‘The last chance to see De Dijk’, that is how the first Ziggo Dome show was announced. Then another mega concert went on sale. And another one. And another one. And this is how we will be at the fifth goodbye show of Huub van der Lubbe and his on Monday hot rocking unit (according to Solomon Burke). With more than three thousand performances over 41 years, everyone has had the chance to see this band play – from brown bar to barn to pop temple – but this last time is extra special, we want to be there. Or in De Dijk jargon: ‘Dear, put on something nice!’
Photography Mick de Jong
‘I don’t want to become an annual outing,’ Huub van der Lubbe explained his choice to stop in de Volkskrant. An understandable reason, but let’s be honest: the band had been on that annual outing for at least fifteen years. A fixed value on the concert agenda for visitors, bookers and last but not least for the bar turnover of the pop venues (everyone drinks beer in the café, but certainly also at a concert by De Dijk). That the public has always continued to rejuvenate is apparent on Monday evening in Ziggo Dome: every father has brought his daughter and every mother her son. Nevertheless, the atmosphere is determined by the elderly who are eagerly filming the back of the person in front of them – with flash. It’s been nice, you think.
The most fit boomer in this concert hall is without doubt Huub van der Lubbe (69) himself. And what a pleasure it is to see him again with all his typical traits. Those cranky motor skills, the tense neck muscles, the raised hands and crazy convulsions with every stress: a wooden soul man on track. “Good to have you all here,” he says repeatedly. ‘Unbelievable, five times the Ziggo Dome…’ And he knows that there will be a big (already sold out before corona) club tour, in which he will have to say goodbye to a new crowd every night. Cry a little every night. To die every night – just for a moment. That realization can be read on his face, mixed with the will to flame one more time.
And that’s what the band does in Amsterdam, with a blistering Het Beste Van show. Make it happen tonight, Enter without knocking, If she is not there, Nobody in town… how many bands can put together such a series of Nederpop classics in the first half hour of their 2.5 hour set? Carelessly almost. All songs that are full of the fine, catchy phrases and wisdom with which Van der Lubbe has enriched Dutch culture over the past four decades. “Although it always comes down to love,” he confesses. Just look at the set list: What a woman can’t do. Big heart. Hold me. I can not do it alone... De Dijk’s oeuvre is one long plea for love and affection. “Love, love, as long as you love each other.”
That saying goodbye also means looking back is apparent from the countless memories that Van der Lubbe recalls during the evening. Sometimes subtly, for example by wearing a shirt of their deceased ‘youth hero and friend’ Solomon Burke under his shirt, sometimes also in the form of an extensive anecdote. For example, about De Dijk’s first single, which was released exactly forty years ago and mercilessly flopped despite the sky-high expectations. ‘No. 30 in the Tipparade’, the singer remembers. ‘And when you hear it now, you understand why…’, after which his band Bleeding Heart effort. Precisely in this cracker, the singer seems to have lost his lyrics. ‘You know the lyrics a lot better than I do’, he grins afterwards.
The band swings and jokes effortlessly through its goodbye moment. The pain of saying goodbye – and the fact that the rest of the band would have liked to continue – can be read between the lines and you can see it in the symbolism with which the evening is built. from opener Good to see you again (‘What happens next, I can’t count on it’) to Don’t let it be over (‘What you’ve lost, you’ll never forget’). And of course in closing Can the lights be turned off, which is definitively enough. ‘Enough seen today’, concludes Van der Lubbe before the lights go out. Pop! Lights out, end of show. ‘I’m not good for anything’, he sighed two songs ago. Looking back on 41 years of De Dijk, that is not so bad.
Seen: Monday, October 4 in Ziggo Dome, Amsterdam.