Psychotic Waltz back in The Netherlands for a full headline show after almost twenty years. Before giving my review of the evening, let me set the fanboy ballpark here. A Social Grace has been the best progmetal debut album ever released. That LP became album of the month in Aardschok and also gave Psychotic Waltz the opening slot of Dynamo Open Air 1991. I remember (!) very well how they begged to play more after their short set, but this was not going to happen. Hans and I loved A Social Grace and when we saw a few songs live we knew this was metal history in the making. Shortly hereafter they played the old Scum in Katwijk. At the time the most famous metal club in Holland after Dynamo. While having only one album they played very long that night and it was just amazing. Summer holidays that year were my last interrailing one. On my way to Spain I decided to a two-day-detour via a hard rock club near Heidelberg to undergo this once again. In those pre mobile phone days you would just disappear from the map for a month, but Hans was pleased to receive a postcard signed by the band. From that year on we knew they were the best touring live band in the nineties. Every new album made them come back for two tours in Europe and we would be there. Next to that they gave us The Strange Mind of Buddy Lackey and Dan Rock released with Dark Star one of the most interesting instrumental albums ever to grace the earth. In 1996 they released Bleeding their last album. Moving early 97 to Brazil one of the lows was that I missed the Bleeding tour. Then it all imploded and Psychotic Waltz were no more. Coming back from Brazil in 2000 soon Devon Graves started Dead Soul Tribe. I remember calling P60 asking if they still had tickets left on the day of the show. My question was answered by a laugh and some 50 people showed up. It was time to start from scratch. When DST ended we suddenly saw Psychotic Waltz on a Power of Metal tour with Nevermore and Symphony X. This teaser tasted like more, but their 40 minute slot was just too short for old fans. And now they are back for a full headline show. Many ProgPower faces in the crowd and luckily a good turnout of people. My ProgPower companions are this weekend at Graspop and therefore Hans could tell me already they were the best band of the Friday in Belgium. Only more to look out to it was.
Fluor in Amersfoort it was and a new venue and city to me. Arriving some twenty minutes early gave me just enough time to see what a nice centre Amersfoort has. Inside it turned out Fluor is bigger than I expected, with some concrete making it look half finished, but holding a large stage. The by now old fan bloke in me dressed up in style with one nineties Tee of the band. Turned out that at least half the audience were old fan blokes and lasses in Psychotic Waltz outfit. To Poverty's No Crime the ungrateful task to warm us up. Not that they are a bad band, they just could not overcome the atmosphere of nervous anticipation hanging in the hall. Musically well, a little too light and rather anonymous their set flew by. Even Pieter made it to Fluor by now, so pick our place and let loose the Sleeping Dogs.
Well that was not the opener as Dancing in the Ashes was. Faded to follow and we could be at ease. Psychotic Waltz were the best live band in the nineties and when they release their long awaited new album in a few years, they shall probably be the best live band of the twenties as well. The full set was a mix of nostalgia, banging and just plain awesomeness. This band holds all the ingredients needed for a spectacle of progmetal. I would say to all bands who are not at ease on stage to go and see them and watch and learn. Ward is the base on bass and Norm more than once led us into the next song with pounding drums. The twin and solo guitar parts by Dan and Brian do not stop to amaze us and Devon is a frontan in the true sense of the word. Walking the edge of the stage with his mimic, powerfull expressions and great voice. Most of the time we just rocked on no time was wasted on small talk. This as if it was a short festival set, while in reality we returned to a 100 minute plus gig. With all members in top form the songs of course made the show. All four of their albums are Classic progmetal albums, but A Social Grace being the first just a bit more. That album was most present in the set therefore. And yes was it great to see songs like Halo of Thorns, ..And the Devil Cried, Another Prophet Song or I Remember live on stage again. Devon was right stating I would not expect A Psychotic Waltz. I do not recall seeing that dark ballad being played live a lot. A ballad indeed and this next to fast thrashing parts and uptempo metal makes this band so good. If you than add up the lyrical poetry there is nothing (!) that sets us back. Talking poetry, shouting along How Morbid was a highlight of the evening as well. Actually the whole evening was brilliant and I was catapulted back into the nineties with a smile on my face. And not just me it was. Looking around many were singing, shouting along and old school PW tees were all around. I do hope they find their rhythm back and return yearly for one night not so calm through The Netherlands. The advantage of four classic albums is that they can chnage the set next time maintaining the quality way up. My requests on that respect for next tour are one per album: Spiral Tower, Tiny Streams, Lovestone Blind and My Grave. If this is not possible, than just return and I'll be happy.
And then it was over and soon the band could wonder where are all the people now, where is all the screaming crowd? Because screaming we did also when it was over. The lights went on, the music started playing and some hundred at least just did not want this to be over and for minutes tried to shout over the music asking,begging for more. This did not happen and right so, leave us hungry for more. I can't make it next Saturday to Essen, but those with an option to see them his week, please do go. Closing with a comment from Jonathan: The problem is that it is now mid June and we all know we saw the best gig of the year already. Possibly true I have hopes on many more good coming our way. My second favorite touring band from the nineties The Riverdogs are releasing a new album in two weeks with Vivian Campbell back on guitars. Life is great.