Bospop has always been The cosiest festival of Europe and this year that was also the case. Normally Bospop is a festival that offers a variety of music from metal to blues from rock to pop and from progressive till “old”, however this year’s edition featured “only” pop bands and artists. But with names like: STING, JOE JACKSON, THE SIMPLE MINDS,ALAN PARSONS,STEVE HARLEY,ROXY MUSIC,SIMPY RED and ANOUK you know that your festival will be well attended tough. For lovers of progressive music there was only STREAM OF PASSION, and the rockers had to fill their need with LIVING COLOUR, GLENN HUGHES and GOV’T MULE. The blues fans could enjoy themselves with the like of JULIAN SAS, JON AMOR,ERIC GALES and SUSAN TEDESCHI.

The first band I saw on Saturday was of course LIVING COLOUR. As they had played here before I was wondering if they would play the same set as 5 years ago. Fortunately they played a lot of well-known stuff, so the audience could really sing and jump along. The band also played some “new” songs from their latest album called “Collideoscope”. The band rocked, Glover’s vocals were razor sharp and Reid’s guitar solos were awesome, making Living Colour the best band of this Saturday.

In the tent Arjan Lucassen’s STREAM OF PASSION (above, first pic) surprised a lot of people with their musical mix of AMBEON, AYREON and gothic elements. Especially the female band members stole the show, while mister Lucassen himself stayed a bit in the background. On the main stage STARSAILOR (above, second pic) and BETH HART (above, third pic)put on a nice, but not very interesting or innovating performances.

Next in the tent was the voice of rock himself Mr. GLENN HUGHES (pictured left). His gig was again a treat to my ears; his vocal performance was again second to none, as his emotional screams gave me goosebumps over and over again. Besides some fresh songs from his new album “Music for the Divine”, Glenn also played some classic rock stuff like e.g. “Mistreated”. Of course it was an extra long version with amazing guitar parts and excellent emotional singing by Glenn.

ANOUK’S set was rather ok, but she seemed a bit tired or rather agitated, as the interaction between the audience and the one and only rock “bitch” of the Netherlands did not come to live.. ALAN PARSONS LIVE PROJECT’s set is rather dull, way too soft and “old-fashioned” to entertain me for an entire hour. Only during the hit single “Don’t Answer Me” the audience comes alive a bit at least.

THE SIMPLE MINDS closed the second Bospop day and they did what the audience asked from them, play hits, like “Belfast Child” or “Don’t You (forget about me)”, so that they could sing-along. For me this was just a trip down memory lane, however I already gave up listening to the Simple Minds after they their best of album “Glittering Prize”, back in 1992!!

The Sunday was really a day for “families” and “older” geezers, as the stage was set for Steve Harley, Joe Jackson, Roxy Music, Simply Red and Gov’t Mule (below, first pic). The latter was without any doubt the musical highlight of this day. WARREN HAYNES (ex-ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND) showed how you can play southern rock in the year 2006 without boring the audience. Warren’s guitar playing really comes to live on this festival, but unfortunately he only has an hour to play. Normally Gov‘t Mule sets last 3 hours and then you can really go berserk. A bit slower, but nevertheless quite good was Joe Jackson’s set, filled with beautiful piano playing and Joe’s typical English voice. Naturally old songs like “Is She Really Going out with Him?” or “On Your Radio” were welcomed most by the rather excited crowd.

When charismatic Brian Ferry hit the stage at 20:45 the audience was even more excited. ROXY MUSIC (above, second and third pics) played a rather remarkable good set, with lots of musical solos from each group member and of course the unavoidable hits like “Avalon” and “Do the Strand”. Ferry’s solo hits “Let’s Stick Together” and “Jealous Guy” also created a very pleasant festival vibe. Finally Mick Hucknall entered the stage and we were treated to some very catchy soul/rock/pop songs. The set list was almost similar to the one of Simply Red’s DVD called “Home, Live in Sicily”. So with hits like “Home”, “Holding Back The Years” and “Fairground”. Mick’s voice is always a treat, although I normally prefer my music to be a bit more progressive and louder..

The biggest surprise on this year’s edition was The Tragically Hip (pictured right), these Canadians really rocked the Bospop stage and their charismatic vocalist Gordon Downie really made the difference here. If you have not got any albums of The Hip then I advise you to buy their latest 2DVD, 2cd box called “Hipeponymous”.

Greatest disappointments this year: the “high school rock“ of Racoon, the Belgian want to-be Brazilian Gabriel Rios and the entire programme of the second day in the tent. But all in all a rather cosy edition of Bospop, however I hope that next year we will be able to rock some more.

See you all next year.

Review & photos by Martien Koolen,