Kayak, November 15th, 2000
Nighttown, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

By Jeroen Kooistra

After the unfortunate departure of Max Werner as Kayak's lead singer, and after Rob Winter's short holiday, the ‘new’ Kayak took the stage at Nighttown as part of the ‘Close To the Fire’-tour

The venue was not sold out, but the audience was large enough to create a good atmosphere. As usual, the show started with ‘Close To The Fire’, immediately followed by ‘Crusader’. Bert Heerink, now the only lead singer in the band, immediately felt at ease. He does not try to copy the irreplacable Max Werner or Edward Reekers. Instead he just uses his powerful voice in his own way, thus giving the songs a new kind of energy.

Since october, guitarist Rob Vunderink is a fulitime member of Kayak. Rob used to play with Pim Koopman in Diesel in the 1980's. With a guitarist like Rob Winter, adding yet another guitar player seems a bit overdone. But Rob Vunderink concentrated more on 'basic' sounds, and left most of the solo's to Winter. Vunderink's most valuable addition to the band are his vocals. His rather high singing voice served perfectly in the harmonies.

Obviously, many songs from the latest album were played. 'Two Wrongs' gave room for Ton and the two Robs to freak out in their solo's. 'Forever' and 'When Hearts Grow Cold' stayed close to the album versions. But 'Anybody's Child' received a special treatment this night: the choir of the Hofplein Youth Theatre Company (a company that Ton has been working with for several years) provided backing vocals in the choruses. This led to a beautiful, rather 'Christmas-like' rendition. As the show was recorded for a possible live album, this song was played twice, just to be sure....

From Kayak's rich history, most albums (except 'Last Encore') were represented this night. The audience was pleased to hear wellknown oldies such as 'Mammoth', 'Wintertime' and 'Starlight Dancer'. The heavier songs like 'Chance For a Lifetime', 'Sweet Revenge' (a personal favourite of mine) and 'Periscope Life' benefited from the presence of two guitars, which turned the songs into real rockers. On the other hand, there was also a laidback accoustic session, with Ton on accordeon and all the others (including Pim) playing accoustic guitars. This part featured the aforementioned 'Anybody's Child', 'Anne' and the brilliant ‘See See The Sun'. The perfect close-harmony singing in 'See See. ..' turned this piece into the best part of the evening.

Bert Heerink still had trouble with some lyrics. In Merlin' and 'Niniane' he messed them up again, but that didn't really affect the quality of the overall performance. And it must be said that Bert breathes new life into 'Ruthless Queen', making this over-exposed song enjoyable again.

The encores were the usual ones: a rather messy 'Full Circle' (with guest dancers from 'Hofplein'), and that useless second rendition of 'Close To The Fire'. I think that by now the band have had enough time to rehearse another 'oldie' (my suggestion would be 'If This Is Your Welcome') to play instead of this one....

But that is the only bit of criticism I can think of. Kayak played solid and relaxed, and with a well-balanced mix of old and new material they gave good value for money.


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