Concerts (and a musical) in November

November was a pretty busy theatre month for us this year! We hadn’t really planned it that way but it sort of happened.

David Bowie

First off, on Friday, the 4th of November, Mr Esther and I went to a David Bowie tribute concert in Rotterdam. It had been postponed twice due to Covid, but finally the time came and we went. Scroll through some pictures of the concert under this link, if you like and here are some (not so great ones) from me…

The Bowie songs were sung by three different artists: one woman and two men. One of the male singers actually sounded uncannily like Bowie at times, so he was my fave! It was really cool hearing the songs (and for me being able to sing along to all of them). Here’s a video someone took of the three singers doing Heroes:

And Let’s Dance, which gives an idea of the singer who sounded most like Bowie:

Downside to the concert was that there was a narrator present. At the beginning and in between songs he spoke of Bowie’s life and a bit about the impact Bowie had had on him. The text in itself was fine but it took the rhythm out of the evening when after almost every song or every other song the music stopped because the narrator was telling us something. It was really distracting and annoyed me. Also, they chose to play each song to the absolute last note where I felt that for some blocks it would have been better if the songs had flowed into each other more. The singing and music were good, though (it’s always great to hear Bowie’s music!), so that counted for a lot, but the show alas didn’t wow me.

Soldier of Orange

Next, on Sunday afternoon November 12th, my whole family (including my siblings, their families and my mother) went to a Dutch musical. My mother had arranged it (with help of my sister) for the occasion of her 87th birthday. It was also for my sister’s 60th and my younger brother’s 49th.

The musical is called Soldaat van Oranje (Soldier of Orange) and is a dramatized personal true story of resistance and collaboration during the Second World War in The Netherlands, with the resistance fighters even going to London to assist Queen Wilhelmina (in exile) in her efforts. It was also a popular Dutch film from the late 1970s, even nominated for a Golden Globe at the time. A hangar on an unused airfield near Leiden has been turned into a theatre, just for this musical, which has been running here in The Netherlands for 12 years(!!) now.

The musical aspect of it was…meh… but the staging of it was spectacular! The theatre is in the round and the audience sits in the middle on a rotating plateau…

… and gets turned towards the different sets where a scene is played. There are also really nice digital displays, showing images of the time and the costumes and set design are truly great. There is an actual sandy beach with water on one set and, at the end of the musical, the outside, where an actual old Dakota airplane is parked, is opened up as an additional set for a scene with Queen Wilhelmina returning to The Netherlands after the war. You get a bit of an idea of all of that in this trailer for the show…

Some pictures I took from the programme booklet. (click on images to enlarge).

The songs and music were forgettable (maybe it would have been better as a play?), but the story was quite exciting and the visuals and the staging were truly outstanding!

Chris de Burgh

Last, but not least: Mr Esther and I went to see Chris de Burgh two weeks ago on Tuesday, November 15th. A few months ago I read that he was coming to Amsterdam at the Carré theatre for a concert. In my early teens I used to love Chris de Burgh, he was very popular in Germany at the time (which was where I was then living). His big hit gift to the world was Lady in Red, which for me, alas, was the beginning of the end of my De Burgh admiration. I never liked that song much and the most of what I heard from him after felt downhill from what he had made in the 70s and early 80s. So, I stopped listening to him but when I saw this concert announced and it said he’d be playing from his whole body of work, I figured I’d give it a shot, for nostalgia’s sake.

Mr E and I made our way to Amsterdam, which was looking pretty, despite it being wet out. In the picture on the left, the theatre is on the left bank in the distance (with red light on the roof).

I had booked the tickets months ago but had forgotten that I had apparently booked front row seats. In hindsight I remember I had tickets for balcony front row seats in my online basket but then saw two final actual front row tickets for the same price and Mr E said, “Book those, then”! So, front row at the theatre it was. Oh, and maybe not surprisingly, we heard a fair amount of German fans around us.

As you can see the set up was simple, just a piano and a guitar. De Burgh came on, started singing standing at the mike and with his guitar. He seems like a very soft-spoken man, from the way he spoke inbetween the songs.

Not long after he started the concert, he set himself down at the piano and that’s when I had a personal Chris De Burgh – Esther interaction! As he sat down at the piano, I had to strain a bit to see him, as my view was obstructed by the guitar in its stand and the glasses of water on the piano. He must have seen me shift a little because before he started playing, he suddenly got up again from the piano, wordlessly walked to the guitar stand and moved it to the side a little. He then walked back to the piano, moved the water glasses and sat down again. He looked me straight in the eye from his seat behind the piano, tilted his head questioningly at me and patiently waited for my reaction. It was only then that I realized he really must have done all that moving of stuff for my benefit! I raised my two thumbs in the air and grinned my approval at him. He smiled back (he hadn’t said a word during all of this), the audience tittered and he then started to play. Pretty cool. 🙂 (Picture below taken by Mr E who sat to the right of me).

The concert itself was nice (although it was a pity he didn’t have a backing band; some songs were sung to a backing track) and his voice is still good too. I didn’t know any of the newer songs but everything that he played from the 1970s and 1980s was familiar to me and I really enjoyed hearing him sing live. At the end of the concert everyone was encouraged to stand and come forward and then at the very end he walked by the front row of people (including us) and shook hands. Mr E tried to get a picture but it didn’t really work, we only have a picture from right before the handshake (his hand felt very soft, by the way).

The newer songs didn’t convince me to become a fan again (and alas, he did not skip Lady in Red) but Chris sang and played well and it was really lovely to hear some of the old songs that I used to love like Spanish Train, A Spaceman Came Travelling, Waiting for the Hurricane, Borderline, The Ferryman and High on Emotion. It was nice to be out with Mr E as well, and after the concert we went out for a drink before driving home again.

So there you have it, our month of concerts. Well, semi-month, really, as it all happened in the first half of November (and I just didn’t get around to posting about them earlier). It’s been fun!

Summer holiday starts with Ed

It’s Saturday morning, 2.30 am and I should be going to bed but I first quickly wanted to post this.

Yesterday, Friday until about 2 pm, I was stressing to get all my work done before the start of my summer holiday and luckily I succeeded. To start off our holiday, leaving all work stress behind me, Mr Esther, Junior, Mini me and I went to see Ed Sheeran live in concert in Amsterdam! We left in the afternoon, had a quick dinner nearby the Amsterdam Arena stadium and then found our seats.

The concert really was great! It is so cool to see how one man with a guitar can take up a stage like that and manages to engage a crowd of 70.000 people so very well! His voice is great, his energy is great, the music was great and the visuals were so beautiful! He seemed to really love being in Amsterdam and seemed to really enjoy himself too, which also made the crowd enthusiastic. We really had such a good time. At the end he even changed into an orange shirt (orange of course being our national colour).

We made some videos at the concert but too tired now to upload them all and won’t have time in the near future as tomorrow we prepare and pack for our holiday and on Sunday we’ll be off. I did want to share these three videos, though.

The first one is of a newer song called The Joker and the Queen. Such a touching song, it brought tears to my eyes…

The second song I’m sharing is Thinking Out Loud and shows you how well Ed also engages the audience…

The third and final video I’m sharing was filmed while Ed was singing Photograph. There was a sign language interpreter below, signing every song. It was such a fascinating and beautiful thing to observe.

As an added bonus that really made us very happy, Mr E and I really loved watching our kids enjoy themselves so very much as well. It was a perfect family outing.

If you even remotely enjoy some of Sheeran’s music, I can only highy recommend going to a concert of his. As pop concerts go, these tickets really weren’t that expensive and they really are worth every penny.

Right, bed time! Not sure when I’ll be back online as Mr E and I head off on our first summer holiday alone together in 21 years on Sunday… 🙂

2Cellos in Amsterdam

Last night Mr E and I went to see 2Cellos perform live at the Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam. The place looked pretty much sold out. It still feels a little weird being in such a full venue but the seats beside Mr E were free, so we had a little space.

The concert was awesome, these two really are a force of nature on stage! There are also some Richard Armitage vibes to the guy (Luka Šulić) who sat on the right which was a nice little bonus to me personally. The other guy, Stjepan Hauser, is the more outgoing, clownish one in the pair who I felt was a little too aware of the sex appeal these guys seem to have. He did most of the talking (which wasn’t a lot) but I liked it best when they just stuck to the awesome music they make.

I recorded small bits and pieces of the concert and compiled a little 15 minute video of those bits and pieces (the concert itself lasted about 90 minutes).

If you’re interested in hearing a specific cover, here are the times in the video: 0:08 min: U2 – Where the Streets Have No Name | 1:57 min: Ed Sheeran – Castle on the Hill | 3:15 min: Muse – Resistance | 4:40 min: Michael Jackson – Smooth Criminal | 6:53 min: AC/DC – Thunderstruck | 9:26 min: Bon Jovi – Living on a Prayer | 10:59 min: Iron Maiden – The Trooper | 11:58 min: Johnny Cash (or Nine Inch Nails) – Hurt | 13:09 min: Leonard Cohen – Hallelujah

2Cellos were especially electric in the upbeat rock numbers (Resistance from Muse, Thunderstruck from AC/DC, The Trooper from Iron Maiden, and Michael Jackson’s Smooth Criminal were I think my faves of those) and in the final two numbers (Hurt and Hallelujah) they were very touching as well. The concert ended on that contemplative note and I’m really glad we got to see them live, especially as this apparently is their final tour together and they’ll be off doing solo projects in the future…

Edited to add a picture 2Cellos shared on their Instagram.

If I were visible, it would be somewhere in the middle of that lower balcony on the right.

Bridge Over Troubled Water

This evening on TV we happened upon the Simon and Garfunkel concert in Central Park from 1981 (which sounds ancient now). I used to have the double album of that concert on LP records and listened to it all the time back then in the 1980s and 1990s.

After an awful news week were 19 young children and 2 teachers were killed in a senseless school shooting in Texas and there are no common sense laws in sight to ban assault weapons and initiate even basic screening for gun ownership, this soothing concert comes at exactly the right time. I picked Bridge Over Troubled Water to share here, as I have no words of my own that I am able to express at the sadness of this preventable tragedy and I think we can all use some comfort.

The whole concert can be watched here if you like. It’s good for the soul.

Saturday music

Certain songs have been playing in my mind a lot this week.

Both Sides Now

As I already blogged about a few days ago, I loved the movie CODA and the song that Ruby (Emilia Jones) sings at the end of the film is a cover of the Joni Mitchell song Both Sides Now. I love this rendition. The video contains spoilers so if you haven’t seen the movie yet and want to remain completely unspoilered, maybe it’s better to watch the movie first.

Modified to add: here’s an audio only version, so no spoilers…

I don’t know Joni Mitchell well at all and the first time I became really aware of this song was during that scene in Love Actually. Emma Thompson really is amazing in this, with the song underlining the heartbreak so effectively.

Ziggy Stardust

Apparently a David Bowie shop has opened in London, on the same street where the cover of his great album Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (my fave Bowie album) was photographed. I bet that, besides cool store items, the in-store music must be excellent as well.

It’s a pop up shop, which could mean it won’t be there long. I wish I could go!


Mandy Patinkin and his family are matchmaking, trying to find a girlfriend for a family friend! This just made me laugh and is so loving at the same time.

That also meant I got stuck with this song in my head:


And 2022 is going to be a great music year for us! We’ve been booking some ‘big’ concert tickets.

In January Mr Esther and I are going to a David Bowie tribute concert. It’s promising to be a big event. There will be something like this in Germany as well, I hope the Dutch version will be as good as this looks.

In May Mr E and I are going to see 2Cellos live in concert. Those guys are really good, I love how and what they play and their energy. So many videos I could link to here, but let me pick a cover they did of a great Muse song…

… but they also do heartfelt well, like this beautiful theme from The Godfather

And then in July I have tickets for the four of us to go see Ed Sheeran live. I have yet to hear any of his new songs, but I hope they will be good. Let me share here the song through which I first noticed him – I See Fire from The Hobbit: the Desolation of Smaug. Someone made a video which of course also features Richard Armitage as Thorin. I love the build up in this song. I wonder if he ever sings this in concert.

I hope the pandemic situation in the world will allow for all of this to happen, I’m already so much looking forward to it all.