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Dec 5, 2008

André Rieu Bids Adieu To Australia

ANDRÉ BIDS ADIEU TO AUSTRALIA

From Lyn and Darcy ~ If there are only two things André remembers about Brisbane, they would have to be the enthusiastic audiences and the storms. Fortunately, Thursday’s storm struck at about 4.15pm and was all but over by 5pm when the gates to Suncorp Stadium opened but left a legacy of wet chairs and pools of water on the plastic arena flooring. Stadium staff had a mammoth task drying off the chairs on the field before concert goers arrived. We in the grandstands were left to dry our own seats but with ready supplies of paper towels available.

Darcy and I had pre-arranged to meet Helen, Marianne and Barbara at the right-hand fountain for photos and catching up. Just after Helen left to go back to her family in the grandstand, we saw Friendship Group member, Gwenda and her husband Keith and a couple of their friends, one of whom had known Darcy more years ago than he cares to remember. I suddenly realised that Pierre was just behind our group. He sat down on the edge of the fountain with one of the technicians and posed for a photo at Darcy’s request. Another Friendship Group member, Pat and her daughter then joined our group for a few minutes before we all headed back to our seats.

Right on the dot of 7pm, André followed by Johann and the JSO entered the stadium to the strains of ‘76 Trombones’. At first I thought tonight’s audience was a little more subdued than last night’s, with André having to prompt a response on a couple of occasions in the earlier part of the concert but, once they let their hair down, the audience joined in with gusto.

As André introduced ‘’The Blue Danube’ with the faces of some members of the orchestra morphed into the blue waters of the Danube, people flocked out to the ‘mosh pit’ and aisles to dance. One lady at the northern end was waltzing enthusiastically by herself when an elderly gentleman raced down the stairs from the grandstand and scooped her into his arms, to the cheers and clapping of those watching in the audience.

The arrival of Empress Sissi in the horse-drawn carriage drew gasps of wonder from the audience. A uniformed footman followed the carriage at a distance pushing a wheelbarrow. Maybe he has roses in his home garden! The Platin Tenors drew a standing ovation after their segment in the first half in honour of the late Pavarotti. Once again, Mirusia playing to her hometown audience also received a standing ovation amid thunderous applause. Marcel Falize’s rendition of ‘Bolero’ was perfection as usual. The on-screen explosions and the smoke drifting across the stadium was impressive.

Tonight’s conga line, growing as it snaked along in front of the stage, included a couple wearing Tyrolean costume. The Australian segment during the encores attracted the most enthusiastic audience participation. Everyone stood while singing ‘Advance Australia Fair’ although the audience faded out during the second verse only to return for the chorus. There were tail-less kangaroos in the audience hopping up and down during ‘Tie Me Kangaroo Sport’. As well, the audience joined with gusto in singing ‘Home Among the Gum Trees’, the theme from ‘Neighbours’ and ‘Bananas in Pyjamas’. Even Darcy joined in clapping in time to the latter.

When ‘Adieu’ from the ‘White Horse Inn’ was played, the audience rose to the occasion and it became obvious they were bidding ‘adieu’ to André on this, the final night of his Australian tour. Once again, the concert ended with ‘Waltzing Matilda’ and André and the JSO left the stage to the strains of the pipes and drums playing ‘The Road to Gundagai’. As a man on the shuttle bus said to me on the way home, ‘What are we going to do for the next ten months?’ ~ Lyn


2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting,Sue.
Lyn and Darcy have done a wonderful job on behalf of our Brisbane group.
The focus now returns to your side of the world.
While this concert euphoria is 'old hat' for you over here, it has been one tremendous thrill for us 'Downunder'

Cheers and a very happy Festive season to all
Bernadette

Annie said...

I was right next to the stage at the end of the concert on Thursday night. Andre had tears in his eyes as he was saying goodbye and waving.
He and the JSO orchestra thoroughly entertained us on both nights. It was an experience I'll never forget:-)

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