|Luka Bloom @ Royal Theatre Carré, Amsterdam
Monday, 11 February 2002
Don't Be So Hard On Yourself
Exploring The Blue
Gone To Pablo
Sunny Sailor Boy
Make You Feel My Love
Keeper Of The Flame
Here And Now
Love Is A Place I Dream Of
I'm A Bogman
If I Were A Carpenter
Black Is The Colour
In Between Days
You Couldn't Have Come At A Better Time
The Fertile Rock
Support act: HEM
© Concert Photos by Lex van Groningen >>
Royal Theatre Carré, Amsterdam
Folksinger Barry Moore had already recorded three albums before he renamed himself Luka Bloom, a name he took from a Suzanne Vega song. He moved from Ireland to the United States where he had to begin again at the bottom. Success came quickly. He was invited to support The Pogues and The Hothouse Flowers. In 1990 his debut album Riverside was released, and he went on to appear at large festivals like Pinkpop and Torhout/Werchter.
Following the second album, The Acoustic Motorbike, he returned to Ireland where he continued working on an impressive repertoire of sometimes fragile but always pure Irish folk and rock. His new album, Keeper Of The Flame, contains remarkable covers of songs with a special meaning for him.
Expatica.com - February 2002
Luka Bloom in Amsterdam
Andrew Balcombe: How did leaving your home country launch your career?
Amsterdams Stadsblad - 6 February 2002
Luka Bloom has become famous through his simple songs, well-chosen chords, wavy rhythms and
sparkling, metallic guitar sound. He has performed mainly in the US, but his appearance at Pinkpop was
his breakthrough in the Low Countries.Last week he was briefly in Amsterdam to record the KRO radio show
The result will be broadcast on 2 February. We asked him afterwards what it was like to perform
in Amsterdam again.
|L i v e R e v i e w|
Royal Theatre Carré, Amsterdam
Monday, 11 February 2002
Maximising all possible pleasures connected to any trip to see Luka perform is my personal goal. When the European dates were announced, Amsterdam appealed to me most as a destination of considerable merit. An opportunity to explore a historic city I had only previously visited on business. Those short tiresome trips involved arriving late at night, faceless business hotels, boring day-long meetings and a frantic rush to the airport to make the last plane home. Not a clog, tulip or sunflower in sight, not a sniff of culture, marijuana or natural mystic in the air.
And so tickets were purchased from the Theater Carré, Amstel, Amsterdam. This was a fun process for an Englishman who spoke no Dutch. The services of a Dutch speaking Lukalister ensured perfect translation and their procurement. As an occasional contributor to the list and reader of Rena's website I became aware that a crew of like minded Bloom devotees would probably meet up for a drink prior to the show. Now I'm not usually one for specialist group activities and sensed there may be some obsessional people among such a community. I believe in balance in life and find extreme people can be a pain in the arse. But how could I hold a valid opinion If I had never met these folk? What would they be like? Would talk ever deviate in to territory outside the Bloom domain? What initiation ceremonies may lie ahead? Then again, would travelling to 4 Luka gigs in the last year identify me as an extremist requiring remedial therapy!
Arrived in Amsterdam Sunday PM. I met up with the Lister folk and, my goodness, they were not aliens, no devil horns, just warm kind people united in their admiration for the works of one Barry Moore. The group of Dutch, German, Austrian, American and British folk had one pleasing thing in common, they all had happy smiling faces. It was like they all knew a secret, but there was no secret, they all took so much from the words, songs and performances of 'Bar' son of Newbridge, aged 46.
First star of Sunday evening was the charming Annemarie. She had booked us in to De Waaghals (The Dare Devil) Vegetarian Restaurant. Frans Halsstraat 29. Amsterdam. Splendid choice and a pleasant surprise for this meat munching man!
An informal vegetarian establishment supplying very creative and refined food. I feasted on the House special of the day, spinach roulade with sour cream and almonds - tagliatelle with artichoke sauce - deep-fried polenta, grilled fennel - peperonata - young carrots with garlic mayonnaise - green salad with parmesan, pine kernels - and fresh basil.
New friends explored Cajun vegetarian delights, all washed down with a fruity Merlot. ... this was a treat, 'not undercooked or stewed,' a tasty little mood ensued! Can you believe they did Irish coffee too. I was in heaven. Conversation was diverse and stimulating. Land reclamation projects explained by pretty Jolande, the environment, pollution and how to measure it by Martijn all mingled in with where were you the first time you heard a Luka song? The assembled listers grazed and mellowed and were soon swapping details of their various journeys made to be present that night. Top marks were awarded to Claudia and Maggie for undertaking a fourteen hour train journey from Vienna. Their Sunday sightseeing schedule was awesome and ability to 'shop 'til you drop' much in evidence! Nice pants sported by Claudia, nice shiny black leather boots by Maggie!
The engaging warmth of the local Dutch people was typified by an offer for us all to go back to Annemarie's flat to hear her partner Martijn play his guitar versions of Luka's songs.'I want to sing for you.' A short tram ride later and we were all singing as Martijn strummed and explained the tuning theory and practice. A few beers later, a few CD's played, a rare video of Luka with Dutch subtitles watched, we were very happy souls. We left our generous and talented hosts to get some sleep as they were both working next day. Another tram boarded, we drifted back in to the night and the city centre in pursuit of a night-cap. At this point the wind got up and we christened Amsterdam 'The Windy City.' We were blown all the way down the Amstel. The next night we would be blown away by an uplifting Luka performance verging on the gale force.
Monday had a leisurely start before the obligatory visit to the Van Gogh Museum. What a superb exhibition. It's a must if you get the chance to go. The special exhibition featuring the earless one and Paul Gauguin was truly amazing. Van Gogh was the possessed artist giving everything up for his work and died a young man shooting himself. A cold chill passes right through me even now as I recall 'the wheatfield with crows' picture. Angst and anger was yer man Van Gogh. Now I understand why Luka claims to just do 'mush', it's safer and you live longer.
And so, the gig. Apologies to the support act but the bar up the road did a mean but slow to arrive Satay chicken and the pints were on the roll. New American and Belgian friends were found at last and the Carré upstairs bar became 'base camp two' with much laughter, frivolity and flirting ... and that was just the bar staff!
Enter the hall to find a thousand or so revellers. Fair play to the Mojo publicity machine for almost filling this grand traditional style theatre. Plenty of potential recruits for the list. Given this devoted support, could the Dutch overtake the US of A in Rena's nationality survey?
What followed next was a very special show. Luka received a tremendous reception and was clearly amongst friends. He is very much at home with Dutch audiences and previous crusades in to Amsterdam were rewarded with a loyal following turning out again. The stage was decorated with several flower bouquets. Later these floral trophies would find homes in the audience as Luka, never to be the Irish javelin champion, launched them as far as row ten, a personal best but don't give up the day job just yet Luka!
The sound for me was fine but a more critical ear behind me shouted out to turn the bass down. Luka and sound engineer Paul duly obliged and then treated us to a passionate lively less bassy set. You sensed his strong sense of purpose the moment he came on stage. He gave many thanks and much praise to the assembled for turning out on a Monday night and for excellent singing along in all the right places. Luka had family and friends over from Ireland to experience the Dutch choral excellence first hand. Brother Andy and sister Anne were not to be disappointed. I guess we all have favourite songs and there was something for everyone with a few surprises for good measure. Luka's joy and enthusiasm shone through at every shift of mood and pace. It's fascinating to watch peoples reaction to certain songs and how at some gigs some songs will jump out at you. Tonight it was 'Gone to Pablo' that touched the Dutch and later 'Delirious' that had us on on our feet. 'Black is the Colour' merged in to 'Te Adoro' to further delight us. Positive audience reaction must be a tremendous buzz for an artist. Poor Vincent Van Gogh never got it and so shot himself. Luka, got it and was spurred on to encore after encore and I really believe he would have played all night for us such was his unbridled joy. Only for one moment did he seem distracted from delivering us a piece of himself. This was due to an over fussy photographer who outstayed his welcome front of stage blocking the view of some people. Luka spotted this and was probably sick of a telephoto lens investigating his inner nostril for ten minutes! Luka suggested he pedalled on.
Show over, it was great that Luka spared a few moments for a chat with Rena and to pose for a few photos. He expressed some surprise that the list survey had placed 'Turf' as most fave album in the Luka collection. Whatever, clearly the man is alive and will delight German, Swiss, Irish and Australian audiences in the coming months with his unique palette of music. I kept thinking afterwards, wouldn't it be brilliant if there was a live album released soon to leave us a personal picture of a special moment in time, created by a special artist with some very special musical canvasses. Van Gogh had no audience for his work in his lifetime, Luka has us so many of us right here right now. Thanks for a starry starry night.
© Rena Bergholz - Luka Bloom Page