Arena, October 16th 1996
Paradiso, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

By Ed Sander

The support act was PTS, which I saw live for the third time. These guys have really got their act together. Some of their stuff is pretty good !

The set list for Arena was as follows:

William Tell Overture
Valley of the Kings
Out of the Wilderness
Empire of a Thousand Days
Fools Gold

Crying for Help 7
Welcome to the Cage

He Knows You Know
Crying for Help 4 / Grendel (end solo)

Medley (Jericho, Fools Gold, Valley of the Kings, Empire)

I'd never been to Paradiso before. It's a nice venue with rather good acoustics.

The first two Arena songs were actually not that good. The mix of the instruments was still not perfect (bass too low, keyboards too high). Furthermore, '.. Wilderness' suffered from terrible drumming by Mick.
I'd lost all hope and thought this was going to be a terrible concert.

Thankfully things turned out for the better. Although the next song ('Empire ...') isn't one of my favourites it was played rather well. All the other songs of the evening were played very well with the exceptance of the final bit of the middle part of 'Solomon', which sounded very distorted.

A lot of fun went on on stage. During 'Jericho' (one of my favorite Arena tracks) Keith and John gave each other 'russian cheek to cheek kisses' and John even used Keith's hair to dress up his own bald skull.
During 'Crying ... 4' John took Keith on his neck. Later in the show Paul took John on his neck, who in his turn swam through the air.

During the last encore Clive wore a baseball cap (effectively turning him into a perfect hobo look-alike), Keith wore a funny hat with a fish and John a hat with an elephant head. Great stuff. I hope The Cage took enough pictures.
Things turned into complete chaos with Clive playing keyboards with one hand and hitting Mick's cymbals with the other. At one point Keith and John were playing guitar lying on their backs.

Not only with 'Crying ... 7' did Paul prove to be a great live vocalist.

Just like during the previous tour the 'Grendel' solo and 'He Knows You Know' were played. Last time the reason seemed to be lack of own material.
Even though I love the songs I don't think Arena needs to play these any longer. They had enough songs they didn't play and some of the 'Crying ...' parts would be really nice to hear live.
The concerned songs being a partial Pointer composition is no excuse; Arena do not play any Shadowland, Asia or IQ either.

I didn't like the Arena medley last tour and I didn't like it this time either. It seems a bit useless. Why not play another song or (if they really prefer) another cover. Some of the transitions like the constant 'Jericho'-'Wilderness' switch at the start is absolutely awful.

But all in all it was a very nice concert.


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1996 DPRP