Many thanks to Hans Van Hulst for sending along these splendid photographs and giving his permission to feature them here.
They were all taken on 1st November 1980 at the Paradiso in Amsterdam, Holland; a semi-legendary show due to it being recorded for a radio broadcast and subsequently widely bootlegged.
In 1980 I attended the concert in Paradiso, Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The band was late, so by the time the audience arrived they were still tuning up behind closed doors. I was standing right in front of those doors, trying to peek in. I could see all kinds of people on stage, but no Captain Beefheart.
My friends and I started to get worried (maybe Don was ill, maybe we would just see the Magic Band, maybe the concert would be cancelled), when suddenly this big voice addressed me from behind: “Excuse me, I’d like to get in.” It was the Captain, all right. It took the Paradiso personnel, who had not anticipated the Captain would arrive at the front doors, five minutes to find a key to let him in. But the Captain was in no hurry. He took the opportunity to strike up a conversation with me, asking personal questions – as he was sometimes apt to do, I had read about that. However, I was so taken aback by this sudden turn of events (one minute I was peering through a crack between the doors to see whether I could spot the Captain, and the next thing I know he is right there in front of me) that I only managed to ask him whether he had visited the Van Gogh Museum. He had, and judging by the enthousiastic musings this question triggered he had liked what he saw. But given the circumstances, and given the peculiar nature of his ramblings, I failed to understand him – and I must say I was actually relieved when somebody opened the door for him and he said “See you in a minute”.
I took pictures during the concert and the funny thing was, he remembered my face. He nodded, and every now and then he would come up to me (I was right in front of the stage) and strike some sort of special pose. Most of these pictures are unremarkable (bad lighting) but some of them are really quite good.
Personally I think they are all very good, and the lighting in some of them is particularly striking.
Note the shot of Don’s leg and shoe; it’s good to see that Hans has his priorities right – these details are important!
Copyright held by the photographer, Hans Van Hulst. Used by permission, not to be reproduced for commercial use.