Pre-Ting & Hjuvi concerts (early 1992)

hjuvi.jpg (22380 bytes)

first published: 1-2-99 / last update: 23-3-01


This can hardly be called a tour. These concerts were so few that I combined the 'Werf concerts' with the Hjuvi concert(s) to make one page. The Werf concerts were played on February 21st, 22nd and 23rd of 1992. There was also at least one concert at the Escape Discotheque in Amsterdam (for the TV show Rotland, presented by Jan Rot). I have very limited information about these concerts. The Werf concerts were special concerts by the band for invited people only. Everyone who was in the Nits address database got an invitation to come to the Werf studio. About 60 people per night were present at each of the 3 of the concerts. The band played in a unique line-up, see below for more information. The result was the Nits sounding somewhat different than any other period. The songs consisted mostly of the then unreleased Ting album. There is only one tape of the complete Escape concert, the whole show consisted of just 4 songs, and two official releases came from the Werf concerts.

The Hjuvi concerts were held in the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam on June 24th and 25th, 1992. The orchestra members were free to wear whatever they wanted, which resulted in one of the contrabass players wearing a dress..The first show was interrupted by a strike! The orchestra protested against money cuts that were coming up...

If anyone can help me out with more information: please let me know. Especially people who have visited any of these concerts!


Werf and Escape concerts:

These concerts featured a unique line up. Of course the core of the Nits was there, but they had several guests: Martin Bakker on bass, who would become a full member later that year, Eveline Carels on percussion, whose place would be taken by Peter Meuris at the Escape concert and the following Ting Tour and Dieuwke Klein on cello, who can be heard prominently on the Ting album.

Henk Hofstede: vocals, piano
Rob Kloet: percussion
Robert Jan Stips: piano, keyboards
Martin Bakker: bass
Eveline Carels: percussion (only Werf shows)
Peter Meuris: percussion (only Escape show)
Dieuwke Klein: cello
Audience: matchbox shaking

Hjuvi concert(s):

These concerts were performed by the core of the Nits, together with the Netherlands Radio Symphony Orchestra.

Henk Hofstede: vocals
Rob Kloet: orchestral percussion
Robert Jan Stips: grand piano
The Netherlands Radio Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Jan Stulen.


Werf and Escape concerts:

All the instruments probably had to be very close to each other, since there isn't much room in the Werf for 6 musicians and 60 audience embers!

Hjuvi concert(s):

The audience was on the stage and balconies, while the orchestra was sitting in the concert hall!

hjuvi.jpg (22380 bytes)hjuvi.jpg (22380 bytes)hjuvi.jpg (22380 bytes)hjuvi.jpg (22380 bytes)hjuvi.jpg (22380 bytes)hjuvi.jpg (22380 bytes)hjuvi.jpg (22380 bytes)hjuvi.jpg (22380 bytes)hjuvi.jpg (22380 bytes)


All the songs were close to the versions that were later released. The instrumentation made the sound of the songs differ from the later Ting Tour, in which most songs were played again.

It's hard to say what was played first at the Werf concerts, but probably most of the Ting songs. All of them have later been played at the Ting Tour. All the hjuvi compositions were debut performances, except maybe for 'cars and cars' and 'night falls'.

Overview of all the (known) songs played:

Cars and Cars

This was played very similar to the Ting album version. It featured mathematical piano lines, orchestral percussion and a prominent cello. The best way to describe this version is to compare it with the way it was played between late 1992 and 1996, which I prefer over this and the album version. It was played slightly slower and the cello caused it to be a lot darker sounding. There was no guitar in the song, not even in the instrumental part, which made this version much less spectacular. Robert Jan played his parts, but it didn't contain the 'flair' it would have later on. This version is interesting, since it is the birth of a classic, but it definitely still had to grow up. The cello sweep in the final seconds of the song sounded very cool though.

Fire In My Head

This was also played close to the later album version. It started with a fast piano melody, together with some percussion. The cello entered with its low sound and more percussion was added. Henk played a low and repetitive piano backing throughout the song. The vocals began and it was clear that the cello was the driving force of the song. Robert Jan's piano parts mainly were little fills and touches, with some more extensive stuff here and there. The rambling percussion remained rather subtle. A percussion break as on the album was followed buy a return of the vocals and pianos. The song was then played in the same way towards the end.

Hjuvi (a Rhapsody in Time)

According to the Nearly Official Nits Homepage: 'Robert Jan came up with this name by randomly hitting keys on the typewriter. Also huvi is an old Finnish word meaning entertainment or merry and funny thing.'
The Nits had been playing around with the idea of performing with an orchestra for a few years and finally it happened in early 1992. The orchestral parts were written and arranged by Robert Jan. The percussion part was done by Rob and the four songs were written by Henk, Rob and Robert Jan together.
The different sections were divided into rooms. A boy named Hjuvi explored all the different rooms. I won't describe and mention all the various rooms, since they were played as the studio recording of the performance.
Robert Jan played grand piano throughout the performance. Rob was in the percussion section of the orchestra and Henk came out to sing during the songs. These songs were 'Cars and Cars', 'Night Falls', 'Room no.3' and 'Moved By Her'. Non-orchestral versions of the first two songs also appeared on the Ting album. Non-orchestral versions of the latter two were released on the 'Cars and Cars' cd-single as b-sides, together with an orchestral version of 'Cars and Cars'. An interesting alternate version of 'Room No. 3' appeared on the French Ting single. This version contained some cool horns and in my opinion is much better than the other single version and the orchestral version.
I don't know how many performances there were in total, but at least one was recorded for tv and it was broadcast somewhere in 1992 on Dutch national television by Veronica.
I enjoy this music, but somehow I don't listen to it very often. The music is very Nitsy, but also very different. I see it more as a Robert Jan solo project together with the Nits and an orchestra, then as a real Nits album.
Hjuvi was performed at least once more. In 1993 in Winterthur, Switzerland during the Ting Tour it was done together with a Swiss orchestra. A version to be performed in Enschedé, the Netherlands in 1994 during the dAdAdA Tour was unfortunately canceled due to illness of Henk and poor ticket sales.

Soap Bubble Box

A version recorded during the Werf concerts was released on a compilation album named Holland Rocks. I haven't heard this version, but Clemens van Driel wrote this about it on the Nearly Official Nits Homepage:

Holland Rocks (music from the Netherlands '92), SPN P06
2CD "various artists" promo set. Include one Nits track (Soap bubble box) in a
different mix. This version was recorded on February 21, 1992 at the Werf studio
when the Nits invited people to visit the studio while recording for their new
album (Ting). I was one of the lucky people to visit the recordings on this day.
At the end of the song Henk hits the microphone by accident and the audience
burst out laughing. You can hear this on this track. Other recording sessions
with audience where on February 22 and 23, 1992.

Read more about rare Nits releases by clicking here.


This was a very nice version of the song. It started with just the cello, but soon the piano and percussion joined. The cello changed melodies a few times during the song and it provided the main drive for the song. Henk's singing was slow and subdued, only in the instrumental part he allowed himself to do some yelling in the background. A few times Rob switched from orchestral percussion to drumming with brushes. The whole atmosphere of the song was very dark and intense.

Tomorrow Never Knows

A version of this was released on the Beatles cover cd-single that came as a bonus with the 'broken wing' single. It was  recorded at the Werf in Amsterdam on January 6th, a few days before the Escape performance where it was also played. I don't know if this is a version with an audience or just the band playing live during rehearsals. It doesn't matter much, because both the released and the Escape versions sound very similar. It was played in a very 'Indian' way, just like the Beatles did in the late 60s. The 'eastern' sounds converged during the intro into an almost hypnotic groove. The instrumentation was mainly string instruments (real and synth ones). Henk's singing was excellent and it featured a short, but very good instrumental section. The atmosphere was intense and exotic. In the end the groove dissolved again and it ended with a long chord with some drums rumbling under it.

Yellow Boat

The version on the Ting album was recorded live during the Werf concerts and I won't say much about this, because it's easily available. The audience was handed matchboxes and in the end they had to shake them, which gave this rather subtle song some more character.

hjuvi.jpg (22380 bytes)hjuvi.jpg (22380 bytes)hjuvi.jpg (22380 bytes)hjuvi.jpg (22380 bytes)hjuvi.jpg (22380 bytes)hjuvi.jpg (22380 bytes)hjuvi.jpg (22380 bytes)hjuvi.jpg (22380 bytes)hjuvi.jpg (22380 bytes)

Concerts considered in the above songlist:

Amsterdam, Escape 08-01-92 (radio?)
Amsterdam **-**-92 (tv broadcast of Hjuvi concert, I remember seeing it, but I don't own a copy)

And valuable information by Tom Telman was incorporated into this page.

Official Releases

Soap Bubble Box (on Holland Rocks compilation album, 1992)
Tomorrow Never Knows (on Beatles cover bonus cd-single, 1995)
Yellow Boat (on Ting album, 1992)

hjuvi.jpg (22380 bytes)hjuvi.jpg (22380 bytes)hjuvi.jpg (22380 bytes)hjuvi.jpg (22380 bytes)hjuvi.jpg (22380 bytes)hjuvi.jpg (22380 bytes)hjuvi.jpg (22380 bytes)hjuvi.jpg (22380 bytes)hjuvi.jpg (22380 bytes)

If you spot mistakes or have additions please mail:

Dennis Versteeg

Return to the Main Page