Unitopia & Odyssice

October 15, 2010 - De Boerderij, Zoetermeer (NL)

The 'More Than A Garden Of Dreams Tour 2010' must have been a dream that came true for the musicians of the progressive rock band Unitopia. It's rather uncommon for Australian bands to get a chance to perform in these parts of the world where prog rock probably is the most successful. It must have been pretty amazing for them to see that about two hundred devotees came to watch them perform. Unitopia's first gig in The Netherlands was also meant to shoot a live DVD; three concerts had already been given in the current line-up. First, they did a warming-up gig in the city of Adelaide in their home country at the end of September. Next was the Summers End Festival in England in the second weekend of October. After an acoustic performance for a TV-show in The Netherlands they moved to Rind Russelheim in Germany a couple of days later. It was enough to be well-prepared for the concert that probably was the most important of the entire tour. Sofar, the show at De Boerderij attracted most visitors. However, before Unitopia entered the stage, Dutch band Odyssice had the task to bring the audience in the right mood for the headliners.


Odyssice was asked to be support-act for Unitopia, but it was already ten years ago the band had performed on a live stage. However, Odyssice succeeded in giving a good performance. For people who are not familiar with this band: they play instrumental symphonic rock with explicit
Bastiaan Peeters
Camel-hints. Especially the lyrical guitar parts played by Bastiaan Peeters resemble Andy Latimer a lot. However, the band has much more to offer so I wouldn't call them a Camel-clone. Their music also has some eastern influences as can be heard on their two latest releases Silence (2010, see review) and Impression (2000). Songs from both albums dominated the set list, but especially the ones that appear on Silence, their latest record in ten years. Only Swank was left out. The opening tune of Silence was also the start of their performance. During 21 the musicians had to find a balance for the right sound, but also to get in control of their nerves. However, as soon as Continental Motion came out of the speakers and after positive reactions of the audience, they felt more confident. During one of the pieces keyboard player Jeroen van der Wiel had to deal with some technical problems. His computer had been stored with sounds he badly needed, but unfortunately it didn't work. Due to a quick reboot hardly anybody in the audience noticed this mischance. For the most part Jeroen van der Wiel's pleasant synthesizer sound had a supportive role to the excellent guitar solos of Bastiaan Peters. Occasionally, he got some room to do a solo himself. Bass player Peter Kosterman is a new band member. For me, he was at his best when he played on the fretless bass guitar. His performances on the Rickenbacker-bass sounded a bit strange in the overall Odyssice-sound, especially when he tried to play like Chris Squire (Yes). Of course, he's an outstanding musician, but that sound just didn't fit the musical style of Odyssice. It's the only critical comment I actually have about this performance that was also filmed for a possible DVD-release. I hope they will release it soon containing the fine moments of this great comeback gig!


The headliners must have been nervous too for their first DVD performance. When the seven musicians entered the stage they only had two goals: to entertain the audience and trying to play their songs with hardly making any mistakes. According to the band they made some slight mistakes, because at the end of the last encore they returned on stage to play two pieces they'd already played before.
Mark Trueack
To be honest, I didn't hear any mistakes the first time, but the band were certain that the introduction of The Garden and The Great Reward could have sound a lot better. Well, the audience didn't mind of course, because they loved every second of their regular performance.

The first notes of the opening piece were swallowed as a delicious meal. They started with the first part of the Artificial Suite that was followed by almost the entire Artificial- album. After this long epic piece the musicians - who had suffered from the flu a couple of weeks - continued with songs from More Than A Dream and The Garden. First we could enjoy an extended version of the ballad Angeliqua, next was More Than A Dream, the title track of their fine debut album (2005) followed by Justify another piece from this album. Justify was the penultimate song of the regular set, but the audience didn't like that at all. So they got The Garden, the title track of their second album (2008) and the longest track the band recorded so far. After The Garden was performed the audience shouted 'encore! encore! encore!'. For the musicians on stage it was evident that the audience had witnessed an incredible performance. There was no escape for the band rather than returning to perform some more songs. Keyboardist Sean Timms and singer Mark Trueack - the core of the band -
returned first on stage to perform the opening tune of The Garden. Sean Timms only played the piano and Mark Trueack sang the delicate lyrics beautifully and sensitively. The last encore Inside The Power was performed with all band members. Like the rest of the material it was done perfectly and it should have been the last song performed at De Boerderij. As I already said at the beginning of this review, they returned again while nobody actually expected it.

Looking back at their show I can only conclude that I'm glad that I've seen Unitopia perform in the flesh. All musicians did a wonderful job to make the DVD-release something to look out for. After the show someone told me - maybe a bit disappointed - that the band had sounded the same as on their CD-releases. Well, can you give a band a bigger compliment? I don't think so! Anyone who likes a band doing a lot of improvisations and freaky solos visited the wrong concert!

Hopefully the DVD of this fabulous concert gets a quick release, because I certainly would like to see the whole show again in a comfortable chair and in 5.1 surround sound. Turning the lights down, a drink and something to nibble on the table and go with the show. Life sometimes can be beautiful!

Read our interview with Sean Timms

Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)

Setlist Odyssice:

Continental Motion
Flags Without A Heart
Colour Of Silence
Chinese Waters
Prophet's Dream

Pictures Odyssice by Henri Strik

Click on the picture to enlarge.

Line up Odyssice:

(left to right)
Jeroen van der Wiel:
Peter Kosterman:
bass guitars
Menno Boomsma:
Bastiaan Peeters:
guitar synthesizer, electric and acoustic guitars

Setlist Unitopia:

Artificial World
Nothing Last Forever
Not Human Anymore
Gone In The Blink Of An Eye
The Great Reward
More Than A Dream
The Garden

One Day
Inside The Power
The Great Reward
The Garden (intro)

Pictures Unitopia by Henri Strik

Click on the picture to enlarge.

Line up Unitopia:

(left to right)
Tim Irrgang:
Ian Ritchie:
flute, tin whistle, saxophones
Mark Trueack:
lead vocals
Matt Williams:
electric and acoustic guitar, backing vocals
Sean Timms:
keyboards, backing vocals
Dave Hopgood:
Craig Kelly:
bass guitars

All Rights Reserved Background Magazine 2013