And the last concert of the year is a very special one indeed. Clearly, PICTURE and Sliedrecht is a match made in heaven. What will happen, when PICTURE will return to Sliedrecht after so many years? There will probably be a giant party going on. And just in case, PICTURE decided to bring along their good friends of JURASSIC PARK for a metal celebration on this last Saturday in 2018. De Bonkelaar in Sliedrecht has been the 'holy" place for PICTURE and if these walls could talk, they would have some great stories to tell. It definitely feels like PICTURE is saying 'hello' to a good old friend!!
The city of Sliedrecht is only twenty minutes from our house. We went there quite often in the early days and got to see many great bands, like for example PICTURE, JEWEL, HOT FOR TEACHER, SPOILER and GIN ON THE ROCKS, to name but a few. When guitarist Jan Bechtum did some comeback shows with PICTURE, they played there as well and the reunion gig with support act EMERGENCY also took place there. Those were the days.....
We agreed to meet with our good friends Eddy and Christine and have a good meal together and afterwards enjoy the show together. Unfortunately, it's not possible anymore to enter Sliedrecht the old way. Now you have to go around the city to avoid driving through the heart of the town. When we park our car and walk towards the Elektra to see what’s going on, the first people we bump into are......well, you guessed it already. This is what they call telepathy or just dumb luck. The restaurant, which is called Spek & Bonen, is right across the street where the venue is and after a good meal and a nice desert, we're ready to rock.
It's always good to meet up with some old friends in the Elektra. I had a very nice chat with Paul van Rijswijk about his future plans with EMERALD and FINAL HEIRESS, who will release a new album in 2019. The guys of JURASSIC PARK are already there and walking in the audience. They are a long way from home. No matter what happens, these guys are always in the mood for a good party and make sure that the people won't forget them that easily. Well, enough jabber for now, it's time for some hard rock and roll from the region of Overijssel.
JURASSIC PARK is taking the crowd by storm. The band may not be that well-known in this part of the country, once they are on stage and singer Mike Jones is socializing with the people, the magic is there at once. JURASSIC PARK is quite famous for their dynamic, energetic and powerful live shows and the first punch is always a knock-out punch. And that, my dear friends, is exactly what they're doing in opener "Ready To Rock". They are playing some fast traditional hard rock, including a couple of loud whistles by front man Mike and some rough rocking riffs by Mr. Berthus Westerhuis himself. 'The people are ours for the next fifty and something minutes' is their device and afterwards they will leave a giant chaos behind to remind you that they have been there. "Solid As A Rock" is on next and the band doesn't beat around the bush. Mike's announcements are hilarious and he's full with jokes and really knows to steal your heart away, which is also the case in Sliedrecht. After "Rock 'N' Roll Machine", it looks like the game is on. Mike and metal head Mark van Oosterwijk are changing shirts with each other. Obviously, all metal heads are like one big family tonight. Things are getting even better after that and with three classic songs in a row, the ice is broken and the crowd is following him everywhere, it's easy as that. Of course the song "Frankenstein" will not be forgotten, which is taken from the CD "Keep On Rocking". It's from the early days with Roelof Kloeze and Berthus Westerhuis and therefore truly sacred to me. Actually, nearly every song that they have been playing here tonight is taken from their full-length "Rock 'N' Roll Machine". And when you take a good look at the CD cover, you will see one of frontman Mike's favorite pastime, who likes to spray CO2 gas over the audience. Sometimes, you need to cool off the audience, right? Of course, he's using the CO2-gun several times here tonight. Ozzy has been throwing in buckets of water in the audience, but Mike prefers CO2. The next one "Hard Drivin' " is a relatively new song that the band wants to try out and the first reactions are very good. It's just another hard rocking song in the best JURASSIC PARK tradition, so what can go wrong here? "Stay Clean" is from the good old FRANKENSTEIN days and "Back On The Street" is taken from that amazing album that I mentioned earlier, which a rock and roll experience with no fillers and just killer songs. JURASSIC PARK didn't just come to rock the place, they also came to lift up the roof. And for sure Mike couldn't do that alone. He had to get up higher and so Mark van Oosterwijk gave him a ride on his shoulders through the venue during my all-time fave tune "Storm Over Holland", which was renamed into "Storm Over Sliedrecht" for this occasion. In front of the stage, there are fans playing air guitar with plastic inflatable guitars, and the whole joint is looking like one big madhouse right now. Well, they did it again. At first, the people didn't know what to expect and about thirty minutes later, the party is getting out of hand. "Bad Boy For Love" is a tribute to ROSE TATTOO and VENGEANCE, that also likes to cover it sometimes. Leon Goewie has definitely been a big influence to front man Mike, which doesn't come as a real surprise to you, I guess. He is always here, there and everywhere. And when you look out for him, he might be on the shoulders of a fan, somewhere in this venue. You never know what to expect, when he is around. He can be like that, because he is backed by one of the most fantastic live bands in the Dutch metal and hard rock scene. They watch over their front man very closely. Hans and Roelof are a solid team and Berthus is the conductor of this team. He knows exactly what will happen next and like every genius, he always has a next plan for circumstances beyond control. Anyway, can you believe that they are just the support act for tonight? It really looks like they've been playing a headliner gig. They really took the audience by storm, but you know all good things come to an end and that's also the case here. They close their set with the amazing fast and furious "Kick Ass", which is certainly another highlight of this evening. JURASSIC PARK has made a lot of new friends in Sliedrecht and beyond and I really hope that they will be back soon, because rock and roll parties like that are always very welcome. The stage is being cleared, the beer is dripping from the walls and some people still need to recover of what just happened here a couple of minutes ago. Ah well, they will be fine after a few beers, I guess and ready for the second heavy metal ear attack of tonight. JURASSIC PARK - remember that name! Here in Sliedrecht, they will never forget them, that's for sure.
PICTURE has a long history with Sliedrecht and tonight will be very special. They are warmly welcomed by their supporters and a lot of old stories have been shared during the break, before the band takes the stage. When the band kicks off with "You're All Alone", it's quite obvious why PICTURE is still a very successful band. The sound quality is good, the band plays like a well-oiled machine and the audience sings along to every song word by word. Even after their long and successful career of forty years, their memorable songs still stick to your mind like glue. "Get Back Or You Fall" is a fast rocker, taken from the very first PICTURE album. One of my favorite songs is the incredible "Message From Hell". And you can bet your life that singer Ronald van Prooijen gets the help of all the fans, when singing along to this song. "Night Hunter" continues the flow of classic old school PICTURE songs. However, there will be more special surprises along the way. First up, there is a song that exists for a very long time now, but was never released on any PICTURE album before. Tape traders will know it from their live shows in the early eighties. It's called "Little Annie" and I'm so glad that it will finally see the light of day after so many years. Tonight it surely belongs to one of my personal favorites. It's good to hear that the song is finally resurrected and it will also be on the new album of PICTURE, as a matter of fact. Immediately after that, there's another song from my list of highlights and that's the fast and short "No No No" with the high-pitched vocals of Ronald and in the middle piece the bass solo of Rien, who gets help from two people in the audience with their inflatable guitars. One of them being metal head Jeffrey Vergeer, who shared the vocals with Ronald at the Holland 'Eavy Festival in Drachten. This time Ronald sings "Night Tiger" alone. Next up is one of most well-known PICTURE songs for that matter. A lot of fans will probably name "Eternal Dark" as their favorite among all favorite PICTURE songs, I guess. The introduction by guitarist Jan Bechtum sounds phenomenal and you must be a genius to come up with such a timeless riff like that. And HAMMERFALL must have thought the same thing. They covered it in 1998 and showed the world what an amazing song this is, but we all knew that already of course. One of the newer songs is "Live By The Sword" from the "Old Dogs, New Tricks" album and it has got that great old school feeling, that I want to hear. The title track of the second album "Heavy Metal Ears" is on next and the speed goes up. Both guitarists Jan Bechtum and Appie de Gelder share the equal solos and they treat my heavy metal ears very well tonight. The show of PICTURE is as solid as a rock and you can see a highly professional band on stage that breathes heavy metal in its purest form. The fans of PICTURE have always been number one for them and the band gives the full hundred percent and maybe even more. "Diamond Dreamer" is another classic tune from a long time ago, but they have another surprise in their bag of tricks after that. It's a brand new song, that will be on the new album "Wings", out in August 2019, called "Line Of Life". It has got the same 'early eighties' vibe as "Little Annie" and it brings back some great memories of those long forgotten days. I think, that PICTURE will surely teach us another lesson in heavy metal history on that new album. "The Hangman" is probably a bit of a surprise in the set, but it's a cool song and very well received by the fans. The band is at full steam now, when they crank out one of my personal favorites "Unemployed" from that outrageous second album "Heavy Metal Ears". It has the everlasting high-pitched vocals by Ronald, that he is still able to reach without any trouble, the amazing guitar solos, the fast rhythm, yes this song has got it all. Same goes for "Bombers", which is another outstanding heavy metal anthem that makes you proud to be a metal head. The original video clip for this masterpiece was filmed at De Bonkelaar in Sliedrecht. The way they put the applauding audience with old grannies in this video is freaking fantastic and hilarious at the same time. The band still does these stout poses today and in the middle of the song there is this little break, in which Rien takes his moment of fame. He steps off the stage to play his bass solo in the audence, where he stays until the song is over. I've never seen this with any band and it's very special. But it's not over yet and there's still room for one more. "Lady Lightning" closes this very memorable night in Sliedrecht, the place where it all started out for PICTURE. The reactions are very positive and I think that we will probably see the band again pretty soon. A regional radio station did an interview with the band that same day and at the end of the show one of the reporters took the opportunity to collect money for their upcoming documentary. For sure, a very good initiative, but to collect money in a plastic bag and let it go through the venue is maybe not the right way to do it. Anyway, it was probably done with the right intentions, I guess. My conclusion is that the love for this band is still in the hearts of all the people, who attended this gig. Old times relived, old friendships were renewed and this was an evening they won't forget for a long time in Sliedrecht. "You Can Go", taken from the debut album of PICTURE is the encore for this evening. You must do something to keep a wild audience quiet. Afterwards, I buy myself a copy of the vinyl of "Warhorse". Yes, my collection is complete! Soon it will be 2019. Time flies, when you're having fun.