PINKPOP 2009, 30-31 May and 1 June - Landgraaf

The oldest pop festival of Europe celebrated its 40th anniversary this year and so lots of people expected a spectacular line-up. However with only one “real” superstar namely The Boss, the programme of 2009 was in fact not as good as the previous year. But there were a couple of nice surprises like e.g. Volbeat, Shinedown, Anouk, Kate Perry or Madness. But let’s start from the beginning.

On Saturday Chris Cornell opened on the main stage and his performance was rather bleak, certainly not what I hoped it would be…. His new album, a co-production with Timothy Z.Mosley, better known as Timbaland, is not really my cup of tea and as he opened with songs from that album I feared the worst. Luckily later on he sang some Audioslave stuff and he ended his rather mediocre set with the Soundgarden classic “Black Hole Sun”. Next up were The Killers, the number 1 choice of the audience – you could vote for your favourite band via internet – and they gave the crowd their money’s worth. Especially hits like “Somebody Told Me” and “Mr.Brightside” made the audience enthusiastic to sing and jump along. Headliner for this first day was of course Bruce Springsteen and you could see that the crowd on this day was completely different (read: older!) than on the other two days. The Boss kicked off with “ Badlands” and during the title track of his new album I thought I was listening to a sermon.. Man, I hate it when musicians start to preach! The set however was okay and Bruce ended with good old “Born To Run”, but I still thought the performance was a bit boring, but the crowd really enjoyed it, so who am I to nag??

The highlight of the second day was without any doubt Volbeat with follow-up Madness. The latter because they almost got the entire crowd of 60,000 people on their feet dancing and singing along to old hits like: “My Girl”, “Baggy Trousers” and “Nightboat To Cairo”. Danish rockers Volbeat rocked Pinkpop unlike any other band on this festival. They were explosive, fired up, surprising and their music really rocked like hell. Songs like: “ Light A Way”or “Guitar Gangsters& Cadillac Blood” were totally awesome and I think that this band will be huge in the near future.

British finest, Keane, got the crowd in a nice mellow atmosphere and especially the song “Crystal Ball” was a treat for the crowd. They surprised the audience with a marvellous cover version of the Bowie/Mercury classic: “Under Pressure”. Headliner on Sunday Depeche Mode cancelled due to Dave Gahan’s surgery and Dutch female fronted rock/pop band Krezip were called to the rescue. The Dutchies did a fine, solid job with a rather predicable set list, but they treated the crowd to a short piece of the Depeche Mode hit single: “I Just Can’t Get Enough”. Placebo was “crowned” as headliner on Sunday and I am sorry to say that I heard better gigs from Placebo. The new drummer Steve Forrest was okay but in my opinion they played too many tracks from the new album which most of the crowd was not yet familiar with.

On the last and in the past the only Pinkpopday, the traditional Whitsun Monday, the bands on the main stage turned out to be rather mellow except for Franz Ferdinand and Anouk. Shinedown, a new American metal band opened this day in a very explosive way.Their set was heavy, loud and fast and although their music is not really very original I could not stand still and stop head banging for 45 minutes….

On the main stage Novastar and Amy MacDonald were trying to put the audience to sleep with their mellow middle of the road pop music. Fortunately Franz Ferdinand got the audience awake again and during “Take Me Out” it was a great party again, with singing and dancing.

Meanwhile in the tent Kate Perry put on a surprise show as she showed us that this girl can sing and perform. Greatest surprise was the absolute magical cover version of Queen: “Don’t Stop Me Now”. Of course Kate spoiled her good gig with the hit single “I Kissed A Girl” (Ed: well she could not have left without singing it, could she?) ….. Dutch rock diva Anouk gave her best shot in a long time with an amazing vocal performance and a very tight band. Hits like: “Nobody’s Wife”, “Girl” and “Modern World” rocked the house down and during the ballad “Lost” 65,000 people sang along. Best track of the set was the dazzling “Jeruzalem”, where Anouk proved that this “lady” can sing like hell!

Snowpatrol ended the 40 th anniversary of Pinkpop and they gave the crowd a lot of sad rock ballads, like e.g. “Open Your Eyes” or “Take Back The City”. Their music was okay but it was not the great final act that this anniversary edition of Pinkpop deserved.

See you all again next year???

Review by Martien Koolen
Photos by Joss Voncken
11 June 2009
(c) 2009 RockUnited.Com