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Nov 2, 2014

The Early Fans of André Rieu

Bill and Margaret Oliver Who Live in The UK

How I became a Rieunatic - My name is Bill Oliver and my wife Margaret and I have been married for 39 years to date. I was born listening to Hank Williams as my father used to get the MGM singles dispatched over from the USA. My tastes range from Amadeus to ZZTOP. Music has always pumped through my veins and a day has never passed without it.

It was New Year's Eve (not in the graveyard before you say it) 1997 and the usual dross was being offered as entertainment by the UK channels, so I started to channel hop around the European stations. I have a satellite dish covering Europe and Scandinavia. The German channels always have music variety shows throughout the year and were a good place to start. Luckily enough I landed on a channel just starting a concert with an interesting looking character playing violin and conducting. They were so colorful compared to the deadly serious looking orchestras we are used to, and I was intrigued. The show was so brilliant that we were dancing and singing along (the perfect New Year scene). From that moment we were hooked on Andre Rieu and his orchestra. We constantly searched TV listings even though we couldn't speak the language and taped any music program they just might appear in. We were so successful at this that we built a library of video clips and shows from France, Germany and his home Holland to enjoy time and again.

Margaret was watching on the internet to see if they were doing any shows in the UK and her diligence paid off when the Royal Albert Hall date was announced. She sat at the phone holding until booking opened at 9 am and secured front row seats for us, much to our excitement (It'll never happen again). The show was more than brilliant and we were overjoyed when we saw the concert appear on Paris premier a couple of years later, which we recorded but subsequently bought the DVD when it was released.

Since then we have seen them at the 02 in London twice (first time sadly Andre was ill and postponed but tickets were honored in December).Twice at Maastricht 2012/2013, what an atmosphere there, and the people we met on the coaches were great fun. The 2012 outing found us wandering around Maastricht in the rain all afternoon, diving into pubs to escape the elements (my excuse) but the clouds parted as the concert began. The 2013 concert the reverse applied and we were all in our ponchos throughout, but our spirits weren't dampened. We went to the Brussels concert in 2011 also and we have fond memories of this outing. There were so many coaches from the UK and elsewhere that the police escorted us all through Brussels, closed the junctions to let us through and allowed us along the tram tracks.

Our loyalty hasn't waned in all that time as you can see by my enthusiasm and my postings on The Parlor on Facebook.

Thanks for reading, Bill Oliver

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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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"Hello to all my fans on The Harmony Parlor!"

Soundcheck in Maastricht 2013 (RTL Photo)

Maastricht 2012 ~ "André on The Theater Steps" by Bee

Maastricht 2012 ~ "André and Pierre on The Theater Steps" by Bee

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