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Arrow Rock Festival, Lichtenvoorde, The Netherlands
June 11th 2005
Meat Loaf, Dream Theater, Survivor, Styx

After a kilometres walk from the station, through rain and sunshine, I arrived at the festival ground. One huge stage was set up and one tent. When a performance at the main stage was going on, the tent was made ready for the next band and vice versa. There was a little festival market and many food and drink stands which some might have visited a bit too often….. but all in all there was a nice and friendly atmosphere.


Styx has been around since 1972 and they are very happy with the support they get from Europe. They think it is due to their piano ballads and the use of choirs that they have so many fans here. The last time Styx visited the Netherlands was in the eighties for their Paradise Theatre tour. They filled up Ahoy easily then but today it was their turn to rock the Arrow festival.


Styx provides their own ‘choirs’ when they sing together they sound great, their singing is in close harmony. They played a cover of the Beatles song ‘The walrus’ and did a great job while doing so.
As in the band itself there was a lot of energy in their music. Their lead singer had a great voice, he had clearly taken good care of it during the years. Songs such as ‘I don’t need no doctor’ blasted of the stage. They had a great lightshow even though it was still light. There were so many lamps on stage it almost looked like a act on a carnival. If it were night the audience might have been blinded but now it gave the performance just the rock show boost it needed.

I arrived when they were singing ‘Come sail away’ the audience was asked to sing along and they were happy to do so. The guitarists stood in line and mad wavelike motions, which was of course really suitable for this song. Their keyboard player/singer first sat behind his metal coated keyboard, but when the song started to get more energetic he jumped on to his keyboard and then made a huge jump onto the stage. This keyboard could make circles as well which allowed him much freedom. They announced that they were very happy with this audience and were happy to play here. At the end of the show Tommy Shaw (lead guitar/vocals) introduced the entire band including himself. After this the entire band bowed together and then they hit some huge blow up balls into the audience.
The sound was well adjusted, as it was during the rest of the festival. Earplugs were wise though for as at every festival the sound level was quite high.

01. I Am The Walrus
02. I Can See For Miles
03. Can't Find My Way Home
04. It Don't Make Sense (You Can't Make Peace)
05. I Don't Need No Doctor
06. One Way Out
07. Salty Dog
08. Summer In The City
09. Manic Depression
10. Talkin' About The Good Times
11. Locomotive Breath
12. Find The Cost Of Freedom
13. Wishing Well
14. Blue Collar Man

Music 7
Performance 7
Sound 7
Light 7
Total  7


It seems as though half a day of work has gotten them further than years of work on their albums. What did they do in half a day that was so important? Write their success hit ‘Eye of the tiger’ for the Rocky III movie. They definitely are survivors for they have been around for quite a while now. And today the Arrow festival had the honour of have these tigers on their stage.

Besides rock songs and great stage energy they also know how to hit the sensitive notes with their ballads. Only three of the original members were here today because the others are busy with their own projects. The replacing members were younger and thus added extra energy to the show. At the end of the show we were all still waiting for two songs… ‘Burning heart’ and ‘Eye of the tiger’.  When the final song was introduced they started out with the fist notes of ‘Burning heart’ but then it changed into ‘Eye of the tiger’. Even the high notes were still hit, this man has taken good care of his voice.

Survivor still looks as if they have just arrived from the eighties with their shirts hanging open and Jimi Jamison (vocals) with his sunglasses on. They asked the audience to sing along some times and they said they were honoured to play here. Guitars were lifted high in the air, and the keyboard player was head banging behind his keyboard, they all seemed to have a good time. The tent stage also had its fare share of lights, enabling the light technician to give a great show. The drummer had his own spotlight which was good to see for mostly drummers disappear in the back of the stage. There lights were mostly purple but at times more colours were used creating a true eighties disco feeling which was very suitable of course for this band which has been so big in those days.

Music 7
Performance 6
Sound 7
Light 7
Total  7 (6,8)

Dream Theater

They can play anything, classical music, jazz, metal. But they have chosen symphonic metal and that was the right choice. Dream Theater has conquered the hearts of a steady fan base which follows them along the way. No need to go for the big hits, Dream Theater makes the music they want to and will keep on doing so. They know how to get their audience excited for they started 15 minutes late and while the audience was waiting and screaming, the instruments were covered under big black cloths.

The first song of the evening, ‘About to Crash’, was not as powerful as I expected, but then ‘Learning to Live’ set in with great power and energy. Each song seems to start with a keyboard intro and then the others join in. Besides serious musicians they also like to have a little fun and in between the rough notes of a song a break was made while playing some kind of cartoon tune. They played a few songs from their newest album ‘Octovarium’ being ‘Never Enough’ and ‘Sacrificed Sons’, just to give the audience a taste of it and I think many have been made curious enough to want more. The sound was clear and open, providing plenty of space for each instrument to sound just like it's intended by the band. The band has high quality standards, and they have sure lived up to the expectations. The fact that they started their gig later because of problems with the monitoring system shows that they take their sound very seriously. Starting later didn't mean a shorter gig; they made up for lost time in the end keeping the audience in the tent even when Meat Loaf had already started. The fact that they came back to play an encore was a pleasant surprise since they were not the festival's headliner and did exceed their time slot already. Just one song, but what a song it was, stretching for over 9.30 minutes long, 'metropolis pt1' from the 'Images and Words' album.

When the lights started moving the black cloths were quickly removed, uncovering an enormous drum set and a turning keyboard (it seems those are quite hip these days). The lights shone through the entire tent, creating an even more exciting atmosphere. Then the band entered the stage under a loud applauding and screaming from the audience. The members of Dream Theater often make contact with their audience. Each presents himself in his own way, John Myung (bass) stands easily and cool while performing, John Petrucci (guitar) is rocking the stage, playing with his foot on the specially made metal boxes at the front of the stage (there were no monitors to stand on). But both guitarist have one thing in common, they can both disappear into their instrument, you can see they really love what they do. Mike Portnoy (drums) with his sunglasses on is often standing behind his drums, giving all his energy while Jordan Rudess (keyboard) seems to disappear in to a dream world while playing. James LaBrie (vocals) is almost always standing at the edge of the stage, closest to the audience, spreading his word. His face shows the emotions he is singing, agony all over sometimes even with his eyes closed. James comes on stage when he is needed and leaves when he is finished with his vocal parts, this way the band gets their space to been seen as well. At the end of the show he told us they “fucking love Holland”, they have just started a new world tour and they’ll be back in the fall.

Set List
01. About to Crash
02. Learning to Live
03. Never Enough
04. Endless Sacrifice
05. Sacrificed Sons
06. The Spirit Carries On
07. About to Crash (Reprise)
08. Losing Time / Grand Finale
09. Metropolis pt. 1

Music 8
Performance 8
Sound 7
Light 8
Total  8 (7,8)

Meat Loaf

Who has never danced to the tunes of Meat Loaf? I don’t think I know anybody who hasn’t and this is a hit from 1978 so he must have done something right. Marvin Lee Aday is 57 years old now and still giving big performances, you have to say he is a fighter. But is it all worth fighting for?

Musically he has done some great things in the past. It is a pity though he just isn’t what he used to be, his vocal qualities seem to have diminished through the years. Luckily he does have a great band to support him. They provide good backing/supporting vocals and musical support which are necessary to make it a good show after all. Maybe it is just the live performance which is a challenge for him; I could hear him being out of breath in between notes and he can’t hit the notes he used to, which is a pity. Some songs were hard to recognise, for instance ‘All Revved up with no Place to go’ was only recognisable due to the refrain, the spirit that used to be there was gone.

This formation still knows how to give a great performance. What catches your immediate attention are all the sparkles on stage. His microphone standard hung with sparkling threads and of course a jacket with glitters. His leading lady also looks festive, with some tight vinyl pants, a red corset and of course the almost obligatory big hair. During ‘Paradise by the Dashboard Light’ Meatloaf and his lady had both put on a school jacket and they performed a small play, taking each others clothes (jackets) off and acting out all that was happening in the song. He even got a knee between the legs for asking her to let him “sleep on it”. After all this action it was time to take it easy and they performed ‘I’d do anything for Love (but I won’t do that)’ during which they also put on a small play. Meat Loaf walking away in doubt while singing “but I won’t do that’ as if what he was singing was just to convince his lady. There was a huge amount of light on stage and it was used as it was supposed to, two spots from a tower on the field were lighting Meat Loaf all the time so he was never left in the dark. At the end of his show he told us all to “keep on rocking!” He finished 20 minutes earlier, but since all the great hits had been played the audience just accepted it.

01. Whore
02. Life is a Lemon
03. Black Betty
04. Dead Ringer for Love
05. Out of the Frying Pan (and into the Fire)
06. You Took the Words Right Outta My Mouth
07. Only When I Feel
08. All Revved Up
09. Paradise by the Dashboard Light
10. Anything for Love
11. Bat out of Hell
12. Mercury Blues

Music 6
Performance 8
Sound 7
Light 8
Total  7 (7,3)

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