Dec 04

Review Depeche Mode tour of the Universe

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On November 30th I went to Ahoy Rotterdam to attend the latest concert tour of Depeche Mode. I’ve become a fan of the band in the early 80’s, at the time that synth-pop became popular for a very short time.

During all these years I kept interested in the band and kept buying the albums. I also bought several DVD’s from different tours, but until now never was able to attend a concert. The concert in Rotterdam was the only concert schedules in the Netherlands during the tour. Why? Is it because Depeche Mode isn’t that popular (anymore) in the Netherlands? That can’t be it, ’cause the venue (Ahoy) was sold out within one day.

What about the concert? Was it any good? Yes it was, I say. To begin with, the sound quality was good, so that was a good start. Furthermore the public was enthusiastic which always has a positive influence on the bands performance. And last, but not least, Depeche Mode played superb! The quality of DM concerts always depends on the main members of the band, lead-singer David Gahan and guitarist Martin Gore. Both were in excellent form on monday night. We all saw a very entertaining performance of the band. Music, lighting and the videowall were perfectly in sync. As a bonus for me the band not only played songs from their lastest album, but many more from the past.

Rate: 9 out of 10

Setlist

Setlist

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Jun 07

HTC MagicLast Thursday I received the new mobile phone I had ordered. Not that the old one (an HTC TyTN II) wasn’t functioning anymore or outdated. No, I had the old one for nearly 1.5 years so it was time to try a something new.

So what phone is it? Well, first of all, it’s not an Apple iPhone. If I want something new, I want the best of the future. And that’s definitely not an iPhone, but an Android phone. Android is the mobile platform initiated by Google in 2007. Late 2008 the first device (the HTC G1) was the first available device with the new OS. Usually I am an early adapter, but in this case I didn’t appreciate the device they launched. It was ugly! So I waited for the next-gen Android phone and it happened to be another HTC phone: the HTC Magic (or HTC G2 / Google Ion). This phone comes with the latest release of Android (1.5 Cupcake) and will be sold in The Netherlands exclusive by Vodafone.

The specifications of the phone don’t seems to be amazing and it’s comparable with the Apple iPhone. The specs that draw my attention:

  • Processor: 528 MHz Qualcomm MSM7201a
  • Memory: 512MB ROM, 192MB RAM
  • Weight: 118.5 gram including battery
  • Screen: 3.2″ TFT-LCD touch with a HVGA resolution of 320 x 480
  • Compass and internal GPS
  • Connectivity: quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE, HSDPA/WCDMA, Bluetooth 2.0, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g
  • Camera: 3,2 mega-pixel, auto-focus

I’ve been playing around with the phone for 3 days now and I must say I’m really surprised. The screen is very bright and clear. There’s no physical keyboard or stylus. The touch screen is capacitive, which means that it only reacts and interact on the touch of your finger. This was something I never experienced before and after a few hours I got the hang of it. The screen really reacts on ‘the touch’ of your finger. Cool!

But the real surprise isn’t the hardware, it’s the software. The Android OS is good. It’s intuitive and all basic hardware support is there. The response is, compared to my Windows Mobile TyTN II, overwhelming. And that’s not only because of the faster processor (528 compared to 400 MHz). The ‘feel’ of the Android OS is so much better.

I started to experiment with a lot of nice applications on the Magic. And magic it is. I will blog my experiences with these applications in a short while.

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May 29

Review Jean Michel Jarre concert HMH

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On may 26th I went to a Jean Michel Jarre concert in the Heineken Music Hall in Amsterdam. This concert was the 15th in row of his World Arena Tour, which started in Budapest on may 4th and will continue untill next year.

This was the second time I saw Jarre live. The first time was in 1997 in Ahoy Rotterdam during the Oxygene tour. Jarre only performed for about 55 minutes then, so my expectations were a bit higher this time. And what a performance it was! He played 2 stints of 50 minutes each and an encore of 2 songs. The music was loud and perfect, the lighting and lasershow amazing. Quiet an experience and much much better than the first concert I saw. There was only one thing I liked less: the organisation thought it would be best to place seats in the Hall and everyone was supposed to sit and stay put. I’d rather been standing during the performance and move to the music.

It was money well spend and worth the journey to Amsterdam and back.

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May 03

Music: Depeche Mode – Sounds of the Universe

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depechemodesoundsoftheuniverse1Together with my ordered U2 album amazon UK also send me the brand new Depeche Mode album called Sounds of the Universe.

Thirteen new songs, which could have been 20 songs as well. In an interview (on the accompanied DVD) Martin Gore tells that they had so many ideas worked out that they had trouble to choose which songs would make the album. And what an album it is. Typical dark Depeche Mode style, rythmic and very strong lyrics. A new masterpiece I think.

depechemodesoundsoftheuniverse2Art direction, photography and cover design are by Anton Corbijn.

The DVD is worthwhile as well. It contains all album tracks in Dolby and DTS 5.1 surround sound, a short film introducing the album by the bandmembers, the video of ‘wrong’ and 3 remixes of 3 tracks.

Score: 9 / 10

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May 03

Music: U2 – No Line On The Horizon (Ltd Edition Magazine)

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u2nolineonthehorizonThree days ago I got a delivery from Amazon UK. One of the items was the new (well it’s already 2 months old) album from U2.

It’s a special magazine edition. The actual CD is inserted in the semi-hard covered magazine. The magazine itself contains a lot of black & white photo’s taken by Anton Corbijn. Further there’s an interview with all the band members.

After the release of the first hit-single ‘Get On Your Boots’ you might think you have an impression of the rest of the album as well, but that’s not the case. U2 promised an album which would make people dance again. I’m not a dancer, but I can tell that this album is not danceable for a lot of people.

Score: 8 / 10

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