‘You’ve gotten prettier. Ten years has done you good,” notes Thomas Acda in his characteristic dry tone. Acda and De Munnik are back, and all their boyhood dreams have achieved much more than just growing old: six times Ziggo Dome, new album (AEDM), and hey, back into the charts “We play songs. We have rehearsed this as best as possible. This is it. Have fun,” said Acda.
It is of course not true that they only play songs. At their core they remain artists. The show opens with a kitschy video about an AEDM museum in the 1950s, in which the now elderly musicians are shown around by actor Yannick van de Velde. Fortunately, there is a lot of self-mockery in it: “You were once a duo, but the other one was a bit difficult,” Van de Velde says to a very grumpy De Munnik. And when he comes across the Botox-sprayed Acda, they immediately get into an argument.
The tone is set, the band comes out and the chords of ‘Kapitein Part II’ fill the room. Immediately afterwards ‘Not or never been’ and ‘Ren Lenny Run’ are heard. The crowd is frenzied. Despite the old age jokes (“We’re going to lie down for a while, you can do something for yourself”), the two play as if the nineties never ended. As usual, they are supported by band members David Middelhoff, JB Meijers and Dave van Beek, and for a few songs even by early gentlemen Kasper van Kooten (drums) and Diederik van Vleuten (keyboards).
It’s raining rays of light. But the duo also has the gift of reducing the enormous hall to an intimate brown café with small songs such as ‘Walking until the sun comes’. The LED screens show impressive animations of Amsterdam, the canals, the Vondelpark, etc ‘Ground level’. The constant factor is an anonymous doll that gets lost in the world depicted.
The audience certainly isn’t, although it is a surprise for this reviewer to also encounter peers in their twenties. For us it’s more like ‘Spotify yours, Spotify mine’, but the nostalgic effect of the music is attractive. Tonight the young audience will enthusiastically sing along to the 90s.
And yet there is also room for new: the singles ‘Tussendoor’, ‘Tomorrow will be fantastic’ and ‘When I see you again’, in which singers Maan and Typhoon appear on stage. When Guus Meeuwis comes on stage for a few songs, the performance almost falls into the kitsch abyss, but the men of Van Dik Hout grab the evening by the collar just before nightfall. ‘Wooden heart’ is not sung flawlessly, but it is sung with passion. Certainly also by the fans, deafening.
Correction (October 27, 2023): an earlier version of this article mentioned laser beams. That had to be rays of light. That has been adjusted above.
The post first appeared on www.nrc.nl