One Night in Amsterdam marks Ian Siegal’s first live album with a full-throttle electric band. It also marks the first time he has performed, let alone recorded, four of the songs on this album. There are re-workings of several all-time fan favourites, excursions into the distant past, and some surprises.
The band is Siegal’s relatively new (launched in 2013) Dutch-German contingent and his first band change in ten years. With an average age of 23, Dusty Ciggaar (guitar), Raphael Schwiddessen (drums), and Danny Van’t Hoff (bass), deliver in spades, as though they have been playing with Siegal for as long as they are old. Young Dusty Ciggaar, already well known on the Benelux scene, confirms his status as a guitar god in waiting. It’s fair to say that these guys are amongst the few musicians able to keep pace with Siegal’s freewheeling live performances.
One Night In Amsterdam is the sound of chemistry but the songs are always the stars. Before the crowd’s welcoming cheers have even subsided, I Am The Train races out of the blocks, even more urgent here than when Siegal tracked it in Mississippi for his 2012 album, Candy Store Kid.
Also from Candy Store Kid comes the sad-eyed, slide-powered travelogue of Early Grace, Siegal’s raw vocal exposing the tarnish on the Golden State (“California, where all your dreams come true, your nightmares too”).
Elsewhere, he pulls out the funk-blues strut of Kingdom Come (from 2009’s Broadside), with its tough vocal telling of a woman with “the wings of an angel and the eyes of a shark”. He revisits the evergreen Brandy Balloon (from 2005’s Meat & Potatoes), and even dusts off Queen Of The Junior Prom (the pick of 2002 debut Standing In The Morning), with the crowd reaction suggesting that Siegal’s earliest fans have never left his side.
In Siegal’s hands, the old is every bit as thrilling as the new, and even dog-eared cover versions can feel like they’re being born right in front of you. At this North Sea Jazz Club show, the songwriter shows his scholarly appreciation of the masters, whether re-imagining Tom Russell’s classic cockfighting fable, Gallo Del Cielo, or revisiting his own back-pages in Nottingham, England, where local legend Harry Stephenson entranced the crowds. “I just really wanted to do one of Harry’s songs,” explains Siegal, before launching into Stephenson’s gutsy rocker, Writing On The Wall.
For the final two tracks Ian is joined by siblings, Joel and Tess Gaerthe, from the popular Dutch indie band, Ashtraynutz. They add magical harmonies to the Everly Brothers’ Love Hurts and another first performance, Please Don’t Fail Me.
One night. A thousand highlights! Plus, don’t miss the extended free bonus track Hard Pressed – unlocked via a download key with every copy of One Night in Amsterdam.