We did not intend to invite guests for the very first concert on Friday July 4th, in order to make quiet recordings for our website. But we ended up with 10 people in our balcony room, including a reporter and photographer of the Limburg newspaper, some friends and hotel guests who wanted to enjoy the view. So we have to apologize for the bad quality (noise, sound) of the recording. Next Monday, the article was in the local paper: "Without a ticket in the first row". Click HERE to read it in English on the Harmony Parlor. In this interview I said that I sometimes felt like a tourist office, due to all the questions fans ask me about Maastricht and the surrounding area. This resulted in a big surprise for us when we arrived again in Maastricht the following weekend…. Later about that!
We watched the first three concerts from our hotel room. We loved the hilarious entry with the retro Italian Vespa Piaggio Ape Calessino tuk tuks. And we loved Carla's new aria (we regret that she is leaving André, but we wish her the best of luck in her new career). Rocco (Granata) rocked.
On Saturday 5th we had our first fan picnic (of three this year). It was a rainy day and we only had 15 people, but we still had fun, practicing the “Mirusia-pose”. The presence of two animals was remarkable. Suddenly a bird of prey crashed into the ground next to us. We were shocked, because we thought it had fallen out of the nest in the trees. We decided not to do anything and we hoped that the parents would feed it until it could fly. But we were wrong. The bird flew away with a mouse in his beak….. Amazing how they can spot a mouse through the leaves of trees and catch it…. Next, a fisherman caught a really big carp from the pond with the fountain…. After having showed the fish around, he returned it to the pond. So we had a memorable first picnic in the rain.
Maastricht tourist Office, for concert tickets, terrace arrangement tickets and accommodation. E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org. Address: Kleine Staat 1,
Tel. 0031-43-3505555. www.vvvmaastricht.eu.
On the Thursday of the second weekend, July 10th, most hardcore fans arrived, because this was the first weekend’s concert tickets that went on sale and all long term fans immediately booked tickets and accommodation. This resulted in a happy reunion (RIEUnion) after a year, with people coming from all over the world; there was a lot of hugging and kissing at the Gauchos terrace. On Thursday night we attended the dress rehearsal. Always very interesting to see André at work behind the scenes.
On Monday 7th we drove back home to The Hague for a few days. We returned to Maastricht the following Thursday for another 12 days. And what a surprise awaited us. On arrival the receptionist told us that there was a package for us: it was a gift from the Maastricht Tourist Office. The card read: “To Ruud and Ineke, regarding the article in the Limburg newspaper. With kind regards, from your ‘colleagues’ at the Tourist Office Maastricht.” The package contained some André / Maastricht goodies, a jar with Blanche Dael tea, and two VIP tickets for the (art of sound) exhibition "Maastricht Undertones", (Secret Sounds in Maastricht’s Underground). Oh, how we loved the gesture! We were really touched and went there as soon as possible to thank them.
Due to the World Cup Soccer we dressed in orange to support the Dutch team. In vain, they lost the quarter finals and ended as the third best soccer team of the world.
On Friday July 11, we had the annual fan dinner, with a record number of attendees:
160 from 18 nationalities. Click HERE to watch the video and photos of the fan dinner.
Amira (now 10 years old) appeared in the concert, breathtaking as usual, and the 100-years old nun, Sister Leona, also featured during the evening. André kept his promise to dance with her. Click HERE to see the TV program (Under “Previous items” the program: “Kruispunt”) in which he visited the convent to celebrate her 100th birthday and promised to dance with her in July.
After the fan picnic we walked to Mirusia's signing session in the Bijenkorf. Mirusia suffered from a severe throat infection, so she had to omit her solo, I Belong to Me, from some concerts. We wish her a speedy recovery.
Due to FIFA and the scheduling of the World Cup’s final soccer match, André had no concert on Sunday July 13th. By then the Netherlands had already dropped out of the tournament, consequently it was no longer of much interest to us. Marcel Falize filled the gap and organized a Lift-Off matinee concert on Sunday, including bus transportation from Maastricht (bus/railway station) to the venue in Heerlen and back.
He offered local fans the opportunity to sign up and pay via the Lift-Off website while foreigners could pay at the bus or venue. Checking the attendance list, we missed a French couple. The two buses waited for an extra 15 minutes, but had to depart without the French couple. To our surprise, the Guilmands arrived by taxi just in time for the start of the concert. They had the departure time of the buses wrong; consequently they had to take a taxi! But they made it!
The performance was really wonderful. To see two videos of the concert, click HERE. The fans were blown away by the professionalism of the band and the variety in the program. Marcel presented the concert in a charming way and we recognized the André style - connecting with the audience. We had a marvelous experience once again! Thank you Falize family and friends!
In the meantime we received a mail from another reporter of the Limburg paper with a request to interview us about the fan events. He came to the fan picnic on Saturday July 12th, interviewed us and saw about 70 international fans in the City Park. We were greeted by the unexpected sight of a big fallen tree that had taken up our usual fan picnic space!! This second article has also been translated to English in the Harmony Parlor. Click HERE for: "Rieu fan's reunion becoming ever busier".
On Thursday, July 3rd we arrived in Maastricht for the dress rehearsal and the first three concerts. First of all we fixed the banners onto the Hotel Du Casque façade. We were in the balcony room and had great fun with the brand new webcam. At a certain moment Ruud announced loudly to the webcam: "In 15 minutes the sound check will start." Two messages summarily popped up on our laptop in the room: one from Tasmania (Australia) and another one from Sweden, from friends who had heard it! It is really amazing!! Later in the afternoon we had a drink on the Brasserie Monopole terrace and our friends on faraway continents could see us. The new webcam is changing positions and overlooking the square. Our friends could see and hear us on the balcony and of course the management of the hotel will change that, since not every hotel guest will like to be overheard. We thank Hotel DuCasque and manager Nicole de Jeu (photo) for this super webcam!! The link to the webcam is on our homepage. During the rehearsal André delivered his text in English and German for the ZDF broadcasting company (Germany) and the Cinema Live (Australia) recordings in the cinemas on July 19. It is always very interesting to watch André at work!
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