Nine years is a very long time. "How are you doing"?, asked singer/guitarist Jacob de Greeuw at one point into the show. Well, I answered to my girlfriend and good friend, who were present in Patronaat nine years ago, older, some little pains here and there, certainly greyer and the addition of some extra kilos. "Speak for yourself", answered my friend who still is as thin as when we met in the 80s and not grey at all.
Nine years ago, De Greeuw told the audience somewhat upbeat that Johan was calling it quits, to the obvious chagrin of some of his bandmembers. The result was not the best show I saw Johan play. Although with songs like that it is impossible to fail utterly.
This spring the world was surprised by a new album, 'Pull Up'. Rumours had been flying for some time, but hearing is believing. 'Pull Up' is a darker album containing less upbeat songs, those often bittersweet popgems, than the albums of the past. (Read my review of 'Pull Up' here: http://wonomagazine.blogspot.com/2018/04/pull-up-johan.html) Several songs of the album took the pace and the mood down in Patronaat, but also showed how good they are. With 'Anyone Got A Clue' as upper prove to the test. Put in the perspective of a whole career, they took their rightful place to shine.
Nine years is a long time and the tour only really commenced circa a half year after the release. What does that do to a fan base, that used to fill the bigger venues in the country, like Patronaat? Well, that fanbase was ready for the return of Johan. Patronaat was sold out and ready to sing along to their alternative poprock song favourites.
The addition of Sunday Sun's Jan Teertstra meant having a keyboard, guitar (and bass player) in the band who can sing as well. If I ever seen someone being happy playing in Johan it is Teertstra. One big smile and enthusiasm the whole way.
Nine years later it proved even better to hear my favourites of old than I'd expected up front. Johan is and was so good. Even songs from the first album came by, including that surprising cover of Aphrodite's Child, 'It's Five o'Clock' (yes, people, Demis Roussos was honoured yesterday).
It all ended with what I think was the first single by Johan, 'Everybody Knows', the song that attracted me to the band in the first place, 22 years ago, and was sung along so loud around me, that I knew things were well in the state of Haarlem.
Nine years later and Johan without a single doubt is still the best alternative pop rock band of this country. Hopefully I will not have to wait this long to hear the next album. Because, if De Greeuw asks that question once more, there's no knowing what I have to answer then.
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