The final chapter of Toi goes to Amsterdam. Sorry to disappoint those who expected a stoner tale of epic psychotropic events, but I publicly admit, weed is not my drug of choice, I quitted smoking hashish when I got widowed (with the exception of half joint one day shocked by the first episode of the reality show featuring Alaska and Mario), and I feel too much respect and fear towards the universe of mushrooms after my late teenage experiences with acid. To sum up, I don’t dig downers nor feel like opening the doors of my perception anymore.
The Amsterdam experience was worth living, mainly for the great quality moments shared with my friend Sofia, who, poor girl, was super busy and made a huge effort and sacrifice to spend some time with me, and for an epic Sunday night. I’m so glad I made it, despite my sad financial situation!
I’m trying to convince Xavi, the guy who started inciting me to buy tickets, to go to London, but he’s too busy now and has planned some other shows also implying traveling, and has given up on poor Rich. Xavi, DON’T BE A CUNT AND GO TO LONDON, I do command you!
Ok, stop the madness and let’s focus on last Sunday evening.
I had been most of the day walking, went to FOAM first, and I finally found some vinyls worth adding to my collection, one, Gluecifer’s Basement Apes at a Skate Oulet store, the other three at a recommended store named Recordfriend. I didn’t have much time nor money, so I spent few time there. Very good stuff but not cheap at all.
By the time I met Sofia, 8PM, the streets were empty already, and it was freezin’ cold as fuck. We still had time enough for a beer for warming up before the show, so she took me to this Coffee Shop name The Doors, which was pretty cool inside.
As far as I know Coffee Shops are not my kind of place either, because you cannot drink alcohol in most of them. That’s nonsense. You wanna get high? Beers should be compulsory, not tea! At least we got beer served at The Doors joint, and the smell of weed was bearable, music was pretty cool and it was a quite calm place. We both liked it.
The supporting artist opening for Rich Robinson, an Irish guy named Dave O’Grady, was playing the first chords, just when we entered Bitterzoet. We paid attention and tried to like his stuff, but, despite he had a very nice voice (and the guy was hot), he didn’t convince us at all, his set was to quiet and boring, and wasn’t very passionate. This is something that can happen when you play in acoustic, it requires you an extra effort to have the audience amused enough as to concentrate in your stuff. If you are not convincing nor stunning, people will eventually lose interest and buzz will invade the venue.
During his performance, a guy from my hometown, we all call Vampire, turned up, so we were the 3 happy Spanish gang, ready for Rich Robinson.
The venue, Bitterzoet, was sold out that night, we’d be attending the show no more than 200-250 people, and the place was very small with many different levels, which helped to create a warm and friendly atmosphere.
It’s been too many years I’ve been attending rock shows and at a glance I found the best spot to see the show waiting to be occupied by our presence. I was barely 2m far from Rich, at his same height, thus I had access to his foot switches and pedals, his set lists, I could observe anything he was moving, and somehow, when playing awesome solo guitars I was kind of this escape point, serious. The funny thing was that I was so happy and with a permanent wide smile, poor guy, whenever he was coming back to reality he was seeing me, and sometimes he couldn’t help laughing.
Yes, the show. I don’t really know where to start. I already wrote a proper review for serious purposes but this is an extension of my life, thus I don’t feel the need to be super accurate with the set list, which was changed right at the end of the show. I want to talk about my personal experience, and how that cold night I felt happiness for real, glad and thankful for loving rock and music in such a passionate way, these moments, which would be recorded in my memory for good, still bring out my most intense feelings and provide unrivalled satisfaction and pleasure. Anything is worth doing when there’s such a reward involved.
Set list was mainly focused on Rich Robinson’s last album released, Through a Crooked Sun. Just to refresh your memory, I claimed it to be my favorite 2011, and already commented about it weeks ago.
The four warm-up songs he started with, were in my opinion the most direct ones in the night: It’s not Easy, Station Man, Lost and Found (personal anthem), and Falling Again.
The band sounded perfect, pretty solid and close as a unit, and chemistry among the band members was amazing. You could feel they were enjoying on stage, keeping an eye on each other constantly, although it wasn’t necessary.
You can imagine the audience was excited and totally devoted to the band, although, as usual, some inappropriate requests for some Crowes’ stuff were heard. C’mon! He’s supporting his solo album! Let him do his set and in case he’s in the mood, which obviously wasn’t, he0ll play something. This pisses me off sometimes, really.
Anyway, after the warming up, the band attacked the core of the show, creating awesome psychedelic atmospheres, playing with Not-so-improvised-jams, bringing us back to 70’s progressive rock, and driving us to a state of bliss, difficult to put into words. Standing at the Surface of the Sun, and Hey Fear were absolute magic.
From time to time I was checking on both Sofia and Vampire, and they were as stunned and fascinated as I was. You know when you have to get down to Earth to check whether you’re experiencing is for real or just a dream? It wasn’t, the whole venue was kind of high.
The show lasted more than two hours, and we were especially delighted with two of the encore songs, which were covers. On one hand an acoustic She, by Gram Parsons, and the wonderful Cinnamon Girl. The closing song, War Drums, was a 13minute jam, which left us speechless.
Being at the best spot in the venue was a win, and I had to approach the possibilities to the utmost.
Rich was really in good mood, so was the keyboard player, Steve Molitz, a very cool and enthusiastic guy, who offered a brilliant performance. Interaction with the audience was constant, Rich surprisingly overcoming his featured shyness. Thus, I being right by his side, of course didn’t miss the chance to make some comments. Believe me if I tell you I told them I had come from Spain just to see them, and their fans were very disappointed they hadn’t made it to our country. Rich complained it was a matter of local promoters, and that they love Spain, thus I threatened to hire them. When Rich asked me whether they could crush at my place, you can imagine the instant reply 😉
After talking to some people regarding the band fees, I tell you one thing, I’d go for it and positive, won’t fail.
I had the CD waiting for Rich to sign up, and as soon as the show finished, a girl anticipated and gave him a pen to sign her copy, so I asked him if he could do the same with mine. Not only he did, but also requested me to give him his set list I’d got a minute earlier, so he signed it up too. And because sometimes I feel so self confident and I had nothing to lose, I also asked him for a guitar pick…and rather than giving me a new one, he gave me the he’d been using the whole show. Finally, he came close to me, and whispered in my ear “we’re coming to Spain in summer, we’re playing in Mallorca”.
Everything happened really quick, but there I was, feeling the luckiest girl in the world, dreaming awake, and grabbing my little treasures completely delighted. The mission was accomplished, we witnessed a lesson of professionalism and grace, a dose of high class and elegance, and were reminded of what PERFECTION really means.
I found some videos from this show. You can try to find Wally (aka Toi).