On 26th January 2019, Pete Jones and his Tiger Moth Tales (TMT) performed at the Boerderij in Zoetermeer for what would become his third solo performance in the Netherlands. Previous performances, on the same stage, during the sixth edition of the Progdreams Festival in 2017 and in January 2018, his debut as main act, were well received. This performance would be split into two parts this evening: the second part of the show consisted of songs from his other vehicle, Red Bazar, the first part was completely filled with music from his first four studio albums under the name Tiger Moth Tales. And this last show was recently released on DVD/CD under the appropriate title A Visit To Zoetermeer, with a nod to one of the songs he would be playing that night, A Visit to Chigwick. The line-up of the band before and after the break would remain the same.
This division is also the reason that the performance is relatively short; Jones plays only a small selection from his repertoire, nine songs will be reviewed with a total playing time of just over 70 minutes. For a select connoisseur audience, however, the blind, super-talented, multi-instrumentalist has already built up a solid fan base. With his symphonic prog, dipped in a late Seventies Genesis and Hackett sauce, and his intriguing stories, invariably accompanied by a large dose of humour, he has become an indispensable star of the prog firmament.
The songs he plays this evening are an anthology of his work, his latest studio album Story Tellers Part 2 had just been released at the time of the performance. He plays Toad from Toad Hall, the funny story of the motorised frog from Wind in the Willows, the tragicomic The Boy Who Cried Wolf and the moving Match Girl, the latter includes a stunning melodica solo by bassist Mick Wilson. The epic The Ballad of Longshanks, about the death of Robin Hood, and Hygge, with echoes of Genesis’ Entangled, are from his collection of winter stories, The Depths Of Winter. Debut album Cocoon is best represented in the set list: no less than four songs are from this 2015 CD. Tigers in the Butter, the almost fifteen-minute long ultimate prog song, receives audible and visible appreciation from the connoisseur audience. But also comic The Merry Vicar, acoustic A Visit to Chigwick, both clocking at about ten minutes, and, last but not least, Feels Alright can count on much support from the enthusiastic audience at the Boerderij. There is always discussion about the choice of the setlist, personal favourites such as the instrumental Kai’s Journey have not survived the final selection, but in general what we have here is a nice cross-section of TMT’s work.
What is especially striking during this show are Jones’ fabulous vocals. Of course, his capabilities on keyboards have often been praised, and for good reason: he deservedly holds this important position within the legendary Camel. His guitar playing, reminiscent of both Hackett and Latimer, is hardly inferior to his antics on the black & whites. On top of that, he miraculously manages to play both instruments at the same time (Tigers in the Butter). But what catches the eye (and ear) most is this man’s singing capabilities. An important reason for Camel’s Andy Latimer to ask him to join his band for live performances. Jones sings with a lot of feeling, particularly evident in the melancholy ballads. What a wonderful voice, during soulful sections showing some resemblance to Paul Carrack’s, well suited to the nature of his self-penned music. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Jones is currently one of the most important standard-bearers of the new generation of prog musicians. With this excellent new live album he reaffirms his status. I can hardly wait for a new studio album when we can once again enjoy this man’s brilliant music. Three cheers for the merry frontman!
A Visit To Zoetermeer is released as a combination of DVD and (audio) CD plus a bonus disc containing five video versions of songs from Story Tellers Part 2. An experienced crew led by veteran John Vis (Neal Morse, Mystery, Lazuli) is responsible for the video parts. The images greatly enhance the effect of the music. We see a band, but especially a band leader who is clearly in his element. The multitude of cameras specifically shows the individual musicians. Jones’ nimble keyboard work and Andy Wilson’s guitar antics are brilliantly depicted and above all in close-up, but the melodica solo and relaxed drumming can also be admired. In addition, compliments for the editing work: here we have clearly someone at work with an in-depth knowledge of Jones’ music. Every (mini) solo, vocal magic and significant drum break is displayed with perfect timing, tribute.
01. Toad of Toad Hall (4:27)
02. Feels Alright (5:01)
03. Match Girl (4:25)
04. Hygge (8:38)
05. The Boy Who Cried Wolf (7:00)
06. The Ballad of Longshanks John (7:22)
07. Tigers in the Butter (14:07)
08. The Merry Vicar (9:50)
09. A Visit to Chigwick (9:47)
Total Time – 70:37
03. The Ballad of Longshanks John
04. Hundred Acre Wood
05. Toad of Toad Hall
Peter Jones – Vocals, Guitar, Keyboards
Mick Wilson – Bass, Melodica, Vocals
Andy Wilson – Guitars
Paul Comerie – Drums
Record Label: White Knight Records
Country of Origin: U.K.
Date of Release: 21st February 2020