The Arrow Classic Rock Festival is a one of a kind event in Holland, where young Metal Heads, Old Hippies and music lovers from 1970 to 2004 can co-exist in perfect harmony for this three day musical extravaganza.

  Brigitte and I along with our friend Thomas Henzler met in the grass field parking lot and started our adventure from there. Sun shining, a warm and friendly day was waiting for us. Although to get to this point we had to drive through one thunder storm after another the whole two and a half hour drive, and now all the rain we just went through will be catching up to us again very soon, and continue on and off throughout the whole day.

 The next step was to the visitors tent, then onto five or six more tents and buildings in order to acquire the necessary wrist bands that allow us full access to all the bands, food, drinks and the “on stage” area to view the bands of our choice.  

 With this accomplished we could now find our way through the opening in the fence to the backstage area and have a little look around. Backstage looked like a small warehouse and you've never seen so much equipment in your life. Every band arrived with a tractor trailer full of everything, busses filled the parking lot and it really looked like the Rock and Roll Circus just came to town. 

  Here is a list of the bands who appeared on Friday, Saturday and Sunday: The  11th 12th and 13th of June 2004  

Ten Years After Scorpions Eric Burdon Paul Rodgers Heart
Alice Cooper   Joe Satriani The Godz Golden Earring UFO
Steve Vai Yes Fish Blue Oyster Cult Iron Butterfly  
Motörhead Judas Priest  Robert Fripp Saga Queensryche
  Symphony X Plaeto  Caravan  

Brigitte and I are only here for the Saturday shows but Thomas is here for both days as he wants to see and meet Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart and the members of Golden Earring.

Top of the bill on this day is Ten Years After:

  As we come up the stairs and through the equipment warehouse we see Leo, Joe and Chick waiting to go on stage. A brief hello to the band and then we step aside so as not to get under foot, we find a place in the wings and settle in to watch their set. They hit the stage right on time and play a crowd favorite right off the bat “Good Morning Little School Girl”, now their into their second song and the rain starts falling hard, some head for the nearest tent about fifty feet away from the back of the crowd but about two thirds of the audience stand still as if the music is the only thing going on around them.

  Leo and Joe step over the monitors and stand by the front edge of the stage to get as close to the die hard rockers as is possible and they are making their point perfectly clear "we are with you, lets rock and roll no matter what"  you are not alone, hang on and listen. Old songs, new songs it all works very effectivly and drives the message home, we are Ten Years After make no mistake and the audience loves it all.

  The wind is picking up, the rain is blowing sideways and the plastic around the stage is now of little use, rain is pouring through the roof and in the wings it is making puddles all over, but everyone is happy and could care less. The weather is now more severe than before but the people who headed for the dry tent are now all coming back  towards the stage to watch Joe play his guitar, because they were afraid they were going to miss something. Joe is that good and the people were willing to tolerate the bad weather to be a part of  his extraordinary playing. 

  In between songs Leo addresses the audience as he tries to make the best of a rather uncomfortable situation and offers up some humour to help ease the stress. In front of the stage are about 3,000 people and more still coming, I have never seen a band that can hold an audiences attention in such nasty circumstances and still manage to entertain and please them without one single complaint.  


   Now about 5,000 people are in front of the stage and "I'm Going Home" makes them all move in more. Yes, it seems like Woodstock all over again, the rain, the mud and the music, but the crowd is laughing, jumping around, dancing and that is what it is all about. From the bands perspective it may not have been the most ideal situation but we can tell you for a fact, their conduct on stage, their interaction with the audience and their overall positive attitude made all difference in the world. On top of all this the people wanted encores and the band respected their request by playing two more songs.  After the show Ric offered us a ride back to the artist area, and Thomas, Brigitte and I all accepted.  

 Phil Moog and Joe Gooch

This is where the food, drinks and dressing rooms are. I caught up with Leo talking with Pete Way from the band UFO and had the good fortune to just stand there and listen, after they were done I asked Pete how it was to work with Leo on the first three UFO albums, Pete took a step closer to me put his arm around my shoulder,  looked directly at Leo and proceeded to offer a very humorous dialog about the situation, stating no facts but just having a little fun at Leo's expense by making up stories all in good fun. Then Pete said in all honesty "Leo was great to work with, the band was very happy with him as a person and as producer because he allowed each of us to express ourselves, he was there to offer suggestions and his experience  and that was just what we needed the most."   

 I (Dave) told Pete what I have told Leo myself, that the sound on those UFO recordings still holds up just as well today as it did back then, Pete totally agreed and now shy and modest Leo was trying to fade into the woodwork. ( note: we were in UFO's dressing room and the door was closed and Leo was kind of trapped in the corner behind the door while Pete and I were talking about him).  One thing I learned about Leo, whatever he does he does to perfection and then he moves on to the next project, he has no desire to dwell on past accomplishments. He really spends no time in the world of  --- would-of ----  could-of ---- should-of,  as  it appears to be a waste of his creative time and energy.

I learned this when asking him about Cricklewood Green or SSShhhh in past conversations, while I could name track for track on any Ten Years After Album, he had to be given a reference point to refresh his memory of that time period, so much water has passed under that bridge in the last thirty  five years, while to us as fans it seems like only yesterday.

For the rest of the band, interviews from all directions and no time to waste, this is really now a band on the run, and for us as fans it’s great to see it happen for them all over again. 

  Across the hall from UFO is the band called The Godz, a nice little Rock and Roll Band who I've had two of their records in my collection, they seem like a cross between Kiss and Guns and Roses. Kick Ass Rock with some very tasty ballads but never made it very far beyond a cult classic in my opinion but I like them. Every time I got the urge or guts in this case to step across the hall to say hello some mean looking person was carving out a message with his burning eyes saying "don't even think about it" one person was yelling at another person and after a while someone slammed the door and that made their position perfectly clear—“Piss Off”    

Time for me to get some water, and who do I meet next - Mr. Howard Leese, ex Heart guitarist from their Magic Man fame, had a nice little chat with him as he is now in Paul Rogers Band and we will see them perform later in the day.  

Back to the stage:

Paul Rodgers of Free and Bad Company:

One thing I have to tell you, is during the day I will stand a few inches to a few feet away from Paul Rodgers, Eric Burdon and Klaus Meine and these larger than life legends are men who from head to toe stand about an average height  of five foot nothing. Paul Rodgers is not only small in stature but also weighs about one hundred pounds dripping wet, but as most of you know this guy can belt out a song like few others. The most memorable thing for me is his stage presence, this guy puts on one hell of a damn good show, no a great show. While he can rip through all the hits of his career one by one he still has the passion, energy and soul to make you feel his magic and charisma. He walks around the stage, he stomps his foot and he dances all over the place. His backing band is top shelf and the best of their trade, but I find them performing, doing their act but Paul is living it out every minute.   “All Right Now” is of course one of the hits of the day along with “Feel Like Making Love” and Paul on piano doing the song “Bad Company”… “Shooting Star” and “Fire and Water” are also on the set list.   Paul could’ve just stood still and ran through the set and pulled it off without complaint, but what I witnessed was the man whipping up his band and all the energy on stage for the first twenty minutes or so and then turning that power loose onto the audience. Remember we’re talking outdoor festival here and not a small club venue, and Paul has the power to project into the wide open spaces and reach hearts and stir up a deep emotional response. 

  The audience is singing right along with the Free and Bad Company hits that they know by heart, but Paul is pushing them along and he’s not backing down or letting go of them. When this happens you have to ride along cause you can’t fight the positive vibe and good feelings that are going on. Paul is a great performer but he also acts like a member of the audience who just happened to jump up on the stage. I get the feeling that he lives for the moment and he lets no moment pass without squeezing the ever loving piss out of it before letting it pass.   One thing about this festival, you feel like you just backdated to 1970 and you’re in a beautiful time warp, the rain and humidity of Woodstock, the music of the times and the friendly atmosphere of the festival crowd. It’s funny to be standing right next to a metal head who wasn’t even thought of back in 1970 and still have the common bond of music to wash away the years between us. It’s no secret who is there to see who all you have to do is be able to read the tee-shirts. Me and Brigitte in our Ten Years After, others supporting Motorhead, Alice Cooper ect all over the place, and to my great surprise most speak English.  

Back to Paul, he is in total control and enjoying every minute, and you can be sure he is making sure the band is with him all the way to the end. The set ends and Paul is in no hurry to leave the stage, his heart is in it and it shows.

Keep Rocking Paul Rodgers. 




Getting Older:

One of the problems with getting older is your lack of tolerance for getting bumped, shoved and getting your feet stepped on by drunk people trying to carry ten beers at a time back to their party, while at the same time they’re slipping and sliding in the mud and trying to stay vertical. I do remember being one of them back when, but I was too numb to care, so folks, being straight and sober at a festival has its drawbacks have excessive patience and tolerance towards your fellow man and woman. Along with this, the crowd is always moving which can be a real pain in the ass, in the old days you carved out a space and stayed there to enjoy the music. As you stand there watching, a snake of humanity is trying to go somewhere, get somewhere or do something or other. It’s not only me who got annoyed because little fights are breaking out like brush-fires all over the place, first dirty looks, then an exchange of harsh words, and then a few fast punches resolved the problem.  

Security: Yeah, they were there, on the stage and in the crowd but I’m still confused as to what their job was exactly as the crowd was self regulating. One thing I am thankful for is the security in the parking lot (corn field as it were) they were friendly and excellent in every way—thanks to all of you who worked that thankless job for twelve hours or more and protected our cars, trucks, vans and motorcycles. 


The stage staff were wonderful:

When we were given our  “access all areas” wrist bands we were told they were only good while Ten Years After were performing on stage, but who was going to know the difference if we wanted to see other artist perform while standing in the wings? Getting to see Paul Rodgers was a problem as too many people had the same idea as I did, so the nice lady who is in charge asked me and some others to please wait backstage for a little while as her boss was getting pissed off. Her attitude and approach was friendly and refreshing, you have to respect people like this and we did without question. Later on she let me go where ever I wanted, so being nice pays off when dealing with the right people. Overall the whole event was well planned, well laid out and everything flowed very nicely. Other than the unfortunate ran showers it was perfect. Hats off to all those in charge of the event.

  There were only two places that were difficult to get access to, one was Alice Cooper, a kindly old man (not Cooper) but the man that was guarding the gate I showed him my wrist band and he said sorry we need the official  Alice Cooper (decoder ring to get in) all kidding aside Alice has his own personal passes in order to get backstage, and we didn’t have one of those so I shook the mans hand and said no problem we (Thomas and I ) understand, the man was just doing his job. The second was Eric Burdon but because the person at the backstage area couldn’t speak English they thought I was part of the Eric Burdon crew and I just came late so they let me in.





Eric Burdon and the Animals:


Eric is Eric, all I heard was hey Dave he’s standing over there signing autographs go say hallo, as I fumble to find a pen he’s gone, outside Brigitte says there he is fifty yards away and heading towards his bus. Eric likes to be alone, he’ll sign one or two autographs and that’s all, his contact with fans and others is very limited.

Brigitte and Thomas went out front to watch the show while I headed backstage to watch from the side lines. The best part was first we got to watch them perform and then join them for dinner and have a chat. Brigitte and I saw them about a year ago in Paderborn,  Germany and that was our first meeting with the band members.

Bernie Pershey:

While they were on stage I was standing in the wings watching and Ric came in just in time to see Bernie's drum solo. Where Bernie gets that power and energy from I don't know, but it was just as much fun to watch Ric's face and reaction as it was to watch Bernie beat the hell out of his kit. Ric has a lot of respect for him and I can tell you first hand (for the doubting Thomas out there) that the feeling is mutual.

My first question to Bernie was, did you add a little more to your drum solo as Ric was there watching? At first he said no as he started to smile, well just a little as he started to laugh.
My second question was something I always wanted to know about Ric's playing and it had to come from another drummer and I knew Bernie was the one to ask.
I said Bernie, I've watched you play, I've seen Corky Laing and Carmine Appice among others and Ric is nothing like them, can you tell me what makes Ric's drumming so special? Bernie liked the question because he had the chance to teach me something while at the same time giving Ric great respect.
He said: "Ric, is a jazz drummer he is smooth, cool and his playing is exact, his style is subtle and not designed to be powerful, Ric is the best drummer I know."
"Ric is precise, a perfectionist and that's what makes him one of the best around without exception."
If Carmine, Corky and Ric were giving a drum seminar all at the same place but in different rooms I would choose Ric every time,he is much more interesting and I always learn something from watching him." Bernie continues, "Ric came out of the big band era and he learned from the best, while he can play rock and roll with the best of them Ric is in a class all his own and few are able to reach that level."

Martin Gerschwitz, is a German who can switch from German to English without skipping a beat and one of the most interesting people to talk with. Marty as he allows us to call him is a real gentleman and full of talent, just check out his biography  (place his bio link here).   Brigitte and Thomas had a good time conversing with him in German and me in English. He knew our faces from somewhere and when we told him the Paderborn gig it came back to him (he’s only seen a 100,000 faces or more in the last year) but we sure remember them. We got to spend an hour with him, Bernie and Dean.  

Dean Restum:

Was born in Beirut, Lebanon and is the musical director of the band. Talking with Dean is like walking into a store and finding everything you were ever looking for----where to start? First we were standing talking and then I asked him to join us at our table, he made sure that we got a copy of his new cd called “Branded” and his band called “The Mustangs” with Bernie Pershey on drums and Bobby Gianetti on bass. During our talk we ran through the list of great guitarist and shared our opinions agreeing on every one of them. We got into Grand Funk Railroad and I said, I like Mark Farner but most people I know have no respect for his playing, Dean said “well that might be true but in my world Mark is a great inventive player and a genius in many ways, do you know how many people have tried to copy his style and still are, he’s had more impact on guitar players than most any one else around.)  We talked about Blackmore, Page, on and on the names flowed Hendrix, Leslie West and Jack Bruce. I said ok Dean, did you have the chance to hear Ten Years After this afternoon with Joe Gooch and tell me honestly what you thought. Deans reply was “Joe is good, very good I must say but he’s still looking and experimenting with sounds and styles until he finds what works the best for him, he can play very fast and clean, in fact he’s super fast but he still maintains control which is important, but he’s no shredder like a lot of the newer players are.”  Dean continues, “Joe will be around for many years because he’s that good, but he also will be able to change styles and play whatever he likes and that’s what matters, that a player is comfortable with what they’re doing.”  Dean just confirmed what I already knew, that Joe is good and he is here to stay on the music scene for some time to come, but coming from an expert like Dean means that much more.

  Dean and I talked about his new cd, he told me about the energy involved and that he backs it one hundred percent. Old classics full of soul, rock and energy, the way they’re done makes them sound not only new and alive again  but brand new and interesting. The first song is the old Curtis Mayfield classic called “Superfly” and the song ends with Dean giving a loud YEAH which leads into Chain of Fools by Don Covay and the cd ends with "CC Ryder". In between you’ll know all the songs and be singing right along. 

  Time to go and Dean has to get on the Eric Burdon bus once again, thanks Dean, Martin and Bernie for the great time, and Eric next time it’s your turn, but for now just keep doing your thing and stay healthy. 

    Thomas, Dave, Dean Restum    ...



The Scorpions:

We first got to see them in the artists area, Rudolf Schenker and lead singer for UFO Phil Moog were standing around talking like old friends who haven’t seen each other in years, I waited patiently  for my chance to say hello and have a little chat but it became apparent they needed time to compare notes and catch up on where they’ve been. Brigitte was trying to get their attention while standing in front of them so not to miss a great chance  I stood behind them and Brigitte shot this photo of Rudolf Schenker, Dave, Phil Moog

  Later on they took the stage and we stood in front watching them play “Like a Hurricane”  “Blackout” and other hits from the past. They put on a good show but most of all it was loud. 

Thomas and I decided to take a walk around and check out the booths that were placed around the outer areas. Of course we were both drawn to the record, cd, video and dvd vendors, and I can tell you they had pretty much anything and everything that you could possibly want, but be sure you also had to  pay a pretty penny to take it home with you, we’re talking top dollar here. Almost every cd that I liked cost $27.00 to $50.00 and I really found nothing that could justify me or Thomas paying that price. There was Ten Years After, Mylon solo albums, Alvin with Mylon and even one Chick Churchill album. Some rare, some from different countries but all of which we’ve seen or owned before. We could’ve spent hours looking around but there were many other booths to check out. I expected to see many bootlegs available and there were, for instance in the Rolling Stones section the boots were beyond count and cost between $75.00 to $95.00 or Jethro Tull for $45.00 and up and of course The Beatles but you needed to take out a large bank loan for them. Thank God these vendors don’t accept credit cards !!! I have to say, that the owners and their staff were good people and allowed us to empty record bins, handle the records and then return them back as they were without a problem. Some spoke English, some didn’t but Thomas is German so we had no problem. Although we came out empty handed the owners were just as friendly as if we’d just spent $100.00 or more.

All the time we were in the booths the music was still getting louder and louder, we were both glad to be on the backside of this field, although the mud and hay made for a shitty mess. 

An Island in the slop    

At this point in time 9:00 pm the music starts to sound like a classic rock station playing at full volume as we wander in and out from one stage to another to observe the performers in action. We return to the artist area for soda, water, and coffee. This perfect day (other than the rain showers and the wind) is coming to a close. Midnight has arrived, Alice Cooper is still performing, and we say good-bye to our friend Thomas, although in a few weeks he’ll stop by our house and we’ll all go out for dinner, but for now our day is complete and our job is done, but for Thomas he still has all day Sunday to look forward to.

  Dave and Thomas 


 Our friend Reinhard Pieper among the crowd