For me it was a big and pleasant surprise to see the announcement of a concert of the French group Ange. They would give a concert in a small venue called "de Boerderij" in a Dutch town called Zoetermeer. This is my favourite location for progressive gigs. The man who does the programming of the venue likes progmusic and I was lucky to attend gigs of IQ, RPWL, Plackband, Pendragon, Iona and Pallas this year. Back in the seventies I bought all the albums of the French band I could get my hands on. In my opinion Ange has always been an underrated band. Maybe because of the fact the band sings in their native language, they never reached the big audiences outside of France. In France they played for audiences of 10.000 people in their glory days. Maybe you have never heard of Ange, but the band exists for more than thirty years! (32 years to be exactly). And if you count also the Christian Décamps et Fills albums their output is more than thirty albums. It was 27 years ago that the band played in The Netherlands. For me it was like a dream came true! I never thought I would be able to see Ange performing in The Netherlands. Some Dutch Ange freaks, "Solution Productions" and "de Boerderij" made it all possible. But most of the Dutch progfans who were present at the earlier mentioned gigs were not there. They missed maybe the only opportunity to see this French legend performing live. I was very sorry for the band that there where only around 100 or 150 people who came to this gig. Leader and singer Christian Décamps described us as "lonely people" when he came on stage. But the band came to play for their real fans and played for more than two hours. Shame on all the Dutch prog fans whom where not present. You missed the best concert I attended this year in "de Boerderij".
The formation of the band was the same as we can hear on the last two studio albums “La voiture à eau” and “Culinaire lingus” and the double live album Rêves-parties which was released after the “La voiture à eau” tour. With the exception that Caroline the female singer of the last album was also present. Together with Christian she added a kind of theatrical atmosphere to the show. Besides Christian Décamps on lead vocals, keyboards and acoustic guitar and his very talented son Tristan Décamps on keyboards and some vocals the band existed out of Hervé Rouyer on drums, Thierry Sidhoum on bass and Hassan Hajdi on electric guitar.
Often I find it difficult to remember the titles of the songs played at a gig. Especially if the band in question has made more than 30 albums. But I will do my best. It was amazing to stand so close to the stage that I almost could touch the band. I like this because you communicate by eye contact and the movement of your body directly with the band. And Christian Décamps is a singer who performs with a lot of passion, tension and emotion. The band played a mix of old songs and tracks of the last to studio albums. From “Culinaire lingus” they played "Jusqu' où iront-ils?", "Adrénaline", "Culinaire lingus", "On sexe" and "Cadavres exquis". And I think I recognised "Eurekâ" and "Bilboquet" from the “La voiture à eau” album. For fans who never did see the band performing it was a feast to witness older songs like "Au dela du delire", "Ode a emile" and "Sur la trace des fees". Often the tension of the music of Ange builds up to a climax with emotional sung vocals, melodic guitar solos and bombastic and orchestral keyboards. Last song of the concert was "Vu D'un chien" (with a brilliant "dog" performance of Caroline). In the encore section the band played their first single and the long and impressive "Quasimodo". But the first encore was the song I came for. My favourite song of the very symphonic “Guet apens” album. Christian Décamps is the drunk captain in this song. It is called "Capitaine coeur de miel" and the emotional performance of Christian gave me chicken goose. The tension of the music builded up to a climax I never witnessed before at a live gig. Together with "Sur la trace des fees" this was the highlight of the evening for me. The band was in great shape this evening and you could feel that they loved to play those songs together. The emotional guitar solos of Hassan Hajdi I also enjoyed. Nothing than praise for the band but in my opinion the volume of the keyboards of Tristan Décamps was too low. Tristan is very talented and was playing with a lot of concentration. Beautiful orchestral sounds with a lot of emotion. And when the band reached a climax in the music he was jumping behind his keyboards. I noticed father Christian looking proud and content to his son when they were playing keyboards together and were standing opposite of each other. One of the magic moments at this amazing concert. After 30 years Ange is still the best French progressive rockband. Don't miss the chance to see this band!