RevelationZ - Entertainment  That  Endures

Stream of Passion - Live with Damian Wilson & Oliver Wakeman in the UK, 2006 - Tour Report

When I read the news that Arjen Lucassen was taking his band Stream of Passion on the road, I knew right away that I had to see if they could bring the same kind of magic to the stage as was the case with Star One a few years back. When Damian Wilson was announced as support act I couldn't get my hands down, and when Oliver Wakeman's band was announced a special support act for the Rotherham show (one of the two I was attending) I just couldn't believe my luck.

So, after an uneventful 12-hour journey I found myself standing in the hall at the Oakwood Centre in Rotherham waiting for Oliver Wakeman's band to take the stage. I was surprised by both the size of the venue and the amount of people there. I think about 3-400 people had shown up.


Rotherham, January 28

Oliver Wakeman

Shortly past 7pm, after a short presentation by the organisers, The Classic Rock Society, Oliver Wakeman and his band came walking on stage in a jovial mood and greeted the audience. Picking up their instruments the band launced into the opener Don't Come Running from their new album (Mother's Ruin). The audience was a bit static at first, but through their set the band got us warmed up. It did take a couple songs for the band to get warmed up as well. Lead singer Paul Manzi improved greatly and by the third song, Calling For You his voice was strong and powerful.

The sound also improved through the show and as the band went into a slightly re-arranged version of Mother's Ruin things were starting to come together. The atmosphere was very relaxed, with the band members joking between the songs and when they made a mistake they just smiled at each other knowingly and played on. Guitarist David Mark Pearce often stole the spotlight with a colorful outfit and impressive solos. He also had a nice interchange with Oliver Wakeman on the keyboards through the show. While bassist Paul Brown was a bit static lead singer Paul Manzi had a great energy and moved all over the stage.

The last two songs were the highlights for me. The emotional beginning of I Don't Believe In Angels was performed with feeling by Paul and as the song progressed the rest of the band kept up the tension very well. Walk Away ended the show on a high note. This song had a fantastic drive and worked very well live. Paul also managed to get a response from the crowd during the sing along to the chorus.

Unfortunately, just as the band was getting really fired up they had to end their far too short 30 minute set. I had hoped for a few songs off "The Hound of the Baskervilles" but understandably the band plugged their new album and stuck to material from that one.

Overall a very good start to the evening.

Setlist:
Don't come running
In The movies
Calling For You
Mother's Ruin
I Don't Believe In Angels
Walk Away


Damian Wilson

Damian Wilson was a main reason for me being there since I absolutely love his solo albums and I felt his songs were perfect for an acoustic live setting. As Damian walked on to the stage with a big smile on his face he greeted the audience, made a few jokes and then asked what songs we wanted to hear. I was kind of taken by surprise and never managed to shout out anything. He put together a setlist from songs the audience shouted.

After switching guitars he sat down started playing She's Like a Fable. He has a voice that is incredibly powerful and detailed and I was completely mesmerized from the beginning. As he began singing one of my favorites, When I Leave This Land I felt a familiar chilling sense that only comes when something special is happening. Damian showed an incredible sense of melody and control as his voice rose and fell with the emotions of the song and right there I remember thinking "Yes, this is so worth it".

Nothing Left In Me was next and I felt like I could listen to this guy sing all night. The new song Commune sounded very promising, but unfortunately the new album was not available for purchase this night. At the end of the song someone walked on stage and told Damian that Oliver Wakeman was ready to take the keyboards. That was apparantly a bit ahead of schedule since Damian decided to skip a song and then welcome Oliver on the stage amidst many cheers. Together they played a succesful version of Homegrown and it was apparent that they had a great chemistry between them. The song got a very nice response from the audience who had gotten in a singing mood.

After Homegrown the rest of Oliver Wakeman's band returned to the stage and they went into a blistering version of Otis Redding's Hard To Handle. The band really blew the roof of the building and left an audience energized and ready for the main act. This song was a highlight of the evening. There was a great interaction between the two singers as they traded lines and the rest of the band served up a energized foundation that I can only describe as "Rock 'n' Roll with a bit of improv".





Only negative comment about Damian's set would be that 30 minutes are just not enough.


Stream of Passion

After a 10 minute break the lights dimmed again and as the stage was shrouded with fog we all started cheering for Stream of Passion. Somewhere in the mist Davy appeared behind the drum kit as Spellbound's recogniseable percussion started flowing out of the speakers. Shortly after Johan Van Stratum walked on stage and greeted the audience while adding bass lines to the sound. Soon Marcela's warm voice filled the hall and as the rest of the band entered the stage a heavy, powerful sound embraced us as Arjen struck the first chords of his guitar. The storm had begun...

I was lucky enough that lead guitarist, the beautiful rock goddess (to use the exact words of Marcela) Lori Lindstruth stood right in front of me for the entire show, so I had a great view of the impressive solos she played. I couldn't help but notice backup singer Diana Bovio (Marcela's sister) right away. I can best describe her as a 10 times more gorgeous and 10 times less annoying version of Curly Sue. (Sorry if you haven't seen that movie, or maybe not). Her voice was impressive and she did a fantastic job throughout the show. In fact she looked like she was the one most at home on the stage this night and she came off with a very strong charisma. Johan Van Stratum on the bass had a good deal of intensity to him and got top score for the engaging headbanging, while Arjen Lucassen was the rock solid base of the band. Davy was hidden behind the misty drum kit most of the time but provided a tight foundation and Alejandro offered additional atmosphere with an abundance of keys. For a good part of the show I was busy trying to get some good pictures under the tough photo conditions, so I'm sure I missed some details in the performance.





The show was very varied and never boring. The moods shifted from emotional and purely mesmerizing with the beginning of Whereever you are, Deceiver and especially Nostalgia being showcases for Marcela's seriously impressive vocal chords, through heavy and intense with Passion, Out in The Real World and Haunted, which each had their own highlights. Passion really set the show off on the right course and featured great interaction between the two sisters. Out in The real world was floor-shakingly heavy and Haunted brought its thick atmosphere to life this night.





Marcela brought out the violin on several occasions and it was a great addition, although it should have been a bit higher in the mix. The costumes everyone wore were very fitting. As on the Star One tour the clothing fitted perfectly to the music and gave the show a more complete feel to it for that reason. I've also got to give it to the lighting system. It absolutely sucked for taking flashless photos, but it fitted the ambience of the band and music perfectly, giving an extra sense of mysticism and atmosphere.

I noticed a few small mistakes, but nothing that could take away my impression of an absolutely wonderful show. During its peak moments there was real magic on the stage. Some of these moments include the absolutely electrifying version of Valley of the queens where a powerful duet by the Bovio sisters and great guitar playing provided the song with a fantastic energy. Another highlight came when I heard the familiar introduction to The Human Equation. After Vigil I felt the atmosphere of Pain creeping up and amazingly the band continued to perform a different and very successful version of this song. Marcela took the main role of Agony, with Diana acting as backup through the song while Arjen shredded his voice doing his best Devin Townsend impersonation.

Other magical moments came in those parts of songs where every band member was going crazy during the heavy parts, headbanging or doing whatever. At these moments I could only gaze at the stage and think "wow!"





As Johan started on the familiar bass line to Deceiver a great cheer came from the audience. Deceiver segued nicely into the chorus of Songs of the ocean where the audience were given a chance to prove their worth. It was great to hear this song but I felt this part would have benefitted from a different ending to provide some kind of better closure. Just repeating the chorus ten times felt a bit too static.

Among the newer songs we also got three well chosen older Ayreon songs, namely Waracle, Computer Eyes and The Charm of the Seer. All these were great choices and especially The Charm of the Seer worked briliantly.

Ending the regular set was an amazing version of Castle Hall. Marcela sang the voice of the Barbarian, which gave the lyrics a quite interesting dimension. Damian Wilson naturally appeared as the Knight and again his voice shone with an incredible surge of power.





After much cheering the band came back to begin on the first encore. Damian suddenly appeared in his original stage outfit from the Star One tour to sing Into the black hole. That appearence brought the whole thing full circle for me. He proceeded to perform this song with a great intensity and I couldn't help but sing along. Into the black hole changed into what I believe was a part of Cold Metal half way through.

The band continued to play a powerful version of Led Zeppelin's When the Levee Breaks with Arjen doing a bit of violin playing on his guitar in the end. Coming back for another encore Arjen announced the final song by saying that they were going to play one that went to 11. We got an excellent version of Day 11: Love, which even incorporated keyboard player Alejandro on vocals, who if I remember correxctly, sang the voice of Fear. A really powerful song that got everyone in the audience rocking. Still, nothing beats Irene Janssen's powerful voice in this song.





The band showed tremendous promise and there existed a great chemistry between all members. While they delivered a wonderful performance there was still room for improvement. This was only the third show on the tour and maybe that was why I felt that sometimes things could get even better. Especially Calliopeia sounded a little off this evening. This was proven the next day in London where the song sounded much tighter.

After the show was over members of all three bands came out and hung around for a long time, signing stuff and making sure that nobody left unsatisfied. After saying Hi or NI! to the band members and spending a few hours hanging out, having fun and embarassing myself on several occassions, the hall was closing and I went back to the hotel to get some sleep before next days trip back to London...


London, January 29

After a most sleep inducing bus ride I found myself in London where the Chinese were celebrating new year and every pub in town was bursting with people. I managed to find a pub close to The Borderline where I spent the afternoon writing down notes from yesterdays show. As showtime was approaching a long queue had formed outside The Borderline. After 20 minutes in the freezing winter weather I went inside and discovered that the club was small but the bar was big, so I felt right at home.

Damian Wilson

This night Damian was backed by Andrew Holdsworth on piano and he had a backup singer with him. Unfortunately I never caught his name. After some friendly chatting with the audience he started on She's a Fable like the night before. From here on the show evolved into its own as the next songs were I want to build my world around you and Please don't leave me till I leave you. Two good songs that worked very well in a live setting.

After this Cosmas trilogy Damian said bye to the co-singer for the time being and he began a solo performance of Part of me. This performance was nothing less than breathtaking. All the emotion of the song came alive and it is impossible to describe unless you were there and knew the song in advance, but I will say that the experience was almost heartbreaking and I know I will never forget this moment in time. It really was a showcase of why music is my favorite artform.





As the show progressed Homegrown brought me out of a trance and into a sing-a-long with the rest of the audience. Through the show Damian interacted with the audience in a joking fashion making the atmosphere very relaxed and comfortable. As Damian asked if anyone had any requests I shouted out Just The Way It Goes and couldn't help but let out a high pitch "Woooh" as Damian said "Yeah that would be perfect with Andrew here". I stood there completely spellbound by the performance with a big smile on my face and just sucked in the musical goodness. It was another unforgetable moment. Damian had an amazing power in his voice while singing the chorus and an incredible empathy through the whole song. This guy is just pure emotion.

Another Cosmas favorite, When I leave this land, continued the show to my great satisfaction and was followed by Nothing left in me. The show ended with Naked. I lack words to describe the heartfelt performance more than I already have, so I will just end with the words that this short concert was worth the whole trip.

If you don't know of Damian Wilson's solo work, then you should give it a listen by going to his website and purchasing one of his albums. I'd especially recommend Disciple, the ltd. edition. You can also get a taste of his solo music by checking this live version of Part of me.

After this I was emotionally wasted and the main act was still to go on. I raided the bar during the break and when I got back to the stage I got a place at the right side behind some people with big inflated yellow bananas! I found out they were regulars on the Ayreon forum and the bananas had become somewhat of an inside joke between them and the band.

Setlist
She's Like A Fable
I Want To Build My World
Part of Me
Homegrown
Just The Way It Goes
When I Leave This Land
Nothing Left In Me
Naked


Stream Of Passion

In one word this concert was stunning.

Comparing to last night in Rotherham the Stream of Passion concert this night in London was better in every aspect. Since the Rotherham concert was already pretty fantastic this night became like a wonderful magical experience. The band was more confident and relaxed and there was a better connection between the audience and band. The club was smaller and the stage cramped, giving the concert an intense and intimate feel. The band felt energized and ready to rock right from the start. There were less mistakes musically and lead guitarist / Rock godess, Lori was a sight for sore eyes this night as she blazed through one solo after another. The London concert was very close to perfection. If there is this kind of improvement with every show then I can't wait to see the DVD, which I was told they will try to record at the show in Rijssen.

The only thing was worse than Rotherham was the lighting. That was one of the reasons why I decided to put away my camera early on and just enjoy the show.

There was a lot of headbanging, banana dancing and singing along in the audience where I was standing and people were obviously captivated by the band. There were many moments where I felt the same kind of awe I had felt when I saw Star One live in concert in 2002. Things just clicked really well within the band and their performance was chilling on several ocasions. Again Damian came on stage for Castle Hall and Into the Black Hole and again managed to give the show a great surge of power. After singing his lines for Into The Black Hole He jumped into the audience and I believe he was headed for the bar before it closed.

Since I already described the Rotherham show in detail I will do just the opposite here. The setlist was basically the same as in Rotherham, so the review would be close to the same, but with even more superlatives.

The big let down came seconds after the show had ended. As Stream of Passion said goodbye, my mind had assembled this really great combination of drinks to celebrate the fantastic concert, so I went to the bar for the big order, where I was then told that the bar had shut down since it was now 10:31pm. Oh my god that was sad... I hung around until the club closed and said my goodbyes to the band members and also spoke with other fans who were just as ecstatic as me. It was very cool to meet people who had come all the way from Germany, Estonia and America for these shows, as well as fellow Damian Wilson fans Tricia and Rosie.

This was a great couple of days. I wanted nothing more than to continue the tour, but all good things must come to an end, and so I flew back to Denmark and started working the next day.

Setlist (As I remember it)
Spellbound
Passion
Waracle
Wherever You Are
Computer Eyes
Calliopeia
Valley of the Queens
Haunted
The Charm of the Seer
Deceiver
Songs of the Ocean (Ending)
Day One: Vigil
Day Three: Pain
Nostalgia
Out in the Real World (with band introduction)
The Castle Hall (with Damian Wilson)
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Into the Black Hole (with Damian Wilson) / Cold Metal
When the Levee Breaks
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Day Eleven: Love



Footnote: Here, 6 years later, I still remember these concerts fondly, as something unique and musically fulfilling. Stream of Passion also used one of my photos as the front shot of the cover for their official DVD release Live in the real world. Cool!






Click pictures for a bigger version


Oliver Wakeman band





Oliver Wakeman band





Oliver Wakeman band





Oliver Wakeman band





Damian Wilson





Damian Wilson





Damian Wilson





Stream of Passion





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Damian Wilson, London





Damian Wilson, London





Damian Wilson, London





The banana crew





Stream of Passion, London





Stream of Passion, London





Stream of Passion, London




All pictures taken by Steen except banana picture supplied by Betty Seibt





Written By Steen
Online: Wednesday, September 26, 2012