Sylvan & Pendragon

March 20, 2009 - C.C. De Mortel, Ittervoort (NL)

Rock Ittervoort has become an annual tradition. They invite well-known progressive rock bands to their beautiful village in the southern part of The Netherlands. C. C. De Mortel is an almost perfect location to invite bands such as Riverside and Knight Area. These two bands started in 2007 the first Rock Ittervoort concerts. Last year Arena and PBII set the venue on fire music wise. This year the organization even managed to reach a sold out venue. Sylvan from Germany and Pendragon from England were responsible for this happy fact. The organizers did a good job. They did not allow too many people in the hall, so we still had some room to move and some air to breathe. In spite of that, the temperature rose above normal values anyway. For the musicians on stage it became very hot and sweaty too and even off stage, no one could find a cool place. During the great performance of Sylvan, many people jumped around and sang-along with their well-played songs. As usual, the band started unexpectedly with their opening tune. When The Leaves Fall Down began with only singer Marco Glühmann on stage. Later on, the rest of the band joined him. It became obvious that no material from the band’s early days was on the set list. Only tracks from Artificial Paradise, X-rays, Presets and Posthumous Silence were performed. That was a pity because those albums move more towards the neo-progressive style that I like so much. Sylvan had only one hour to do his tricks, so they played only two pieces from their highly acclaimed concept album Posthumous Silence. However, In Chains and The Colours Changed got great performances with leading roles for the new guitarist Jan Petersen and lead singer Marco Glühmann. Marco’s emotional vocals are always of a high level. When the band announced their last song, you could hear some negative reactions in the public. Nevertheless, the band had to make room for Pendragon. Once again, Sylvan gave his best shots possible and made Given Used Forgotten a true farewell song. Again, Petersen flogged his strings in a very emotional way and made the public dream along with his fine melodic guitar solos.

After the stage was set for Pendragon we were ready to stand for two and a half on our feet, but the audience did not matter, because there was another fine performance ahead from one of the best bands in the genre. A couple of months ago the band performed at De Boerderij in Zoetermeer. Therefore, there was a big chance that Pendragon would use the same set list. However, Nick Barrett always tries to modify the set every new tour or gig. This time that was also the case. Right from the start, he told the audience that this show was a good reason to emphasize on their latest release Pure. Opening tune Eraserhead, a personal highlight from Pure kicked some ass and set the standard for the rest of the set. All the other album tracks followed. The keyboard solo by Clive Nolan brought me in the right mood. The only disturbing factor during the gig was the fans that came over from England. They were members of the band’s fan club and they were rather noisy. That means a lot of yelling and jumping around. But fortunately, they were not the only active people. New drummer Scott Higham could not sit still behind his drum kit. His playing, along with his grimaces, caused a positive atmosphere to the crowd. He certainly is a positive input for the band and he will hopefully stay longer in the band than his predecessor Joe Crabtree who left after one Pendragon tour. Through the years, Nick Barrett has learned how to entertain an audience. In a relaxed manner, he made jokes and told anecdotes in between. After fine performances of Babylon and The Mask, the band came up with a nice surprise. From the four hours of material they had practiced, they chose Queen Of Hearts from the album The World, a song they had not played for many years. They performed more stuff from the good old days as they moved towards the end of the gig. Breaking The Spell, Nostradamus and Voyager turned out to be real classic Pendragon-tracks. The last track on the Pure-album was also the last song they played during the regular set. It’s Only Me was not the last song Pendragon performed in Ittervoort. Indigo was played in a very beautiful way. Most of all Nick’s fine guitar solo brought almost tears in my eyes. Many people expected Masters Of Illusion to be the final song of the show. However, the band surprised me to skip this classic tune from the set list. Instead, we could enjoy Wishing Well, one of the highlights from the Believe-album. To be honest: I did not miss Masters Of Illusion at all. It was a perfect finale to an awesome gig done by a band in great shape. Hopefully next year we can enjoy two other great progacts in the Rock Ittervoort venue. One thing is for sure: if you were not in Ittervoort during this first day of spring, you missed a hell of a concert!

Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)

Setlist Sylvan:

When The Leaves Fall Down
Human Apologies
One Step Beyond
This World Is Not For Me
In Chains
The Colours Changed
Given Used Forgotten

Line up Sylvan:

Volker Sohl:
Sebastian Harnack:
Marco Glühmann:
Lead vocals
Jan Petersen:
Lead guitar
Matthias Harder:

Pictures by Arthur Haggenburg

Click on the picture to enlarge.

Setlist Pendragon:

The Walls Of Babylon
The Mask
Queen Of Hearts
The Freakshow
Breaking The Spell
Nostradamus (Stargazing)
The Voyager
It’s Only Me
Indigo (encore)
TheWishing Well (encore)

Line up Pendragon:

(left to right)

Nick Barrett:
Guitar and lead vocals
Peter Gee:
Bass, acoustic guitar, keyboards and backing vocals
Clive Nolan:
Keyboards and backing vocals
Scott Higham:
Drums and backing vocals

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