This tour lasted from November 1979 until July 1980. In January 1980 the band decided to become full time professional musicians, so this was a pretty important tour for them. The band mainly played small venues within the Netherlands, with one small trip to Belgium. There was one tv performance this tour and the rest of the information comes from the Nits Archives and some personal information by Tom Telman. It is very nice to hear the band play in such an early stage. They weren't perfect yet, but most of the songs were played very nicely and the enthusiasm of the band works very well too.
This was still the original Nits that had been together since 1974
and who would be until 1981.
Henk Hofstede: lead and backing vocals, keyboards, guitar
Michiel Peters: lead and backing vocals, guitar
Alex Roelofs: bass, backing vocals
Rob Kloet: drums, backing vocals
According to the Nits book the style during the Tent
Tour was Red-White. They only talk about the clothing and the tourbus though, so I'm not
sure if they had some kind of stage setup. There is a picture in the Nits book that shows
the band just on a stage, without any special things on or around it.
Tom Telman told me about the stage:
Concerning the stage setup: there isn't much to be told. The red and white was actually from a while before this. We did start to put the drums completely to the right and turn it sideways on the stage. Since then we never set up the drums in the classical way.
The tour was of course based on the Tent album, but also some songs from the debut album were played, as well as a fair amount of covers from very different artist as the Who, the Shadows and the Beatles. Near the end of the tour some New Flat songs started to enter the set. Compared to earlier concerts, the band was very close to finding their own unique sound.
Tent songs: tent, tutti ragazzi (the tent version), who's the killer, ping pong, hook of Holland, 4 ankles, A to B; C to D, 1:30. Covers: little billy (the Who), burgers and beer, walk don't run, bring it on home to me (the Animals), little red book. Unreleased Nits songs: skateboard boy (instrumental version), burgers and beer (this was very likely played at the previous tour as well, but I have no proof). New songs: different kitchen, safety in numbers, new flat, statue.
Of the following songs I have heard no versions after this tour: skateboard boy, bring it on home to me, shake some action, little red book, london letters (lyrics were changed to museum square for the next tour), take a piece, who's the killer, burgers and beer, apache.
This song was played similar to the album version. Michiel did lead vocals and played beat-guitar. The song started out with a bouncy intro with keyboard and guitar melodies. Sometimes Michiel would use a very high voice in the song. After a while some harmonies were part of the song, in which Henk's voice had a tendency to dominate over the others.
This weird little song about dancing lessons was played similar to the Tent version, although the vocals sounded much more rough than on the album. Both Michiel and Henk sang lead vocals over the jumpy groove. The song of course went from the 'normal' parts to the waltz parts pretty flawlessly. At the end of the song there were some persistent vocal 'tsch tsch' sounds, that were continued until the song ended.
Again a song that wasn't played too differently from the album version. It was a little bit wilder than that Tent version though. Michiel sang mellow lead vocals, while Henk provided the backing vocals, which mainly consisted of wildly shouting A to B; C to D. In the end part of the song some guitar crashes and heavy keyboard sounds dominated the sound.
The famous tune by the Shadows. For those who don't know it: it's a very famous instrumental guitar tune, which I'm sure everyone has heard. It has a bit of a mellow wild west atmosphere to it. The Nits played it as the last song of the concert this tour, with Michiel doing an excellent job on the guitar melodies and solos. They played this cover rather faithful to the original. It came out of another guitar instrumental, walk don't run by the Ventures, through a nice drum segue.
I used to call this 'intermezzo', a short jam that was played while
some technical problems were fixed. See the 'intermezzo' entry for my original commentary
on this song. Tom Telman informed me that it was actually a song, although not a planned
Henk's guitar or his amplifier had some problems. What can be heard is a very informal version of 'bring it on home to me' from for instance The Animals. In the distance Rob can be heard singing the lyrics.
Walter Schäppi informed me that this song was written by Sam Cooke.
This is an unreleased Nits original. This fast song was sung by
Michiel, with Henk joining in for the chorus. It had a guitar intro, but for the rest it
mainly was a keyboard driven pop song. At some parts of the song the guitar theme for the
intro returned. It also featured a nice instrumental part towards the end, before the song
closed with one last sung chorus.
Tom Telman said the following about this song:
Burgers & beer was a song by Michiel from '78 or '79. It proves (like out in suburbia) that Henk was 'converted' to New Wave somewhat sooner than Michiel.
This new flat song was already played at the tent tour. It was already very similar to the released version. The intro was the drum computer part with Rob's real drumming over it. The bass melody entered after a while, as did Henk's half spoken/half sung vocals. The chorus featured real drumming, synth, guitar, bass and full singing. The guitar in the instrumental part had some nice distortion. This part featured also some strange keyboard sounds as well as a nice subdued synth/guitar duet. The song ended with the drum computer fading out.
This the b-side to Tent and can be found as a bonustrack on the CD. It's about a train crash in the 60s near Harrow in England. Contrary to my first version of this page I do have this song on my tape of the Weesp concert. I overlooked it completely, but Suonna pointed out to me that it's behind 'so in love', from which it segues. I probably didn't listen to it good enough and just thought it was a long version of 'so in love'.. The segue from 'so in love' goes just through the drums, before the typical fast guitar part was played. Two guitars can be heard in the song. Michiel sang the lead vocals, while Henk provided the backing vocals. The playing was very busy throughout the song. Michiel also played a guitar solo. It sounded less layered than the studio version, but actually it wasn't too different from it.
For those who don't know: Hoek van Holland is a Dutch town not too far from Rotterdam, from which the boats to England depart. This melancholic and atmospheric song tried to recreate the atmosphere of the town. The melody was played by the guitar, with Rob's cymbal also having a prominent place. The keyboards got more pronounced from about halfway through the song until the end. For the TV show performance the keyboards made a segue into the young reporter. The 'trains and boats and..' part was sung by the complete band, except for Henk who did the lead vocals over that.
This is an uptempo pop song which uses the line 'you've been acting
so unkind' by the background vocalists a few times. There was a guitar solo and an
instrumental ending to his song. There isn't much more to say about it, but the song
wasn't really interesting anyway..
Tom Telman has the following to tell about this song:
If I were you is a song written by Henk that was already played for some time and at this tour it was already in its last stage. So this song should actually be part of the 'prehistoric' department.
This doesn't sound like a real song, but an instrumental jam that was played while some technical problems were fixed. It sounded pretty mellow and it's nothing special. Actually it was a song: 'bring it on home to me' by the Animals, as Tom Telman informed me. See that entry for the information.
The famous Beatles song. The Nits played it during the encores in a wild and fast version. Henk sang the lead vocals and Michiel harmonized some parts. The song was played in a rather messy way. Not the most successful cover the Nits ever did, but fun to hear anyway. This song was a Nits favorite, since in the period up until 1981 it appeared regualrly in concerts.
Henk introduced this song with the words: 'now some romance, a song
about modern relations'. It was played similar to the album version. This song was already
played at the previous tour in a somewhat different version. This tour it had a cleaner
acoustic guitar sound and it was played slower. In the previous tour it was one of the
heaviest songs between mostly mellow pop songs, this tour it didn't really stand out
between the other songs. For the first half of the song there were no drums, they kick in
just about halfway through. Michiel played an acoustic guitar solo.
Tom Telman has the following extra information about this song:
On the Tent album this song is a shorter version. Live it always had an extra chorus and verse. The 'sing-a-long' audience members would be confused by this!
This was a simple teenage rock song that started straight from the
end of monotony. It also had a very similar sound to that song. Henk sang lead on it and
the chorus was something like: 'She told those lies, lies'. I didn't know the origins of
this song until Tom Telman provided me with the following information:
Lies is a song by Henk. It was always played directly connected from monotony. Monotony/Lies was still played during the New Flat Tour.
This was an enthusiastic, uptempo cover of a song by the Who. It was played as one of the encores. The guitar sounds to my ears very much like the Who. I can't comment how close they stayed to the original, because I don't really know a lot about this band, except for their most famous songs.
Walter Schäppi has to add:
'written by Pete Townsend. Recorded in 1968. Released on Odds and Sodds, an LP with outtakes.
According to Tom Telman this cover of the song 'little red cover' by Love was also played every once in a while during this tour.
A song from the debut album. It segued out of 'Johnny Said: Silver'.
This tour it was played in a slow ska-like version. It featured a long guitar solo by
Michiel and , similar to the previous tour's version, it had a very nice instrumental
Tom Telman has the following extra information:
For the 'prehistoric' department: during the Nits / the Tapes 'Elfstedentocht' (Eleven city tour) the Tapes played a fierce new wave version of this song. Later, during the Work Tour, this song was rearranged to 'Museum Square', about a man who went to cut up the Nightwatch painting (by Rembrandt).
Henk is heard saying something about 'the mothertones' before the
song, but I don't know what he was talking about. This song was a Nits original that never
appeared on an album. Michiel sang lead vocals on this straight forward rock song. Michiel
also played the guitar and he used a very standard rock guitar sound for it. In the chorus
Henk harmonized with Michiel. The song seems to be about monotony in school, or something
like that.. First I thought this song was called 'no more schooldays', but Tom Telman
corrected me, he also had the following information:
No more schooldays is actually called Monotony and it is an attempt by Michiel to conform to the punk ideas. Henk's remark about the mothertones, I think, is an allusion to the monotones (later called 'Rubberen Robbie'), who had a hit in 1980 with the song 'Mono'.
This was played similar to the Tent version, but with some frantic keyboards on the intro. The rest was played using the guitar as the main instrument providing the melody. Both Michiel and Henk sang lead on this song.
Another Tent song that was played not too different from the original. It featured both the keyboard driven 'ping pong' intro and the hard new wave guitar parts. The vocals were harmonized and full of echo. The weird rhythm and the keyboard effects makes this song very enjoyable to listen to. At the end of the song the cool break that's also on the album was also played.
This b-side from a year earlier was played in a 'Tentified' version. It wouldn't have sounded out of place on the album, provided it would have been on it in this more new wave and less typical '70s version. This song also showed how in just one year the band gained a much more mature sound. This nice song was not only played in a different arrangement, but is was also played faster and shorter, using a heavier guitar sound. The song segued into 'skateboard boy'.
This song from the upcoming 'New Flat' album debuted this tour. Two guitars played the bouncy theme as the intro. After a while Michiel started singing the vocals. After several lines the rhythm section entered with an equally bouncy rhythm. In the chorus Michiel sang with a very high voice. It was played rather subdued, but not too different as the version in which it would end up later on the album. Henk sang only a couple of backing vocals near the ending of the song.
On Tom Telman's tape of the Weesp concert this song (from another
performance) is present. It's a cover of a song by the Flaming Groovies. It was
probably played similar to versions from earlier tours. The song itself is a very catchy
uptempo popsong, based on some guitar riffs.
Walter Schäppi has to add:
'The Flaming Groovies were really two different bands. I don't like the early 70's line-up. The next is best known for their Beatles, Stones and Chuck Berry covers (and soundalikes), but they have written some great songs, esp. 'Shake Some Action' and 'Yeah My Baby'. Most of their live recordings have not even average bootleg quality. Studio: depends on the producer. Some LPs were produced by Dave Edmonds.'
An instrumental that segued flawlessly straight from Ronald
Razorblade. It was a short keyboard driven tune in a 'tutti ragazzi' style. Tom Telman has
the following to say about this song:
'Skateboard boy is a song by Henk. Before this tour this song already existed with lyrics (skateboard kid / skateboard kid / I like it and you like it) and it had a solo on the KORG guitar tuner. This 'modern' version exists thanks to the buying of a synthesizer.'
I must say after having heard the original version with (rather silly) lyrics, that the instrumental version is much better, albeit somewhat short and squeezed in between other songs, so it doesn't stand out much. Also very interesting is that the band must have liked this melody, because on an early demo version of the song 'different kitchen' from the upcming 'New Flat' album, which also circulates among tape traders, the music is used with the 'different kitchen' lyrics over it. In the released version it had completely new music though and no trace of 'skateboard boy' was left.
Henk introduced this song, but unfortunately it's very hard to
understand what he said. It could be 'slick ballad' or 'sick ballad' or something close to
that. Henk also said it's 'Amstelbeat'. It indeed was more of a beat song and not a ballad
at all. Some of the more prominent lyrics to this simple, uptempo pop song were: 'I could
easily fall in love with you'. Michiel did a guitar solo in this song. Tom Telman
confirmed the title 'slick ballad' for this song and has also the following to say:
Slick ballad is indeed the name of the song and it's a typical pre-Tent song by Henk with a Beatle-esque melody.
On ealier tours this song pops up quite regualrly. Although not the Nits' best, it definately is a nice song, which wqould have livened up the debut album I think.
A song from the debut album. Before the song started Henk tells the audience that Michiel is going to play a type of 12-string guitar of which there were only 2 in the Netherlands. He seemed to be very proud of it! The song was played more in a rock version than the original. This was one of the more insignificant songs of the album and also of this tour. There was a nice instrumental part in it though. Henk sang most of the vocals. It segued via the drums into harrow accident.
This song started out on the drums, with some keyboard sounds joining in. The rest of the song was played close to the album version, but without the nice percussive keyboard effect. The singing was very enthusiastic, with some high vocals in the end part. There also was a guitar solo.
This short song about a lost holiday love started out with a drum intro. 'Tenttenttenttent' vocals soon started, followed by a distorted bass. The main structure was similar to the album of the same name. The guitar played the melody, with some keyboard touches throughout.
The hitsingle. It was received very very well by the audience.The started out with some weird keyboard noises, slowly converging to the tutti melody. The rest of the song was played similar to the album. The driving bass sounded very good. In one of the instrumental parts Henk quoted the classic 60s organ instrumental 'Telstar'.
This was an instrumental guitar tune. It is a cover of the song by the Ventures. (Thanks to Arjan Plug for this information). The song started out on drums, followed soon by the bass. After a while the guitar started playing the melody. The band was also introduced during this number, including Paul, Tom and Hans, the crew.
The song started out with a 'choir' intro over the drums. It was played heavier than the album version with more guitar. The Noord Scharwoude version only featured Henk in the intro, but his voice had a very strange distortion, which sounded rather cool.
In the TV performance version it segued out of hook of Holland, but the normal concert version stood by itself. It was played close to the re-recorded single version, which in itself wasn't very different from the album version. This song was enthusiastic sung and featured the trademark 'ohohooh' that would be very prominent in future tours. About halfway through a cool keyboard sound was used and later there was a nice break in this well-played song.
Amsterdam 29-12-79 (soundboard tape from the Nits
Wateringen 24-01-80 (TV)
Vlaardingen 25-04-80 (soundboard tape from the Nits Archive)
Weesp 15-05-80 (tape)
Noord Scharwoude 24-10-80 (incomplete soundboard, from the Nits Archive)
Unknown late 1980 (incomplete soundboard tape from the Nits Archive)