BOSPOP - Weert - The Netherlands 11 and 12 July The 23rd edition of Bospop is over and I can tell you it was a tiring but very enjoyable weekend of rockmusic. It was warm (26 Celsius), dry (at least the weather), sold out on the second day (10,000 visitors), there were old bands and new bands, there was excellent music, a nice and friendly ambience and lots of booze, junk food, small talk and other shit; but without further ado, here we go...

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At 16:00 I listened to the first band TEN YEARS AFTER; a band I always admired, especially Alvin Lee was one of my favourite guitarplayers. But it turned out that the band was in the original line-up (Leo Lyons, Chick Churchill and Ric Lee), but without Alvin Lee. This is just like Santana without Carlos Santana.... But Alvin's replacement(I forgot his name...) did a fine job and so we were back in time with songs like "Good Morning Little Schoolgirl", "I Woke Up This Morning" or "I Can't Keep From Crying Sometimes". Neat but not very remarkable, I would rather have listened to Gary Moore, who cancelled because of an handinjury.

Then it was SAXON time, I already saw them a couple of times this year, but their music always grabs me and I can't stop headbanging, which is very exhausting in this warm weather. Biff was in top shape again and the "hits" kept coming. It was only old stuff today, so we were treated to "Heavy Metal Thunder", Denim And Leather", "Wheels Of Steel", "Crusader", "747", "20,000 Feet(very fast, yeah), "Motorcycle Man" and the highlight "Dallas 1 PM". Great performance with lots of Monty Python humour from Biff's side.

Next in line on the mainstage was DIO, with Jimmy Bain, Craig Goldy and Simon Wright. His set also mainly consisted of "old" stuff like "Straight To The Heart", "Stand Up And Shout", "Holy Diver" or "Rainbow In The Dark". But there were also new tracks like "Killing The Dragon" and "Lord Of The Last Day". Even some surprises like an almost magical performance of "Stargazer" and the Black Sabbath classic "Heaven And Hell". Rather thin were the drumsolo and the guitarsolo, the rest was excellent and Dio's voice was brilliant as ever.

Afterwards I had a short interview with Ronnie, see the right column!

The loudest band of the festival played at 21:00. Lemmy's standard opening sentence "we are MOTORHEAD and we've come to kick your ass!" sounded through the speakers and off they went with "No Class", "Civil War", "Metropolis" and "Ace Of Spades". It rained beer during Motorhead's set and they still stand tall to their motto: loud, louder Motorheadst!! About the Sex Pistols "classic" "God Save The Queen" Lemmy commented: "a good song is a good song, it doesn't matter who plays it".

The headliner of this first day ZZ TOP still have not released their new album "Mescalero", but they are already on the promotion tour for that album. Billy F Gibbons, Dusty Hill and Frank Beard, in beautiful outfits by the way, kicked off their set with the swinging "Gimme All Your Lovin". "Pin Cushion", "La Grange" and "Bang Bang" followed but the show got boring after about 25 minutes; nothing happens on stage!! From the new album ZZ Top previewed "Buck Nekkid" and "Piece", nice solid bluesrocktracks, but nothing spectacular.

In the tent I also listened to a few tracks of SUBWAY TO SALLY. This was their second performance in The Netherlands and I liked songs like "Geist Des Kriegers" or "Kleine Schwester", although they remind me of Rammstein too much...


This was a completely different day than yesterday, lots more pop/rock than hardrock or metal with bands like ANOUK, INXS, THE SIMPLE MINDS, THE GATHERING, THE ALARM and HIM.

ANOUK, the Dutch "rockbitch" played almost the same set as during her Graduated Fool Tour. So "Disconnected", "Nobody's Wife", "Sacrifice", "Hail" and "Graduated Fool" were played and even though Anouk is pregnant, she still rocked and moved about the stage like she always does.

The highlight of this second day for me was the performance of THE GATHERING; a band I have watched several times this year already. But with every performance this band seems to grow and grow. Especially the songs from their last album "Souvenirs" get better every time you hear them. Anneke's voice is an absolute delight to listen to, even though her voice "drowned" in the first two tracks, because of the poor mix. It is a shame that they only played for an hour and why was there no room for The Gathering on the main stage??

Then it was time for the unleashed ALARM, the band of Mike Peters, founded back in 1981!! Of course their set mainly consisted of old Alarm classics like "The Stand", "68 Guns" or "Living On The Live Edge" but these guys really rock, still rock!! The crowd in the tent had a wonderful time and shouted along with Mike in "I Love To Feel The Rain In The Summertime". Watch out for these guys because they still know how to give an excellent performance.

The last two bands on the main stage were also, with all due respect, oldies. INXS with a new singer called Jon Stevens sounded like and looked like Hutchence and they treated the audience to the hits they wanted to hear. "New Sensation", "Suicide Blonde" or "Tear Us Apart" still moved the crowd like they were new songs.

SIMPLE MINDS have existed for more than 25 years now and they still sound as frivolous and energetic as ever. All their hits are on the setlist and for most people this is the absolute highlight of Bospop, for me it is a bit too poppy and artificial although I still like the song "Belfast Child" very much.

The "headliner" in the tent was HIM, a band I have never seen before. Well, singer Ville Valo gave the audience a magnificent romantic rockshow. From the opener "Buried Alive By Love" HIM held the crowd in his magic lovespell. I now can imagine why these guys sold over 2 million copies of their albums already. Further memorable songs this evening were "Funeral Of Hearts", "Heartache Every Moment" and "Wicked Game". When it comes to making love metal HIM is the perfect band, keep an eye on these Finnish rockers, they might become very huge in the near future. All in all Bospop was, again, a fantastic festival with great music all around and a very cosy and relaxed atmosphere; keep up this good work and see you all next year.

Live report by Martien Koolen,

Pictures by Sy "Wooks" Seddon except the pictures of ZZ Top by Martien Koolen

(c)2003 RockUnited.Com

A mini-interview with DIO!

RJD: "It's really nice to be back in Holland again, the fans always sing along to my songs, but they still can't beat me, hahaha..."

Martien: "You had "Stargazer" on the setlist again?"

RJD: "Yes, it has always been one of my favourite tracks and it sounds awesome in a liveshow, don't you think?"

Martien: "Why the drumsolo and the guitarsolo in a short set like this one?"

RJD: "I understand what you mean, but I still think that it is a good part of the show, so..."

Martien: "When can we expect a new Dio-album?"

RJD: "Next year, probably, there is a new dvd out now, so the fans still have material to listen to."

Martien: "Thanks for your time"

Ronnie: "Cheers, mate".