The Outsiders live at the Paradiso, Amsterdam: October 10th, 1997

Report by Sander van Malssen
A fascinating, time-warping performance, going from strength to strength with each number played.
For about 40 minutes, that is. Then your correspondent had to catch the last train home. I had counted on starting this paragraph with ``for about 65 minutes,'' but the stage hands were a bit slow at setting up the instruments and attempting a sound check, you see.
When yours truly arrived at Paradiso, Amsterdam at ten to nine, the support act for the evening was already underway. What a shame. I ought to have arrived after they had finished. Bland generic rock with a lead singer who thinks he's hip because he has a neck-tie hanging loose from his collar, and a bass player who thinks that moving around a lot is a worthy substitute for stage presence.
Then, after much ado by the stage hands and surreptitious glancing at his watch by your reporter, the main treat of the evening came on stage. You know the routine, it was a shortened version of Story 16: ``On drums. . . Leendert Busch!'' --- drums starting to pound away --- ``bass guitar. . . Appie Rammers!'' --- bass tones starting to roll up and down, and on to the next one, except that the master of ceremonies had temporarily forgotten the name of the new rhythm guitarist (Tom Krabbendam wasn't part of the reunion), but then, so has your loyal correspondent. ``Lead guitar. . . Ronald Splinter!'' and finally, ``Vocals. . . Wally Tax! The Outsiders!'' --- the lot of them bursting into a crescendo of accelerating drums, bass, guitars and harmonica amidst much enthousiastic screaming from the audience. Well, sort of. It took a few songs for Tax to sort his harmonica out, but do read on.
The first few songs, I must say, did ramble a bit. Ronald Splinter's guitar had a breakdown in the second song, but Ronnie bravely struggled on through to the end, although it seemed for the first few numbers that he had forgotten that continuous distortion on your rhythm guitar is something for seventies hard rock bands, not sixties nederbiet bands. With some mis-communication, and with a small spot of confusion during one song, some embarrased giggling already started to emanate from the audience, and your correspondent was starting to wonder whether the guys on stage had lost it after all, until after a few songs the apparent nervousness, or edginess perhaps of the band members started to subside (this was, after all, their first gig for their Amsterdam home audience in three decades) and, like magic, what was on stage transformed from a bunch of guys holding instruments into a band --- a five-membered organism working as one mind to deliver a sound, a rhythm, a BEAT --- this was The Outsiders! Yea, this was the band I'd come for. This was the blistering-maniacal guitar style that your unworthy servant inaptly tries to emulate in his own musical endeavours. This was it.
These guys are still pretty good. Yes I know what I said above, but that was just by way of warming up (by them I mean, not me). It's not important that they took a few songs to get up to speed, it's important that they did get up to speed, and my goodness they did.
``Well then,'' I hear you ask, ``what did they play?'' All their old stuff, of course. I have it from reliable sources that they even did a newly written song at the end. The ones that I managed to catch before my untimely forced exit included, perhaps even in approximately correct order, Story 16, Monkey on Your Back, If You Don't Treat Me Right, Touch, a beautiful What's Wrong with You, Thinking about Today and Filthy Rich. Not bad for just the first forty minutes.
And then, just as the heavenly intertwined wailing of Splinter's guitar and Tax's voice in Sun's Going Down started to sweep over the stage and into the audience, your humble servant had to step out into the drizzle to catch that last train home. Oh well, a dozen more dates await on this tour, I'll just have to catch a few of the ones nearer to home.

Back to: Articles
Back to: Home Page