Let's not talk about bands for a while, let's talk about venues. Due to a sudden fit of reverence for this great singer/songwriter Ben Christophers, I was in the unique position to visit all of his Dutch shows. They were in Ekko, Paradiso and Rotown. The music was the same, every house was packed and Ben made magic every time. So it was up to the venues to make the difference... And I found that not all venues are created equal.
Of course I applaud all three locations for booking Ben. So why came Ekko out on top, as the title suggests? Because for 9 euros (which is only 2 euro more than Rotown), Ekko was the only venue that booked two full acts instead of one! J Perkin (now also known as Solo) opened up before Ben Christophers. Paradiso had squeezed the concert in during the afternoon, so they had no possibility to book a second act.
The second reason why Ekko delivered the most value for your money was the outstanding lightshow, that helped the music reach emotional heights that weren't present in Paradiso or Rotown.
And may I something nasty about the audience in Rotterdam? They were very enthousiastic, but also frantically talking through the more serene parts of his music. Both the Paradiso and Ekko audiences were absolutely hanging on the lips of Ben when he sang such quiet songs as "My beautiful demon". With that song however, Ben managed to strike even the noisy Rotterdam crowd completely silent.
I have to finish with the remark though, that I started working for Ekko not so long ago. So my observations might be colored by that, that's not for me to judge... :-)
I just uploaded the pics of Ben Christophers. You can watch them here.