Op 19 augustus 2011was Eddie Jobson live te zien in Nederland na een afwezigheid van ruim dertig jaar. Met zijn U-Z project wist de violist-toetsenist echter 'slechts' ongeveer 350 mensen naar Cultuurpodium Boerderij te lokken. In mei 2012 met in plaats van Marco Minnemann op drums de geroutineerde Gary Husband en mede oud-lid John Wetton als zanger-bassist die Marc Bonilla verving, was het volle bak. De naam UK leek duidelijk het verschil te maken. Op die avond viel er veel te genieten en er was ook een noviteit: er mochten geen foto's worden genomen. Enerzijds ook voor mijn persoon onbegrijpelijk en teleurstellend, anderzijds moet ik toegeven dat op deze manier de avond wel veel meer in het teken van de muziek stond: geen zwaaiende telefoontjes voor je neus of hinderlijke flitsen.
Met een fantastische gitarist als Alex Machacek in de line-up, kon zowel het materiaal van het eerste gelijknamige album worden gespeeld als ook een enkele song van King Crimson songn namleijk Starless. Daarnaast klonken de nummers van Danger Money met toevoeging van de gitaar beter dan ooit. John Wetton deed Book Of Saturday akoestisch en Eddie Jobson speelde een indrukwekkende solo met fragmenten uit zijn prachtige album Theme Of Secrets. De geluidskwaliteit was bijna perfect: prima volume, kristalhelder, alleen de balans tussen de vier instrumenten was niet steeds optimaal. Zo stonden bas en drums wat hard ten koste van de gitaar en vooral van de toetsen. Een track als Alaska klonk mede daardoor een halfjaar geleden imposanter. Wetton baste beter dan na zijn operaties en hij zong voortreffelijk en Jobson bewees nog immer een virtuoos te zijn op zowel de viool als op toetsen. Een genot om hem te zien spelen! Van Danger Money werd alleen Nothing To Lose niet uitgevoerd en ondanks een niet goed functionerend keyboard kwam toch het schitterende Rendezvous 6:02 met alleen toetsen als begeleiding als laatste toegift. Jobson vertelde nog dat UK ontstaan was omdat er in de periode van King Crimson's Red een project was opgezet met Jobson, Wetton, Bill Bruford en Robert Fripp dat The League Of Gentlemen zou gaan heten. Ter elfder ure haakte Fripp echter af en besloten Jobson, Wetton en Bruford toch door te gaan en werd gitarist Allan Holdsworth gestrikt als vervanger van Fripp. Goed om te zien dat Jobson en Wetton weer kunnen samenwerken en ik moet er niet aan denken dat Wettons hart het enkele jaren had begeven: geen UK, Asia, Icon of solowerk meer... bijna onvoorstelbaar als je hem nu bezig ziet. Het is niet te hopen, grapte JObson, dat het weer 33 jaar moet duren voordat we UK weer live zullen zien, liefst ook met nieuw werk. That's the only thing we need!
Not too long ago, Eddie Jobson played at Cultuurpodoim Boerderij in the Netherlands with his U-Z project. On August 19, 2011 to be precise. Then only about 350 fans showed up to see the violinist-keyboard wizard live after just over thirty years. To my utmost surprise and disappointment, I might add there weren't more enthusiasts. Instead of having Marc Bonilla and Marco Minnemann on board, Jobson brought Gary Husband and John Wetton! Just as in August last year, the guitarist was Alex Machacek. So with John Wetton the band could be called UK and obviously that name made the difference. The venue was sold-out and the atmosphere was just great. Jobson demanded a non-photographers polic, in fact for the whole tour, so none of the magazines, newspapers or webzines were granted any photo passes. Of course this was a huge disappointment for both photographers as well as fans who like to read an article illustrated with one of more nice photos of their idols. Not this time. I didn't even see people using mini cameras or mobile phones and somehow this was a weird experience, but having witnessed the show I can't say it was an ordeal: on the contrary! No flashing, no arms waving their camera's right in front of your nose, so to be honest looking back I quite liked it. If such a discipline could be maintained I don't see any reason why all artists couldn't do shows allowing everyone to take photo's for just ten to fifteen minutes. That way everyone could be happy.
The show itself was pure magic. With this line-up the band was able to play material from both albums and surely with Alex Machacek on board the songs from Danger Money sounded even better! John was in good shape and his singing was surely more convincing than some thirty years ago. In spite of being a bit overweighed he seemed to enjoy himself and judging by the way he played his white ZON bass guitar, some of the damaged nerves in his hands must have regained their functionality. Gary Husband is a very experienced drummer, but he usually plays in a somewhat different genre of music. Although he played very well, I must admit I'd rather seen Bill Bruford, Terry Bozzio or even Marco Minnemann, who also is a phenomenal drummer. The quality of the sound was spectacular: crystal clear and not too loud. Only criticism could be that the balance wasn't perfect. Up front - but later I understood that people on the balcony experienced the same - the bass guitar seemed very loud. The metallic sound overruled Jobson's keyboards and Machacek's guitar sometimes. The drums were a bit too loud as well compared to both keys and guitar. Nevertheless it was a magificent performance by these four gentlemen. Being quite hot in the venue, Wetton had his shirt partly unbuttoned and it revealed a big scar on his chest where the team of surgeons did their fine job restoring the blood supply to the heart of one of the most distinguished prog musicians of all time. Admitted: Wetton did have a minor setback in his impressive career, but today he's totally on top of the game and I couldn't imagine what would have happened if his open heart surgery hadn't been successful: no more UK, Asia, Icon nor Wetton solo... Instead we can hear UK live again after thirty-three years from the split-up and probably like many other fans I hadn't seen the first time around.
Jobson opened the show with Alaska, one of my favourite UK-songs. The rendition with the U-Z project last year was slightly better in my opinion, because of the more powerful sound of the keyboards. The feast of recognition continued with In The Dead Of Night, followed by Presto, Vivace & Reprise. The partly dreamy song Thirty Years went down well and in spite of the band being called UK, still a song of KIng Crimson song was featured, namely Starless in which John Wetton's bass filled the hall. Jobson explained how UK was formed in the first place. It was during the late seventies - King Crimson had just released the album Red - when Jobson was asked to join Bill Bruford, John Wetton and Robert Fripp in a project called The League Of Gentlemen. At the end of the day Fripp decided he didn't want to participate in the project and that's how the remaining members were left without a guitar player. Allan Holdworth was on top of the list and when he joined the newly formed band was named UK.
On went the show with Carrying No Cross and then Wetton introduced Mr. Jobson. The man is a genuine virtuoso player both on his electric violin as well as on the keyboards. His technique was stunning and no doubt, he's one of the greatest prog keyboardists. In fact, I think he can play the Emerson, Lake & Palmer material better than Keith Emerson these days. Obviously classically trained, Jobson played a similar solo as with his U-Z project, with bits from his magnificent album Theme Of Secrets. Then Eddie on his turn introduced John Wetton saying: "One of the advantages of having John Wetton on board is that we play more King Crimson songs." A superb and subtle rendition of Book Of Saturday by John accompanying himself on the acoustic guitar. The title track of UK's second album was absolutely top of the bill, in fact I never heard it performed better than on this evening with a nice contribution by the amazing guitarist Alex Machecek, mastering both the Holdsworth-style and the Fripp -style. Hearing Nevermore and all these other songs Jobson proved to be right with his remark: "You could hear King Crimson here and there if you listen carefully."
An ecstatic audience wanted more and the encores Caesar's Palace Blues and the former single The Only Things She Needs were performed equally brilliantly. The second encore came with a slight delay: there was a temporary communication problem between the keyboard and the amplifier. Jobson was a bit annoyed as he explained that the keyboard is the most sophisticated on the planet, controlling three lap tops and indeed it was stunning to hear all those sounds from the late seventies reproduced meticulously by the digital system Jobson has managed to create. Some minutes later the sole keyboard was functioning well again and a really beautiful acoustic version of my all time favourite Rendezvous 6:02 was a truly magnificent finale of a great evening. Too bad we weren't able to please the fans with some nice pictures but nonetheless it was a night to remember. I surely hope it will not take another 33 years as Jobson promised before we can see these maestros again. The only thing we need is a new album by Jobson & Wetton!
Setlist: Alaska, In The Dead Of Night, By The Light Of Day, Presto Vivace & Reprise, Thirty Years, Starless, Carrying No Cross, keyboard & violin solo, Book of Saturday (John Wetton solo acoustic), Danger Money, Nevermore.
Encores: Caesar's Palace Blues, The Only Thing She Needs, Rendezvous 6:02 (acoustic.)