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Jun 25, 2011

Rieu is Maastricht and Maastricht is Rieu

The Long Arm of "Our Dré"
He is the child of the city. André Rieu. Rieu is Maastricht and Maastricht is Rieu. But how much love is there in the city for the Orchestra leader? "What Rieu wants, Rieu gets" is heard more often than not. Talk about the "long arm of our Dré".
André with Mayor Leers
Friday June 24, 2011 de Limburger by Stephan Gybels ... Jan Mans, then Mayor of Maastricht and his spokesperson Joep Delsinge are looking somewhat perplexed. You can see what they are thinking: "What did he just say?"
It is 1 July 2010 at the Theatre on the Vrijthof. Together with Rieu, Mans is conducting a press conference. Rieu is right in the middle of his series of concerts on the Vrijthof. They run simultaneous with the World Cup soccer. If team Orange continues to win, this could result in a problem. In fact, the World Cup final is simultaneous with one of Rieu’s concerts. Watching the final, and then my concert, suggests the stand alone violinist with his well-known enthusiasm. Mans and Delsinge are not convinced. Partying or disappointed Orange fans in combination with Rieu public? And what about security? "This is his worry" says Delsinge hastily. "There are other possibilities." Ultimately the city council’s plan becomes reality. Rieu moved his concert to the afternoon, and eventually plays in the MECC because of the scorching heat that day. The World Cup finals are creating a party in the city center. It is the first time that Rieu, recipient of the honors for services and golden city medal of the city of Maastricht, is at odds with the city council. Eventually everything is solved without too many problems, but still. Insiders say that Rieu would like to have done it differently. In previous years, "Our Dré" gets just about everything he wants. The musician becomes great friends with Gert Leers, and that does him no harm. Just think of his idea of a series of concerts on the Vrijthof. In 2005 Rieu would very willingly like to return to "his" Maastricht, where he in 1999 played his violin for the last time. He wanted to conduct two concerts, for which he needed the cooperation of the city council. That’s going to happen, after a meeting with Leers. "The city council of Maastricht will support him in all aspects of official matters, licensing and traffic matters," these words were to be read exactly in this newspaper the day of the agreement.
No problems, so it seems. "Our Dré" back in the city of his birth. Ten thousand visitors on the square, taping by the German TV and a DVD recording for the many Rieu fans. Maastricht will become world known. But not everything goes according to plan. Inside the council are many doubts about Rieu’s plans. Technical difficulties with permits and really not following the original plans. A completely closed off to all traffic Vrijthof, thirteen days of construction with the accompanying building noise? Whaw, the city official’s members are not too enthusiastic about that. The series of concerts, which will be four, will become reality. Indeed, the city absorbs part of the costs. The city spends about 45,000 Euros on Rieu. Moving the kiosk comes to mind, the manufacturing and placing of special traffic signs and extra cleaning and sweeping of the square. All thanks to the blossoming friendship between Rieu and Leers, is being whispered. Criticism from the suffocating bureaucracy becomes a whirlwind of positivity during and after Rieu’s first performance. The atmosphere on the Vrijthof is unprecedented, pure advertising for Maastricht and mega incomes for the restaurants and cafés. The sky is the limit. And so, the series of concerts, in good Maastricht fashion, become a tradition. Leers philosophizes about a concert hall in the then casino, but it just stays on the Vrijthof. All according to the laws and rules of Rieu.
That seems to again appear to be the rule in 2007 when the world star comes in conflict with the restaurant and cafe owners around the square. Several of them serve too much alcohol, complains Rieu. Please note that the agreement is that during the concerts no one may be served. The orchestra leader threatens to cancel his 2008 concert series. It is again Leers who steps in. He totally agrees with Rieu. All the hotel and café operators will have to sign a code of conduct. No alcohol during the concerts is being emphasized. The first criticisms about the powers of Rieu are rearing their head, what Rieu wants, Rieu gets. But everyone accepts it, in view of the enormous value the concerts give Maastricht. The concert series are still expanding. Rieu’s concert series will grow to six and maybe even eight. The established norm for fifty events on the Vrijthof is being trampled on and is being accepted without opposition.
The other way around was less accepted. When Rieu discovers that merchants in the Basin are using his logo at the registration for his live Vrijthof concert via large screens, he pulls the plug without notice on this collaboration. No more screens throughout the city, with the exception of his own screens in the Platielstraat and Armors square.
Rieu is a control freak. And he is full of ideas which he would like to make a reality as soon as possible. Look at as an example the underground storage area in the side of the St. Pietersberg, and the clashing of heads over the construction of his podium and the procession of the Holy Shrine. Rieu than conveniently makes use of his contacts in the city council. He is not accustomed to anything else. So far everything runs without problems. But what will happen in the future when the orchestra leader comes up with a real controversial plan? Taking into consideration his plans for a concert on the North Pole and the Moon, he is quite capable. How far is the city of Maastricht allowing "Our Dré’s" arm to reach?
Thanks to John for ©Translating this

1 comment:

Wendy Laing said...

Go Dre.......!
Life would certainly be boring without you, mate!

Although we live 'Down Under' we love your music, entrepeneurial skills, lust for life,& expanding ideas. Loved meeting you in person 11th May in Melbourne. Thankyou for such a great experience, our first live concert & 'A Day with Andre Rieu' was fantastic. The picture of the 3 of us is on our wall!

All the best,
Wendy & Dave Laing, Melbourne.
(p.s. Are our Kanga & little Rieu behaving themselves with Roos in your violin case?? - we are a bit worried because she can be a determined little Doe LOL!)

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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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