Dancing Ponchos on Soaking Wet Vrijthof
The Limburger: André Rieu has an extremely loyal audience. As the rain started to beat down ever harder on the Vrijthof in Maastricht on Friday, the fans of the Stehgeiger (Stand-alone violinist) remained seated, in good spirit, on their folding chairs. Huddled under plastic ponchos, about 8000 people at the sold-out performance on the square, warmed to the magnificent sound of the Johann Strauss Orchestra. When Rieu played the opening notes of The Beautiful Blue Danube - according to him the finest waltz of all time - part of the poncho-clad audience cautiously took to the aisles and started dancing on the soaking-wet Vrijthof.
In this, the first concert of a series of eight performances, Rieu lived up to the expectations of his fans; he joked about the ponchos and related a story about their recent performance on 30 April in Amsterdam. And, of course, beautiful music with, during the first part of the performance, emphasis on the compositions performed during the Coronation Concert of Willem-Alexander and Máxima on the Museumplein (Museum Square) in Amsterdam.
In between André van Duin sang the evergreen Het Dorp (The Village) by Wim Sonneveld. The weather favored Rieu until the intermission. Then it started to drizzle and, after a while, the rain really started pouring. But it did not spoil the fun for the people who came to Maastricht. A large part of the audience hailed from André Rieu’s Limburg region, but fans also came to Maastricht from all over the world: Fans with Spanish flags; admirers from Argentina. No distance is too great for the fans to get close to their idol. In the second part André van Duin returned to to sing Ma-Ma-Maastricht, a song that he specially composed for the concert and the city.
By eleven o'clock the encores commenced – practically a concert in itself. More than ten compositions were performed with Rieu urging the people to go home. They responded with a resounding “No!” They knew from experience that Rieu would probably continue. It was left to the American star of the sixties, Trini Lopez, with his light-hearted songs – If I Had a Hammer and La Bamba – to put a stop to the rain. He failed but it made little difference to the atmosphere. By this time, the mood on the Vrijthof had already been established. For fans of André Rieu, the sounds of his violin compensate for even the heaviest downpour.
Thank You to Entia for the Translation!