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Arrow Rock Festival 2008 - Enjoying the classics

The 6th edition of the Arrow Classic Rock festival took place in the Goffertpark in Nijmegen. A far better place than the location at Biddinghuizen, but entering the festival grounds still isn’t a walk in the park. Every bag is checked, everyone is frisked so it takes pretty long to get in. With about 10,000 people still trying to get in, Reo Speedwagon already kicked off on the main stage. Now it probably isn’t the band most people came out for anyway, but when the festival has already begun you just want to get in.

Faceless bands. Rolling Stone Magazine apparently once devoted an article about a vast number of melodic hardrock bands like Styx, Journey, Foreigner and Survivor and called them bands with no face. Reason being that, the members look like the boy next door. REO Speedwagon was also mentioned in the same article. If you put this information in your festival guide it isn’t exactly an invitation to go out and see them. When they walk on stage, they do look like a bunch of roadies then an actual band. The sound is great and they play great, there isn’t much to say about that. Speedwagon hits include ‘Keep on Loving You’ and ‘Can't Fight This Feeling’. Both songs regularly pop on rockballad compilation albums. The group's most commercially successful album, Hi Infidelity dates way back from 1980. REO Speedwagon does sound a bit dated, but they sure belong on this festival. I couldn’t say it was a very memorable gig though. (Angel)

The opener of the second stage, the Open Airrow Rockstage, was the Swiss act Gotthard. This hardrock formation managed to give a very energetic and enjoyable show. The people in front of the stage were clapping along, if they were asked to and also some feet-tapping and some minor headbanging was noticeable. The sound was acceptable, but with one point of criticism: during the whole show the keyboardist wasn’t audible. Furthermore Gotthard played some strong rock anthems and especially the interaction between the lead guitarist and the vocalist was very good. Highlight of the show was the performance of ‘Hush’, but they do have much more to offer than a good cover of this popular song and therefore this band is definitely worth a visit at one of their concerts or festival performances. (Gilles)

Next-up were the rockers of Journey. After the departure of singer Jeff Scott Soto, the band searched the internet and they found a little Filipino vocalist, called Arnel Pineda. Pineda joined the band in 2007 and at Arrow Rock he made his debut in the Netherlands. The guy didn’t fit the band’s image that much, but with a voice like his’ I can understand why they choose him! Also his stage-performance was great and as a Filipino Bruce Dickinson he was running from side to side. The oiled machine, which is called Journey, furthermore produced some nice and energetic music and the hour they played was over before you knew it.(Gilles)

Now these guys really fall in the category faceless bands. Most people know them from ‘Dust in the Wind’ and maybe ‘Carry on Wayward Son’. It was clear that the audience wasn’t exactly thrilled to see them. Most people actually left after they played ‘Dust in the Wind’. Their music was clearly way too eccentric for a classic rock audience. A progrock festival would be way more appropriate. The biggest hit they have is actually a completely different style than the rest of their repertoire. This is for real Kansas fans only.(Angel)

During one of the last songs of Kansas’ set at the Open Airrow Rockstage the intro-tune of Def Leppard was already played at the mainstage. This definitely had to be disturbing for Kansas, but apparently the organization didn’t want any delay in its time-schedule. When the guys of Def Leppard came on stage at the end of the intro Kansas was just finished playing and therefore Def Leppard wasn’t disturbed at all, when they played their pop-influenced hardrock. The show was agreeable and with a little help of the autopilot the guys walked through their set with some nice oldies and several newer ones. The best things about their performance were the little things, such as a bass-solo and of course it was amazing to watch the one-arm drummer Rick Allen. This guy produces some solid drumbeats, which sounds even better than the sound of other drummers who do have both their arms. Overall, a good show as a support for what was still to come. (Gilles)

The Sisters almost didn’t make it to Arrow. Their flight from New York suffered hours long delays caused by storms. They didn’t even have time to put their make-up and costumes on or even take a shit. But does all this stopped them from playing rock ‘n' roll? Nope. Bashing out sing-along-songs like ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It’, ‘I Wanna Rock’ and ‘Under the Blade’. Dee Snider is equipped with a healthy sense of humour and taking out to people who are waiting at the main stage for Whitesnake: “There’s nobody on the fucking stage there, man! We’re up here, man!”  Twisted Sister proved that they don’t need the clothing and the make up to give a great performance. They were one of the highlights of this day. (Angel)

Good to be Bad is the title of the latest Whitesnake album, the first in 11 years. To support the album the subsequent tour also led them to Nijmegen. A band with such a long history often suffers from the ‘greatest hits’ syndrome. Audiences only want to hear the standard classics and they are not really into anything new. The new album might be great and easily fit in with the rest of the set, it was clear that when one of the new songs was performed people didn’t seem to care. We got all the classics from ‘Still of the Night’ to ‘Ain't No Love in the Heart of the City’ and ‘Here I Go Again.’ The audience of older and newer fans plus children sang along to almost every song, except the new ones.  During the traditional drum/guitar solos frontman David Coverdale has time to recover a bit. He is still a great showman, but he clearly has difficulties now with hitting high notes. These solo spots are a welcome pause to David, for the audience it is the opportunity to take a leak. Everything ends, that is a sad cliché of life, and hopefully we can enjoy Whitesnake a few years more. (Angel)

We are Motörhead and we are going to kick your ass! For about 150 years or so, Lemmy and co. has been delivering us raw, raunchy uncompromising rock ‘n’ roll. It was quite astonishing to find out that this time they weren’t playing as loud as usual. We didn’t even have to use our ear plugs this time. But Motörhead gigs are always some kind of special, no matter how many times you have seen them already. With Phil Campbell on guitar and Mikkey Dee on drums, the trio raced through just 60 minutes of classics like Metropolis, Stay Clean and of course Ace of Spades. Charging through the set, the biggest surprise was the dedication to Phil Lynott. ‘Rosalie’  was performed, although originally it isn’t a Thin Lizzy song. Due to the restricted playing time, it was a little bit short gig though. That’s virtually the only complaint that I have, but hey, that really isn’t Motörhead’s fault. (Angel)

Around nine o’clock, the band where we had all being waiting for came on the stage with a blast. The four guys from Kiss were lifted down (including the whole drum kit) from the crest of the stage and meanwhile they played opener ‘Deuce’. It was the start of a great show with a shitload of fireworks and smoke machines and many other great acts. The music that was played sounded very tight and the sound was also very good. With a Kiss-show the music isn’t the most important thing though. The most important thing is to entertain the audience and looking at the entertainment on stage the audience truly got “the best”. A firework-shooting guitar, a flying, blood spitting and fire-breathing bassist; the show was enormous and I think even deaf people would have loved to see this band. But enough about their show and back to the side issue: Kiss’ first half of the set contained all the songs from the Alive record, while the encore consisted of six hits, namely ‘Shout It Out Loud’, ‘Lick It Up’, ‘I Love It Loud’, ‘I Was Made For Lovin’ You’, ‘Love Gun’ and ‘Detroit Rock City’. Under the accompaniment of the song ‘God Gave Rock N Roll To You’ all the 25.000 visitors left the Goffertpark with fresh memories of a great festival, which had the best headliner possible. We wanted the best, we got the best! Kiss is indeed the hottest band in the world. (Gilles)

Details Written on Sunday Jun 22nd, 2008
Writer @Gilles

Tags: #Arrow Rock Festival 2008