Again Madrid was the meeting point for the Spanish progressive community and again our friends of the radio program Los Recuerdos del Unicornio -Luis Manuel and Paco - were the "guilties" of having promoted a great progressive show for Madrid people. Unfortunately in Spain we have no coordination and while in Barcelona they could see Pendragon and Lacrimosa on stage, in Madrid we had been able to see "The Rainmaker Tour" with Roine Stolt and his boys.
This time the concert hall Ritmo y Compás was completely full of people who came from every corner of Spain. And, as always, we could share pleasant conversations with friends such as Roberto Gracia (Lunar Waves), Alberto Escalante (El Mellotron), José Sahagún, etc.
Interview? Tomas Bodin
When Eduardo Aragon and I arrived at the concert hall (19.00h), Roine Stolt was being interviewed by spanish national radio (incredible!). It didn´t matter since we hadn´t prepared questions. Richard Zywotckiewicz had interviewed Roine one week ago and there was no questions left to ask. Anyway, and while we were talking with the promoters of the concert, Tomas Bodin dressed in a sweatsuit. Evidently we won't waste the occasion of greeting one of the best keyboardists of the progressive world, so we took a couple of pictures and some signatures and we talk during an hour.
In that time we could know many curiosities about one of the
most important progressive bands in the planet. About the concern
of the whole band for the bootlegs proliferation, Bodin
told us that
"they are to spread the band´s success, but they are also very dangerous when its commercialization is massive. In Brazil I have signed CDs with covers I have never seen in my life. In fact Brazil is a curious country in which we have played in front of 400 people in small towns and the sales don't reflect our popularity. I also know that my solo Cd has been very successful in countries like Russia, but I cannot control the sales".
Eduardo, who is a very valiant guy, asked Tomas about the keyboardist who played with The Flower Kings in the previous tour. The answer was clear and honest:
"that boy is a great keyboardist, but maybe too much influenced by American traditional music and jazz. He could play great solos better than me, but I am much more careful with the sounds and I am always looking for the atmosphere and the appropriate sound for each moment. I work for a keyboards company looking for new sounds. I´m not in contact with him and I don´t think he is going to work with the band again, since his work with The Flower Kings was eventual due to my commitments with the Swedish National Theater".
"Tomas, Roine never says
which his favorite CD is, do you know it?", I ask him;
"Roine is very happy with "Garden of Dreams", but his favorite CD is Stardust we are".
Finally we ask him if TransAtlantic success had changed The Flower Kings career; Tomas told us that
"it is evident that TransAtlantic has opened up lots of new markets and we have been able to have new fans, young Dream Theater´s fans. Anyway, The Flower Kings career has always been growing up thanks to our record company".
Finally we ask him the typical question about if he listens at home to progressive rock. As it is usually habitual, the answer was "no".
Evidently in a hour of chat we speak of many more things, but the rest of the conversation moved among comments off the record about the world musical scene, Spain, and this brilliant musician and brilliant person´s amusing anecdotes. Sincerely just the opposite to the sensation that gave us Roine after the show, very tired, lazy and confined in the dressing rooms while the rest of the band didn't stop of signing autographs among the public during more than half hour after the concert. And I suppose that they would be also tired... mainly because the following day they were going to play in France.
Around ten o´clock at night the personal version of Wagner´s "Walkyries" played by Bodin and included in the limited edition of "The Rainmaker" began to sound through the speakers. Meanwhile, the musicians appear on stage, Roine and Bodin with shiny shirts, Hasse with a goatee, Reingold with his inseparable beret and the drummer with an estrange crest on his head.
"Road To Sanctury" was the track chosen to open fire. Although I didn´t enjoy this song in its studio version, it surprised me on stage. It was the first confirmation of the good acoustic of the local, so we have been waiting for a great show. Rumors and diverse comments pointed that perhaps The Flower Kings were going to play "Garden of Dreams" again. It seemed to br a bet too strong. It was very risky to play again such a difficult and long song, even more when they already played it during the last tour in 1999. But they didn't make a mistake: "Garden of Dreams" sounded in Madrid again. There are no words to describe how the song sounded. Certainly great. Although Roine was a little bit cold on stage, Reingold was the perfect comunicator with the audience. The drummer seemed to enjoy a lot with the show, and Bodin was always looking at the audience giving us a great show.
"Last Minute On Earth" was the next track they choose for promoting the new album. Hasse sang with lots of passion and the psychodelic guitar solos courtesy of Roine gave that bizarre sound among the melodic vocal lines
"Serious Dreamers", several times played during the soundcheck, was another marvelous track. The backing vocals sounded great on stage!. In the middle of the track, all the band stopped and Reingold played a marvelous bass solo showing us his great skill. It was not as energic as the bass solo played in the 99 show, but it was also impressive!. The following solo was Zoltan Csörsz´s who played a good drum solo. He was very lucky because the sound was very clean and clear, not very usual.
The first part of the concert finished with "I Am The Sun (part I)", the only "Space Revolver´s" track they played. Another great track with an impeccable sound and Bodin improvising here and there, creating a special magic atmosphere. Perfect. The band dissapeared and, as usual in Spain, all the audience began to sing and shout for the bises.
I have not talked about Hasse Fröberg until now. His great moment was yet to come. Although in "Space Revolver Tour" he already showed us his vocal collaboration on several tracks, in this show he was great and powerful. The swedish geniouses decided to finish the show with "Stardust We Are". Incredible. A perfomance full of beauty and might. I have always thought that it would be difficult to compose such a long song as this, that flows with lots of naturalness that in any moment let the listener insensitive. Well, after attending excited listening to the first and second parts of this jewel, Bodin delighted us with a great keyboard solo full of emotion, feelings, and skill. After that, Hasse´s voice appeared, initially with humility and simplicity and ending with lot of emotion and rythm until almost breaking his voice in the middle of delirium of the assistants. A great end for a great show.