March 31, 2015 - Hedon, Zwolle (NL)
On March 19th the British progressive rock act Arena embarked on their 20th anniversary tour through Europe, supporting their brand new studio album The Unquiet Sky. A tour which includes 32 gigs to choose from if you consider to see them, taking them to cities such as London, Verviers, Budapest, Warsaw, Verona, Barcelona, Lisbon and Paris. The Dutch fans could even enjoy them three times if they would like to. Unfortunately I couldn't make it to the Rock Ittervoort Festival (see review) and De Boerderij in Zoetermeer. Therefore I made my way to the Hedon in Zwolle to get my share of Arena.
This newly rebuilt Hedon venue appeared to be the perfect location for Arena to show how they are now, twenty years after drummer Mick Pointer and keyboard player Clive Nolan met at a British pub, not knowing they would be releasing a lot of CDs and DVDs in the years to come.
Strangely enough the band dared to open with the opening piece from their brand new studio album. Too bad that only a few people could tell if they made a fine rendition of The Demon Strikes. The Unquiet Sky was available for the first time during the tour and for those who had ordered it on the internet. Therefore I was just as surprised as most of the fans around me. But what I could tell was that this new composition sounded as good as the other three new tracks Did It Come To This?, The Unquiet Sky and Traveller Beware. The musicians entered the stage one by one as movie stars. At the back of the stage you could see some film projections mentioning the names of the band members. The same projection screen was also used to visualize most of the performed songs. Songs which once again were mainly from their best concept albums ever made, namely The Visitor (1998) and Contagion
Even without them playing this song I had a marvelous time when the band was on stage. With already eight shows of the tour done the band was in great shape and played like a well oiled machine. Even their brand new bass player Kylan Amos played as if he had been in the band for many years. Did they made any mistakes? I didn't hear them. The sound at the venue being excellent and with the lights on stage looking great I just couldn't ask for more!
Henri Strik (edited by Astrid de Ronde)
The Demon Strikes
A Crack In The Ice
How Did It Come To This?
The Butterfly Man
The Unquiet Sky
The City Of Lanterns
Riding The Tide
The Hanging Tree The Tinder Box
(Don't Forget To) Breathe
Crying For Help VII
Arena by Arthur Haggenburg
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Line up Arena:(left to right)
bass and bass pedals
keyboards and backing vocals
guitars and backing vocals
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