Every year IQ comes back to the Boerderij for a special Christmas show, named ‘Christmas Bash’. This would be the second Christmas Bash show I attended, making this the third IQ gig I ever went to. This band is always worth to watch because those guys know how to make a brilliant show. The first time I went to a gig was quite some years ago, they just released their album Frequency. Despite the fact that the band exists for quite some years I never really heard any of their music. I went to my first IQ concert with a friend and we both had no clue who they were, how they would perform live and what to expect. That first IQ concert is still one of the best gigs I’ve ever seen. I was totally flabbergasted by their performance. This band knows how to entertain the audience and be professional musicians at the same time. They are passionate when they play songs from both their older and more recent albums. I interviewed the band right before their gig, you can listen to the interview here.
The venue was sold out so far as I knew, which means it was crowded. The two big Christmas trees that stood on the front of the stage looked beautiful and magical. It really felt like Christmas. Sadly they were a big too big in my opinion. The stage was only completely visible if you were in the middle of the venue. I was standing on the far right side (for the audience left side) of the venue, but still in front row. Because of the big tree on the right side I sadly had no view of Neil Durant and Paul Cook, who were further back on the stage. Luckily there was still enough space to manoeuvre through the audience so I took my chances to take photos from different spots in the venue, including the balcony.
Before the band entered the stage there was a hilarious intro video showed on the three screens that were placed above the stage. It was an animation movie of the band members who were turned into rock stars from the 80s (with the big wigs and hair pieces) playing a Christmas song. When the band came on stage they started with the track Sacred Sound, one of my favourite IQ tracks! The band played most tracks from their latest album The Road Of Bones, which is no surprise. They also played a couple of tracks from the album The Wake, which is my favourite album.
Pete Nicholls is a very theatrical singer, makes a lot of gestures with his hands to intensify the situation he wants to represent with his lyrics, or even uses accessories like gloves and sunglasses. When he didn’t sing he went to the back of the stage or grabbed a tambourine and played along. Sometimes Mike Holmes needed to play some parts on an acoustic guitar. When he needed his acoustic guitar one of the crew members gave him his guitar along with a chair to sit on. Tim Esau used his bass pedals a lot during the performance. Pete and Mike also had a lot of interaction with the audience, making jokes and responding to cheers and shouts of certain people in the audience. When Pete introduced the band he ‘forgot’ to introduce mister Holmes, so someone from the audience pointed to Mike and shouted “And who are you?” to him. Mike responded with a loud “Who are you” and pointed back.
When the band entered the stage for the encore some of the band members were wearing a Christmas hat, although Mike had a special surprise. He was wearing huge black angel wings on his back which were covered in red lights! They started to play Out Of Nowhere, another great IQ track. The song has similarities to ABBA’s song Mamma Mia… And to emphasize that fact the band played Mamma Mia too! The audience was laughing and cheering. When the band left the stage the audience kept on cheering, shouting and demanding a second encore…. And the band did came back for a second encore! The started to play The Wake, that song has such a great bombastic intro! During that track Pete walked to the edge of the stage. He reached out his microphone to some fans in the audience so they could sing along.
I had a fantastic evening, it was one of the best shows I’ve ever been to, it was one big Christmas Party. Next year the band will celebrate their 35th anniversary, and I hope that there will be a lot of anniversaries to celebrate because this band is still amazing!
Peter Nicholls – Vocals, tambourine
Mike Holmes – Guitars
Neil Durant – Keyboards
Tim Esau – Bass guitar & bass pedals
Paul Cook – Drums & Percussion
It All Stops Here
From The Outside In
The Road Of Bones
Until The End
Out Of Nowhere
Mamma Mia (ABBA cover)
You can read my concert review on Background Magazine:
All photos by me.