Charlotte wasn’t to blame, I think. That’s if you want to blame anyone for the show yesterday in Paradiso. The sound engineer is a perfect scapegoat, but getting the sound right in the Amsterdam venue is a challenge, I know. Yesterday, the first half of the concert had waaaaay too much bass. After about four of five songs, it got better. But it didn’t save the show.
It’s not easy to put the finger on the reasons why it didn’t appeal to me. Heck, I wanted it to be great. The Bruxelles show was excellent. Fierce. Yesterday, it was plushy. Lovey-dovey. Someone on twitter said it was like a pajama-party, due to the white clothes every one wore on stage. Connan Mockasin, dressed like a cult leader on stage, should’ve been the perfect musical companion – see this video. But yesterday, the music was too timid, too tame. To me, it sounded and looked like the band and Charlotte were uneasy with each other. Like they weren’t familiair enough with the material, with the new arrangements. Reviewer Peter Bruyn said to me: Connan’s no Beck, no Jarvis, no Conor J. O’Brien from Villagers, or one of the other men that helped push Charlotte to great heights. He’s sub-top at best. Charlotte needs top guys.
At times, it fared pretty well. The glam-funkin’ way Connan re-arranged songs from Charlotte For Ever, her first album from the 80s that Serge penned, did work. But songs like Heaven Can Wait or The Songs That We Sing, needed more oomph, chutpaz, drive, body – something like that. And that note-perfect cover of Ashes to Ashes…nice. For once.
Were my expectations too high? Charlotte wasn’t to blame. Yesterday, she looked stunning, sang charmingly, smiled a lot, it seemed like she had a great time. Part of the audience did so too (I guess about 400 people showed up, in a room that holds about 1500). But to me, to mrs Guuzbourg, to several people I spoke afterwards like FS-collaborators Maks and FransS, it didn’t even touch the standard we raised for Charlotte.