This was quite a special project. It was a collaboration between comedian Freek de Jonge and the Nits, who combined their names to Frits. Freek had been following the Nits for a long time and he knew about Robert Jan already from the Supersister period. Plans to collaborate had been floating around for a while, but in 1994, after the Nits' dAdAdA Tour it finally became reality. More details about Freek and the Songs are below. The concerts took place in December 1994 and March and April 1995. All Dutch concerts were in Amsterdam, there was a very short tour through Belgium, which ended the concert series. The first concerts were played in the rather small Nieuwe de la Mar Theater. The March concerts in Amsterdam were at the large and very prestigious Carré Theatre. The concert on New Years Eve 1994 was filmed and broadcast on TV. It was also released on video, where it was about an hour longer. The sound of the December concerts were also recorded and by the time of the March concerts it was already available on CD. One song from the March concerts was later released as a b-side. I have one audience recording from the December concerts, but unfortunately I know of no recordings from the later concerts. There were some changes in the setlist, but exactly which I mostly can't remember. The first single, Dankzij de Dijken, was a small hit in the Netherlands. This project was continued by Freek together with Robert Jan, after he had left the Nits, for a few more musical tours. It eventually resulted in a number 1 hit in the Netherlands!
This tour was a collaborative effort between the Nits and comedian Freek de Jonge. Freek is very famous in Holland. In the 70s he was half of the duo 'Neerlands Hoop in Bange Dagen' ('Dutch Hope in Fearful Days'), together with musician Bram Vermeulen. They did socially conscious musical comedy. In the late 70s they broke up and both went solo. Freek became one of the most successful solo comedians since then. Most of the time he performs spoken-word-only one-man shows, touring throughout the Netherlands and Belgium with several programs. Sometimes he had some musical stuff as well (for instance with the Willem Breuker Kollektief), but mostly he stuck to spoken word only. His programs are a mixture between absurdity and straightforward comedy, but almost always have a deeper meaning. His texts often are brilliant. For the collaboration with the Nits he started singing again, mixing it with spoken word passages. The lyrics were often very new and Freek had to sing while reading from a piece of paper several times. His wife, Hella, played violin on a few tracks.
Freek de Jonge: voice, street organ, wineglasses,
Henk Hofstede: guitar, banjo, backing vocals, piano, tambourine scratching
Rob Kloet: drums, backing vocals
Robert Jan Stips: keyboards, backing vocals, accordion, bass
Martin Bakker: bass, mandolin, backing vocals
Peter Meuris: percussion, violin, guitar
Hella de Jonge: violin (during encores)
The stage setup consisted of a background of several men of straw standing in what appears to be a cornfield. On the floor was a green carpet with a two beach chairs standing around Freek. Great lighting finished of the very nice look of the stage. The Nits were positioned in their usual way, with Henk a bit more to the back. Freek de Jonge took center stage. They were all dressed in black trousers and shirts with red ties and shoes.
The songs could be divided into five categories:
1. New songs written by Freek, Robert Jan and Henk.
2. Old Nits songs, sometimes translated into Dutch by Freek, sometimes only a short fragment of a song.
3. Cover tunes, by a large range of artists.
4. Old Neerlands Hoop songs, written by Freek and Bram Vermeulen.
5. Spoken word only monologues by Freek, usually without the Nits.
The music was mostly very different from what the Nits usually play. A wide range of styles was used, from pop to blues to cabaret and more. Several songs accompanied Freek's lyrics in a very effective way. Some songs were very complex and artistic, while others were much more straightforward. A few spoken word performances were also part of the concert, the Nits would sit and listen to him.
The lyrics were either very funny or very serious, but almost always contained brilliant wordplays and strange twists. For non-Dutch speaking listeners this project probably is rather abstract, with the unusual music (for the Nits) and the Dutch language. But for Dutch and Belgian fans this album and tour are a treat, provided you like Freek de Jonge of course. In the list of songs I won't try to explain all the jokes Freek made, since that's virtually impossible. Neither will I give translations of the songs, since this might be almost as difficult for many songs. I will translate the titles and give a short overview what the songs are about, provided I can figure it out of course. A few translations of Frits songs can be found on the nearly official Nits homepage. The information on Freek's old solo and Neerlands Hoop songs I got from the very extensive Ferry's Discography. I don't have any records from Freek's past, so my knowledge about the difference between the Frits and original versions is virtually non-existent.
Note: song titles between 'apostrophes' are made up by me and could be completely wrong..
This was a sequence of a few weird songs. The songs in this medley were adaptations of 60s rock and roll music. This medley was preceded by an instrumental 'Nescio'. The first proper song of the medley was ' Johnny, remember me', followed by 'Apache' and the second to last one was 'Fay Dunaway (Run Away)', which was followed immediately by 'Freek, doe me een lol'. This last song of the medley was the only one that made it onto the album. The complete thing was rather funny and the band had enormous fun playing this. It can be found on the December tape and in excellent sound on the official video.
This Nits classic was played in a short version during the end and after the 'NS' monologue by Freek. This monologue was about the Dutch railway system and the train theme of this song fitted that subject very well. It started out as a very basic version behind Freek's speaking, but after he ended the music continued with a more full sound with guitar, bass, the rhythm section and Robert Jan on accordion. The only lyrics were the chorus, which was sung only once. After this the regular ending of the song was played with the dramatic stop and go parts.
This classic song by the Shadows was played as a short intermission in the '60s medley. It had been played before by the Nits, but not after 1981, but now it was back as the second tune in the medley, in which it fitted perfectly of course. Unfortunately it was very short. Over the straightforward backing Henk played the main melody on his electric guitar. While he was doing so Freek took his reading glasses and put them on Henk's face, making the Shadows imitation complete. It went right into 'Fay Dunaway' after this.
This was a monologue by Freek, which was originally part of his 1982 show 'de Mars'. The title means 'the Worker and the Doorman'. The story is about a worker who later becomes part of the board of directors and it has a very funny and painful conclusion.
This Neerlands Hoop song isnt on the album, but can be found as a b-side on the Dankzij de Dijken single, as well as on the video. The original is from the 1972 'Plankenkoorts' album. The title translates as Bello the Dog and its a tragic, but very funny story about a dog who is left alone in the house, while the family went on holiday. He became very hungry, so he started to eat the furniture and other stuff in the house. When the neighbor came to check the house, the dog attacks her and the dog had to be killed The music was very funny. It featured a lot of musical quotes from several songs. Freek followed Robert Jan's playing with much interest. The first and most obvious one started the song: Una Paloma Blanca. This song was a worldwide hit for Dutch group the George Baker Selection in the early 70s. Robert Jan played the melody, using a weird synth sound, which he kept using for most of the instrumental parts of the song. During the vocal parts he quickly switched to the harmonica. Other quotes came from the Beatles O-bla-di, O-bla-da and the Dutch song Jo met de banjo en Mien met de mandolien. Freeks singing was quite good on this song and the Nits provided the right atmosphere with the music. Peter played rhythmic violin throughout. In the end Freek started talking instead of singing, playing a kind of question and answer game with the Nits. It was always played in a similar way to the released version, although there were some variations in the musical quotes and Freeks texts. This song was later performed again with Stips in 1997 and can be found on the Rhapsodia album.
This isn't on any of the releases and also not on the audience tape, but I can remember this from the March concerts. It took the place of the 'Prins Bernhard' section that was played at the December shows. The audience was given party whistles and had to play along with he and. The music was a famous melody I can't remember right now. The lyrics featured the phrase 'Blaas eens uit' several times, which means something like 'Try to exhale'. or 'Blow some air', after which the audience had to blow into their whistles.
This Nits song from the Ting album made an unlikely appearance. After the Moppen Tappen part on the tape of the 29th of December the Nits started playing this song as a sort of musical interlude. The song, which was originally an extended part of Cars and Cars, was now mostly nothing more than a continuous groove, over which weird barking dog noises were played. Freek probably did some funny stuff, because the audience was laughing most of the time. Near the end the Cars and Cars motive was played a few times by Robert Jan with an organ sound. The song slowed down and segued into Bello de Hond. On the video this section is missing and Bello de Hond started straight after Mopen Tappen.
This song is a translation by Freek of the Nits most popular
song In the Dutch Mountains. It was the first single off the Frits album and
it even reached the top 40! Freek did a great interpretation of the lyrics. It wasn't a
straight translation, but more his own views on the subject of Dutch mountains. The titles
translates as 'Thank to the dykes', which is quite accurate for this version of the song.
In Freek's lyrics the Dutch mountains are the dykes. He mentioned floods and the attempt
of people to control the forces of nature. The music was very similar to the version the
Nits always played at that time, close to the 'Urk' arrangement. Henk used his electric
guitar though. Freek's vocals were rather crude, but fitted the song very well. In the
slow middle part he spoke the lyrics. Henk did the backing vocals, including de line
'Hollandse Bergen' (Dutch mountains). Near the ends there was some out of tune yodeling by
Freek and Henk. The song ended with Freek repeating the words 'Dijken' a few times,
followed by hits by the band, as they usually did to the 'mountains' samples. The song was
often played twice (once in the middle of the show and once in the encores). The lighting
was very nice. Over a deep blue lighted screen in the back, moving clouds were projected.
On the video a strange thing occurs. Apparently they used a different visual and sound
source. Near the ending it's very obvious that the images don't match the sounds!
On Dutch TV program Loladamusica they performed the song acoustically in 1995. They played it the way they already had played 'In the Dutch Mountains' a few years before with Robert Jan on accordion, Peter and Rob on small drum sets, Martin on standing bass and Henk on acoustic guitar.
A live version by Freek with Stips was later performed in 1997 and can be found on the Rhapsodia album.
The lyrics of this were adapted from some of Freeks monologues from his 1993 show, 'de Tol'. In that show the section on which this was based was called 'de Denker' (the Thinker). This version, of which the title translates as 'thinking' is a Frits composition. This song was probably the most non-Nitslike sounding tune of the program. It was a straightforward heavy Muddy Waters type blues. The music sounded strong, with some climaxing parts in it. The lyrics were about the fact that sentient beings have power over non-sentient beings like trees. Many opposites were put forward in the texts and Freek stressed the potential violence of thinking. Peter's percussion effects and rhythms underlined much of the music and lyrics. Henk played the acoustic guitar and Robert Jan used piano and synth sounds. He also played short solos in between Freek's singing. Hella de Jonge also was on stage, playing the violin throughout. The song was always played as on the album. It ended similar to the 'Dankzij de Dijken' ending with Freek saying 'Denken' followed by a hit by the band a few times. Slowly he transformed 'Denken' into 'Dijken' before it really ended.
This song was written by Frits. According to the CD liner notes, it came to being because of a phone conversation between Freek and famous Dutch TV presenter Mies Bouman about Freeks reservations about a money collection on TV for the victims of the war in Rwanda. Mies disagreed strongly with Freek and made this clear to him. The title translates as 'Fear of Death'. The reflective lyrics seem to be about morality, death and the past, with lyrics such as 'Waar is de oude man in mij?' (Where is the old man in me?) and 'Waar is het kind in mij gebleven?' (Where did the child in me go?). The song was sung as a duet with Freek and Henk. Henk also took the place behind Robert Jan's keyboard and played piano. Robert Jan played the accordion, sitting in one of the beach chairs. Henk's vocals were accented by some spoken words by Freek. Freek himself sometimes sang and sometimes spoke his part of the lyrics. The song had a slow waltz rhythm. The accordion provided the main melodies over Henk's continuous piano motive. Martin played the standing bass and Peter played some excellent violin during the song. The ending, as well as a few short instrumental sections, consisted of a short accordion-violin duet. Freek later performed this song on his own in his 1996 program 'het Luik'.
This is a very famous Dutch song from the 50s, originally sung by Dorus, one of the first Dutch TV stars. It was played as the third and last part of the Madley. The title translates as There are two moths in my old coat. The music of the Frits version was rather weird with the melody blocks and funny synth sounds. The most prominent instrument was Henks acoustic guitar though. Freek sang this song after he had stopped the previous song in the madley because he felt something in his coat. After a few band members checked he started singing this song. It featured mostly the original lyrics, but Freek messed them up several times usually. He did some Amsterdam accent talking in it near the end and after about a minute and a half it was over.
This is a Frits original, although it was based on monologues from Freeks 1993 one-man show (de Tol). The title is hard to translate, but it means something like a person with a lot of imagination. The lyrics of the song are hard to explain, but they seem to be about imagination, doubt and insecurity. The music is almost equally difficult to describe. The song started in a very eastern / Indian atmosphere. The first part of the song featured spoken words by Freek over the abstract backing, later on he sang the lyrics. The Nits sang wordless backing vocals. After some time the song broke down and the music changed to a more Spanish flamenco type. Some weird vocal parts by Freek followed and Rob provided some dialog and a gun shot sound effect. Halfway through, at the 'onbezonnen' part, Freek held up the band with a strange 'yodeling' part, in which he often quoted the Ramses Shaffi song 'Sammie kijk omhoog'. The song then continued in a sort of hybrid form between the Indian and Spanish parts. Freek even lifted his shirt and attempted a belly dance in one of the instrumental sections! Later on the Spanish parts came more to the front. A short, but great solo was played by Robert Jan, using a pan flute sound. He played a melody that sounds familiar to me, but I cant place it. Henk, Robert Jan and Martin provided backing vocals. This song was rather exciting and the combination of the unusual lyrics with the very original music made this one of the musical highlights of the concerts.
This was the third song of the '60s medley. It was a hilarious translation of the classic song 'Runaway' by Del Shannon from 1961. This song was very typical '60s rock and roll music. During the song Freek tried to remember the name of the actress Faye Dunaway and in the end he succeeded. The band provided the high backing vocals. The music was quite nice as well. Peter played the melody blocks and Robert Jan played a great synth solo that followed an instrumental section of the original note for note. Freek enjoyed this a lot and was looking at Robert Jan's playing intensely. This song flowed right into 'Freek, doe me een lol'.
I think this might very well be a Frits original, but Im not sure. The title translates as French Chanson, but its not really a song at all. Over a very cheesy background of synths and the rhythm section Freek explains what the song is going to be about. He describes all the verses, but by the time he finished explaining the song had ended.. The story was about a young boy, his girlfriend and his drugs problem. It even described a long recipe for a Broodschotel (Bread dish). All was rather strange, but often also funny.
This was originally written for the Holland Festival of 1983 and released on a single in 1984. The original music was written by Clous van Mechelen (who is most famous for making music for artist/presenter Wim T. Schippers, where he used the pseudonym Jantje Vos). The lyrics are by Freek. The title is a bit hard to translate, but it means something like 'Freek, entertain me!', but also 'Freek, now it's enough!'. Both facets of this title returned in the lyrics of the song. This was played as the last song of the '60s medley. Of this medley it was the only section that appeared on the album, although it was edited to a more compact version for that release. The complete medley and the full version of this song can be found on the December tape and the video. The song is about Freek wanting to sing rock and roll. First he is asked to do this, then he does it, but in the end every one wants him to stop, but he continues to do sing it anyway. The music was very logically classic rock and roll in a Little Richard style. It featured the whole band playing their instruments and the four singing members on backing vocals. Robert Jan played a great solo in it. The version on the video showed Rob's help for Freek to start singing at the right moment. He still did it wrong though.. The song seemed to end as on the album with the powerful chords, but the music returned one more time. Freek acted exhausted and sat in a beach chair. After this he introduced the band over the groove and one more chorus was sung before the song really ended as on the album, continuing fluently with 'Dankzij de Dijken'.
This song was a combination of two songs: God, wat ben ik
blij (God, Im so happy) and Ik ben niet helemaal goed (hee goh
tjee) (the first part means 'I'm not quite right', the second part is hard to
translate, the words are three shouts of surprise). The God Wat Ben Ik Blij
part is from 1978 by Neerlands Hoop from the program 'Ik ben volmaakt gelukkig'. The
Hee Goh Tsjee part is from a solo program by Freek from 1980 called 'de
The music was more or less the same during both parts. The result was a rather long, meandering song about a crazy person and his thoughts and reactions to the world. Its sung from the viewpoint of the crazy person. It was played in the same way as it appears on the Frits album. The music started with abstract sounds over a steady percussion rhythm. Freek recited, spoke and shouted the lyrics over this. The full band entered after a while with some loud chord changes and they went into a hectic backing with loud touches by various instruments. Henk often distorted his electric guitar with his whammy bar. Halfway through the lyric 'Ze zeggen dat ik gek ben' (They say that I'm crazy) was used as a transition between the two parts of the song. The 'Ik ben niet helemaal goed (hee goh tjee)' part was about that the 'crazy' person accepts he's crazy and he even uses it to his own advantage. The music was a sort of intense, varying groove that got louder and softer at the appropriate places. Freek shouted the title several times, while he urged the audience to do the same.
During the song the lighting remained very dark, except for some spotlights, which projected huge shadows of the men in straw on the white background. On the video it can be seen that Freek's facial expressions were intense, but he remained rather static behind his microphone. Except for the end where he suddenly dropped to the ground with his feet in the air. He remained lying on the ground for a part of the next song, Nescio, in which he didn't have to sing. This whole song was one of the most impressive ones of the concerts.
This was originally performed by Neerlands Hoop in 1979 in the 'OFFSMBOET IPPQ DPEF' program. The song then had the longer title 't is veel beter zo', which more or less means the same as the Frits title. The translation is Its better this way and its about a young boy who visits his father, who is locked up in prison. He tells his father about his and his mothers new life. The song was sung from the boys point of view. The touching ballad was always played in the same way as on the album. The Nits provided strong, but subtle and melancholic music to accompany Freeks half spoken / half sung vocals. Freek remained sitting in one of the beach chairs during this song, reading the lyrics from a paper. The Nits also provided backing vocals and inserted some nice breaks. Henk's soft guitar remained mostly in the background. The nice instrumental part prominently featured Peters violin over a backing by the rhythm section and piano touches. The violin was featured throughout the song, including a solo. The song became very intense, but returned to a more mellow atmosphere before the nice ending of the song, which consisted of just Robert Jan playing piano.
This was the first song of the Madley. This song was originally done by Corry en de Rekels in the 70s. Its a horrible little tune I think, but the Frits version was rather funny. The title translates as Crying is too late for you. The new lyrics by Freek were about not remembering the lyrics to the original song. They were sung together by Freek and Henk, both reading the lyrics from a paper Freek was holding. This section of the Madley lasted about a minute.
This was the first song of the '60s medley after the 'Nescio' intro. It was a cover song. The original was performed by John Leyton and it was released in 1961. It wasn't a straight cover, since Freek had translated and adapted the lyrics. They were now about not remembering forgetting the lyrics to this song. The music was straightforward (drums, bass and guitar), but it was quite nice actually. The high backing vocals were sung by Henk, who also played the electric rhythm guitar. This song flawlessly flowed into the next song of the medley: 'Apache'. The version on the video is hilarious. Freek had a lot of trouble starting several sections of the song. He entered at the wrong measures and jokingly blamed Rob for it, twice...
This was only played during the March concerts. It was the only release of that part of the tour. It appeared as a b-side to the very rare 'Quo Vadis' single. The song was of course a Dutch language version of the famous Nits song 'J.O.S. Days'. Freek did the translation of this song and he did an excellent job. The translation perfectly captures the spirit and mood of the original. The new title means 'J.O.S. Fear'. I remember from the March concert I saw that this song was the first one after the intermission and that it had a short spoken story about football by Freek before it. This story is not on the single version. The song was almost completely a Nits-only affair. Henk sang the Dutch lyrics over a soft and gentle version of the regular music. Only near the end Freek came back and said a two-line poem: 'Wie altijd wint is een vedette, wie soms verliest een held' ('The one who always wins is a star, the one who sometimes loses a hero'). The Nits liked this version so much that they played the Dutch version instead of the original at their following Nest-Tour, including the poem. For foreign concerts they did the English version, but did do a translated version of the poem.
This song was performed at several of Freek's shows in the late '80s and early '90s. It was released on a single in 1992. The title translates as 'the Lumberjack Song', but it has nothing to do with the famous (and hilarious) Monty Python song of that name. Freek's lyrics are about a group of lumberjacks singing a song. Some tragic stuff happened with axes in the story of the lumberjacks. Freek tried to remember the chorus, but doesn't remember it, except that it was something like 'hak hak hak' (chop chop chop). The song was performed a capella, with the audience clapping the rhythm. The Nits were standing in a half circle around Freek (see image near the top of this page) and tried to help Freek remember the lyrics to the song of the lumberjacks. They were no big help though with their hums and mumbling.. For some reason this is missing from the video, although I'm quite sure it was played. The only way to hear the Frits version of this song is now on the December 29th tape.
This song is originally by Neerlands Hoop and comes from 1970 and
according to the Frits CD booklet it tells of Freeks feeling of connection with
people who are not normal. This song was played as at appears on the CD.
The title means Look, thats Kees. Its about a mentally
boy (probably Downs syndrome). The lyrics describe the boys looks, his actions
and his views of the world around him. The song was sung from the viewpoint of
looking at the boy. The music was quiet and hypnotic, except for several parts where the
band played some loud breaks and an even louder instrumental part. Henks electric
guitar was slightly distorted. Robert Jan mostly played slow synth parts and Peter
concentrated on the percussion, including the melody blocks. Rob provided a constant
cymbal / bass drum beat. Martin played the standing bas with a bow, like a cello. The
singing Nits members provided four-part harmony backing vocals. Freeks vocals were
intense, sometimes he sang, but often he shouted. He acted out the lyrics with his facial
expressions and the spastical jumping during the loud sections.
This definitely is one of Freek's favorite songs, besides the original version it can also be found on the 1973 Neerlands Hoop album 'Weerzien in Panama' and it's also an integral part of Freek's 1988 show 'de Pretentie'. On the Rhapsodia Live album from 1997 with Stips another version can be found (it's simply called 'Kees' on that release).
Song number 2 from the Madley. This very cheesy song was a big hit in the 70s. The title is hard to translate but its something like Small Flirtish Katinka. The original lyrics of this song were sung by both Freek and Henk. This was the longest section of the Madley, lasting around 2 minutes. It even featured an acoustic guitar solo by Henk and the music sounded actually quite nice. In the end Freek caused the song to break down and they went into the next part of the Madley. The version on the video was shorter than the one on the December 29th tape.
This was originally part of Freek's 1989 series of shows called 'de Ontlading'. A 'Koolmees' is a kind of bird. This song was sung a capella by Freek over a rhythm provided by the clapping audience. The Nits sang backing vocals. This short song was about a bird who was a little friend to the narrator. After about a minute and a half the song ended in a tragic way.. It can be found on the December 29th tape.
This was originally a song by Bob Dylan, called 'Death is not the end', but Freek took this song, translated it and made it almost completely his own. The Dutch title translates as 'Life after Death'. At the time of the Frits concerts the audiences were mostly not familiar with this song, although Freek had performed it with Neerlands Hoop in the '70s. But nowadays it's Freek's most famous song, because in 1997 he released it as a single from the Stips collaboration album 'Gemeen Goed'. That version contain many jokes about current affairs and, unlikely as it may sound, it even reached number 1 in the Dutch singles charts! The Frits version was different from the later one though. The music was structured differently and the lyrics weren't based on current affairs, but they were about people dying in all kinds of ways and the reaction to all these deaths is that it's useless and/or hopeful, because there's life after death. At the later version the lyrics could change any day because of new things in the newspapers, but the Frits version had fixed lyrics. The song started with Freek playing a small traditional street organ for a while by turning a handle in an as constant possible way. The music sounded fast and happy. Freek began to sing and after a while Robert Jan joined on accordion, together with Henk on acoustic guitar. Freek stopped playing the street organ after this. Peter and Hella de Jonge played violin. The Nits provided backing vocals and after the first chorus the drums, bass and percussion entered. The music was very loose and somewhat messy and in a sort of country and western style, but this fitted the song nicely. The audience were urged to sing along and of course they did! It definitely was not as compact as the 1997 hit version, it was also longer than that one, lasting between 5 and 6 minutes.This can be found on the video and the December 29th tape.
This was a medley of parts of a few classic Dutch songs. Freek rewrote several of the lyrics to these quite cheesy songs. The songs were: Huilen is voor jou te laat, Kleine Kokette Katinka and Er zitten 2 motten in mn ouwe jas. More information about thse songs can be found at their own entries. The title Madley comes from a very similar piece thats on the Freek/Stips album Gemeen Goed, which was more or less a sequel to Frits. The Madley is absent from the CD, but can be found on the video. On it it is possible to see the rather spectacular coat Freek put on for this: yellow with big blue stars all over it..
This translates as Telling Jokes and thats exactly what Freek did. He told a lot of jokes over fast and funny, but continuous groove. The jokes ranged from very bad to very funny. Freeks delivery was excellent and the audience (and the Nits) were laughing loud throughout it. This section featured changing jokes every night. The video documented this part of the program. The last joke was always about a dog and the next song usually was Bello de Hond, sometimes with a 'Bus' interlude before it.
This classic Nits song never missed a tour since it appeared in 1983 and this one wasn't an exception. It was played in the shortest version ever though. It actually was nothing more than a musical interlude and an intro to the '60s medley. It was played instrumentally. The usual orchestral synth sound started it. The bass, piano and percussion proceeded to play the music. Before not too long the little break that usually ends this song was played and.... it ended the song. The '60s medley started immediately after this.
This Freek monologue came straight from his own solo-program. It's about the NS, the Dutch railways system. For almost 10 minutes Freek word for word dissected a newspaper advertisement of this company. It's often hilarious, but it's a bit long. No Nits involvement until almost completely towards the end. Then they started to play 'Adieu, sweet Bahnhof' in the background, finishing it after Freek has ended his story. This isn't on the album or the video, but can be found on the December tape.
This was one of the most gripping songs of the program. Unfortunately it's missing from the CD, but it can be found on the video and the December tape. The most likely title is 'Nu valt een kind' (Now a child falls), but it could also be 'Het kind' (the child) or 'Een boom, een blad' (A tree, a leaf). It's more or less a poem recited by Freek over a repeating keyboard motive. Robert Jan used a warm marimba-like sound for this. Freek was stood facing Robert Jan, the paper with lyrics lying on the edge of the keyboards. Several times Martin played some haunting bowed standing bass parts. In the background there was also some soft percussion and guitar at the same time. The slow and dramatic mood created by the musicians perfectly accompanied the dark lyrics about a child dying in a war and the reactions to this. This dramatic song only lasted about 2 minutes, with the music becoming a bit louder near he end. Very beautiful and impressive. This song alone is worth buying the video for.
This was originally part of Freek's 1992 program 'de Estafette'. The title translates as 'the Eyewitness.' It's a rather long monologue by Freek about dream about an eyewitness and life saver at various disasters, like plane crashes and sinking boats. This story contained some jokes, but most of it was rather philosophical with a central question of what would you do yourself in a disaster situation. This can only be found on the December 29th tape.
This is a short monologue (the title means 'Fries Prayer) by Freek that was used as an introduction to the song 'Vaders Stem'. Freek remembers that when he was a child he ordered fries together with his father. His father was a preacher and he had to pray before each meal. The people around thought they were mad, but Freek's father couldn't be bothered. He even started praying for them. This can be found on the video and the December tape. This story was already performed before at Freek's 1993 solo program 'de Tol'.
This was only played at the December concerts. For the performances in March it was replaced by 'Blaas eens uit'. It was played as one of the final encores. The audience was given the lyrics on a piece of paper and a cigarette lighter to provide some light to read by (and not to set fire to the paper as Freek pointed out!). The very simple lyrics contained a pun on the name of Prins Bernard, the father of Queen Beatrix and husband of the previous Queen of the Netherlands, Juliana. The joke was because of a rhyme the name had to be pronounced wrong. The song was sung on the melody of the famous song 'Auld Lang Syne', a typical New Year's Eve song. The accompanying music was rather simple and straightforward with just keyboards and two violins. The Nits sang backing vocals, with Henk, Martin and Rob sharing a microphone. The song stopped and started again several times, with Freek giving comments in between. Sometimes he led the women sing, sometimes the men. He even adapted the lyrics a few times in between. The audience had to sing along, which they loudly did. On the version of the December 29th tape Freek asked Henk to first sing the lyrics to show the audience how it goes. Henk of course did this. The song is also present on the video. The lighting for this song were strings of Christmas lights hanging over the stage. This song can also be found on the video.
This is a song from 1973 by Neerlands Hoop. According to the booklet
its one of the first Dutch trucking songs. The lyrics are a bit extended to being on
the road in general. The title is Latin for Where are you going? and this fits
the lyrics rather well. The other Latin phrase in the lyrics, Scania Vabis can
be found on Scania trucks and means Scania goes. The song opened the concerts,
as well as the CD. It was also released as the second single of the album, but it did
nothing on the charts, possibly because it was almost impossible to find it in the record
stores. The song was during the concerts much longer than the one on the album, lasting
around 11 minutes. It started with the Nits playing the rather continuous rock groove
behind closed curtains for a few minutes, confusing the audience whether the show already
started or not. When the curtains opened Freek came on stage and started singing. Henk
sang most of the backing vocals during the verses. The rest of the band (except Peter)
sang on the choruses. Especially Robert Jan sang loud and enthusiastic. The song was very
powerful with its steady drums, guitar and bass. Peter played the violin, Martin the
electric bass and Robert Jan played keyboards.
At about three quarters into the CD version of the song the band got into the opening continuous groove again and Freek started telling a story about a school trip. This story was already performed before by Freek under the name 'het Schoolreisje' in his 1985 program 'de Bedevaart'. The tale was rather tragic, but also very funny. The story is about a teacher and his school class who go to visit an amusement park. One of the children is always alone and in the end he disappears. The music was almost the whole time the Quo Vadis groove, but it became softer and softer, until it completely vanished. Freek then started speaking about the school class going into a roller coaster and the band accompanied this by music that became increasingly fast, as the rollercoaster started going. This slowly transformed back into the Quo Vadis groove.
Freek ended the story with several shouts of Waar ga ik heen?! (Where am I going?!). He then started to sing the chorus to Quo Vadis again and the song returned in the way its on the album with some more verses and it remained like that until the rather spectacular end. The version of this song on the tv broadcast and the video have it in its full glory, including the schooltrip part. It fades in during the long intro behind the curtains though.
At most concerts this song not only was the first song of the concert, it often was also the last one. It reprised as the final song of the encores. It was played in a short and compact version. Usually it had only lyrics up to the part where in the beginning of the concert the 'Schoolreisje' part began. Instead it now immediately skipped to the ending. Freek added a final singing phrase of 'Henk Wijngaard', a famous Dutch trucking-singer.
This Frits original is based on a true story of one of the experiences Freek had during an international tour in 1993 for Dutch people all over the world. This story in this song happened while Freek was in Sarawak, the Maleysian part of the island Borneo. He was playing golf there with some Dutch inhabitants there. The lyrics are about giving money to the servants and caddies. Some people say you shouldn't give them too much, because they will get spoiled, but Freek gave them a big tip anyway. The music was very good and it featured a unique instrumentation for the Nits. There were no keyboards. Robert Jan played the electric bass, Peter played a electric guitar sitting on the edge of his percussion set up, Henk played acoustic guitar, Martin played mandolin and Rob remained behind his drumkit. On the video it's obvious Robert Jan had a lot of fun playing the bass on stage. It' quite strange to see him not behind his keyboards or accordion. He shared a microphone with Martin and he even did some Beatle-esque headshaking.. The song started with a typical Henk style acoustic guitar. On the December 29th tape Freek entered the song on the wrong measure a few times, but eventually he got it right. He then sang over Henk's guitar. Later the mandolin and drums entered. The bass and the electric guitar came in last. The chorus was sung by the Nits, except Peter. From the second verse on Henk sang backing vocals, repeating the lyrics Freek had just sung. The end of the song resulted in music that became faster and faster, while Freek shouted the last lyrics over it. One more chorus was sung and the song ended. It was always played as on the album, except for Freek's false starts of course, although they can be found on the video.
This was played in the middle of Quo Vadis, see that entry for more details. This story was performed before (without music) at Freek's 1985 show series, called 'de Bedevaart'.
To put it mildly: this wasn't one of the highlights of the concert..
This 'song' consisted of Freek trying to rap over a very busy and hectic drumbeat. The
title translates as 'Aunt Bep Rap'. it was originally part of Freek's 1993 program 'de
Tol', also as an attempt at rap music.
Rob and Peter were hitting everything they could, while Henk scratched a microphone over a tambourine. Near the end Robert Jan inserted some repetitive keyboard parts as well. Freek's lyrics were rather funny though and featured some very original and clever rhymes. The story he 'rapped' meandered through diverse subjects like bicycles, God, the neighbor's tragic handling of tools and of course Aunt Bep, who always visited his mother for tea... Freek also 'directed' the band by stopping and starting the playing with arm gestures. Everything went on for far too long though and the music simply was rather irritating. I'm not a fan of rap music anyway, but this song gets on my nerves.. Luckily it didn't make it onto the album, but it can be found on the video and the December tape.
According to the CD liner notes this Frits original happened because of a radio show about the sounds of your youth. The title translates as 'Father's Voice'. It's a childhood memory of Freek about his father, who was a preacher, given a sermon in church each Sunday. He was too young too understand what his father was talking about, but he was mesmerized by the sound of his voice. Freek sang the song in a very low voice, accompanied by slow atmospheric music, which featured an organ-like synth, tubular bells, soft guitar and effective percussion. The intro consisted of synths that wouldn't have sounded out of place on the 'Henk' album. The music remained very subdued throughout the song, although it evolved into a strong, but subtle backing. Freek sometimes spoke the words, but most of the time he sang them. This song was very personal and emotional for Freek, this showed clearly in the performance. The song was played slightly different than it appears on the CD. The ending was longer and the music slowly transformed into the Christmas carol 'Silent Night'. This featured the synth and Henk's guitar very prominently. Rob started to shake some jingle bells, which he handed to Freek, who continued to shake them. When the song ended he dropped them on the ground.
This song is from Neerlands Hoop and its from the 1979 show 'OFFSMBOET IPPQ DPEF'. The title translates as Dirty Old Man, but it has nothing to do with the famous song with the same name by the Supremes. The lyrics are about an old man who has a lot of dirty thoughts, but he cant really act on them anymore, although he tries. The music is a blues. Henk played slightly distorted electric guitar and Robert Jan mostly played piano fills, but he also used a cool synth sound, with which he even played a solo. Over the intro Freek welcomed the audience before he started to sing the lyrics (this is edited out of the CD version). The lyrics are half sung / half spoken over the slow bluesy groove by the Nits. All the singing band members shouted the title to Freek, who replied to them. The song featured a cool bridge a few times with bluesy piano parts and musical hits. At the december 29th concert Freek told a short story in the middle of the song about putting your parents in a retirement home. Half the fun of the song is seeing Freek acting out the old man with his walking and facial expressions. The video captured this very well.
This is a translation of an English song called 'the Idiot Song'. Freek already performed it before in his 1983 program 'de Mythe'. I know the original from a Monty Python live album, but I think it was not written by the members of Monty Python, but I could be wrong. This was played during the encores with Hella de Jonge on violin. Together with Peter she formed a mini string section, reading their parts from a musical score. This sounded very nice, even though Hella sounded a bit shaky though once in a while. The music was beautiful and subdued. It featured piano, drums, bass, guitar and the two violins. Freek started with subtle singing in the beginning, but it became frenzied in the bridge, before it mellowed down again. Many nice chord changes, breaks and tempo changes were played in the song. The rather beautiful song ended with some slow music. This song can be found on the video and the December 29th tape.
This song isn't about the drink, but it's about a dog named 'Whiskey'. It was always performed in the middle of another song, 'de Zandloper'. Freek told the tragic and heroic story of this dog over a continuous groove by the Nits. The bass was the most prominent, but the whole band was playing. Only once in a while some touches by various band members occurred, for the rest it was quite monotonous. On the video Peter can be seen using a very strange and exotic looking percussion instrument. The story however was very funny. It dealt with Whiskey, the sheriff's dog in the Wild West, who wants to kill himself, but ends up saving the village from the Indians. During his tragic journey he meets cowboy Bill, the Indians, a witch who lives in the desert (the Sand Witch) and on the December tape he even meets Clint Eastwood. In the end Whiskey dies, but he died a hero. The story was introduced and concluded by the band sing 'Whiskey' in a slow way several times. For this song Freek wore a 'portable horse', a silly looking textile horse head he could tie round his back, so it sort of appeared Freek was riding a horse.
This is a rewritten version of a song from 1917 by Dirk Witte, which described the hardships of World War 1. Freek updated the lyrics, so they now reflect the war in Bosnia. The title translates as the Wine Glass. The lyrics are about enemy leaders, who declare war while still holding their glasses of wine. The wine is also linked to the blood of soldiers. The music for this very old song wasnt changed much. I once heard the original on a radioshow, which was guest-hosted by Freek. Henk played banjo in it and Robert Jan stuck to the piano. Peters violin was also very prominent. Freeks singing was rough, but the song turned out beautiful and dramatic. As can be viewed in the version on the video, Freek sang, while balancing with a plate of wineglasses in his hand. He shook them rhythmically and the rinkling sounds added to the percussion. Later he held them upside down and it became clear that they were glued to the plate. In the end he put the plate of glasses on the ground and the song ended with the crash of Freek dropping one glass on top of it.
In the CD booklet Freek described this Frits original as one of those songs that writes itself and of which it is sufficient to say that it exists.. The title translates as 'the Hourglass', but the more literal translation 'the Sand Walker' is much more appropriate. It's a weird song about a man walking in a desert, feeling lost and lonely. It's also about inspiration in some weird kind of way. The song started with wind noises and mantra-like singing by Henk, Robert Jan, Martin and Rob. After this the music changed into a bouncy groove over which Freek began to sing. The band played the groove, together with several melodies. Rob drummed using the brushes, Peter played the 'ticking' percussion. They also sang backing vocals, which mostly contained nothing more than long 'aaaah's. On the album this is one long continuous song, but in the concerts it was split up into two halves, divided by the story of 'Whiskey'. This part followed the remark by Freek 'Soms neemt een lied een leuke wending' (Sometimes a song takes a funny turn).
After the 'Whiskey' part this phrase was said again by Freek and this time it was followed by a fast and messy drumsolo by Rob, who usually broke a drumstick (on purpose) during this. After some joking around the music returned and the song was played until the end, as it is on the album. In the end of the song Freek told a joke and after this he pretended to die in the desert, slowly falling to the ground. On the version on the CD and the video, which come from the same performance, one audience member started clapping too early and Freek swears at him. The complete 'Zandloper'/'Whiskey' combo is on the video and the December tape.
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