Alan Parsons Live Project, May 7th 1997
Ahoy' Rotterdam, The Netherlands
By Ed Sander
An evening with Alan Parsons
This was the third time I saw Alan Parsons' band play live
(not counting the Liberty Concert). The first time was Rotterdam
'94 and the second time Utrecht '95.
Before the show I was arguing with my brother what the
probable concert opener would be. I was convinced that they would
use 'Sirius/Eye in the Sky' like they did during the previous
concerts. My brother was convinced that it would be an intro tape
leading into 'Blue Blue Sky', a track from the new album.
We were both suprised when the band just walked on stage at 8.20
hours and started playing 'Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether'.
Both during this track and the next one ('Can't Take it With
You') the sounds was a bit loud and slightly distorted.
Fortunately, this mixing problem was solved within a couple of
During the show vocals were switched between Peter Beckett (high
vocals) and Neil Lockwood (heavy vocals). Lockwood can also be
heard singing some of the tracks on the new 'On Air' album. Peter
and Neil would also do a few duets at the end of the show ('Don't
Asnwer Me' and 'Games People Play').
Unfortunately, John Giblin (bass) did not perform a bass solo
during 'I Wouldn't Want to be Like You' like Felix Krish had done
in Utrecht during the previous tour.
When 'Old and Wise' was played I was afraid that it would be
another version without the sax solo because this time Richard
Cottle was not in the band. To my great suprise guitarist Ian
Bairnson picked up a sax and played the solo on this song, as
well as on 'Don't Answer Me' later in the show. He did quite
After a medley of 'Money Talks' and the end section of 'La
Sagrada Familia' stars were projected on the white sheet behind
the band while they started playing 'Days are Numbers'. Both this
song and 'Doctor Tarr ...' had been added to the setlist after
Alan had noticed the high positions they got in a readers poll.
The version of 'Days are Numbers' was great and included
extended keyboard and guitar solos.
Talking about the keyboards, ex-It Bites member John Beck was
really enjoying himself. If someone would have painted him black
and gave him some sunglasses he would have looked exactly like
Stevie Wonder. The other guys in the band were having a great
time as well.
'Prime Time' featured another long guitar solo while Ian walked
around the stage. The expressions on his face showed that he was
really 'feeling' his solo.
Peter sang 'Time' which was slightly spoiled by some out of tune
strings on Neil's guitar. Fortunately, Neil's performance of
'Limelight' in a solo spotlight made up for this.
Then followed the only song from the 'Try Anything Once' album;
'Turn it Up'. I have never heard versions of this track which
sound as good as the one on the album. In spite of the new
keyboard solo John played, this version must have been the most
disappointing one I've ever seen played live.
A rocking version of 'Standing on Higher Ground' closed this
'golden oldies' first set. The switch of slides projected on the
white screen was far from perfect but nevertheless added a bit to
the strength of the song.
A 15 minute break followed.
I was slightly disappointed that they hadn't played any new
songs from 'On Air' yet. However, the rest of the audience was
having a marvellous time with the old material I had already seen
two times before.
During the break everybody went to get a drink or something to
and I was wondering how they would manage getting all these
people back to their seats (this was an all-seats concert; even
the arena was filled with chairs). They could not just turn
the lights off and leave them stumbling in the dark.
The answer to this dilemma came before long; a sound effects
tape with noises of birds started. Everybody went back to their
places and after a couple of minutes Neil and Ian came on
stage to perform a fully acoustic version of 'Blue Blue Sky'.
I guess my brother was right after all ...
A selection from the new album followed; 'I Can't Look Down',
'So Far Away' (with Giblin on double-bass), 'Fall Free', the
instrumental 'Cloudbreak' and the beautiful 'Brother Up In
Heaven'. This made my initial disappointment about the first set
vanish with the wind.
Something went wrong during the keyboard introduction of
'Cloudbreak', which made it sound very strange. Fortunately the
arrival of Ian's solo solved this problem. During the track
slides of planes were projected on moving clouds on the white
sheet. Nice but not stunning.
Before playing 'Brother Up in Heaven' Ian told the audience that
the song was about his cousin Erik Mounsey who was a helicopter
pilot on a peace mission during the Gulf War. Erik was shot down
by mistake by an American jet. A spine tingling version of the
song was followed by a roaring applaus from the sympathizing
audience. Clearly a highlight of the evening.
Unfortunately Alan found it necessary to promote the new album
after each 'On Air' track, which made the audience a bit laconic
after a couple of songs.
After this great 'On Air' part of the show followed one of my
favorite live songs; 'Psychobabble', complete with the long
Alan introduced the next song with 'we played this tune two times
the last time we were in Holland', refering to the Liberty
Concert. Of course, 'Sirius' was the tune he was talking about.
As always it went straight into 'Eye in the Sky', closing the
main set. Great performances but they would have worked better as
a show opener. ;-)
People started dancing in the aisles and were having a great
time. When the band left, the crowd roared for more.
After a first encore of 'Don't Answer Me' and 'Gonna Get Your
Fingers Burned' they hadn't seen enough yet. The band came back
one more time to play a fabulous version of 'Games People Play'.
By this time the whole audience was clapping along, dancing or at
least slightly moving their limbs.
A standing ovation ended a very entertaining performance by a
Although I would have liked some more tracks from the last two
(refreshing) albums it was (once again) a very special night.
Me and my wife went to the After Show for a short while.
a lot of people were backstage, including a large
deligation of the English fan club and some people from the
When the band hadn't arrived after half an hour I was about to
leave (some friends were waiting outside) and was already
standing near the exit when Alan walked out of the dressing room
with a large cup of Cola (?). I shook his hand, introduced myself
and asked if it would be possible to take a picture with the band
for the Internet page.
Only part of the whole band was present at that time but they
gladly posed while my wife took a photo. I promised to send Alan
a copy of this review, complimented the band with a great
performance and we quicky went to our friends who were outside.
No time to chat. Maybe next time .....
Alan Parsons - Keyboards, Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
Ian Bairnson - Guitars
Stuart Elliott - Drums
John Giblin (Simple Minds) - Bass
John Beck (It Bites) - Keyboards
Neil Lockwood - Vocals (*), Guitar
Peter Beckett - Vocals (+), Keyboards
(The System Of) Doctor Tarr And Professor Fether *
Can't Take It With You +
I Wouldn't Want To Be Like You *
Old And Wise +
Money Talks/La Sagrada Familia (end section) *
Days Are Numbers (The Traveller) +
Prime Time +
Turn It Up *
Standing on Higher Ground *
- Break -
Blue Blue Sky *
I Can't Look Down *
So Far Away +
Fall Free *
Brother Up In Heaven *
Sirius / Eye in the Sky +
Don't Answer Me */+
Gonna Get Your Fingers Burned *
Games People Play +/*
For more information about Alan Parsons or the Alan Parsons
newsletter 'The Avenue', e-mail Steve Martin
or check out the Avenue
From left to right: Ed Sander, Alan Parsons, Ian Bairnson, Stuart
Elliot, Peter Beckett.