Mercury Rev – Paradiso, Amsterdam – 8/6/2005

An astonishing, awe inspiring journey.

An astonishing, awe inspiring journey.


What began with a secret ended with a rising darkness but the trip itself was worth it. It has been said that some have even called it an astonishing, awe inspiring journey but if I’m going to tell this tale, then I suppose I should start at the beginning.


Like I said, it began with a secret, a secret for a song. We offered our souls and they gave us music in return. And what music it was. Big, loud and overpowering but undeniably impressive, incredibly beautiful and sweet. As our leader, Jonathan, the head fawn, smiled down on everyone of us we swayed on our feet and our ears were filled with joyous and wonderful noises. Our leader took us into the Black Forest where we searched for a white horse whilst stars exploded before our eyes beside quotes from Yoda and other such wise folk and snippets of many a cult film. Then we spent some time listening to a funny bird that filled me with nostalgia for that album of Deserter’s Songs and injected a feeling of euphoria into my bloodstream.



The tides of the moon then came in as we took a turn into the land where all is dream before we returned to the Deserter’s territory and tonite it showed that all is great and good in the world of Mercury Rev. Goblins and fairies exist inside the dark woods and raindrops of gold cover the leaves like dew and I could live in their sounds of sweeping strings (even if they are created on a keyboard), pounding drums and irresistible basslines for ever. I could sit around and listen to the high pitched singing of Jonathan for hours and I would bow down and worship at the feet of that incredibly talented guitar playing Grasshopper for all eternity if the music would continue to play.



The raindrops of diamonds and gold appeared in front of my eyes, along with many other intriguing and beautiful images and for a few moments, the Paradiso was coloured vermillion and green. I’d almost forgotten how lovely rain could be but then down poured the heavens and I was pleased to be reminded of such haunting beauty.


As the Deserter’s honed back into view we were treated to a monumental Opus 40, that just about blew my mind altogether and then, there I was, for there you are and Jonathan took me back to a time before Mercury Rev, when he was but a flaming lip and oh it was wonderful to be reminded of such wonder and beauty. A treat indeed.



We dug holes next like little moles before hurtling into the wilderness at a hundred miles an hour before our evening’s entertainment exploded in a burst of stunning diamonds. Truly astonished I tried to catch my breath before the band returned to entertain us with some stunning little rhymes and then, as the dark started rising the music swelled into apocalyptic dimensions and my head, my heart and my soul were well and truly shaken and rocked to their core. With a smile, the Mercury Rev disappeared into the darkness and a deafening crescendo of applause rang out in those hallowed halls of the Paradiso. The people were happy and I felt like crying. It had been one hell of a journey.






Mercury Rev played the Paradiso on the 8th June 2005. Incendiary were there. Jonathan, the singer has put on a bit of weight since last time we saw him, but he’s still an extremely likeable front man and a wonderful performer. The new drummer looked like he was about ready for his barmitsvah, for he was only about 15, but boy could he play. Last tour’s keyboard player this time held the bass and did an admirable job whilst Grasshopper’s guitar playing was fabulous, adding delicate but vital textures to every song. They played 15 songs and every single one of them was wonderful. That’s all you really need to know.


Words and photographs : Damian Leslie