BOSPOP 2011 – Weert – The Netherlands 8,9, 10 July.

This edition of Bospop, the coziest pop/rock festival of Europe, was again a success as the weather was great; the audience was enthusiastic and most important the music was great. Of course with bands like Foreigner, Journey, Joe Cocker, Texas, Roxette, Roger Hodgson, Greg Allman, Anouk, Triggerfinger, Thin Lizzy, Walter Trout, Riverside, Black Country Communion and kast but not least Dream Theater the expectations were very high and the musical diversity was enormous.

The first day kicked off with the rather unknown bands The 101’s and The Resistance Plot before Italian rock diva Gianna Nanini hit the stage. However the first musical highlight of day one was of course Foreigner. Mick Jones and Co. played hits for one hour and the songs really sounded fresh and really stood the test of time. This is also due to the fact that nowadays singer Kelly Hansen does a really great job as he so enthusiastic and full of life and his voice is still very strong. Songs like: Cold As Ice, Hot Blooded, Jukebox Hero, Urgent and I Want To Know What Love Is are shouted along by the very lively crowd and the hour goes by much too fast actually…

Next up are The Faces featuring Mick Hucknall on vocals and this band kind of disappoints me as the band never really gets going. It is all a bit stiff, awkward and the audience is not really into it; maybe this is because all the songs are really old??? In my humble opinion I have to say that the voice of Hucknall – which I normally like very much – does not really fit in with the music and therefore there is no musical spark. Ronnie Wood plays the guitar rather well, but the performance never really gets the crowd going; best song of the set was probably Maybe I’m Amazed, a song written by Paul McCartney….



Precisely at 20:45 the best AOR rock band ever, Journey hit the Bospop stage and they put on a show like I have not heard in a long time. Schon, Cain, Valory, Castronovo and Pineda set the Bospop stage on fire for more than one hour. Opening track Separate Ways was a bit of a surprise, but it was good to hear that song again. “New” vocalist Arnel Pineda did an excellent job throughout the entire set and when you closed your eyes it was as if you heard good old Steve Perry… Journey also played a couple of songs from their new amazing album Eclipse; like: City Of Hope (magical!) and Tantra. But of course everybody wanted to hear old classic Journey tracks and so the band delivered with: Don’t Stop Believin’ , Ask The Lonely, Stone In Love, Lights (breathtaking) and Wheel In The Sky. After 75 minutes the audience was still not satisfied and so we were treated to an encore; Any Way You Want It. Journey came, saw and conquered the Bospop audience and this was one of the best shows on the Bospop stage ever!

Day one ended with Joe Cocker and his performance was not bad, his voice is still in good shape, but rather predictable with songs like: Feelin’ All right, Summer In The City, You Are So Beautiful and three Beatles covers! For me this is all a bit too much retro rock and flower power material and I rather would have seen Journey as headliner on day one! Due to personal reasons I could not attend day two, so we continue with the last day.

Day three of the 31 st edition of Bospop had a spectacular line-up and the first band that really shook the ground in Weert was Triggerfinger from Belgium. This hard rock trio is the perfect live band and right from the start the audience loved it although the volume was a little bit too harsh…All This Dancin’ Around and Short Term Memory Love are the musical highlights of Ruben Block and Co. The drum solo at the end however was a bit too retro for me!

Then it is time for Thin Lizzy, the magical twin guitar band from Ireland. Unfortunately this is not Thin Lizzy anymore, only Scott Gorham and Brian Downey are original members and since John Sykes left the band two years ago the vocal parts are also not that good anymore. The set list was very predictable (The Boys Are Back I n Town, Emerald, Cowboy Song, Whiskey In The Jar) and for me this was the most disappointing performance of Thin Lizzy ever and I personally would advise these guys to stop before it becomes a Spinal Tap performance….

Black Country Communion is next and my expectations are really high as I truly love their second album and consider it to be one of the best releases of 2011 already…Well I was not disappointed as Hughes, Bonamassa, Sherinian and Bonham really put on a great show! Glenn’s voice is still superb and during one of the best tracks of the set list – Save Me - I actually got goose bumps. Other tracks that I really liked were Black Country, Beggarman, The Outsider and Man In The Middle. Joe was “allowed” to do one of his songs, namely the excellent blues rocker The Ballad Of John Henry. This spectacular performance ended with a wild and magical version of Deep Purple’s Burn and I was wondering at that time if Dream Theater could top this performance of BCC….

It was the first time that I saw Dream Theater with the new drummer Mike Mangini and I have to say that I was not impressed; I definitely prefer Mike Portnoy on the drum kit!! All in all I found it a disappointing gig, the volume was too loud and James’ voice left much to be desired once more. They kicked off with a very old song Under A Glass Moon and I really think that they should have played another set list as most of the crowd did not recognize songs like These Walls, Fatal Tragedy or Forsaken. The new song On The Backs Of Angels was also not a great surprise and I hope that the other new material will be better…. Highlights for me were Caught In A Web (still a fantastic song), and The Count Of Tuscany, but as I have been to a DT concert over 40 times I was not really impressed this day; sad but true. As encore we were treated to one of my favorite songs from Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence: The Great Debate! I cannot wait to hear the new album of DT as they still are the best prog metal band of this time, but on this day they were beaten by Black Country Communion!

See you all next year!!

Review & photos by Martien Koolen
(c) 2011 RockUnited.Com