After I have seen 14 shows of this hilarious Night of the Proms tour it’s time to write a review about the last eight weeks, starting with my first show on October 23rd in Antwerp, Belgium. It is not only colder outside but also warmer inside of me. I am feeling exhausted, empty and happy at the same time. I don’t feel like writing at all, but with writing everything down I can share my experiences with all of you. Not only the performances changed during these last weeks – especially Roxette’s – but also my point of view has changed a lot. I got a lot more relaxed, especially during the last shows and seeing so many shows helped me to really get the Night of the Proms feeling itself. If I had to choose which show was the best I would certainly pick the second Frankfurt show, not only because of the balloons. But altogether if someone asked me to choose from the Belgium/Dutch or German shows I’d always pick Belgium/Netherlands, maybe I’d even pick Antwerpen. The Belgian shows were extremely good and the audience was much more into it than the German audience which seems to be a bit too old to have a party.. ! So if you want to see a Night of the Proms show next year or whenever, go to Antwerpen. You will love it. My review starts with the five Belgian/Dutch shows I have seen (and drove more than 2500 km):
Antwerpen, October 23rd, 2009
210 km to Düsseldorf, another 230 km to Antwerpen = 440 km
We arrived early since we wanted to have some time for shopping. Well – the city isn’t what you call beautiful so it wasn’t worth it at all. At the Sportpaleis we meet some fans who are already waiting for the doors to open. I remember a Brazil guy, Ivan and some Russians. Well – if you know who you are leave a comment here so I can add your names. Unfortunately all we got were seating tickets, faaaar away from the stage. Unfortunately not far away enough to not notice Marie’s problems during Wish I could fly. Sharon den Adel rocked the house before Roxette and I really liked the Belgian audience. On this first show Marie and Per appear on stage together – out of the blue, practically speaking. While Per just has to make one step Marie has to find her way to the microphone. Seeing this my first thought is: “Hmm, why did she agree to do it like this?” She can barely see something and has problems to walk over. It’s obvious. Wish I could fly starts and I am really nervous. Marie sings “Halfway through the night” three times in a row and I feel totally sorry for her. Nothing I can do from that far off. All I can do is hope that she doesn’t care and she really sings the rest of the song quite ok. My friend and I are worried about her in the break but she proves us wrong. She totally rocks her socks off during the second set. She’s great on The Look and Joyride and she sings so good on It must have been love and Listen to your heart. Yet – I feel like I need to support her. Unfortunately we have to go back to Düsseldorf in the night and arrive late (or early) at 3 am. We could have been there earliert but we waited for Roxette at the backstage entrance and I was really happy that Per decided to come to us after the show. We were not many, maybe around 10. He told us that Marie has a sore throat and doesn’t feel well. He signs stuff, everyone gets a photo and we chat a bit. When he left (with the words: “We’re here tomorrow. Same songs, different lyrics”, I won’t ever forget it, haha) everybody was happy. We didn’t even notice that Marie passed by while we were talking with Per. So, arriving in Düsseldorf I decided to go back to Antwerp the next day. Not to let me entertain. No, just to support Marie. I didn’t even have a ticket and I just drove 230 km without knowing if I could get in in the end. Fortunately I could..
Antwerpen, October 24th, 2009
230 km from Düsseldorf to Antwerpen, 230 km back to Düsseldorf, another 210 km back home = 670 km
I was lucky! Evgeny already had tickets for Antwerp but couldn’t go because of his Visa problems. His friend Emil sold me Evgeny’s ticket. If I didn’t say thank you until now: Thank you! So I didn’t have to worry about a ticket. My friend couldn’t join me so I was alone this time – just to meet some friends in Antwerpen. I arrived early (14.00) and only a few people were there. Since I had a standing ticket for this night I knew everything would be more exciting than the night before. And since there was a huge catwalk in Belgium and The Netherlands we even had to decide whether to stand on the left or the right. Usually the left side was always Marie’s and the right side Per’s. Soon a lot of people stood on the left of the entrance so we decided to try it on the right. Good choice – we made it to the front row and could stand next to each other and in the end it turned out that there’s no left or right anymore. Both standing quite in the middle of the stage everybody could see Per AND Marie, left or right – it didn’t matter (except one wanted to catch Per’s guitar picks). My decision to come back was the right to make. Again – on Wish I could fly both appeared together and Marie had to make another 10 steps to the mic, this not working at all. Again – she had problems with the text but everyone around including me screamed and sang with her, helped her through this song and we showed our support with all we had. During the ballads I kind of had the feeling that she was looking for help in the audience. She looked at us all the time, it was like she was trying to read the text from our lips. Well, we did our best. Even worse – her voice was just not there. We felt so sorry for her. She must have been totally ill that night but we could see she was fighting like hell and we loved her even more for this. Still – I couldn’t stop worrying and I couldn’t enjoy the Roxette performance at all. This was the worst of all 14 shows I have seen. I fellt sorry for Marie and hoped the several thousand people in the Sportpaleis weren’t too disappointed, especially since I knew she can do much better and she proved it only some weeks later. Unfortunately the most videos on YouTube you find when you search Roxette and Night of the Proms are from this night. Bad luck… or Murphy’s law. Whatever you want to call it.
Arnhem, November 13th, 2009
600 km in total
This show didn’t turn up in my personal “schedule” until three days before the concert. Well – we decided to just go there to “have a look” and to give some presents to the band and Per – one of these being the Roxopoly game. Well – unfortunately I checked ebay right in time and found tickets for that night. Too cheap to not buy it (15 Euro) and we decided to join the show. But more important were our presents and we had no idea how to hand them over since we didn’t find a particular backstage entrance. I had luck again: my seat was next to the stage entrance for the artists and after the show was over I waited for the band and asked if they could come out to get some presents. They could – and it was damn relaxed that night. We were only around 5 fans, we had all the time in the world to talk and when I showed my Roxopoly to Christoffer he helped us to make Per come out so that I could give it to him directly. Well – the rest you see on the video on YouTube.
The show itself was much better than three weeks earlier. Marie’s voice was back, she looked a lot more confident on stage and she even improvised during The Look, bringing the Hey Jude “Na na na na” up for the first time. We loved it. The sound wasn’t very good, maybe because they divided the venue in two parts and the voices just vanished in the “empty” part of the venue. Who knows..! Hard to rate this show, wasn’t the best, wasn’t the worst. The audience was so-so, too. So in the end it was worth the trip because of our presents and just because of that road trip feeling – we love to drive hundreds of kilometres not knowing what will happen when we arrive. But the three of us were happy – both going and coming back home: saturday morning around 4 am.