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Mar 18, 2011

ANDRÉ RIEU THANKFUL FOR AUSSIE MEDICINE

ANDRÉ RIEU THANKFUL FOR AUSSIE MEDICINE
Ross Purdie, National Entertainment Writer, AAP

March 18, 2011: When André Rieu returns to Australia there's one man in particular he is desperate to pay tribute to. The Dutch violinist and classical composer has reserved special thanks for the fan who helped him conquer a debilitating illness last year.
Rieu was forced to postpone his 2010 world tour due to a viral infection of the vestibular nerve that temporarily destroyed his sense of balance. It sparked a flood of letters to his bedside from hundreds of fans offering their advice on ways to recover. "I was told to do everything from having new blood to stop eating sugar to doing sport. They were all very sweet," Rieu tells AAP.
"It's impossible to perform on stage when you cannot stand up so I was willing to try anything to make myself better." One particular letter arrived from Bill Henshall, a fan from Perth, who claimed to have been cured of a similar illness. He suggested a strict regime of exercises that included methodically moving the eyes from side to side and standing stork-like on each leg with one eye shut. After spending almost three months on his back, Rieu gave the advice a go and within two weeks on the new course, he was cured.
"It was a happy coincidence that an Australian was the person who was able to give me the right advice," Rieu beams. "Australia is one of my biggest markets, I've sold three million copies in your country which is a lot, so I know the people love me there. "It was very, very nice to hear that an Australian gave me the secret on how to recover."
Keen to repay the favour after regaining his feet, Rieu offered to fly Henshall from Perth to one of his concerts in Australia - a necessary gesture because no dates are scheduled for WA. But in a bizarre twist of fate Henshall is travelling around Europe and will actually be in Rieu's hometown of Maastricht for the majority of the tour.
"It's strange that we're on opposite ends of the world and he's visiting my hometown but we will definitely meet one day," Rieu promises. "I have to thank him because without his help I could still be searching for a cure."
It's not the first time that Rieu has brushed with illness to produce a touch of magic involving someone from Australia. In 2009 he was joined on stage by talk radio DJ Alan Jones, who had just recovered from pneumonia. The pair famously delivered a rousing version of We Are Australian. "I was in Sydney for two concerts when he was very ill and he joked he'd perform at one of the shows after I challenged him on radio," Rieu remembers. "But he enjoyed it so much he did the second as well."
Rieu has never been a huge fan of support acts but that song awakened Rieu to the music of Aussie folk favourites The Seekers. The band originally recorded We Are Australian but haven't played together since 2004. When he was given the all clear to resume his world tour, Rieu contacted The Seekers' lead singer Judith Durham and asked if they might be available to join him on the Australian leg.
"I phoned her but she told me that they weren't together any more," Rieu reveals. "So I just said, `well, you could come together'. "She laughed and told me she'd phone everyone up and get back to me." Rieu's persistence paid off and now The Seekers will play their first shows in seven years alongside the enigmatic classical performer when he arrives in May.
Durham was so taken by Rieu's personal request that she penned a brand new song, Andre (All The Stars Come Out), to be debuted on the tour. "Judith composed a beautiful song especially for me because she's glad that I'm recovered and coming back to Australia," Rieu says. "I'm very touched by that."
Andre Rieu performs the following shows in Australia:
►May 3-4 - Adelaide Entertainment Centre
►May 10-11 - Melbourne Rod Laver Arena
►May 13-14 - Sydney Acer Arena
►May 15-16 - Newcastle Entertainment Centre
►May 18-19 - Brisbane Entertainment Centre

7 comments:

Lana, Tasmania said...

Countdown has begun ... just eight weeks to go for me! I am soooo excited ... attending first concert, with The Seekers as a bonus ... and birthday celebrations as well (not that I really want to progress there!!!).

Rose Gregg said...

We are all grateful to Bill Henshall cos without his advice Andre may have had to retire. And I for one am sure glad he didn't have to take such radical action.

Barbara said...

You know there is just no words to describe Andre. I think he is just absolutely adorable, I love how he gives us all so much joy with his music, love you blue eyes and it's wonderful you are touring again, stay safe and well. love Barb.

Mary Webster said...

Australia and the world love André and were so worried about him when he was ill. Thank heavens for Bob Henshall for giving the Maestro the means by which to recover, not only for himself, his family but also to his fans all over the world. Concert night is May 11 in Melbourne for my son, his girlfriend and I, the excitement, anticipation and countdown definitely on. Then it will start all over again for the next concert. Love,rest and take care André

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great article on Andre and also The Seekers.

Hard to believe, time is almost here. What a welcome we will give Andre!!

ANDRE ANDRE OI OI OI

cheeRIEU from Val & the Vic. Friendship Group.

Anonymous said...

You bet Val, see you there !!!!

Dee (Perth)

Janet Dean said...

When the new dates were announced, it seemed so far away, but time has crept on and our concets are now upon us.I can't wait to see Andre' and the JSO back here in our beautiful country... Thank heavens he knows how to take advice!!Janet

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Pierre and André September 30, 2016 Maastricht

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Photo Taken at Mexico City Concert ~ September 2013

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