At the second day of the festival the doors opened at 4 pm. Naturally we were there in time, as the first shows would be non other than Sylf (Jennifer Rothery) and Riccardo Romano Land. The last one was special, as it would be the first time we would hear songs from B612 performed live. We had to wait quite a bit in the lobby, as the soundcheck was not yet finished.
At 5 pm it was Sylf’s turn to open the second day with a short set. I first saw her perform live at the Marillion Weekend in 2017 and immediately was impressed with her voice and songs. At that time she used a laptop to accompany her, which sounded pretty good already. But what a difference to hear her with a full band. The music deserves to be played by top of the line musicians (like Riccardo and Steve) and the live instruments provide a beautiful contrast with her somewhat fragile voice.
Unfortunately Sylf only played four songs, of which Opia was my favorite. She did promise to release her album soon (really!!!). We cannot wait…
Luckily we could see and hear more of Sylf in the second show of the evening, as she stars as the Rose in the story of B612, so she starred in four songs in the Riccardo Romano Land show. Riccardo initially entered the stage dressed as the Little Prince, complete with the signature yellow scarf. Between songs he changed into the costumes of the Aviator and the Lamplighter, for the songs that are sung from the perspective of these characters. Apart from a single song, he stayed away from the keyboards and focused solely on singing.
Almost the entire album was performed, the first two tracks and the songs Le Renard and The Snake were skipped because the vocalists for these songs were unfortunately not in Uden. Highlight was the performance of Martin Jakubski, starring as the King in the song of the same name. Entering the stage dressed in a red cape and crown, he clearly enjoyed himself and the crowd reacted to that with enthousiam.
After the songs of B612 Riccardo surprised us by performing Babylonia, a 13 minute song that can be found on the bonus CD of the Deluxe Edition of B612. Riccardo himself states it is a tribute to all the victims of the 9/11 attacks and acts of terrorism in general. During the song a clip was shown, created by Maurizio Bonomi, consisting for the most part of images of the actual attack and ensuing fire and destruction of the towers in New York.
Quite a bold choice by Riccardo, as emotionally this is not the easiest song to end a concert. The combination of music and images hit me quite hard to be honest. Also Riccardo seemed to be giving it all, pouring his emotions into this song. I can imagine you are quite spent after that.
Riccardo had about half an hour to recharge, as he was due to perform with the Dave Foster Band in the next session, and ending the day with a two hour long setlist with the Steve Rothery Band. As Martin Jakubski stated: “this guys had to learn about 25 hours of music for this weekend”. In reality, it was about eight, which is still a very impressive archievement. Riccardo was the only musician to play or sing in all of the six performances. So it was completely justified that Steve Rothery dedicated the last two songs, Garden Party and Market Square Heroes, to Riccardo.
Riccardo, we salute you! See you October 19th in Alphen.