Monday, July 22, 2013

Werchter, Belgium show

Didn't do much on Friday. Philippe did a great BBQ in the evening after going to pick up Matt Amore at the train station in Brussels. My good friend Matthijs De Jonge and Marc Olivier Becks came over for food and drink, and we chatted things Floyd and Roger most of the night.

I take over as chef                                    While Philippe enjoys his food.

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After a short walk to see the local bridge and then a quick drink at a coffee shop down the street from Philippe’s house, Philippe, Matthijs, Matt, and I started the drive over to Werchter for tonight's show.

Charlie Sheen etched on a beer glass!     Matt says it’s 5 o’clock somewhere!       Canal bridge

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Due to it being outside and the middle of summer, the start of the show wasn't due until 10  pm. Philippe had arranged for us to park the car at a friend’s parent’s place who owned a bar about a 20 minute walk away from the venue. All of the town centre streets are closed when a show is on. It’s a small Belgian Village that hosts three or four shows a year. The last, I believe, was Muse. I was staying at a hotel about 10 minutes away from Philippe's tonight, as I was heading back to the airport on the train first thing in the morning, and the hotel was right next door to the station. We called in the hotel so I could check in and drop my bag off. As I walked into the car park, I saw Nick Waterfall and his wife, his sister, and her partner unloading their car. They were staying there tonight too. After a quick chat, I dropped my bags and got back in the car.

We arrived at the bar around 4:30. Matt immediately took full use of the bar’s urinals, which were actually mounted to the side of the garage that was in the middle of the parking lot!  We sat at the bar for a couple of hours before starting the walk over to the venue,

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Philippe, Matthijs, and Matt made their way into the venue. I met up briefly with Nick Waterfall again and then headed in to catch up with everyone else. It was still only 7:30 pm—we had over two hours until show time. The venue reminded me very much of the one in Quebec where Roger finished the 2012 tour. It was a large open field with a few trees. The only difference was it wasn’t banked up like the field was in Quebec. The wall looked HUGE, as did the stage, and especially the roof! It was even bigger than the roofs that were used at the outdoor ball parks in the USA in 2012. As it happens, the stage and roof are actually built in Belgium where the biggest stage builders, StageCo, are based. I also noticed the giant crane that held the wire leading to the stage that the Stuka would be falling from tonight.

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I found Marc Olivier in the Golden Circle and also met up with Jacques, who I hadn't seen for a long long time. I bumped into another friend, Jasper, again, that I hadn't seen for a while. We caught up, and I then headed out to find Matt and the others. Of course, I found them drinking beer!

Myself and MOB       Matthijs, Philippe and Matt

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Matthijs and Philippe wanted to watch the show from the back of the golden circle. However, Matt and I decided to not only watch the show, but FEEL the show down on the front rail between Dave K. and the hotel room in the wall. At around 9:50 pm the 6 track pre show music started, and although the sun had gone down, it was still pretty bright out.

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We were too close to see the fireworks go off on the top of the roof, but we certainly weren't disappointed. We not only heard the  opening notes to In The Flesh, but felt them right in our chests! The sound was loud, but not just loud—it was incredibly clear. This show just lends itself to the outdoors. The size and the loudness needed to get to the rear of the field, and the size of the projected wall just make this show at home in an outdoor venue. Unfortunately, the Stuka was a good 10 seconds behind the end of ITF, and the crew shook their heads as they looked up when it crashed through the wall into the flames. Not only were the band enjoying tonight's show, but as it was the first night of the tour, a lot of the crew kept coming out to see how good the gig looked.

I did notice the projections were nowhere near as clear as they were at the Arnhem show. They were still bright, but I'm pretty sure the section we were in front of was just slightly out of focus. The rest of the wall looked better, but due to the projectors being a lot further back than they were in Arnhem, it still lost a little bit of the detail. There were certainly  a lot more tickets sold for tonight's show—40,000 in total, I believe.

I didn't spot any mistakes by the band tonight, though one of  the projectors threw up the words “change the air filter” onto the wall for 30 seconds, but apart from that, it was a flawless show. In Arnhem they didn't put the “No Fucking Way” on the left side of the wall in the local language. I got my cell phone camera ready just in case, and they did indeed do it tonight.

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Roger has now also changed the “Thank You” and “THANK YOU” between ITF and Run Like Hell to the local language, so tonight’s said “Danke U.” He’s also changed the “Are there any paranoids…” speech to the local language, too! Matt and I couldn't believe just how loud it was all night. We were constantly feeling the bass in our chests! The guy next to me took out a pair of ear plugs and had them in for most of the show after hearing how loud it was after the first couple of tracks.

The pig was brought down into the crowd after the wall came down, and the band came back onstage for Outside the Wall to see the pig being ripped to bits. It was nearly 1 am when the gig finished, and I have to say, it’s definitely up there in my top ten of the now 126 Wall shows that I’ve seen! Philippe dropped me off at the hotel at 2 am on the way back, and as I walked into the car park I met up with Nick again who had just arrived back from the gig.

I’m presently back home in the UK and fly out to Milan on Friday where I’ll take the train to Padova for the show there. Then I travel down to Rome to see the show there. More soon!

2 comments:

  1. Hi Simon,

    thank you very much for your review of the Werchter show and sharing your impressions. After all the indoor shows I have seen in 2011, I have to say that the Werchter show is my absolute favorite so far! The overall atmosphere, the crystal clear sound, the solos, the projections – what a great experience!

    It was nice to meet you in Arnhem as well. Remember how we wondered how few people where there one and a half hour before showtime ;-)!

    Safe travels, see you…

    Kind regards,

    Steffen

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    1. It was great to meet you too Steffan, im so glad you recognized me and came up to say hi! Yes, we should have known there would be very few people in the shows, great for us though:)

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