Urk Tour (1989)

first published: 26-10-04


The very successful Hat tour that lasted to the summer of 1989 was documented on the Urk live album. The release of this album was the reason to extend the Hat Tour for the rest of 1989. Because there were some crucial changes in the setlist I decided to treat this tour separately from the Hat Tour. Several new songs were added and many older ones were dropped. also the order of songs was changed and a few songs were slightly rearranged. The tour lasted from September to December 1989.


This was the last tour with Joke, she had been in the band since 1986. Because of a muscle disease she couldn't play with the band anymore. I believe the December 29th concert in Breda was her last show as a Nits member. After this tour the band played as a trio for a while. 

Henk Hofstede: lead vocals, guitar, banjo, harmonica, big drum
Robert Jan Stips: keyboards, accordion, harmonica, vocals, marimba?
Rob Kloet: drums, stage percussion, pots & pans, backing vocals
Joke Geraets: electric and standing bass, backing vocals, percussion, steering wheel


The stage backdrop for this tour was the same as the Hat Tour (squares). See that tour for a description.


As mentioned above, this tour was a continuation of the Hat Tour, therefore many songs were played in the same version as before, but there were some changes. Several songs were dropped (including most of the Hat songs except The Train and The Dream). To make up for this, several new songs entered, among which a few songs that were never before or very rarely played, as well as some songs that hadn't been played in a long time. Only the new or rearranged songs for this tour are described in the song descriptions below. For the other songs it is mentioned that they are played the same way as during the Hat Tour. Please look there if you want to read about those arrangements. Only two complete concerts are circulating and therefore it is very likely that more songs were played this tour. I find the sound of this tour a bit more relaxed then the Hat Tour. The replacement songs are mostly a bit more quiet (not all!) and I think the setlists are much better balanced.

Overview of all the (known) songs played:

Acres Of Tintoretto

This was played very similar to the Poppodium performance, which is to my knowledge the only time it was played during the Hat Tour. For the Urk tour it was a standard part of the setlists and it was played similar to the Poppodium version.

Adieu, Sweet Bahnhof

The same version as during the Hat Tour.

All You need Is Love

The Nits covered this Beatles classic from 1967. They closed the concerts with this song. The Nits' live version was released in 1995 on the Beatles cover cd-single that was given away free with the Broken wing cd-single. Over the intro Henk said something like: 'Before sleeping time I'd like to tell a story'. The bouncy music is very simple and straightforward. Robert Jan provided horn melodies at the appropriate spots. All bandmembers sang on this song, Henk did the lead and the rest did the 'love love love' vocals and some other backing vocals. The Beatles' version starts out with the french national anthem, but Robert Jan inserted this part only near the end of the song. After this the band came to a hold, but immediately continued with the chorus after this. The song ended with Henk singing in his high voice over a harpsichord backing. 


This cover of a Paul Simon song was played over the intro of Cabins at the Breda concert, with just Henk's guitar and vocals. It was very short.

Baby Please Don't Go 

This Van Morrison song  played at the Koog Aan De Zaan concert. It's a two minutes long rock and roll song with Henk singing/shouting over a fast-paced rhythmic backing by Joke and Rob. Henk added some guitar touches here and there and Robert Jan inserted synth fills here and there as well. It ended with a long synth chord.

Bike In Head

The same version as during the Hat Tour.

Bing Crosby's On The Radio

The original title for the song Wish that was released in december 1993 for the Nits fan club. At the Breda concert this was played. It sounded quite different from the later version. First it was short, just a minute and a half. They played it in an early jazz aragement. Henk played banjo and sang while he pinched his nose to give that typical 20s jazz voice. Robert Jan played some great sax parts on his synth. This was a very nice version, the audience appreciated it and clapped along with the song. Afterwards Robert Jan called Henk 'the singing nose'!


The same version as during the Hat Tour.

The Dream

The same version as during the Hat Tour.

An Eating House

The same version as during the Hat Tour.

Football Blues

In Breda this song followed J.O.S. days. It had approximately the same lyrics as during the Hat Tour, but this time Henk played some real blues guitar, using a distorted guitar sound. The first Brussels show had different lyrics and sounded more improvised.

Home Before Dark

The same version as during the Hat Tour.

Hook Of Holland

During the Urk tour this classic made a return after several years of absence. The song started with a piano only intro. Some slow drums and the standing bass entered the song, closely followed by the acoustic guitar. Robert Jan also started to play some accordion parts. After the long instrumental intro the vocals started and the song was sung in its entirety. Robert Jan sang backing vocals. Rob sang the 'see the man on' parts. In the instrumental break and the ending a strange echo effect was used on the piano parts. This beautiful atmospheric performance of this song was far removed from the early sound it was played in between 1980 and 1984.

I Don't Want To Spoil The Party

This Beatles song was played at the Breda concert. It segued from something that might be called 'this melody'. It had the same bass and drums as that song, but the piano lines were changed. It consisted of nothing more than a few lines of the lyrics.

In A Play (Das Mädchen Im Pelz)

The same versionas during the Poppodium performance, but the pedalsteel guitar wasn't present obviously. Instead of it there was a great sounding harmonica and some pedalsteel guitar sounds Robert Jan played on his synth. It was played very similar to the In The Dutch Mountains Tour version.

In The Dutch Mountains

The same version as during the Hat Tour.

Jardin D'Hiver

his never before performed song opened the Urk Tour cocnerts. Joke played a big part in this song. She provided the standing bass parts, played as a cello. She also provided backing vocals in the chorus and the 'pom pom' vocals all through the song. Henk sang lead and provided soft guitar. Robert Jan and Rob didn't have a lot to do, but Robert Jan played a very real sounding marimba and some violin touches. All in all this version of the song was incredibly subtle and airy in this sparse, but beautiful version of this song from the Omsk album. A live version of the song was released on the single of the live version of Home Before Dark. It mentions that it was recorded in Paris. I have no proof that it was ever played before the Urk Tour, so I guess it's from this period. The guitar is much more prominent in the concert recordings I have compared to the released version, but the structure and the other sounds are the same. Oh, and jardin d'hiver is french for winter garden.

J.O.S. Days

The same version as during the Hat Tour.

Mountain Jan

The same version as during the Hat Tour.


The same version as during the Hat Tour.

The Panorama Man

This song was again performed in the synth arrangement with Robert Jan mainly using an organ sound, not the accordion version that can be found on Urk. It sounds more like the Dutch Mountain Tour version again.

Pelican And Penguin

The same version as during the Hat Tour.

Port Of Amsterdam

The same versionas during the Hat Tour.

The Potato Eaters

The Den Bosch concert has a version of this song. It was played exactly as during the Henk and Dutch Mountains Tours. 

Sketches Of Spain

The same version as during the Hat Tour.

Sleep (What Happens To Your Eyes)

This song was added to the setlists for the Urk Tour. I'm not too fond of the original version, but this tour's version sounded great. The 'hysterical' sequenced sounds of the original weren't present, except for a programmed percussion bit. Very low bass sounds, the percussion loop and an orchestra sound opened the song. Later Robert Jan would also be playing piano. Henk started playing his guitar and singing the lyrics over a very slow backing. The music got faster and very intense in the choruses. Henk's voice had a lot of echo on it. The 'wer reitet so spät' parts were sung by Robert Jan and Joke. This very atmospheric version is far superior to the original I think.

Slip Of The Tongue

The same version as during the Hat Tour with one crucial change: Joke's bass solo was now played by Henk on th electric guitar, using a heavily distorted sound! 

Tables And Chairs

This song, written by Michiel Peters, was performed at the Koog Aan De Zaan concert in a short, hectic version. It featured only the first section of the song with Henk playing the main melofdy on distorted guitar and the rest also were using rough sounds. Near the end some strange rhythmic mechanical noises are played. Henk added his electric guitar over this and it was played instrumentally to the end. This is the only time a Michiel-song was played after he left the band and he wasn't present himself.


This old classic was added to the setlist for the Urk Tour and was played for the first time in a long while. It started with a fast, strong and distorted beat. After a while Robert Jan played the heavy chords on the piano, which sounded great. The bass entered and Robert Jan played the melodies of the song, using the piano and an orchestral sound. After a very long instrumental intro that featured all the musical parts of the song Henk finally sang some of the lyrics in the last minute of the performance. This song sounded great and it's always great to hear the Nits dig deep into their back catalog.

Think It Over

Another addition to the setlist for the Urk Tour. It started with everyone but Henk playing their instruments, including the very nice basswalk by Joke. Robert Jan used piano, accordion and a horns patch on his synth. AAfter a while the vocals started and the song was played not too different from the original. Rob sang the 'no-no-no-oh-oh-oh' part. In the harmonies Henk sang together with Rob and Robert Jan.

This Melody (?)

This title is uncertain. At the Breda concert Robert Jan started playing some lounge piano and Henk started singing this song in a fake French accent. The whole band played on this short intro to 'I don't wanna spoil the party'.

A Touch Of Henry Moore

The same version as during the Hat Tour.

The Train

The same version as during the Hat Tour.

Two Skaters

The same version as during the Hat Tour.

The Vermillion Pencil

This song was added to the setlist for Urk Tour. his song was played a lot between 1983 and 1987 and this version sounded most like the more recent versions. The intro was slightly different though. Henk played some guitar chords and Robert Jan added the typical Vermillion Pencil intro over this. This lasted not too long before the full band entered and they played the whole song including the 'Scottish ending'.

Woman Cactus

The same version as during the Hat Tour. It's only present on the Den Bosch recording, so I guess it wasn't often played.

Yes Or No

This very old song from the first album was played at the Koog Aan De Zaan concert in a full version. This was the first time in a very long time. The song was more groove-like than poppy with Henk's acoustic guitar very prominent. Robert Jan played a simple piano backing. They played the whole song, including all the breaks and some short instrumental sections and it is fantastic to hear it!