Supersister & Residentie Orkest at Amare Theatre, The Hague 2024 TPA banner

Supersister & Residentie Orkest

Amare Theatre, The Hague, The Netherlands
Thursday, 8th February 2024

I was somewhat surprised by the last-minute invitation from a good friend to witness a unique performance by legendary Dutch band Supersister together with the renowned Residentie Orchestra in their natural habitat, the Amare Theater in the heart of The Hague. Amare’s beautiful new concert hall can accommodate 1,500 people, and it was occupied to the very last seat. Quite a mixed audience too, although the age was largely over seventy; it’s safe to say that the audience has grown apace with the band. The premiere of this special concert took place in 2023, at the rock venue Paard, located not that far from Amare. This time too, Paard is the organiser, in close collaboration with Amare.

Supersister & Residentie Orkest at Amare Theatre, The Hague 2024

Robert Jan Stips is dressed in a smart white outfit this evening, his charming, boyish appearance capturing the attention of the audience. He sprinkles humorous introductions and anecdotes, but is having some troubles with his vocal cords. A water bottle is close at hand, the high notes are a problem, but the female part of the venue helps him out. He performs the opening number, Hijuvi Suite, known from Dutch band NITS, alone, accompanied by the orchestra. For the second song, Next Door Movie, drummer Leon Klaasse also appears on stage, according to Stips the most musical drummer he knows. His track record with Powerplay and The Analogues, among others, guarantees quality.

And then finally Rinus Gerritsen comes on stage prior to the third song, the legendary Pudding en Gisteren, written especially for ballet. He is extremely popular in The Hague, after a lifetime of Golden Earring, dressed entirely in black and in great spirits. The joke with conductor Hans Leenders during the encore, where it seemed as if Gerritsen started at the wrong time, is indicative. His bass solo, played with a lot of fuzz, is one of the highlights of the show.

Supersister & Residentie Orkest at Amare Theatre, The Hague 2024

Conductor Hans Leenders makes a strong impression, a showman through and through. With elegant gestures, he encourages the members of the orchestra to bring out their best, in passing, encouraging fans to some audience participation, for example in She Was Naked. Last but not least the orchestra: with more than 30 men/women represented on stage, playing extremely tightly, very focused and professional with not a single note out of place. Rarely have I seen such fine interplay between a band and orchestra as on this evening – and I’m talking about Yes, Deep Purple and Steve Hackett, to name but a few.

The set list is virtually the same as the previous performance at Paard in 2023. After the aforementioned songs, Energy (Out of Future) and the ever popular She Was Naked were played in succession. For me personally, however, in addition to Pudding en Gisteren, the following trio of songs are the highlight of the evening: the Floydian Hope to See You There Again, dedicated to deceased friends and family, the Medley of songs once played to a Revox recorder in a cellar in The Hague and No Tree Will Grow (On Too High a Mountain), from 1971’s To the Highest Bidder. The minor hit song Radio also means the end of the regular show. And what do you do when you have exhausted your pre-rehearsed repertoire? You just repeat a few songs that you played earlier. No sooner said than done. Naked, an excerpt from Ravel’s Boléro and the last part of Medley are fitting final chords for an evening full of fun and highlights.

Supersister & Residentie Orkest at Amare Theatre, The Hague 2024

Stips is in his element and talks endlessly, such as about the early days as a 17-year-old student, but also about the loss of friends: apart from himself and drummer Marco Vrolijk, there is no one left alive from the original line-up. The now famous TV documentary is discussed, the wonderful time at the beach pavilion during the recording of Retsis Repus, the hint to touring with Golden Earring in the US, the (deemed) lost basement tapes, NITS 50 years and so on.

Supersister & Residentie Orkest at Amare Theatre, The Hague 2024

I’ve rarely heard such a good sound; whether it’s the acoustics or the front of house technician – or a combination of both – I cannot remember hearing such a beautifully balanced sound in recent decades, with so many people on stage at the same time, hats off. The only blemish was the fact that Robert Jan’s vocals and keyboards were not quite in the mix at the beginning of the performance, otherwise nothing but praise. Not only was I impressed by the perfect sound, the light show, with projections on walls and ceilings, was no less impressive. The arranger of the work also deserves double kudos, the special orchestral arrangements bring the best out of the music, that is now more than five decades old and apparently lends itself perfectly to this approach.

Supersister & Residentie Orkest at Amare Theatre, The Hague 2024

What especially came to the fore was the Fun, with a capital ‘F’, from all participants. Playing together, not feeling any pressure, just enjoying the music and the moment, it rubbed off on the devout audience. After an hour-and-a-half, it’s all over, the excited crowd treats the band and orchestra to a standing ovation, several times in fact; many people have rarely had as much exercise as on this evening! The atmosphere is buzzing after the show in the foyer of Amare, where the artists mingle with their fans. This was above all a unique The Hague affair, for both band/orchestra and audience, and I am happy that, as a born and bred resident of The Hague, I could be part of this special evening.

[Photos by Fred Baggen Photography – used with kind permission]

Hjuvi Suite
Next Door Movie
Pudding en Gisteren (Muziek voor Ballet)
Energy (Out of Future)
She Was Naked
Hope to See You There Again
No Tree Will Grow (On Too High A Mountain)
She Was Naked
Medley Pt.2

Rinus Gerritsen – Bass
Leon Klaasse – Drums, Vocals
Robert Jan Stips – Keyboards, Lead Vocals
~ With:
Residentie Orkest
Hans Leenders – Conductor

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