When I got the email it was the night before the concert, 3 o clock at night, all I could do then was place some ads on the www marketplaces, asking for tickets. Also left my phone number for those that did have a ticket for sale, only to find out the next day that I had been outbid bigtime, I guess this concert was in popular demand.... I also doubted if I should go this time, as the concert was gonna be in the big concert room, where there is place for 1200 people.... I was not to sure wether I would prefer a more intimate surrounding, ha ha, how wrong I was !
So off I went, with the most amazing sunset as I was going past the river "the lek" it truelly is a beautiful part of holland, and then with this big orange ball of fire, just above the horizon, allowing you to look straight into the fireball, and suck up all of it's rays of energy, seeing the landscape vibrate as it too, is being touched by the sun. Mmmm I seriously thought that even if I would not get a ticket, the trip would be more than worth it !
And you wont believe my luck ! I had only just entered the venue, to check with the ticket desk if there were any tickets that had been returned, and if not, I was gonna ask them where would be the best place for me to position myself with my sign... As I had just been pointed to the best spot, a lady walked towards the ticketbooth where I was about to take out my sign .... When I saw her taking a ticket out of her wallet I asked her: "you don't by any chance want to get rid of that ticket do you? "
and she smiled, and in turn looked at the smile that arose on my face .....
yes I do .... ha ha, I never believed I would love to hear these words ......
There it was, the ticket was lying in my hand, without even having to take the sign out. I felt like Charly (Sjakie in dutch) when he found the golden Willy Wonka Chocolate Bar ! This was meant to be !
I decided to go straight in, the banana's and snickers should do the energy trick as I had not yet had a proper dinner.... it was all too exciting.
The venue blew my mind, quickly shattering any expectations I had had. There was a big stage, but still looking intimate as there were seats situated all the way around the stage and upwards. Really emracing the artist on stage. Then there was a dance floor in front of the stage, but here too , seats were placed. The concert hall also felt really warm as they have used loads of wood, which works great accoustics wise ! I quickly started to check different spots within the venue to see where I was gonna sit. As I was one of the first inside, and with free seating arrangements allowing everyone to pick their spot, there were many options open.
At first I wanted to go for the spot underneath the mixing desk, then I changed my mind, I realised this room had great accoustics, bonnie would be playing solo, and mostly accoustic, so off I went again... this time it was an aisle seat, 3rd row from the front... 2 minutes later I decided that this was not the right spot either, having to look up all the time ... who's paying who here.. :)
and then I saw it, the ideal spot right next to the stage, a sort of sofa for 3 people, at the edge of the stage, looking right at bonnie and his guitar, seriously only 7 meters away with the stacked sound system positioned right next to me.
I did not have to think long, I quickly placed my survival kit on my seat, and went back to tell the lady sitting next to my now second choice spot, to release that one :) and decided to walk around a bit, then I saw a man and two girls walking over to my spot.. mmmm..... And as one of the girls took my plastic bag and wanted to put it on the sofa behind .. she did not get the chance to let go of the banana... I was there.... quickly being very assertive, no way I was gonna let someone take my spot ! And as I had secured my spot, I allowed the ladies to sit next to me, offcourse... the gentleman as I am :) and the dad (as it turned out) sat behind us ....
Then, there was this train issue.... I had checked what time the last train was going back to tilburg, 23.13 mmmm bonnie was to play untill 23.00 with the station being 10 minutes away.... mmmm tough one.... First I decided to take my jacket and my bag from the wardrobe as I could easily place these in front of my seat, this way I would not loose any time once the concert had ended, or was about to end. Then I needed to have a clock... mmm my phone... ok, but now I needed to de-activate any beeping sounds before I had my clock "ready"
Bonnie started playing around 22.30 giving the audience a chance to get some drinks after the opener of the show had finished just after 9 o'clock But this drink break, was gonna be messing things up for me ....
The opening act was great, also a guy and his guitar, no singing, but amazing guitar play (like ravi shankar) and he was jamming away, it was great fun to see him fiddling around with the sample pedal, allowing him to start playing with sounds he had just recorded in a short loop. The guy was creating amazing soundscapes and sometimes it was hard to open my eyes, as I was taken away by the music. Funny and strange thoughts came forth, a little devil inside told me that I could listen to this guy at home with my eyes closed ! Now was the time to see .. ha ha, fuck that ! It's all about the energy, the atmopsphere, the actions and reactions that one can feel. I now wonder if there were any blind people there....
Ok, so then it was 21.30 and not long after, the prince made his appearance. He was playing solo using just a guitar and three effect pedals. He hooked up the effects, and off he went.... He was playing songs from his latest album "The Letting Go" but he completely changed the way they sounded.... also because on the album there is Dawn McCarthy singing along, and she was not present here to join in... so, kind of logical that I did not recognize a lot of the songs at first. He also played a lot of songs from the album "ease on down the road" and other solo albums ... He told little stories, anecdotes, memories, improvised, howled like a wolf. Impressive wee man ! One man and his guitar on a stage and 1200 people in total awe !!! Like we were all invited into his living room, very very intimate it felt ! The guys voice is truelly amazing, and when you can see his feet, knees and shoes, twitching and twirling as he truelly gets the words out of his toes sometimes .....
Out of the blue there was a great version of "I see a darkness" It was a totally turned around version, making me cry ! He played it long after someone had shouted the name of this song, I hate that, let him play.. and command your mp3player.... ! long after the song had been called, I belive this happens on most occasions, that people want him to sing this song.. and being who he is, he listens but does his own.... I guess. So the minutes flew by.... a few moments I was restless as I thought of the train, quickly dropped the thought, back into the music. Then the girl next to me told me it was 22.55 and I looked at her as if I saw water burning.
There was no way I was gonna go..... here was the one guy that is able to touch my soul, all the way from the states, in utrecht, playing a truelly one-of-show (that;s how it felt anyhow) I wanted to see the end of the show, and even if my only option was to spend 5-6 hours on the train station waiting for the first train in the morning, so be it... Dilemma solved, back into the music.... couple of songs later, the show seemingly ended, but not untill he had come back for an encore, and I seriously cant remember if he played 4 or 5 songs during the encore but I am glad I stayed till the end !
Still afloat I made my way to the central station, thinking there was no way I was gonna be able to get back home. As I thought I had missed my last train to Tilburg my options were pretty limited, either stay in Utrecht (where you can wait inside a big hall, it's relatively warm and safe) or go to Den Bosch and wait there or try to hitchhike from there (as you'd have to wait outside (no central hall) and with temperatures close to freezing that was not an option. Hitchhiking from the station in Den Bosch is also pretty tough as it';s too far from the highway) so you get the idea that I did not feel like going there :) Then there still was a third option, meaning calling my parents to see if one of them would be crazy enough to come and pick me up from Den Bosch.. so I called, it turned out they were already in asleep, oeps... We kindly agreed that dad stayed in bed and that I would survival my way trough the night or back home, either way, it was ok.
Went off to buy some food while the shop was still open, and in the meantime my dad called back but I did not hear the phone as it still was in "stealth" mode. But as I checked the time on my phone, I saw that my dad had tried to call, I quickly called him back and he said he could not sleep anymore after my call and that he was on his way to pick me up ! Yes, yes yes !
When I was sitting in the train waiting for the train to leave I was glad I had brought my minidisc-player, so I could dive into one of my liveset recordings instead of having to listen to the conversations of my fellow passengers. Seriously, there was a guy sitting across from me, with another one in the four-seater next to us, I bet you, if they could, they would have eaten each other while continuing their download-dvd-adsl-conversion possibilities, it was way too overdone, too obviously gay all the time astounded sounding small talk... get me right here, I love anyman, gay or whatever, but people that overact, are not. They are being busy, and wether it is because I have been too busy in my life at a certain point or not, I simply do not like people that are being busy !!!
So you can imagine I was glad that at that point I realised I had my music with me. Finally arrived in Den Bosch at 01.10am where my dad picked me up and we made our way home. Then I offcourse had to play some of bonbonbilly's records and recollect my thoughts and feelings after this very emotional day. Only to be amazed again, recognizing song after song and slowly drifting of.
Ending up at the true essence of life:
DO WHAT YOU DO BEST !!!
And then I woke up on the couch, loud radio noise coming from the giant building site in front of my house, ok, the building noises one gets sort of used to, but the radio, no even worse, the local radio on full blast at 7am ! So i had to start shouting at the builders outside to turn down the bloody radio as it was 7am and I wanted to sleep... luckily they agreed it was too loud and then finally it was truelly bedtime.
Thanx 2 my dad for the pointer, otherwise I would have seriously missed this one !
Important lessons that can be learned from this day :)
If one wants to see bonnie prince billy one has to keep an eye on his website, or even better, look here : and if you need to go from utrecht to tilburg late at night, the last train leaves 23.43
Here's the opening song, I just found on youtube.... sleep tight...