last update 24-09-04
After the Alankomaat Tour of 1998 the Nits took one year off from touring. 1999 only had one Nits concert: The Flashback to Leonard Cohen performance. The band did work all year on the new album 'Wool', which was released in May 2000. The tour started about at the same time as the album was released. First they played two shows in Estonia (the first one didn't go well at all, but from the second show the band played excellent concerts night after night). Then they left to Finland for two more concerts. After this the Nits played a short club tour in the Netherlands, playing in halls where they hadn't come in many years. Since they are now more or less a theater band in the Netherlands they only drew their biggest fans and probably some new people. At the concerts, which was standing room only, the average age of the audience was younger, but there were definitely less people than normal. The club atmosphere and the enthusiasm of the audience often completely made up for this though. The next step were concerts in Belgium, France, Germany and Switzerland. The summer consisted of a few special performances, including the recording of a TV special in Haarlem with many guests. After the summer the Nits went to the Dutch theaters, where they played for their usual audience. More visits to Germany, France, Finland and Switzerland followed, as well as concerts in Austria and Greece. In 2002 the band played with Swiss artist Simon Ho and several other Swiss musicians for several concerts (see the separate page for that tour) and in 2003 they played a few 'loose' concerts as well in places like Austria and Hungary. This makes this tour one of the longest ever in the band's long history. One of the reasons the band decided to continue touring is that they believed a lot in the potential of the Wool album, although sales have been nothing more than okay so far.
The fact that this version of the band went into its third year and they operated like a tight unit and the fact that the audience more or less got used to them, gave this tour a lot of confidence. The new songs sound great among the old ones and the arrangements and presentation are very lively. I have been lucky enough to see many shows and talk with the band a lot and I cannot remember a bad concert. At the early ones in Estonia and Finland they were still looking for the shape of the show and the new songs were a bit unfamiliar to them and the audience, but the enthusiasm made up for that easily. At later concerts the confidence only grew and became therefore even better, without loosing the liveliness.
The band consisted of the same members as during the Alankomaat Tour. For the pre-summer concerts Leona Philippo appeared as a special guests during several concerts in Belgium, France, Germany and Switzerland. She already worked on the Wool album, after being introduced to the band through record company contacts. After the summer she was present at all the concerts, making her the fifth Nits member. When Leona was present, Titia and especially Arwen had to do much less backing vocals. Around the summer of 2001 Leona was offered a role in a big musical and couldn't combine this with her work with Nits. She was replaced by Vera van der Poel, an amazingly varied singer. She used to sing with Dutch funk-pop band Beeswamp, together with her sister Beatrice. She is still singing with her own trip-hop band Mimezine and also did a lot of other very diverse stuff. She is a totally different singer than Leona, but she blended fantastically with the Nits' music and, like Leona, brought her own personality to the band. Because she already had other appointments when she was asked, she couldn't join for all the cocnerts. She was replaced by Melissa 't Hart, who did a great job, considering the limited time she had to rehearse and the few shows she performed.
Henk Hofstede: lead vocals, acoustic
guitar, keyboards, harmonica, melodica, grand piano, banjo
Rob Kloet: drums, percussion, backing vocals
Arwen Linneman: standing bass, electric bass, backing vocals
Laetitia van Krieken: keyboards, backing vocals, electric violin
Leona Philipo (may 2000 - summer 2001): backing vocals, Irish tin whistle, triangle, maracas, melodica
Vera van der Poel (from summer 2001): backing vocals
MTwee TV recording:
Ibernese McBean: backing vocals
Haarlem DVD recording:
Zapp String Quartet: violins and cello
Stylus Horns: brass
Peter Meuris: vibraphone, marimba, percussion
Ibernese McBean: backing vocals
Pre-recorded, on screen during
Seppo Piettikanen: vocals (once expertly replaced by Tom Telman)
Replacement for Vera van der Poel (several concerts
during the autumn 2001 tour when Vera wasn't available):
Melissa 't Hart: backing vocals
Rob, Arwen and Leatitia were not there for this special 35 minute free performance.
The line-up was:
Henk Hofstede: lead vocals, piano, acoustic guitar
Leona Philipo: backing vocals
Pim Kops: piano, accordion, backing vocals
Twee Meter Sessie - Beatles
Of the Nits only Henk was there
Henk Hofstede: lead and backing vocals, acoustic guitar
Pim Kops: acoustic guitar, accordion, backing vocals
Jan van der Meij: lead and backing vocals, acoustic guitar
Jan-Bart Meijers: acoustic bass, trumpet, sitar
Greatest Nits INC
At this concert several former Nits members played, sometimes together with the Nits cover band LICE, which consisted of Nits fans. At this page there will be no more information except the line-up and the songs they played. For much more information on this special day go to: http://www.nitsfans.org/dennis/greatestnits.html.
(LICE: Maarten Eijkhout, Anna Adrichem, François Drouin, Franck Ducourant, Jelle Amersfoort, Symeon Charalibides, Robert Geerling, Stefan 'Tenno' Kaiser and Dennis Versteeg, songs played: bilbao boa, radio shoes, the tender trap, fishes, erom on, 26A (clouds in the sky), spirits awake, skateboard boy, dapperstreet, typist of candy, statue, frog, in the dutch mountains, bilbao boa)
Henk Hofstede: acoustic guitar and vocals during In The Dutch Mountains and 2nd Bilbao Boa
Michiel Peters: acoustic guitar and vocals during Spirits Awake
Martin Bakker: drums during Typist of Candy
Henk Hofstede: acoustic guitar and vocals
Martin Bakker: acoustic guitar and vocals
Home Before Dark
Henk Hofstede: acoustic guitar and vocals
Peter Meuris: drums
Joke Geraets: standing bass and backing vocals
Adieu, Sweet Bahnhof
Henk Hofstede: keyboards and vocals
Peter Meuris: drums
Joke Geraets: standing bass
Michiel Peters: acoustic guitar and backing vocals
Reunion of the original Nits
(songs: red tape, das bild am sonntag (as usual), shadow of a doubt, 4 ankles, the infant king, tutti ragazzi)
Henk Hofstede: keyboards, lead vocals, backing vocals (infant king) and acoustic guitar (infant king)
Rob Kloet: drums
Michiel Peters: acoustic guitar, backing vocals, lead vocals (infant king)
Alex Roelofs: bass guitar
At the pre-summer concerts Rob was sitting
in the middle back on the stage. This was a position he hadn't
occupied since the late '70s! His drumkit was set up on an
elevated small stage. On the left (as seen from the audience),
Leona's keyboards and the sampling units were set up. In front of
her was Henk's keyboard. When Henk didn't play keyboards he was center stage. Arwen stood on the right.
If the hall was big enough two videoscreens were mounted in the same way as during the Alankomaat Tour. Often at the Dutch club tour the screens didn't fit and were not installed.
The Haarlem DVD recording had an unusual set up. The extended 15 piece Nits stood in a circle with the audience around them.
For the theater concerts Rob moved a bit to the right. Leona or Vera stood left of Arwen. Henk (and sometimes Titia) now had a grand piano to play. Henk's keyboard was now set up behind the grand piano. It could be moved to the front easily. Between Rob and Tita the two video screens were now set up. The were mounted on top of each other under an angle. From the left and right side videos were projected. Because of the angle this often had a strange, but interesting effect on the overall picture. Also, several spiked lightbulbs were scattered around the stage.
Of course since this tour was based on Wool, all concerts had a large core of songs from this album. All songs were always or almost always played, except for Strawberry Girl, which was only played during one or two regular concerts and at the Haarlem TV recordings. At the beginning of the tour Angel of Happy Hour and Swimming were a few times omitted. Before the summer the older material mainly consisted of a few Alankomaat tunes (Three Sisters and Rainfallagain were played at the first couple of shows, but dropped after that. H.O.M. was played at only two shows) and many of the biggest hits (but not The Train, The Dream and the up until this tour always played Home Before Dark). Domique and Stand By Your Man were virtually always connected to Sister Rosa. Robinson often had a long intro and sometimes an outro partly based on Hey Bo Didley. The only 'rare' song was 'Homeless Boy' and that one was only played at the first 5 concerts (it was included because of the Estonia concert and this song is about Tallinn, the capitol of Estonia). A full version of the beautiful Leonard Cohen cover 'Dance Me To The End Of Love was played at all concerts. Before the summer some other songs were introduced in the set, such as An Eating House, Bike In Head and The Train (this one was played two or three times as a request, but it entered the main setlist for several of the last concerts before the summer). After the summer the Nits went to the theater and some setlist changes were made. Only The Train and Adieu, Sweet Bahnhof were again removed form the setlist (both returned at least one concert though), The Dream, House On The Hill, Bilbao Boa, Night Owl and There From Here were introduced to the setlists. With the introduction of these rarer songs I believe the setlist became even more interesting, especially for the fans that often go to concerts.
A few times small parts of other songs were played, usually covers. Two Skaters popped up in a 2 minute version in Delft. The covers Hava Nagila and Una Paloma Blanca were jokingly played in Zwolle. A short bit of For No-One was played in the middle of An Eating House in Amersfoort. The Train made a very special reappearance in Beverwijk. A very short bit of Woman Cactus was played in Tallinn as the result of a request.
One very special concert in the Vondelpark in Amsterdam by Henk, Leona and Pim Kops (of De Dijk) consisted of a few rare tracks. The setlist for that show included the rare songs Three Sisters and Fire In My Head.
A TV special for Twee Meter Sessies by Henk and some musical friends featured four Beatles tunes: Help, Norwegian Wood, Ticket To Ride and For No-One.
The Haarlem DVD recordings were made on two days. On both days the complete Wool album was played. The first day some songs were repeated. The second day the whole set was played twice. No songs from other albums were played. On the released DVD one song is missing (swimming).
The setlist itself underwent some drastic changes over the course of the Tour. In the first concerts songs were shifted back and forth, but for the Dutch club and European tour the setlist remained more or less fixed. For theater tour some major changes were made: songs were added, others dropped and the order was completely revised. For the later concerts the setlist was more or less based on the theater concerts, but again some songs were added and some removed, depending on the type of concert (standing or sitting audiences).
26A (Clouds In The Sky)
An instant classic! The beauty of this song was never ignored by audiences and it always received great enthusiasm. The vocal performances were the best ever in the whole history of the band! The first few performances in Estonia and Finland weren't perfect with some false starts and wrong tempos, but once they settled into the song it never failed again. The song really went from great to classic when Leona joined the band. She definitely made the song her own. It was her time to show off her soulful vocals. Before Leona joined the backing vocals were done by Titia and Arwen and did not include the ad-libbing in the last section. After Leona left Vera took over and gave her own interpretation, which was very good, but she never made the song her own like Leona did. The song was usually started by Rob on egg-shakers, soon joined by Titia's solemn piano chords. Henk sang the lyrics in a very strong emotional tone in the whole first part with only the sparse music and the girls on vocals as backing. This gave an excellent impression of the lyrics: flying high in the sky in a plane (in seat 26A) thinking of the person you left at home. Halfway through the song the 'Clouds In The Sky' chorus was distorted by effects. They were originally sung by Henk, but later by Leona. This gave a very spooky and dramatic effect before the band could enter fully with the loud last section of the song. In that section the drums entered in full force, Arwen and Titia singing backing vocals, Henk singing the lead and Leona's forceful ad-libbing over all of this. An amazing ending to an amazing song! The early versions ended solo by Rob, who continued the rhythm for a while on his own, making it sound like a heart-beat. This sounded very cool and made the song end more on a dramatic note, especially compared to the later climatic versions.
The DVD version was similar, but Peter Meuris now had the
job of shaking the eggs throughout the whole song and the string and horn
players added even more sounds to the wild part of the song.
The concert in the Vondelpark was also a special one with just Pim Kops (keyboard player from De Dijk), Leona and Henk on stage. The beginning sounded similar of course even in this setting. The second part sounded fragile without the drums and bass, but Henk's and Leona's singing (and Pim's backing vocals) managed to keep a tension to the song that replaced the power of the normal version.
Adieu, Sweet Bahnhof
Henk started the song solo on acoustic guitar and vocals,
with Arwen playing standing bass under it.
After the first verse the rest of the band joined in. Rob's percussion was very
prominent. Laetitia stuck to the piano for most of the song, except for the
instrumental sections, where she used an accordion sound. Leona provided low
backing vocals in the chorus. While this version was pretty straightforward, it
often gained some extra energy when the audience sang along. This happened on
several occasions, usually initiated by Henk, but in a few cases by the audience
themselves. I remember the Deventer concert as one where the audience pretty
much took over the whole song...
The band did a short four-song acoustic concert in Helsinki. Rob only used one small snare drum, but still managed to use it to optimum effectivity! This song was one of the versions played and it worked quite well in this basic arrangement. The Vondelpark concert was also nice with Pim playing the accordion. With just the acoustic guitar and accordion this sounded like something you might hear played by street musicians!
Angel Of Happy Hour
Henk usually explained that the song was a reply to the Kink's song 'Demon Alcohol' written by Ray Davies. This song consistently managed to have the best musical performance throughout this tour. Musically it's one of the most mature Nits-songs in the entire catalogue with flowing melodies, well-arranged louder and softer parts and combined with great playing and singing. Early in the tour the song was dropped from the setlist a few times, much to my disappointment, but luckily it quickly made a return. In concert they even managed to improve over the studio version and it showed that they were playing it intensely and concentrated to manage to pull it off. To me the star of the song was Arwen. Her incredibly varied double bass playing throughout this song was phenominal. Henk's singing was forceful, early in the tour it even sometimes seemed to be too much with him almost overpowering the music, but that was less the case after the first few concerts. Laetitia used an orchestral synth sound most of the song. Rob combined his acoustic drums with some sounds from his electronic drum pad with which he could trigger the haunting sound effect that regularly returns in the song. For the theater tour Leona started to play the tin whistle during this song. This could have ruined the arrangement, but it absolutely did not. On the contrary it added a beautiful Irish layer to the song that surprisingly worked perfectly. When Leona left and the song was played in the regular way again it was almost a disappointment..
Leona's tin whistle
Bike in Head
This song made a surprising, but very welcome return in the Dutch club tour. It hadn't been played since the dAdAdA tour in 1994. Since this song heavily relied on Stips in the past, it needed some rearrangement for this tour. It was more based on Henk's guitar-part and the strong driving rhythm section than before. Henk and Rob started the song, soon joined by Titia who used bike bell sounds on her keyboard, she later switched to sounds close to the original for the melodies. Arwen added bowed bass sweeps that sounded immensly cool. After the intro Rob started to pound the bass drum with a relentless groove, accented by Arwen's bowed bass, this defined the song. In the middle section Leona took over Henk's vocals and the breakdown was now at first just Rob doing loud hits and Arwen bowing the bass. After a while Titia joined in with a piano version of the guitar melody, after which a big drum rumble was the sign to return to the main part. The song was ended by Henk saying 'Bike in head' with a low distorted voice. A definite audience favorite!
A rare song that surprisingly found its way back to concerts sometime during the theater tour. It was usually played near the end of the concert or as one of the encores. This version had less synth and was more rhythm-driven than the more melodic original version. The rythm was provided by Rob's drums and busy cymbal playing, Arwen's bass-lines and Henk's fast acoustic guitar. Laetitia played the grand piano for this song. Henk still improvised his lyrics and they more or less changed from night to night (for some reason they often contained the word 'Aya-aya-tollah'). The girls provided the 'Bilbao Boa' backing vocals. This song was a great chhoice to be brought back and worked perfectly. The video screens showed Henk's oldest daughters in rooms on top of each other. The girl in the top room was dancing around, while the girl below was pounding her ceiling with a broom!
At the Tampere concert in 2001 (and maybe a few more concerts around the same time) the band inserted a small quote of this Beatles song into Soul Man. After the last chorus Henk did the loud whispered 'shoo shoo' bits and Arwen played the charachteristic bass part. It only lasted a few seconds before the song went back to the last Seppo-bit, but it sounded amazingly cool!
Crime & Punishment
A song about Rob Scholte, a Dutch painter who lost his legs when a bomb exploded in his car in 1994. It is still unknown who did it and why. Henk has known Rob for quite some time and he wrote this angry song about the situation.
On the Wool album this songs stands out
because of its angry mood and exotic arrangement and in concert it was a very
well received spectacular song. The intro consisted of drums, handclaps and
keyboards with the vocals entering a bit later. Henk's delivery was usually
intense. Laetitia used a synth with orchestral samples to play the main melodic
line and she sang the high, beautiful eastern sounding backing vocals. She also
sang backing vocals together with Leona in other parts. The 'break'-sections
were great with timed hits with various instruments. A strange synth noise
replaced the string sweep in the song. At the DVD recording the hits and sweeps
sounded great with the string quartet and Peter Meuris' marimba present. To me
this was definitely always a highlight of the concerts.
Surprisingly, this song qwas also played at the Vondelpark concert in a severely reduced arrangement. Henk had to play a bit more melodic on his guitar and Pim Kops provided the main melody on piano. This was a great version considering the limited instruments! Besides her own parts, Leona also sang Titia's high bits this time around. Pim used his accordion for the parts where normally the eastern sounding strings are played.
Dance Me To The End Of Love
This was a left-over from the Flashback to Cohen concert of December 1999 in which they covered several Leonard Cohen songs. It was always in the setlist early on in the tour, but it got dropped later on a few times. They played the complete song (which is over 5 minutes long) and while remaining faithful to the original, this version has the typical Nits sound as well. It was sometimes introduced by Henk as 'This was written by my father, Leonard'. The intro was a long build-up by the guitar, drums and piano melodies. It shifted to the swaying melody and 'lai-lai-la' vocals by all the signers. Henk's low voice certainly was a tribute to Leonard Cohen and worked great. Laetitia used an accordion sound in several sections of the song which definitely fitted the atmosphere.
The Darling Stone
This song is about the Hietaniemi Hautausmaa, a large graveyard in Helsinki. It's beautifully located in a park next to the sea and it has a very relaxed atmosphere when you go for a stroll over it. The story Henk explained was that there is a gravestone with just the word 'Darling' on it, which must have an interesting story behind it. Unfortunately no-one knows the story and even the stone itself seems impossible to find. I've looked for it, but I couldn't find it and I know others tried as well.. Since the lyrics also mention not finding the 'Darling' stone it might not exist for real at all..
Several Nits fans searching for the Darling Stone at the Hietaniemi Hautausmaa
When Henk told the story he would also mention sound of the wind through the leaves, the sea and maybe even the whispering sounds of ghosts. He then would imitate these sounds, which were slightly distorted by Paul Telman. The sounds would turn into rhythm and Arwen joined on standing bass, making the whole thing sound very jazzy. Rob played a drum roll and Titia played the echo-y synth effect, followed by a short blow on the melodica by Henk. The song was then played as on the album with Laetitia carrying the main melodies on synth with a marimba sound and she would occasionally play the echo effect as well.. The 'Your Life' harmonies sounded full and warm. This song has a great atmosphere and in concert it worked perfectly.
This song wasn't played at the first part of the tour, but showed up when the theater tour started. It usually opened the concerts since then. This tour's version was lovely with Henk playing the grand piano (or keyboards when there was no grand piano available). Rob prominently used brushes for his drums, adding to the intimate atmosphere. Leona and Laetitia added a 'whoo'-melody as backing vocals in the chorus, which was a bit faster than the verses. Laetitia used some airy sounds on her keyboard. The 'Walk On The Wild Side' parts from the Alankomaat Tour weren't done this time around.
Rob doesn't play a lot of drum solos, but one happened at the Paris 2000 concert. It was wild but cool and not too long. Robinson usually had also a drum solo attached to the end of it and probably some other short solos happened over the course of the tour.
An Eating House
Absolutely one of the highlights of the concerts. It showed up around the Dutch club tour and stayed in the setlist for most of the concerts since. It was a total rearrangement of the song. I prefer this version over any of the previous ones. The band turned it into a classic 1950s piano-based rock and roll song in the style of Jerry Lee Lewis or Little Richard with Henk on grand piano and Laetitia on electric piano. Rob and Arwen provided a fast solid, driving rhythm, while Henk enthusiastically sang the lyrics and he and Laetitia played some great, loud rock and roll piano. For the Í am an eating house' parts the music was slowed down drastically and sounded almost classical with just Henk playing the grand piano. The vocals were sung by the whole band in the typical funny way. Henk sometimes also almost 'preached' in a gospel-like way to the audience to sing along with the song. Henk sang the 'Once I was a famous restaurant' alone, often in an imitation of Bob Dylan's singing style. After a loud 'Hungry!' band music shifted back into the fast music, which was even more fierce than the first part with the pianos leading the way. The song increased even more intensity and speed towards the climatic ending, followed by a huge audience reaction!
A very late addition to the tour. It wasn't played until deep into 2001. When the band went to Greece they were in some club where this song was played. Much to their surprise this song managed to get people on the dance floor. After this they decided to include it in the setlist. The version was more or less similar to the earlier live versions with its typical bass line, fast acoustic guitar and Rob's hectic drums and percussion touches. Titia played some bell-like sounds. Vera provided the energetic backing vocals in the chorus. The song ended with several reverse-sounds effects triggered by Rob.
Fire In My Head
This was played solo by Henk on piano at the Vondelpark concert. A very simple, but very nice version. I guess it was also played at the Wool concerts in Switzerland, probably in a similar version as during the Alankomaat Tour.
This simple, but fun song was written by Henk because his daughter complained she couldn't bring any Nits songs to her aerobics (or something like that) lessons. So Henk wrote an up tempo song his daughter could dance and exercise to! It is the only fast song on the Wool album and sounds a little bit out of place, but it brings some variety to the album. The song was played at all the concerts up until the theater tour, after this it was played a bit more irregularly.
This song served as a reason for Henk to go crazy on his little keyboard. He used frog-noise samples throughout the song and played some solos using a high penetrating sound and a lot of playing around with the pitch-wheel (that became almost hysterical-sounding later on in the tour). Rob used some pre-programmed drum breaks and did some forceful drumming in this song. Laetitia played electric piano, also ;putting in many variations and keeping the melodic parts of the song in place. Arwen's syncopated ad punchy bass line gave the most structure to the song. Leona and Laetitia provided backing vocals. The little synth breaks synth sounded very cool and give a structured moment in the between all the busy music. This song was used to do some loose playing and even jamming, a thing Nits has never done much. Often it turned somewhat messy, in the best cases it was excellent and extremely energetic. The version played at the DVD recording was amazing with the horns playing the arrangement on the album and Peter Meuris joining in on marimba in the breaks. To hear that played for real with all the power generated from the horn section was simply amazing. A false start on the second night was a fun moment and after the song ended Henk started it again and they jammed a bit more with even the string section joining in. Great fun!
As far as I know this song was only played twice this tour (Helsinki & Eindhoven in the beginning of the tour). t was played exactly the same as in the Alankomaat Tour.
The tour started in Estonia and this was the time this 'Estonian' Nits song was played in that country. It stayed on for the Finnish concerts and the first Dutch concert in Eindhoven, but, to my knowledge, was never played again after this. It's great to hear songs like this back in the setlist, although, to be honest, this version wasn't that great. It sounded severely underrehearsed. The whole band started the song. Laetitia played a very basic piano backing that slowly developed some jazzy touches and melodies. The whole arrangement stayed relatively simple though with Henk carrying the song with his vocals and acoustic guitar. Unlike the dAdAdA versions there was almost no build-up in the song. For the Louis Armstrong section the music was reduced to drums and Titia's electric piano, over which Henk sang in a Louis Armstrong-type voice. He sang parts of the horrible 'Barbie Girl' song, which was pretty funny to see and hear. The full band return a little bit louder after this section. The ending was a little bit more loud, because Rob added some more power. While the basic structure of the song was there, it remained overall flat and it almost sounded like a demo version. A little bit more variation would definitely have helped. Even though the song wasn't that spectacular, it was great for me personally to be able to hear this song in Tallinn, Estonia. On the screens the Estonian flag was projected and the audience loved it. I guess it doesn't happen to often that a foreign band sings a song about their city.
House On The Hill
This song made a surprising return to the setlists in the theater tour. It was previously only played at the Ting Tour and seemed to be a 'forgotten' song. When Henk was a guest on a German radio show where they played some lesser known Nits songs, he decided to introduce them in the concerts again. House On The Hill and Bilbao Boa were the two songs that were the result.
The song was started by Henk with piano hits over cymbals and percussion and bowed bass sweeps. After the song switched to the more melodic sections Titia and Arwen formed a two-piece string section with viola and bowed bass. They played a very nicely arranged part to support the verses. Rob played soft percussion in these sections and Leona added some wordless singing. In the chorus Leona added more powerful vocals. A nice instrumental sections with strings also featured Leona singing 'hey-yeah' in a melodic tone. The louder section returned a few times and the song ended with one single hit by most of the band.
In between songs the band sometimes play, often silly, little pieces of music for some reason, such as a short piano bit in Paris 2000. Over the tour several of these intermezzos occurred.
In The Dutch Mountains
This song was played in the 'normal' version again after the bull-bull arrangement of last tour. There is not much more to say about this song, except that the female 'ah-aaah-ah' parts were still done by the girls, instead of a sample. The concert at the Helsinki record store was pretty good. It was amazing to see and hear Rob creatuing a full sound with just one snare-drum, while still delivering some funny backing vocals. The Vondelpark version featured Pim Kops on accordion, which was great to hear.
The opening song of Wool and in the beginning of the tour it was also the opening song of the concert. That was soon changed after a handful of concerts, because the impact of the song was much greater when it was moved a bit back and Henk explained the story behind the song before they played it. It certainly is one of the most emotional Nits songs: it's about a fan of the band who had a battle with cancer and eventually lost. The ivory boy's real name is Patrick Iliohan and the band came to know him very well when in the last months of his life he recorded a CD with Henk, Rob, Paul and Tom. Patrick had a dream of becoming a well-known singer/theater performer. Together with a friend he formed the duo Disch and they certainly showed promise. The band worked on the album in the Werf studio giving musical and practical help and advise. Soon after the album was finished Patrick died. Henk remembers him as a boy with a face so white he would stand out in the audiences. The character Lili Marlene stands for the cancer that was always with him. There was an emotional documentary on TV about Patrick in 2001 which featured his family, Henk, Rob, Jorrit (the other half of Disch) and a few others who tell about the last months of his life. The album he recorded with Nits was released a few months before (Disch - Het Been) and is available from his family. You can also contact Jolanda to obtain a copy. All profits go to cancer research and you get a chance to hear the real ivory boy and an album full of Nits contributions.
Patrick Iliohan in the Werf Studio (from the TV documentary)
The song itself was played more or less as on the album,
but there were some differences. The opening synth noises, played by Laetitia
with Rob already supporting her on drums, were slightly different. Laetitia also
played the string arrangement on the synth instead of the real strings. This
wasn't of course the case with the DVD recording concerts when the string
section was present. Although it couldn't reach the same warmth as the real
thing, the synth version was pretty good though. Henk played piano throughout
the song and prominently joined in with Titia in the ending. Arwen's slow simple
bass line in the last section of the song probably stated the solemn tone of the
song best, while the varying vocal styles (alternating between spoken word,
whispering, high voice and powerful, emotional singing, combined with soulful
backing vocals in the chorus) reflected the emotional impact of the lyrics.
Leona's arrival with the band helped this even further along and when Vera took
over she also immediately got the correct tone. Even though the song is
emotional, there was still some room for a bit of fun though. The studio version
has a strange, but soft, vocal noise after the first chorus. It sounds like a
small mixing oversight to me, at least it sounds like it doesn't belong there..
In concert Rob would always imitate the short 'ah'-like sound at exactly the
right moment, making it an 'official' part of the arrangement...
After the Nits finished the song it was usually received with a few seconds of silence followed by a very loud applause. It was clear that the combination of the story and the solemn music touched the audience. I was present at the first time Henk explained the song in concert (this was in a theater in Helsinki) and it definitely had an impact on me and the audience. That version is to me still the best: the first time I personally, as well as the audience, fully realized the story and I had a feeling even the band themselves played more intense after telling/hearing this introduction for the first time just before the song.
The version of the Vondelpark concert was different with piano and accordion, which also worked very nicely. Especially the ending with Pim Kops playing the string parts on accordion.
Jazz Bon Temps
Not my favorite of the Wool album, but that's mainly because besides some good atmosphere, it doesn't add much new things to the album as a whole. The song writing is fine with the jazzy atmosphere and pleasant chorus, but it's basically the same tempo as most of the songs, the arrangements are good, but similar to some other tracks on the album. Most other songs add something to the typical Wool sound, but for some reason Jazz Bon Temps doesn't. In concert it was played more or less the same as on the album, but without the violin (except at the DVD recording). It was usually preceded by Henk telling about the waitress with the tongue piercing in the Jazz Bon Temps café in Austin, Texas. Laetitia played an airy percussive synth sound that sounded great throughout. Henk played piano during the whole song. Rob and Arwen played the warm sounding, jazzy rhythm parts and the chorus featured cool vocal harmonies. Leona would add some very high wordless singing after the chorus that sounded interesting, but a little out of place.
The Jazz Bon Temps in Austin, Texas
This was played in the regular upbeat version after
Henk's harmonica intro. Sometimes enk introduced it with the story behind the
song. The harmonies in the chorus sounded very nice this tour and the 'football
moves' in the middle of the song by Henk and Arwen were always fun to
The Vondelpark version featured a nice piano arrangement by Pim Kops, tamborine by Leona and harmonica and guitar by Henk. Another stripped-down version was played in the record store performance in Helsinki.
Compared to the Alankomaat Tour version this tour's 'Nescio' was more or less back to normal again. Early in the tour Henk started with long, loud singing of the italian singing backed by Titia on piano and cymbal rolls, but later was started just by Henk on the acoustic guitar and vocals. Rob joined first, the Arwen on standing bass and finally Laetitia on piano. Her parts weren't the typical Stips melodies, but much more supporting and subdued, leaving Henk's vocals as the most extravagant part of the song. Leona joined Henk regularly on vocals and took over in the English section. She turned it into a very soulful, and jazzy version that sounded fantastic. After Leona it was Titia's turn to sing the second half of the English section. She sang more straightforward then Leona, providing a good contrast. Henk sometimes joined them in some parts. This arrangement maybe wasn't as spectacular as the Alankomaat Tour or the Stips versions, but it was much more intense. The song lacked the fast ending, except for the very last concerts in 2002, where it was added again after the concerts with the big band version in Switzerland.
This was a short and funny interlude. At the Ris Orangis concert someone placed this title on the setlist, much to the surprise of Henk. After some comments he decided that they should play it anyway even if they didn't know a song with this title. What followed was a funny little improvisation that featured some improvised, simple French lyrics and of course the phrase 'oh-la-la-la' several times, which was sung by Henk in a low voice and Leona in a funny high voice. The official website had this song available as a download for a while.
This Bee Gees song was sung over the intro of Robinson at the Paris 2000 concert.
This song showed up irregularly from the theater tour on. It usually served as the final encore, but was often not played. This is a shame, because the version of this tour was quite beautiful. Henk started out on grand piano and vocals. His singing was great in this song. Leona and Titia provided a humming backing for him and sang the choruses. Henk only joined them for the chorus in some parts. Laetitia used synth strings as a backing. During the first chorus Rob and Arwen added subtle percussion and standing bass and continued to do so throughout the rest of the song.
This was only played during the first three concerts of the tour in Estonia and Finland. It was played exactly the same as during the Alankomaat Tour. It's a shame it never reappeared after Leona joined, I would have liked to hear if the already great vocal harmonies could be improved by her.
This song was one of the more spectacular ones of the Alankomaat Tour and therefore for the Wool Tour it was a logical inclusion in the setlist. The arrangement had changed from the previous tour though. Henk did not use an electric guitar this tour, so he simply used his acoustic guitar instead, including in the solo. The longer sustained notes in that solo he simply changed into series of quickly played shorter ones. The band also often extended the intro of the song by playing a loose jam based on rumbling drums, electric piano, Arwen's pulsating bass and even sometimes even some funk rhythm guitar. It sounded very similar to the old song 'Hey Bo Didley', which was sometimes quoted. In Paris the jam turned into the Bee Gees' 'Night Fever'. The song itself was played straightforward, but a bit more loose than the original version. It featured the original Paul Simon-based lyrics, not the album lyrics. Laetitia used a horn-like synth sound at times in the song, butt mostly concentrated on piano. From the Theater Tour on the ending of the song was also extended with a long jam similar to the beginning in which the 'dub-dub-dub' vocals were a center part for the band and audience to sing along. Leona started to play her tin whistle in the end-jam as well, since she already had it ready for the next song (Angel Of Happy Hour). Her long echo-y notes added something mysterious to the song and sounded very nice. The jam was usually ended by a long, wild drum roll and solo by Rob. In the Alankomaat Tour this was a fun song, but a bit the same and overplayed (sometimes twice in one concert), but for this tour it got new life and was always a fun moment in the concerts. Early on in the tour this song was played without the intro and end-jam and it remained closer to the version of the previous tour (but with acoustic guitar).
Seven Green Parrots
This song was originally called Short Winter Song. The quiet, subtle piano-based song maybe wasn't the most spectacular one in the set, but personally I always liked it. I think it has a very nice structure and it usually had good performances by the band. Often it is more difficult to impress with a quiet song than with a loud song and I think this version of Nits especially excelled in the more subtle songs. In the first few months of the tour the song was started by Henk playing some bird-like noises on the small synth, later this was taken over by Leona. And even further on in the tour the synth wasn't used at all, but Henk instructed the audiences to make bird sounds on his signal. He would practice a bit and then start the song. During the song he would have the audience do this trick a few more times. While this usually resulted in very funny moments ('there's always a person making cuckoo sounds...'), I find that it somehow detracted from the subtlety of the song. But to be honest: I indulged myself in enthusiastically producing the bird sounds as well..
Sinterklaas (Wie Kent Hem Niet)
At the Cappucino radio show in November 2001 the band was ready to play a few songs. They were waiting for this Dutch song by Het Goede Doel to end. They were apparently enjoying it and the presenter continued singing it after the record ended. Arwen and Rob almost immediately joined in together and some of the band started singing the chorus. After about 15 seconds the thing came to stop again. Funny!
Played in exactly the same way as during the Alankomaat, including the story before the song, usually the Dominique part and the ending with Stand By Your Man. The only difference was the presence of Leona and later Vera, who added vocals. It's a fun up-tempo song and therefore was received well by audiences.
Sketches Of Spain
Early in the tour it was played in a subdued variation on the regular arrangement with the piano prominently present. In the theater Laetitia would play the grand piano and played the intro as on the album, which was a nice surprise to me. Unfortunately there was no long guitar solo as in the Alankomaat Tour, Henk just stuck to playing rhythm and touches.
In the first several of the tour this song opened the concerts (except for the first three when the opening song was Ivory Boy). It was then played in the same arrangement as the Alankomaat tour. When Leona arrived the backing vocals gained even more power and soul. For the theater tour there was a change in the arrangement: the band filmed Seppo (the Soul Man himself) doing his version of the spoken parts instead of Henk and this was shown on the screens while the band played instrumentally. I found this a very clever and fun thing. It gave the song more meaning and Seppo's deep voice and typical appearance made the lyrics even more clear. At the last show of the theater tour the crew relpaced Seppo with Tom Telman dressed up like Seppo and doing a pretty good impression of him. The band cracked up when they found out. I guess not all the of the audience understood, but it was definitely a fun, classic moment... The Tampere 2001 concert featured a small bit of the Beatles' song 'Come Together' inserted near the end of the song.
This song was only played a few times. apparently the band wasn't too happy with the live version. This is a shame, since it's a wonderful song and the one time I heard it, it sounded pretty good to me. The mood, build-up and breaks form a song that sounds unique in the Nits repertoire. To my knowledge it was only done once or twice early on in the tour and a few times during the DVD recordings.
The song was started by Rob with the typical percussion sound. Henk played melodic guitar as the main backing. Titia mostly played electric piano and Arwen the standing bass. The structure was similar to the album, but it was missing the typical synth effect and the guitar was much more prominent with Henk adding and playing touches throughout. Henk's low singing worked fine and Leona's backing vocals were spot-on. The song ended as sudden as the album version. Luckily the song can be heard (and seen) on the DVD.
this is one of the most fragile, but beautiful songs from the Wool album and it was a surprise to hear how well this song sounded in concert. It was regularly dropped (especially at the standing room concerts), but from the beginning this song was played perfectly.
The song was played similarly to the album version with
Henk on piano. Rob played varied percussion parts and Arwen's standing bass was
simply lovely. The star of the song was Laetitia however. She used a marimba
sound on her synth and she played very subtle, beautiful melodies to support the
song. Especially the wonderful instrumental section where she backed Henk's
piano melody was exquisite. The short uptempo interlude sounded very nice
with Laetitia (later Leona or Vera) on backing vocals. Laetitia switched to a
violin sound for this section. The song returned to the soft, subtle music again
after this. Songs like this made the Wool album and the Wool tour a success to
Unfortunately this song is not present on the DVD. The song was played though at the recording concerts. At the actual recording the power went out during this song and it had to be aborted. After everything was fixed most songs were played again and among them was also Swimming. I guess the band wasn't happy with that take and probably decided to leave it off the DVD.
There From Here
This song was added for the theater tour and usually stayed in the setlist for the later concerts. It was very nicely started by Arwen on standing bass. Henk played grand piano. Leona's backing vocals followed Henk's singing. Titia used a subtle synth-horn arrangement as backing. The instruemntal section featured Leona and Rob on maracas, while Laetitia used an orchestral sound and Henk played the melody on piano. This nice, subtle version had an upbeat ending and closed of the way it started: Arwen alone on standing bass.
One of the many Alankomaat songs that were played in the
first few concerts, but was dropped soon. This one survived for only three
concerts. Henk started the song on guitar, backed by Titia's long organ note.
After the 'da-dadada' vocals started, the song was played the same as in the
It was played again a few months later at the special Vondelpark concert with Pim Kops playing piano. Henk played acoustic guitar and Leona provided backing vocals. Without the rythm the song had no groove, but the melody was strong enough to carry the song, especially with Pim's own piano variations helping out.
This Nits classic popped up irregularly in the setlists, but overall it wasn't played too much. Henk started the song on guitar, soon joined by Rob's drums, Henk's vocals, Arwen's standing bass and Laetitia's piano. The song was played very straightforward in a short version without the train sounds. It had a nice subtle ending with just the guitar and piano. The version in Beverwijk is notable because Henk used the banjo instead of the guitar. This resulted in a unique, fun, but very messy, country and western version. It included a long instrumental middle-section with a driving banjo rhythm, 'yee-haa' shouting and train whistle noises. This version was extended with another instrumental part after the song normally ends.
This song made a very rare one-time only appearance this tour. At the Delft club concert Henk decided to play this as an introduction to Nescio. The result was the shortest version ever of this song. Henk started with guitar and vocals and Rob soon joined with the characteristic drums for this song. Arwen played some very nice variations on the bass-line. After just over a minute the song ended already and Henk started Nescio on the guitar. It's a shame this version of Nits never played a full version of this song. Especially the bass-variations Arwen was playing sounded very promising and I would love to have heard how she could develop these further and also what Laetitia could bring to the song. Now the song remained more or less a sketch.
Walking With Maria
This song was usually introduced by a long story by Henk about two walks he took with his mother: one in the '50s and one in the '90s. Nothing much seems to have changed in the type of conversations they had in those days: his mother complaining about Henk's choice of clothing.. While the story remained more or less the same over the course of the tour, it often resulted in some funny moments when Henk deviated or added little details. But after listening to it many times at various concerts and on many recordings it is a story I don't need to hear again..
The song itself was played in the same way as on the album with one major difference: The beautiful lush horn arrangement was replaced by a melodica played by Henk. A melodica is a small keyboard-like instrument in which you have to blow air to create sound. It sounds terribly cheap and the contrast with the original horn version couldn't be greater.. Henk played it well though and it had a sort of melancholic, distant quality to it. The live version recorded for the DVD did contain the original horn arrangement and sounds simply amazing. It was released as a b-side on the 'The Wind, The Rain' cd-single. Other notable things were Titia's electric piano playing Rob's great drumming, with an emphasis on the cymbals. At the record store performance this song was played in an acoustic, very much stripped-down version.
The Wind, The Rain
The second single from the Wool album, but unfortunately virtually no radio station thought it necessary to air it.. This song is another example of the great singing this tour showcased. Henk's singing was already very good, but the harmonies with the rest of the band were great. I like the lyrics of this song, they don't seem to be making much sense, but the sequence of words seems like an overview of phrases and topics from the history of Nits! The arrangement was similar to the album version with Henk on piano and Rob's cool drumming and his nice little breaks. Titia played with a marimba sound on her keyboard, which to me defines the typical Wool atmosphere. In the middle of the song she played the nice short, weird solo as on the album. I am rather fond of this solo because even though it uses synthesized sounds that are very different from the more natural sounds of the rest of the tune, but she still makes it fit naturally.
The DVD version was used as the video (which of course also was (almost) never broadcast..). It didn't deviate too much from the album version.
A very short snippet (a few seconds) was played by Henk on the keyboard in Tallinn, Estonia after a request from the audience. He just played a couple of notes and sang 'This is not comme il faut'.
Henk performed a version of this song together with Seppo on finnish vocals at a Leonard Cohen convention on the Greek island Hydra in 2002. Henk played a few more songs, probably Cohen-covers, by himself and some with singer Yasmine at that same gathering.
Henk and Seppo performing Yöpöllö in Hydra