Live | Damian Wilson – De Nieuwe Nor – Heerlen [NL]
2 May 2023
Damian Wilson played live again last Tuesday at pop venue de Nieuwe Nor in Heerlen. He is currently on the road, armed with his acoustic guitar, as part of a small tour in The Netherlands and Germany. Seeing this good-humored English gentlemen live at work is always a guarantee for an evening of great music and great stories. And with a resume like Damian’s [Threshold, Headspace, Ayreon, Maiden uniteD, solo and many more], he can also draw from an almost endless well of songs.
But first we get so see Noëlle [de Bie]. She is a singer/ songwriter from Heerlen, who had the honor of warming up the already present audience with her songs and some covers. And although this was obviously not the usual pot of hard and heavy violence, which is usually reviewed on this webzine, this young lady made quiet an impression. Beautiful quirky renditions of Soft Cell’s ,,Tainted Love’’ and ,,Bad Guy’’ by Billie Elish, among others, were on the menu. But also a selection of her own work, which in terms of creativity could mainly draw from her experiences with love. [The good and the bad side of love.]
I personally think that this young lady has it in her to make some big steps and that this performance is just the beginning of a beautiful musical adventure for Noëlle. And fair is fair, to stand there alone with your guitar, with the spotlights on you and a well-filled room of critical music lovers that came to see Damian Wilson. Then you have to have guts.
Even before the performance, main act Damian Wilson made a leisurely tour of the audience, welcoming people and thanking them for coming. And actually, that is again typical for this born artist. Be grateful for the beautiful moments you have in your life, and performing for people is one of them.
On this Tuesday evening, the venue is nicely filled with people who are quiet as a mouse during the breath-taking performance. So quiet that Damian himself seems surprised by it. Tonight no wall of guitar amps and pounding drums. Today songs in their purest form are on the menu. And a set list? There is no such thing tonight. And that’s a relief sometimes, too.
In between songs Damian often takes the time to respond to what is happening in the venue, such as greeting the people who come in a little later and then continuing with the song he was performing. Or in the middle of the song telling one of his stories that he wants to tell at that moment. Whether it is, that he is grateful for the hotel room booked the night before the performance, but that he still prefers to sleep in his own van, because that feels like home. Or of that time his boat sank, with all his belongings and all. Well actually it was the fourth time a boat of his had sunk.
It ensures funny anecdotes, keeping the humor in between beautiful acoustic performance of songs like ,,Thrill Me’’, ,,Disciple’’, ,,Limehouse To Lechlade’’, ,,Thank You’’, ,,Written In Anger’’ or ,,Homegrown’’. Each one in beautiful performances and during each song you can hear a pin drop in the hall. If anyone even starts a conversation in the hall, they are whispering so as not to disturb the performance. Just Magnificent!
If Damian ever chooses to become a storyteller, I think he could also win over packed theatres with his out-of-life day to day stories. Who would have thought a story about going to the dentist could be funny!? However, the man knows how to keep a nice distinction between his sense of humor, stories, and playing great songs for which, the people ultimately came, of course.
Well Damian also want to introduce us to a lady. We should get to know this lady who has never been on a stage. When he comes out of the dressing room, a few moments later, returning to the stage, it actually turns out to be a great little acoustic guitar. This guitar, which he has been able to save of a boat, one of the times it sank to the bottom of the river Thames. Once rescued it took a while before the moisture was gone, but now he is able to share the tones of this beauty on stage with us. Yet again, that’s just one of the many stories that were shared with us.
We also got to hear a beautiful version of the Iron Maiden’s ,,The Evil That Men Do’’, and the crowd sings along too loud with Damian. Once again this proved to be a wonderful, relaxed evening with a true English gentleman. A true artist that has earned his right to be on stage with his excellent craftsmanship.
Is this everyone’s cup of tea? I am sure it isn’t, but all the attendees walked out of de Nieuwe Nor with a big smile, a handshake of the man himself and a nice selfie with him if you wanted to. Damian, once again, thanks for this great evening!
All photos by Raymond Helebrand