, Paradiso (small hall), Amsterdam
Since 2010 Jo Harman has been steadily building up her career, music and songwriting. Tonight, in the small hall of the famous Paradiso, we get the chance to hear her brand new album "People We Become" (released on V2, 3 Feb). Recorded in Nashville, "People We Become" is Jo's second studio album. With 2013's "Dirt On My Tongue" Jo already made a big impression on small audiences with her soulful performances. As on that album, Jo and her band confidently and easily blend their mix of blues, soul and pop/rock.
Starting with the excellent opening song of the album "No One Left To Blame" Jo takes in her listeners right away. And what a great voice! Jo can be sweet, powerful, subtile and never shows off, she knows how to dose and time things. For the new album Jo had more studio time than the independently released debut. The songs are a bit more pop/rock oriented than before, the band sounds confident throughout and they're clearly enjoying all of this. Just when it crosses your mind that there's nothing as raw as "Sweet Man Moses",
suddenly there's a heartfelt cover of Bowie's "Life On Mars" (also performed live at NPO2 for Gerark Ekdom's show earlier that day). If you still had doubts about the new songs, these vanished into air when Jo ended the show with two great new ballads. Jo has a great future and simply is the best blues/soul female singer since Amy Whinehouse.
After the show Jo took her time, signing lp's/cd's and chatting with her admirers. That's what makes these small, intimate shows special. Jo definitely deserves more fans but let's hope she'll never be in the top of the charts (she can play the big hall though).
Setlist: No One Left To Blame / Silhouettes Of You / Lend Me Your Love / Unchanged And Alone / The Reformation / Changing Of The Guard / Life On Mars (David Bowie cover) / Person Of Interest / When We Were Young / The Final Page / Lonely Like Me
, Carré, Amsterdam
Roger Hodgson is the former lead singer of Supertramp and the songwriter of their biggest hits. Well-informed fans must've known that Hodgson has been performing a lot of Supertramp songs during his latest tours. The majestic theatre Carré (capacity: 3000) was sold out. Hodgson (65) was obviously thrilled to be playing in such a great, packed venue. It was 15 years ago since he last played in Amsterdam.
From the first lines of opener "Take The Long Way Home" it's clear that the man's voice is still in fine shape. When that's followed by "School" you notice what an excellent band he's got. Especially multi-instrumentalist Aaron McDonald's contributions are remarkable. He switches between clarinet, backing vocals and keyboards in one song with great ease. Besides the hits there are some lovely album tracks that you nearly forgot ("Soapbox Opera", "Even In The Quietest Moments", "Two Of Us") as well as some of his best solo songs.
The crowd loves it all and often stands up to applaude for a long time. No wonder since all of his hits come by (when "Breakfast In America" starts everyone cheers happily). Hodgson explains that he wrote the song in the 60's, you wonder why they didn't record it before 1979. He often plays the acoustic guitar but switches to electric for "Had A Dream", the opener after the break. Inspired by the venue and the crowd Hodgson comes back for an additional encore playing for over 2 hours and 21 songs (incl. 15 x Supertramp).
A terrific night. If there's any point of criticism to make it may be that he doesn't have any new songs to support his tour. But as he explains somewhat cynically, his last excellent studio album "Open The Door" was "only released in France and sold 4 copies". I'm sure though that tonight the merchandising sold more than that.
Setlist: Take The Long Way Home / School / In Jeopardy / Lovers In The Wind / Breakfast In America / Along Came Mary / A Soapbox Opera / Hide In Your Shell / Lord Is It Mine / The Logical Song /
Had A Dream (Sleeping With The Enemy) / Even In The Quietest Moments / Only Because Of You / Child Of Vision / Death And A Zoo / If Everyone Was Listening / Dreamer / Fool's Overture / Two Of Us /
Give A Little Bit / It's Raining Again
, Tivoli, Utrecht
The anticipation for Morrissey's performance in Tivoli was high because it was four years ago since his last show in Holland. For me it was the first time I witnessed him perform. As well as the first time in this impressive, renovated big hall. The place was absolutely sold out and the atmosphere electric.
Before the concert we could watch an enjoyable compilation of clips with some of Morrissey's favourite music (incl. Ramones, New York Dolls but also Chris Andrews). The band took the stage, wearing 'Fuck Harvest' shirts (a beef with the record company), with a ferocious version of "The Queen Is Dead".
They only slowed down after five songs with "Certain People I Know" before the man finally spoke some words to the audience. Despite his recent health problems Morrissey appeared in great shape while his political/social comments were as sharp as ever. Besides Harvest, the Royal house and the pharmaceutical industry got a beating.
During "Meat Is Murder" (one of three Smiths-songs played tonight) a movie with shocking images of animal abuse and slaughter was shown. Meanwhile Tivoli was summoned to arrange that it was meatfree all day.
The songs from the diverse new cd "World Peace Is None of Your Business" worked really well. "Kiss Me A Lot" and "The Bullfighter Dies" had more punch than on the cd while there was more room for the Spanish guitar (by Jesse Tobias) during "Staircase at the University".
Although the older Morrissey singles and Smith-songs are among the highlights as expected, Morrissey included 9 songs from the new album. This could be a risk since it's not a classic (just very good) but it sounds completely natural. The man's got so many great tunes to choose from. The band's playing, led by the loyal Boz Boorer (who joined in 1991), is solid and passionate.
Overall a very convincing performance. Looking forward to his next visit.
Setlist: The Queen Is Dead / Suedehead / Speedway / Kiss Me a Lot / Certain People I Know / I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris / Istanbul / World Peace Is None of Your Business /
Staircase at the University / One of Our Own / Trouble Loves Me / The Bullfighter Dies / Neal Cassady Drops Dead / Meat Is Murder / Yes, I Am Blind / Kick the Bride Down the Aisle /
I'm Not a Man / Asleep / Everyday Is Like Sunday