But let's get to the Bruce show! The “Fan-run” pit line was amazing!! What an awesome job they did!! One word: JOY! I so wish American GA’s could have been like this. Yes it was a very long, but wonderful day... we arrived just before 9am... I got number 92... not too bad... but then came the reality of the situation... once let in it is a free for all... you have to run to the OTHER end of the (football)field to claim your spot... not a problem... but I soon found out the running to the other end (100 yard dash) would be the easy part. You are not going to believe this... but right inside the entrance was about 200 very steep steps that you had to run up before getting to the field... if you make it up the stairs then you run... Okay... so only about 200 people outrun me... but they were all very tall guys with long legs or I could have beat them. Thankfully, Alex's long legs saved me a nice spot about 8 rows back… but right in front of Soozie... whom let me add looks great!! But by the time the shifting was complete I was in 3rd or 4th row in front of Stevie... not far from the catwalk... much better. The crowd was amazing... I've never had so much fun exchanging elbows!! I totally loved the show!! It seemed to be more exhausting than the 11 that I attended in America... and I don't think it was the jetlag! Not surprisingly, Bruce ignored my sign, MY LOVE WILL NOT LET YOU DOWN once more... but it wasn't until the tall guy behind me took it out of my hands and lifted it above his head that I realized that Bruce probably couldn't even see it... We got an amazing show(reviewed here) which included Summertime Blues!! Stand On It & Seven Nights to Rock!! You can listen to the whole Amsterdam show here!!
On the way out I was able to get a set list for Alex... As impressive as the set list is... the list of fans and friends that I met in Amsterdam was just as delightful. A real honor it was to meet Badmuts aka Paulus and his lovely girlfriend, Ellie... having heard so much about Paulus I looked forward to our meeting... they had great plans for me to wrap up my trip... I'll share all that with you in a bit. I met other great Bruce fans: Tony, Mich, Linda, Paula and her mother, Rachel, Maaike, Sabine, Jeffery and Rachel...
Thursday... the day after the show... Alex took me to a very nice part of Den Haag... where there was an old fisherman's town... We did a lot of sightseeing... We even visited the Museum...
So on Sunday I meet up with Rachel and Maaike and we head to Antwerp for the next Bruce show. We did a small amount of site seeing... then we had dinner at the Hilton before heading to the venue to get our numbers... there was a very small group camping outside the venue so we joined them. What a wild time that was... Maaike had not planned on staying until she missed the last train back so we did what we could with what we had... we laid out one of the bags and covered up with the other... the three of us spooning for warmth... we stayed awake laughing late into the night... bonding.
Then after a long long long wait... sweating, in the sun... did I mention my sunburn? Finally they opened the gates and the mad dash began... I ran like crazy till I got to the field and felt it was useless so I gave up only to look and see that only about 10 peeps had made it to the pit yet and there was plenty of room left... re energized I ran toward Bruce's mic-stand! I was exhausted when I arrived to the third row behind a quite tall guy and realized that I had picked a shit spot... I put my head on his back so thrilled to be there... he was happy to see I made it and gladly traded spots with me puttng me second row right behind a lovely couple, Yvette and her husband, who brought me up to stand next to them... between Bruce and Nils!!! It was perfect!!
So Bruce comes out for signs... I did not have my sign with me nor had I brought cardboard. And Alex was not there to help get me any... but before the show I got the idea to put my request--- you know which one, My Love Will Not Let You Down... on the back of my ginagiambone.com business card... It was very tiny... So Bruce starts to gather signs and he says to the lady next to me who had 7Angels on her sign... ''I'll take that one'' he said... and I reached him my card and said, ''Please take this one, too?'' He took it and said something sweet like... 'This is the tiniest and most modest request I've gotten... such a humble request... ya never know... from small things big things someday come!!''
We got a wonderful show!! In Antwerp we got Trapped, Point Blank, So Young & In Love, Sandy and I'm A Rocker... But without a doubt: Thundercrack stole the thunder!!
MAYBE in Italy we'll get my request!!! Anyhow... I heard that the Italians started queing up before the Antwerp show even started. I better hurry and get there... I arrived the day before the show to check out the que and made the choice to stay there... with number 127. The Italian man in charge of the list was the only one who actually spoke english but that did not seem to stop us from communicating... Mr. C (the leader) took the time to translate every announcement just for me and explained just how to run when they opened the gates... The group he was with had been there since Saturday... but they welcomed me and let me hang out with their little group of friends. Franchesca offered me to sit with her on her blanket and we broke bread and sipped wine. Then when it came time to sleep they had me sleep close to them (purhaps for protection from the rest of the crazy Italians!!) There were about 200+ of us when we fell asleep... but we woke to about 500 and the que of 900 was filled before noon. When it was time for the 100yard dash... Mr C had it all worked out with security that they would let in the first 150 then hold back the others till we were safe in the pit... then let in another 150 and so on... that is how I outran so many to the second row... when I got fatiqued and overwelmed by the crowd the sweet guys in front of me let me to the rail... the only time I felt a little nervous with not being Italian was when the security guy who was handing people water refused to give me a bottle... said it was gone... but it wasn't. But then just seconds later, Gary appears and hands me a bottle of water... he looked like an angel to me...
I think that one of the coolest memories in both Antwerp and MILAN was when Bruce kept bringing us glasses full of ice water to pass around... I got several sips and quite a few ice cubes to suck on in Antwerp!! I am so glad that I went to Europe... I almost backed out quite a few times... especially the last few days... but I faced many of my fears head on these last two weeks! So about the third song Bruce says, "okay, where are the requests?" and I held my sign up high!! This time I was just having fun making a sign... but switched my request to FOR YOU cause I didn't want to keep hounding him for My LOVE... and it was the first sign he took after he pointed right at it and said, "I want that one!!" and then came over to me and we had to stretch/reach way out to each other for him to take it!! We were smiling HUGE at each other trying to reach!! There was lots of "connecting" and "interacting" during the show!! It was great!! Although he didn't play FOR YOU... What an amazing show it was!!
Summertime Blues led the way... then Out on The Streets!! Prove It, Spirit In The Night, and None But The Brave. Need I go on? Though I hate Hungry Heart... absolutely hate that song... but it was a crowd pleaser in Italy... and fun. Easily forgotten when followed by CANDY'S ROOM!! Darkness On The Edge Of Town was heavy but lightened by Darlington County Then came my favorite pair: Because The Night into She's The One!! How can you go wrong with Detroit Medley starting the encore? (by adding Bobby Jean and Dancing in the Dark to it?) But for some reason I found myself bawling to Bobby Jean and then doing the "jumping thing" with the crazy Italians to DitD. But then after American Land, Bruce wanted to stay and play some more!! Twist & Shout came out!! Singing "Ah you twist so fine" right to me and then doing his little shimmy dance right in front of me!!
Also Jon-Claude... the frenchman I met, who vowed his protection and would not abandon me in Milan... since after the show there was NO transportation available... including cabs. So with thousands of people wandering the streets looking for transportation... he made sure I got back to my hotel safely... Thanks Jon-Claude for caring!! I think Milan was the best!! But I so wanted to go on to Paris... I fought with myself... but opted to go back to Amsterdam where Alex and I would spend one last day together sightseeing before he ran off to Dublin for a show he felt that he just had to see... one of those "gotta see once before it's too late" shows... So I ignored the voices that were screeming inside my head telling me that I really should go to Paris... and I went back to Amsterdam... where we spent a great day site seeing and the end of the day... Alex and I said goodbye and he went off to Dublin... and I went off to... Goulda (like the cheese) to spend a few days with Paulus and Elleke... who were the most excellent hosts... Elleke is one of the kindest and most wonderful ladies I've met. I can't say enough about her... in one word I call her Elegance.
A huge highlight of my trip was to experience set list watching with Badmuts!!! But when I saw that Bruce sang my request FOR YOU in Paris... solo piano... I cried... and even though I wasn't there... it became a huge tour highlight for me.
Elleke was confident that Bruce had sang FOR YOU for me... and I so wanted to believe the same... it's hard to imagine that I would be given such a beautiful gift. I am honored. And what an amazing time Paulus and Elleke showed me... sightseeing in the Delft one day and then taking me to Den Haag's Festival in the Park! We strolled through the market and when my eyes lit up at the sight of a most beautiful blouse Ellie insisted on getting it for me. She sent gift tins with waffles in them home to my children as well... I felt so loved and welcomed by Ellie and Paulus... Oh back to the festival... I got to see Jason Mraz... who I have been wanting to catch... he reminds me of a very young Bruce... and I saw a cool band from Scottland and one called Proclaimers... and later the day ended with Sheryl Crow. It was a wonderful day in the park... eating and laying in the sun with friends. Maaike and Rachel had met us there adding to the pleasure of it all. Rachel and I connected and I am sure we will be very good friends for a very long time. Then Paulus, Elleke, Elleke's brother and I went to a nice restaurant on the shore for ribs. Yummy!! Ellie's adorable brother had joined us for the day... what a sweet young dutchman he is... so much like his lovely sister. Paulus' son, Rick shared a bit of his talent with me just as I was leaving... a very talented one he is... and very sweet... I so wish I could have stayed for the entire show!!
So what is it that makes a Bruce experience so vital in these last days?? Once again I come to the conclusion that it is all about the connection. Not only does Bruce connect to his fans but he connects his fans one to the other... with a connection of love that miles can not distance nor come between... a connection that language differences can not hinder the communication... a connection that binds your heart to mine.
It was so hard to board that plane the next day to go back to America...
Download the full Amsterdam show in mp3 here
Download the full Milan show in mp3 here
(Please use mp3s for personal use only)