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Jul 8, 2014

Without a Ticket in The First Row

Without a Ticket in The First Row

The Limburger July 7, 2014: If André is performing in your front yard, you don't need a ticket. Residents of Maastricht’s Vrijthof have been treated (whether they like it or not) for the last ten years, to the concerts of the famous violinist in his hometown. Others have to pay a fortune for a hotel room with a comparable view.

According to hard-core Rieu fans, Ruud and Ineke Elshout, two of the best tickets on the Vrijthof will cost € 190. They estimate that a hotel room with a phenomenal view of the Vrijthof square costs € 160 a night. But it is not the cost aspect that motivates the couple at the start of the tenth concert series to watch it from their room, no. 410 of Hotel DuCasque. Definitely not; the couple has booked a hotel room for each nights of the concert series. Furthermore, they have also purchased concert tickets. They have been doing this for the past ten years; they have never skipped a single concert in Maastricht. After the first concert weekend they go home, only to return again on Thursday to check in for another 12 days. The Rieu Hobby is definitely expensive!

On the other side of the Vrijthof Square, Monique Thelen and her sister-in-law, Andrea, are sitting in the window sill of her apartment on the Vrijthof. The high windows are wide open with pillows to sit on in the window sill. They also have a magnificent view; they can watch the swaying mass on the square as well as the people having dinner on the terraces. And if you lean a little forward, you can also follow the concert on a big screen. The sound is perfect and it is free. "Just to see the people outside in the street on the terraces is a treat for me. And the concert is an extra bonus. Everyone is working so hard. It looks like one big Rieu family." Monique Thelen has also never missed a Rieu concert, although to her it is somewhat obligatory. If she wants to skip a concert she has to leave her house. However, she has no problems with the violinist occupying her front yard for almost a month. "Of course I don’t watch every concert from beginning to end, but enjoy a part of it every evening." Her husband, Piet Nelissen, is rather more critical, mainly because of the accessibility of their apartment. When he wants to have visitors during the Rieu concerts, he has to obtain visitors passes for them to ensure access to his front door and he only has ten per evening. "If I want more, I have to submit a request with valid reasons." The Rieu concerts have drawn many guests to their home during the past couple of years. "Initially we sometimes had sixty or seventy guests: friends, relatives, business acquaintances. But Monique found it too much. Nowadays we take things calmer. And demand has also slowed down. At some stage it does become somewhat repetitive." On this Friday evening it is quieter; only four guests on the balcony and the window sill.

Back to the hotel where Ruud and Ineke have an excellent view of the stage from their balcony. They can follow everything perfectly; not only the concert, but also the preparations, rehearsals, sound checks and cleaning sessions. This is the real reason why they prefer the room to the folding chairs on the square. Their video camera, fixed to the edge of the balcony, is recording all the time. The videos will be posted on their website for fans all over the world to enjoy. Ruud and Ineke know the program and Rieu's jokes almost better than the violinist himself. They know exactly when the fireworks are set to appear. "If I tell you that in two seconds the first rocket will soar into the air..." And yes….. No matter how many times they watch Rieu's concerts, it never becomes boring, says the couple. Every concert is different. However, over the years, the performances became less important, whereas the contact with the fans from all over the world took precedence. "Sometimes I just feel like a tourist office", Ineke adds. Fans from all parts of the world know where to find them; their room is always open to visitors. Cheese and nuts are served on plastic plates. They like it this way, even after all these years. When they check out of the hotel, the first thing they do is to make a reservation for the following year.

 Translation by Entia

2 comments:

embharland-hazebroek said...

Andre Rieu 's concerts have brought joy in lifes of many, no matter what country. in times of happiness or sadness the music brings peace to their heart. His many fans and friends are grateful to share his talented concerts.

George Harper,,,Australia said...

I have written to the Rieu organisation many times explaining the great work Ineke,Ruud,Sue and John do on behalf of the fans I explained those 4 were better than their own PR Dept,
I asked nicely if they could get a free meet and greet with Andre and Pierre but alas not a reply,nothing, or even send a rep to the fan dinner to meet the fans,talk to them,they just arent interested,
Without those 4 fantastic people, no-one would know what the man and the JSO do,
I personally think a thank you letter would be great,
just my personal oplnion,

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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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