We left Philippe's house around 1 pm. Philippe's friend Kevin, a “wall virgin,” was driving, and it took about 2 hours to get to the venue in Arnhem. After parking the car we headed over to the box office to check whether there was a “golden circle” in the venue tonight. The women said no, that it was all just standing on the floor, and to enjoy the show. As I walked away I heard an American accent and noticed a guy to my left with his family. I started up a conversation with him, asking where he had come from. It turns out he was sat behind Kami and I at the Washington DC show!! he had come over to the UK with his friend Vince and his family of six and was touring around for a month seeing some shows.
He asked if I knew where Roger and the band entered the venue, Roger flew in by helicopter the last time I was at that venue, and the other band members entered through some blue gates just to our left. Philippe and Kevin left to go into the town centre, and I stayed at the venue to hang out and find a couple of friends. I bumped into Thomas from Germany and had a chat, and I then noticed that Scott and Vince and family whom I’d been talking to earlier had just been led inside the blue gates and had them closed behind them! I noticed Todd, Rogers venue security outside the gates, and he was obviously getting ready for Roger and the band to arrive. I caught up with Scott and Vince 15 minutes later and saw that they had all got to meet Roger! Said he was in great spirits! Scott's wife told me how one of their children had asked who Roger was, and if he was famous, and was he like Justin Beiber! It was great to chat with you all, and I hope to see you again at one of the others shows you’ll be at.
I hung out at the outside bar for a while and met up with Nick Waterfall and his friend. Nick and I had last seen the shows together in Athens in 2011 and then, I think, in Philadelphia in 2012. Like me, he was excited to be seeing the show again, as it had been way too long! I was surprised how quiet it was outside the venue. It was going on 6:30, and there were very few people around outside. By this time you are usually bombarded by ticket scalpers wherever you go, and the place is usually buzzing! I presumed that people were making the best of the sunshine and would arrive at the last minute. What I also remembered was that this show was actually never meant to be! When the dates were initially announced, the first show of the tour was to be Werchter in Belgium. However, a LOT later on—only a few weeks ago—they announced there would be a show before Werchter in Arnhem. The reason for this was simple. The band had been rehearsing at the venue in Arnhem and had been doing technical rehearsals with the projectors and lighting. Rehearsals starting on the past Monday were due to finish on the Wednesday, and management thought about the three full days before the first show; all the stage and equipment is set up here, why not just add, what I guess could be called, a dress rehearsal show on the Thursday and announce a new start date to the tour! By this time a lot of people had bought tickets for the “first” night of the tour, and later in the tour there was another show in Holland in Amsterdam. It made perfect sense, then, that when we all entered the venue at a little after 7:30 with less than an hour to start time, the floor and seating areas looked like this!
Empty Spaces! Take your pick where you want to stand on the floor or the front rail!
It was empty!! Remember I said earlier that I would never return to this venue, as it was too huge? Well this is a 34,000 capacity venue, and the woman at the box office told me they had sold 5400 tickets!! I’m not surprised there was no golden circle! It was bizarre to see such a big venue with so few people in with less than an hour to go until show time! Bizarre, but fantastic for us!
I checked out the merchandise stand as a few people had asked me to take a few pictures of what was available for this new tour. Hope the pictures below help out.
I’ll type more about the show itself tomorrow, as it’s now going on 2 am, and I’m shattered!
Click the pictures link below to see a full album of some great pictures from tonight's show.