The big day, which had been postponed for over a year, finally arrived on December 10th, when the NITS men mounted the stage at Paris’ Café de la Danse. Henk Hofstede, keyboardist Robert Jan Stips, and drummer Rob Kloet entered the stage quietly, but the audience greeted them as “good friends” who had been reunited after such a long time. The NITS’ last tour in France was a while ago, but the band’s affection for each other has been evident across all of their albums.
“Knot” has since been released and has been described as ‘the best thing NITS ever made’ when it was released. Such a statement creates high expectations, and the audience in Café De La Danse in Paris was waiting with anticipation. Finally, they would see their heroes again. Fans from all over the world, some from the very beginning, had come to Paris to see the NITS for the first time or for the umpteenth time.
Henk Hofstede kicked off the evening with a few classics, including “Nescio,” which he performed with his red guitar. And then there was more enchantment, with songs like “A Touch of Henry Moore,” “Home Before Dark,” “The Dream,” and others. Also, tracks like “Yellow Socks” and “Lits-Jumeaux” from more recent albums. They were still in good shape, and it was evident that they would not return to the hotel right away, but would instead play for an extended period of time.
On “Ultramarine” and “The Delta Works,” magnificent ‘Knot’ works for well-deserved repose, NITS came to their senses. But there are also songs like “J.O.S. Days,” “Cars & Cars,” and “Soap Bubble Box,” where keyboardist Robert Jan Stips is in a trance to bring his music to life on his keyboards. But it was also a pleasure to listen to, and especially to watch, drummer Rob Kloet with his distinctive style of drumming. NITS is a force to be reckoned with.
Henk was the one who spoke about his mother and later his aunt on “Une petite allumette,” two very moving moments on the show. On stage, the band doesn’t require much. There are no flashy light and laser displays. No, just three musicians, a few instruments, and a minimal decor that was cleverly and simply illuminated. NITS are NITS, and for the supporters, that’s enough.
The band received standing ovations as an encore after a stunning set filled of memories that featured “Port of Amsterdam,” “In the Dutch Mountains,” and the lovely “Adieu Sweet Bahnhof.” The NITS have shown themselves in France over the course of a brief trip, but who could have predicted that? In almost 45 years, they have never wavered.
In reality, with three high-notch musicians, NITS has demonstrated that they are still at the top of the Dutch music scene. Three artists who were still enjoying themselves on stage after such a long time together. Paris, on the other hand, had a terrific time with them. It had a very ‘Madeleine’ feel about it, and it reminded me of concerts at the Ancienne Belgique. Henk, Robert, and Rob were back and conquered France once more, much to the delight of the audience.