appreciated and enhanced the great vibe already present.
Up tempo tracks alternated by slow, melancholic tracks: every song ‘landed’
and time and time again there were big rounds of applause after each and every song.
To my surprise in this tour announced as ‘Men Who Climb Mountains Tour’,
only three tracks of the new album were performed, perhaps because the album wasn’t available before the tour.
With four songs the album Pure was represented well, while there wasn’t a single tune from
the first three albums included.
To be honest I was probably one of the few people in
the audience who were a bit disappointed the old stuff wasn’t played,
but the fact is the crowd was really ecstatic and with their enthusiasm they got the band
to play a second encore. The backing vocalists really proved to be an asset and
not only because of their looks (especially the younger blonde singer).
It struck me that Clive Nolan had a rather modest set up, but still he had a big keyboard
(a huge KORG infinite) on a rotating pole. His role both as keyboard-player and as
(background) vocalist seems to have diminished to rather poor proportions.
Yet again no one else seemed to care but me….
During the acoustic parts where both Nick and Peter played acoustic guitars,
Nick praised Gee for his important role in Pendragon and called him ‘the glue’ within the band.
Near the end of the show the was a stunning drum-solo by Blundell
and it made him a very popular member of the band straight away!
Unfortunately he was pretty much hidden behind his drum-kit and from where I was standing
I couldn’t get a decent photo from him until after the show.
Even not being a true fan anymore, it was obvious both the band as well as all
attending had an absolutely marvelous time and given the amount of people rushing
to the merchandise booth, the album must have been sold hundreds of times that night.
Even after thirty years Pendragon are still going strong and with bands like IQ they
remain at the top of the ‘prog’ scene and are worthy representatives from the progressive
groups from the eighties!
If I Were the Wind (and You Were the Rain)
This Green and Pleasant Land
The Freak Show
Dance Of The Seven Veils
King of the Castle
Faces of Light
Breaking the Spell
Explorer of The Infinite
It's Only Me