It is amazing that this band has been around for more than thirty years, and still they attract thousands of fans every time they go on tour. This will be probably be the last tour, as they call it the “Farewell Tour”; but you never know with these guys. The only original member is Andy Latimer and the rest of the band consists of Colin Bass (bass guitar), Denis Clement(drums) and Ton Scherpenzeel (keyboards). It really has been a long time since I saw a live gig of Camel (I think almost 15 years ago) but right from the start with the opener “Lady Fantasy”, I know what I have been missing... Even as this song dates from 1974, it still makes me shiver, as if I hear this track for the first time in my life.
Of course this last tour is packed with Camel highlights; such as “Unevensong”, “Rhayader”, “Rhayader Goes To Town”, “Another Night”, “Hymn To Her” and “Drafted”; songs that need no further comment. To me the biggest surprise was the instrumental “Arubaluba”, from the first Camel album in 1973; the improvised guitar orgasm in “Echoes” and the excellent bass guitar solo in the ultimate Camel track everybody knows “Never Let Go”. Andy brought two vox ac 30 amplifiers along to improve his guitar sound, and his solos sounded amazing as ever…..From the last album “A Nod And A Wink” (2002) Camel played the excellent “Fox Hill”, with “folky” influences, and as an encore we could enjoy “For Today”, from the same album. After two and half hours the show was over and the only two disappointments were the setlist – much too short!: “Spirit Of The Water”?? - and the fact that I may never see or hear Camel live again. But, hey, their spirit and music lives on in their wonderful albums, which you can always enjoy……
Live report by Martien Koolen