Concert Review Archive



October 16th 2005
De Boerderij, Zoetermeer, The Netherlands

Jeroen Henstra

Arena's 10th Anniversary

Of some concerts I am proud that I was there, of other concerts I feel sorry that I could not go. I always regretted the fact that I missed Arena's Contagion tour, as this has become my favourite album of this powerful band. When I found out Arena would return to The Netherlands to end their 10th anniversary tour, I did not doubt for a moment. Especially the fact that former band members John Jowitt and Paul Wrightson would appear as special guests, set high expectations for this evening.

After an over-the-top opening video and fanfare, the band kicked in with Bedlam Fayre from their latest album Pepper's Ghost. In the beginning the sound was loud and messy, but this improved. Drummer Mick Pointer and keyboard player Clive Nolan seemed to have a lot of fun playing the last show, while singer Rob Sowden enjoyed wearing his extravagant outfits. But my main focus was on guitar player John Mitchell. His solos (for example on Elea) were breathtaking, but his basic lines and chords were equally impressive, sounding smooth and strong at the same time. And bass player Ian Salmon? Well, he was there. Well playing and relaxed. The material from Pepper's Ghost was very well received, with The Shattered Room as a personal favourite. I only missed the special Eyes of Laura Moon, but this is a minor complaint. Other highlights were the many selections from Contagion, showing the band at their tightest and most powerful. After Enemy Without, not my favourite song from The Visitor, the band left the stage.

After a while, Pointer, Nolan and Mitchell returned, dragging with them former Arena and current IQ bass player John Jowitt. Jowitt obviously had a good time playing A Crack in the Ice. A familiar voice sounded, but no singer was visible. Only after a while I found out Paul Wrightson was making his way to the stage through the audience! Very impressive. A moving version of The Hanging Tree proved the great charisma of Wrightson, something Sowden lacks a little. The crowd became really enthusiastic at this point. Two more songs followed before the gentlemen disappeared again. But not for long, because everybody was expecting some more oldies. The current Arena line-up delivered good performances of Solomon and Jericho, after which Jowitt and Wrightson joined once more to give a helping hand on Crying for Help. A great party to end the show with.

This was an unforgettable concert. Two and a half hours of high quality music without a boring moment, played by some of the best musicians, who also know how to entertain the audience.
Bedlam Fayre
Midas Vision
Don't Forget To Breathe
Smoke And Mirrors
Purgatory Road
Witch Hunt
An Angel Falls
Painted Man
Waiting For The Flood
The Shattered Room
The City Of Lanterns
Riding The Tide
Skin Game
The Butterfly Man
Enemy Without

A Crack In The Ice
The Hanging Tree
A State Of Grace

Crying For Help VII


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