Saturday 7 July 2018

On Stage: Elvis Costello + De Dijk @ Royal Park Live

In the middle of the Netherlands there's a big palace Paleis Soestdijk that used to belong to the royal family. It was sold a few years ago and is now put to better use since they are throwing concerts in the summer on the big lawn of the palace. This year one of those nights had De Dijk and Elvis Costello lined up and I don't need a lot more reasons to visit the place.

De Dijk + Elvis Costello and The Imposters at Royal Park Live, Soestdijk July 5 2018

We arrive at the palace about half an hour before De Dijk will play their set and explore the grounds a bit. The park in front of the palace has been transformed in a small festival site with some food stands and bars, including the big queues that seem to be normal these days. A quick burger and a beer is all we need to get ready for one of our favourite Dutch bands.

De Dijk

Of course after seeing them so many times De Dijk doesn't have a lot of surprises any more. But I usually see them play clubs where their most dedicated fans are visiting. Today they are working a crowd that aren't hard core fans but visitors that are coming for a fun night out or are here to see the main act Elvis Costello. It's nice to see though how the band can even get a crowd like this excited for their Dutch soul, blues and rock music. The band is having fun playing their biggest hits for an hour in the sun. These songs are hard to resist and songs that are over thirty years old now are still not outdated and sound wonderful. Great start of this royal night out I'd say.

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Elvis Costello and The Imposters

I've always wanted to see Elvis Costello play, since I think he's a wonderful singer and musician. On stage he's an entertaining story teller that is linking short stories to the songs or is simply joking around a bit. The first part of the show has a couple of his hit songs although he's holding back a bit. His band is amazing and Costello's voice sounds wonderful. He's showcasing this when halfway he performs songs like 'Alison' and 'She' solo and lets his voice shine in slow melancholic songs.

At this point the show goes from entertaining to superb where Costello is totally in his element. When the band returns the show shifts into overdrive with his greatest hits like ''Pump It Up' and 'I Want You'. It's even stopping the part of the crowd that has been chatting the whole night, hardly paying attention what is happening on stage. After almost two hours the band closes the night with '(What's So Funny 'bout) Peace, Love and Understanding'. Costello played a strong show tonight with a set that was building up nicely. It's even more impressive when we hear later that he had to cancel the rest of his tour because his recovery from surgery a few months earlier is harder than he thought and he needs more rest.

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It's been a fun night with beautiful music and weather although I didn't like the large part of the crowd that only came here to drink and chat with their friends and apparently didn't care too much about the music. I suggest they find a park that is free and bring some drinks instead of spending a lot of money on a concert night and annoy everyone with their boring stories.

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