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Thierry's before- and aftershow report

(Posted to Undercover on June 22, 1998)


Hi y'all !

WARNING : here is everything I have to say now about Werchter1 before and after the show. The Stones show will be in the next message, so delete now if you're only interested in the Stones.

I'm still trying to put back my brain cells together after an exhausting weekend... But it was such a great time !

Friday night

Arrived in Paris to meet the Paris GlimmerTeam (some of it). We had a nice dinner together with Fabrice, Philippe and his 2 kids, Karen Sumpter and her very nice daughter Sarah, and Chrissss joined us later. It was fun talking about Stones and quite many other things too. And this evening was gradually filling with excitement about the upcoming trip to Belgium. We missed the other Paris Glimmers who couldn't come to this dinner. Guys, you missed something !

Saturday morning

After a short sleep, Chrissss and I, with our 3 kids (8, 10, 11 years old) took my GlimmerBus with Fabrice at 9:45, after a last check on the Stones site, where no cancellation was announced, and Love In Vain was leading the vote. We arrived in Brussels and parked to find a restaurant where we could taste the National food : Mussels and French fried potatoes. Well, not a good season for the mussels, so we could only try the fries, with some local beers. The weather was very hot (35C, about 95F). The area where we were was so typical, with the tramway, local brassband, people talking with their funny accent, etc... Then we headed to Leuven (Louvain in the French version), checked in the hotel and headed to the festival site.

Werchter

We arrived in the surroundings of Werchter at 4pm, but it took about a half hour to park the car. The crowd was already very dense. The festival site is nothing more than a big field in the middle of nowhere, with only 2 narrow roads arriving there. We parked in the closest parking lot, thinking it might take a little more time to get away, but at least, the kids would sleep in the car, and not have to walk too long after the show.

The security took away all the bottles of water. We tried to negotiate to get water inside for the kids, but there was no way. We sneaked in a couple, though ;-)

There were people all over the place, but we could find spots every now and then to lay down.

I decided to go to the entrance of the front area, to try to get the kids inside. We tried Ronnie's side, thinking it would be less packed by hard-core fans...

There was a local security guy, and I asked him if the kids at least could enter this area. Don't know why, but I decided to ask in english : this area of Belgium is a Dutch-speaking area, but most Belgians speak both Dutch and French. The guy did not understand english, but there was also a Stones security guy passing by, who understood and told the Belgian "OK, let the kids in". The Belgian told him in French that the adults had to stay outside and obviously they didn't understand each other, so I pushed the kids through the gate and sneaked in, saying thanks and Danke, and we were in !!! I immediately showed my arm to a girl who attached me the wristband, and the Belgian guy was behind me saying "no, only the kids" but it was too late and he gave up !

As I said, I drove the 950 first km, but the kids drove us through the last 300 yards, and this was the toughest part !!! Chrissss is still amazed now that the "kids-trick" worked. As someone said about Nurnberg, these people (security) like to play God sometimes...

Very few people were there, most of those with the wristbands were outside the reserved area, so we found a wide nice spot just by the catwalk, halfway between main and B-stage. Nice people around, very quiet.

We could go out and back of the "golden circle" very easily, and it was nice for the kids to ba able to walk around, get some food, get drinks, etc... The organization was perfect on this in Werchter. You had to buy tickets for food and for drinks, but this ticket system made things very easy and quick to get what you wanted. Also, there was a "recycling" : any people bringing back 10 plastic glasses got a free drink ticket. Of course, the kids kept running around, asking everybody for their empty glasses, collecting then, etc. Lots of fun and lots of free drinks.

The drink tickets were printed with the B2B logo, and I kept one I'll scan and put on my pages.

We could watch the football (soccer) game Belgium vs don't remember which team (Mexico ?). And the crowd went nuts when the Belgian goaled. But the game ended 2-2. The game was shown on 2 huge video screens, each on a side of the stage, and the sound from TV went through the Stones main sound system.

By 7:30, the "Golden circle" filled in very quickly, mostly with people having VIP laminates. It was packed when the Simple Minds came on stage, shortly before 8pm, but all people around us were nice and we could keep our "no man's land" around the kids.

I had never heard a CD of the Simple Minds, but I recognized a few songs. The crowd was really into it, and the singer had a very good contact. People, singing, clapping and waving hands. Hot crowd. I was surprised. I really liked this set. I was getting more and more excited, just like the kids...

Simple Minds left the stage at about 8:50, almost one hour set. They did not get an encore ;-)

The Stones

Go back to the main page and follow the links...

Aftershow

We took our time to leave the reserved area, and before the exit gate, I asked the local security if they had a setlist. Of course they had not, but a guy watched some papers he had there, wondering if this was what I was asking for... It was not : just 3 color photocopies of all the passes used that night. I asked him : "can I get these, please ?"... He was a bit reluctant, but the next security guy told him these were only for today. After I told him "tomorrow is another day", I had them in hand ! Beautiful color copies of the 7 different laminates and stick-on passes used, with instructions in english and dutch, both sides for the laminates.... Yes, I'll scan them and post them on my Werchter page too... No, I can't cut them away and pretend they are real, anyway, they are overwritten with a big "SAMPLE" on, so don't dream ;-) Just a nice souvenir.

We went to the video tower, Ronnie's side, where we met Thomas Hoffmann, from Germany, Peter and Lieve, from Belgium, Michael Huizer, from Netherlands, Mayumi (from Keith's side) and her japanese friends, Fabrice, who could also sneak in the reserved area Keith's side (those French are all the same !) and a few more friend's friends. We didn't stay there very long as the kids were tired, so headed back to the car. It took half an hour to walk one mile, in a very dense crowd. One of my kids told me it was incredible for him to have seen the Stones so close (15 meters from the main stage, and on the *fence* of the B-stage), and to imagine *all* these people were behind him... You've been lucky, my son, and thanks to you, we've been lucky too...

After we got in the car, we still had to wait 2.5 hours to drive the first 3 km to the hotel !!! The kids slept in the car, while Chrissss was pretending he was still awake.

There we met again Mayumi, Thomas, Peter and Lieve, had a nice chat and quite a few drinks until the sun came up again...

It was really funny at some moment when I realized Fabrice, Peter, Lieve and myself were talking together in English, and that we were all native-French speaking, while Mayumi and Thomas were not listening to this bit of conversation...

We were not even bothered by Chrissss's snoring, as he gave up english before we gave up talking and drinking...

Great improvised GlimmerGathering, thanks to Peter and Lieve, who made the hotel suggestion. We'll all meet again for the Paris GlimmerFest, except maybe Thomas, but I'm still working on bringing him in Paris too... ;-))))

Sunday

Got up shortly before 10, just in time for the breakfast. Thomas, Mayumi, Peter and Lieve were ready to go to the second show, we said bye bye, send your reviews quickly !

GREAT weekend !

Thank you so much Peter and Lieve, Thomas, Mayumi, Fabrice and Chrissss. And a very special Thank You for the kids, for letting us inside the "golden circle", and for being that nice. I know you had one of the best weekends so far, but it was one of my best ones too...

Keep On Rockin'...
   Thierry.


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