HELLOISE

Saturday, June 8th, 2013
Location: Boerderij, Zoetermeer, The Netherlands

The reunion gig of HELLOISE was much talked about on the internet. Many people were looking forward to the band that celebrated their last concert in Ahoy, Rotterdam with special guests and a full house to say goodbye to this once successful Dutch band. It’s twenty-five years later now and the original line-up is brought back together for one more show. The event will take place under the monnicker of ‘Life 4 Live’. It’s a must for every devoted Dutch metal fan and a lot of the old headbangers show up for this special event tonight. Just before the doors open, we arrive at the Boerderij, where we don’t see that many people yet. But it’s still very early and this situation will change soon. Recently, we saw vocalist Stan Verbraak perform with the DEEP PURPLE tribute band STORMBRINGER in Azotod, De Meern, where he impressed me as Ian Gillan. He still knows to hit all the high notes without any hesitation, something we can’t say of Mr. Gillan anymore unfortunately. So we knew ahead, that he would astound us with his bright vocal parts tonight. Drum beast Ernst van Ee has never let us down and it looks like he’s ready to beat the crap out of his kit tonight. This four legged drummer is the Dutch equivalent to the late Cozy Powell to me, which he can take as a big compliment. Arjen Boogerds and Ben Blaauw have always been fighting to get the most solos and I think they have made a deal this time to get an equal share. The line-up is completed by Marchell Remeeus. He might look like a quiet guy, but with his everlasting smile, he is a real monster on the bass guitar. These five guys will be the superstars on the dvd, that will be shot here this evening. I really hope, that this one will eventually see the light of day. There have been too many unreleased live shows, that never made it and I think that after tonight a lot of people are dying to have a look back at this cool reunion of the original HELLOISE line-up. Before the gig starts, we see many familiar faces, but one in particular surprised us in a very positive way. Henk Bischop, who we met on our trip to Japan three years ago, recognized us immediately and it was nice to have a short chat with him before the show. Until the lights go out and we have to focus on what would happen on stage tonight. The intro tape gives the band the opportunity to polish their instruments. They kick off with “Polarity”, the title track of the second album. A great way to start and everybody is surprised by the clear sound, that circulates in the hall. Almost right after the last notes of this opener, the band continues with “After The War”. It won’t be too much of a surprise to see that the band grabs back to the first two albums the most, but clearly we also get to hear some songs from “Fata Morgana” and “A Time And A Place For Everything”. “Ready For The Night” is a killer track and even though you haven’t heard it for a while, you can sing the lyrics of this song word by word. “Broken Hearts” is on next and what really strikes me is that Stan Verbraak has got such a golden voice. Almost without any hesitation, he grabs those high and difficult notes one by one. Well, at least it seems this way. We also noticed, that a sixth member has been added to the band to fill up the sound a little bit with his keyboards. Anton Arema seems to enjoy himself a lot on the right side of the stage. “Die Hard” continues the set and we see that some fans have made banners and they even brought flowers to celebrate this reunion show tonight. “See Tomorrow” is followed by the beautiful ballad “Run A Mile”, which was one of the hit singles of the band. It truly captures the well-known sound of HELLOISE. They sound a lot more melodic than HIGHWAY CHILE for example, in which we find back some of the band members. They always sounded more heavy and loud than HELLOISE. I think, that the sound of HELLOISE could be compared to Dutch colleague rockers like ZINATRA, FIRST AVENUE or VANDENBERG. Great melodies, a catchy chorus and sometimes a heavy hook, where the guitar players can show their skills. After “Take It Or Leave It” there’s a short acoustic part consisting of three songs, namely “Fallen Angel”, “Hard Life” and “Madelene”. “Hard Life” is dedicated to Willem Rietveld, the former roadie of the band. Pictures of the man, who was also called ‘het beest’, are being displayed behind the band at a big screen. This is a very emotional part, mainly because his wife and daughter are standing right next to us, but a great tribute to an important man, who has been a good friend of the band. Before the acoustic part gets too long, there’s just a little bit more to round it off. It’s time for Arjen Boogerds to play the acoustical intro to “In The Line Of Fire”, which is called “En La Linea De Fuego”, which is the Spanish translation for “In The Line Of Fire”. Arjen certainly makes something beautiful out of it and just before Thomas Alpha Edison is about to turn himself around in his grave, because this hard rock band isn’t using his well-known invention called electricity, they turn up the sound and explode in a great version of one of my favorite HELLOISE tracks “In The Line Of Fire”. It’s time to sing along to the chorus and the public forms a private HELLOISE-choir in front of the stage. Before I can catch my breath again, they continue with a jukebox of hits. HELLOISE is at their very best right now and the pleasure this band is playing their instruments reflects back to the audience and makes the temperature go up really fast in the Boerderij. They can’t be stopped with great tracks like “Destination” and “Hard Life” (electric version). And if you think, that it can’t get any better than this, the knockout punch comes from another great firm rocker called “Gates Of Heaven”. “For A Moment” is another track, that we actually can call a hit single for the band. It contains a short vocal part, that sounds very much like a short vocal interlude of “Wait” by VANDENBERG. I always have to think about this song, when they play it, I don’t know why. With the title track of the first album “Cosmogony”, their reunion show has nearly come to an end. But before they go, Ben Blaauw gets a solo spot as well and obviously he shows us why he once received the Gibson Birdland, that belonged to TED NUGENT, for being the most talented guitar player according to the listeners of Alfred Lagarde’s Betonuur. Those were the days! The band leaves the stage, but you can put your money on it, that they will return for some encores. During the first encore, there’s a very nice surprise. Just like their last show in Ahoy in 1987, the band asks some friends on stage during “Carol”. It’s so nice to see, that Patricia Paay and Yvonne Keeley took the time to show up tonight. Although they don’t sing with the band, they sure have studied on some nice dance moves on stage. Patricia looks a bit like HIGHWAY CHILE guitarist Martin Mens and her legs are very hairy, which is a detail you just can’t miss. Wow, what a nice surprise! If only I would have expected a more sexy outfit from those two ladies, but hey you can’t have it all. Anyway, after this first encore it’s time for a little fun, before moving on to “So Close To Love”, another straight ballad. Another beautiful song unfolds itself, and you can say that these guys are real masters in playing a sensitive ballad. For me, they saved the best for last. One more time the band is being introduced and they are ready to hit the roof with “Rock Unites”. This slogan is so true and this great rock song becomes the perfect closer of an amazing reunion gig. When I focus on the faces of these six musicians, I can only say that they just have experienced the time of their life and all their fans also enjoyed every single second of these magical moments. I do hope, that the DVD will be accompanied by an audio CD (or a double boxset, which is even better), so I can relive these magical moments any time I want to. A last salute to the fans and then the show is over. But the after party goes on and on, until the lights go down in the bar outside of the venue. I wonder if this gig won’t have any consequences for the statement that this was a one-time reunion show. I wouldn’t mind seeing them again at a club gig. The only song I have been missing is “Give It Up”, but I hope that great musicians like that will never ever give up. HELLOISE rocks!!!!

*Tekst by: Toine van Poorten & photos by: Rita van Poorten [www.metalmaidens.com]

Setlist HELLOISE:
01. Polarity
02. After The War
03. Ready For The Night
04. Broken Hearts
05. Die Hard
06. See Tomorrow
07. Run A Mile
08. Take It Or Leave It
09. Fallen Angel (acoustic)
10. Hard Life (acoustic)
11. Madelene (acoustic)
12. En La Linea De Fuego (acoustic)
13. In The Line Of Fire
14. Destination
15. Hard Life
16. Gates Of Heaven
17. For A Moment
18. Cosmogony
Encores:
19. Carol
20. So Close To Love
21. Rock Unites

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