Blinded by Thomas Dolby
Thursday 17 Mai 2012 and going to Amsterdam for a concert of one of the greatest synth-pop artists of the eighties Thomas Dolby. We took an early train to spend some time at the Arendsnest, a pub which only serves Dutch beers. The cafe has got more than 120 bottled beers and 30 beers on draft. We sat down at a table where an Irishman was sitting, which drank his beers in a brisk pace. He followed the line of the right part of the board, and didn't bother about the alcohol percentage. After a couple of beers and a talk with the Irish guy we turned to Bitterzoet, the venue, for the performance of Thomas Dolby.
At the venue I noticed the signs but since already people were making pictures and even filming, I decided to do the same. At nine the concert started and Thomas came on stage with his band immediatly opening with Commercial Breakup from his successful first album The Golden Age Of Wireless. After apologizing for not have played in Amsterdam for 28 years, some of the crowd were at that concert at the Paradiso in 1984, the band followed with One Of Our Submarines. Thomas Dolby was good by voice and shared a lot of stories in between the songs. After The Flat Earth there followed a story of a Thomas stuck on a New York airport, who decided to go into the city. He came into a pub and met a Bulgarian lady and after awhile they left through a sidedoor and the experience became very blurry. But it wasn't him, it was his Evil Twin Brother.
Meanwhile somebody had tipped me on the shoulder and friendly asked me to put my camera away. Which I did, although I made some pictures at the end of the concert. The guy kept circling the venue during the complete concert to warn people not to make pictures or videos.
Most of the songs had those nice intro stories. Maybe a weird choice, but great to hear, was the song Field Work which he wrote with Ryuichi Sakamoto of Yellow Magic Orchestra, while being in Japan. The song was written in 1984 about the same time Ryuichi Sakamoto and David Sylvian wrote Forbidden Colours for the movie Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence which featured David Bowie. And within the song there is an instrumental part echoing Forbidden Colours.
Thomas Dolby has always loved all styles of music. Although he is a thoroughbred synthesizer player, he is never afraid to experiment and to introduce new styles into his work. Certainly the new album A Map Of The Floating City contains trips to Amerikana, African and other styles of music. The road To Reno was the Thomas Dolby way of writing Amerikana music, and in Spice Train echoed the African atmosphere.
Then back to The Golden Age Of Wireless with his first single Europe And The Pirate Twins, certainly a highlight of the set. Unfortuantly followed by the nadir of the set Airhead. But he ended with his eighties hits Hyperactive and She Blinded Me With Science, which was introduced with the story about the nutty professor Magnus Pike, who came in for the recording sessions, and spoke his lines a lot before Thomas was satisfied.
After a short break the band returned on stage for an encore. And what an encore Eastern Bloc the sequal to Europe And The Pirate Twins. It was a great end to an outstanding performance.
One Of Our Submarines
The Flat Earth
Evil Twin Brother
My Brain Is Like A Sieve
The Road To Reno
The Toad Lickers
I Love You Goodbye
Europe And The Pirate Twins
She Blinded Me With Science