Tuesday 13 October 2009

Johan's Ending

12.5 years of the Dutch band Johan: four albums filled with beautiful songs and many great concerts. Then all of a sudden they announced the end of the band. Singer Jacco de Greeuw decided it was time for a change before things started to get lame. Their support tour for their latest album '4' turned into a farewell tour and this concert into my last Johan gig.

Johan at Paradiso Amsterdam, October 9 2009 (Ronald Says 7 out of 10)

So a bit heavy hearted we headed down to our rock temple. They were off to a rough start. Somehow the balance wasn't right and singer de Greeuw even sounded out of tune now and then. This made it a bit hard to get into it. They were never the band that would blow the roof off but instead had to win you over by their stunning pop songs and beautiful harmonies. But things improved after a few songs and eventually I found myself once again in the world of Johan.

They played a good overview of their albums with a slight focus on the last one. With that many years between that few albums it's striking how nicely all songs blend together. Not one feels out of place and all of them could have been instant classics easily. Of course some of their hit songs like 'Tumble and Fall', 'Day is Done' and 'She's Got a Way With Men' are better known and result in more feedback from the crowd. But these fine musicians make every song sound like a hit. Bass player Diets Dijkstra gets the chance to sing one of his own songs but this is the only one that doesn't fit in. The style is different and Dijkstra isn't a gifted singer like de Greeuw or guitar player Maarten Kooijman. The last one gets to sing his song 'Maria' that also ended up on the last album. Drummer Jeroen Kleijn is always great to watch with his relaxed style that I admire a lot.

Such a shame we have to make it without this band that can be regarded as one of Holland's top bands. But I understand de Greeuw when he's saying he wants to continue without all the expectations that come with Johan and before it starts to feel like a trick. Instead he wants to continue with a clean sheet again and come back with hopefully even better and newer music.

After one and half hour it's time to say goodbye. Still it doesn't feel right to bid them farewell. Fortunately a while ago when I already had these tickets they announced they will give a very final concert in December in the same venue so I couldn't resist to buy tickets to that show as well to experience a bit of Johan magic for the last time.

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