Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Je suis à Paris pour vous

When I landed in Amsterdam I had no idea what to expect... I've had a dream of traveling to Europe for so long... and now my dreams were about to come true... I instantly fell in love with Holland. Having a few hours to kill I went looking for "coffee" and fell deeper in love with Holland!! My waiter filled my head with stories of Holland as the time passed... we talked politics and more time passed... finally it was time to meet up with Alex at the ferry as we had planned... so many bikes... everywhere I looked. Trams, Trollies and Bicycles!! It had been months since I had seen my friend Alex... I was so happy to see him... and hungry after such a long trip... and it turns out that Alex is quite the dutch chef!! Of course the plane ride had wiped me out and I was fast asleep soon after dinner.

Though there's so very much to tell... the most awesomely noticeable and need I say, enchanting difference to me is the wonderful sound of happiness present in the voices heard as we walked through the neighborhood in The Hague on the way to the Market. There was such a beautiful atmosphere there.

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...

I did it... but I left my heart in Europe.

Download the full Amsterdam show in mp3 here

Download the full Milan show in mp3 here

(Please use mp3s for personal use only)


Anonymous said...


I had such a blast wiht you in Europe. You gotta come back. Next time I'll show you Leiden the city my father's family comes from and I'll show you the church where the Pilgrim Father's lived for 13 years before they left for the future United States on the Mayflour. You'll love that town as well.

Anonymous said...


I promise to come back. :)

Thank you for being so wonderful!!

Tomer said...

I was probably that tall guy behind you in Amsterdam. Great choice of song, and I would've liked to hear it as well. Still, it was an amazing night.

Anonymous said...

:D Hi Tom!!

That was so sweet of you... Thanks!! and I'm sorry if I blocked your view... what a great show!!

I'm taking my sign to Hershey so cross your fingers!

Are you from Holland??

Tomer said...

You didn't block my view at all! Very kind of you to not hold the sign up during songs. But that may also have been because you were dancing so much!

Fingers are crossed :D It's a pretty rare song isn't it?

And yes, I am a Dutchie. Am hoping he will return soon. It was my second concert and I am kinda hooked :D

Anonymous said...

lol (embarrassed emoticon) :D

Oh my goodness... that really was you!! That was only your second show?? You seemed so experienced!! lol

It was my 35th!! I started a long long time ago... And yes I think that it is a rare song. I have never seen it live, yet.

I simply love Holland... in case you couldn't tell.

Tomer said...

Hahaha, "experienced". I watch what the people against the railing are doing, and then do it better :D

Wow, 35, that's a lotta Bruce! How high does the Amsterdam concert rank?

Holland, it's a beautiful place to be born...

Anonymous said...

lol A quick study!! I'm very impressed!! :D

Amsterdam rates extremely high... though I wasn't too happy with the venue... the show was awesome and the crowd... charming! :b

What do you think of the boot?

Tomer said...

The Arena is notorious for its sound. I saw U2 there in 2005 and the sound was much worse. I think the sound tech guys did a decent job.

The boot I have is pretty good, but I have to turn up the volume quite a bit to hear it well. I also like that the set list is very different from Arnhem last year (where I was as well). Great to hear the encore from that night again :) And Backstreets. And The River. Etc.

When in doubt, and you can't figure it out, stand on it! Such a fun song! I didn't even know the three odd songs in the encore, but the pit went wild, so naturally I followed. :D

Anonymous said...

hehehe... too cute!! You looked like you were having a blast, too!!

And those songs were very nice surprises! Especially Summertime Blues!! I hadn't heard that live since... 1985. :o

I'm glad we got to enjoy the show together!!

Btw... you can click on my name to hear a pretty good recording of it.


Tomer said...

Listening right now, this stuff is good!

I was absolutely having a blast. Loved every second of it, even standing/sitting in line for hours on beforehand. I always meet great people in line somehow. In December last year I got really cold, so some people advised me to stuff newspapers down my shirt (and it helped) and now someone offered me bootleg videos and something to read in line :D. Bruce fans are nice people :)

And it was certainly fun to see the encore trio refered to as the WTF trio on Backstreets :D

Anonymous said...

Oh you go to Backstreets?? Who are you?? lol

That's one of the best parts or the whole experience... meeting other crazy fans... although I didn't see you in line... so you must run pretty fast!! :b

Tomer said...

I'm just a lurker at Backstreets really, never posted. Maybe I should... :D

I think you were in the other line? Didn't see you in mine.

I live on the third floor, so the stairs weren't all that hard for me. And the running wasn't a real problem either. It's that adrenaline-kick you get.

Anonymous said...

lol I wish you would. :D

Yes I was surprised how close I made it to the front... we out ran a lot of people.

The third floor makes strong legs. hehehe

Tomer said...

Maybe I'll register later. Message boards can be fun.

Third floor and football make strong legs. I think I overtook a lot of people on the stairs.

I agree with what you write about the fan-run GA system thingie. How does it go in the US? IS there a lot of GA there anyway?

Anonymous said...

:D I'll bet you would make the board more fun! lol

Here the GA lines stink. They hand out numbered bracelets with for a few hours then call a number and line up by number and so it's not about getting there early to earn your spot, it's about being the lucky number called.

What position do you play? :o

Tomer said...

That is a crummy system indeed. I've always had GA for concerts here and it always works fine. First come first serve.

I'm a goalie. I said football, but I mean soccer.

Anonymous said...

Soccer, of course... and what color do you wear? :D

I so much more prefer first come first serve... though I'm not sure if that would work well here.

Tomer said...

My team has purple shirts, but my outfit is orange.

Why wouldn't it work? You just need some fans with too much spare time and a loud voice to make it happen :D

Anonymous said...

lol I could/should volunteer!! :b

I like purple! Orange? Do all goalies wear orange?? Are you a pro?

Tomer said...

By far not a pro!

Not all goalies wear orange. I could wear anything I want, but the club provides an orange t-shirt for me, so it saves me doing a little laundry.

We play in purple mainly because not a lot of other teams do, to avoid confusion on the pitch (not a good idea to have two teams playing each other in the same colours).

Do you think Bruce will tour again after this tour? I'd really like to hear Jungleland.

Anonymous said...

hahaha... you are so funny.

Well I hope he does continue his tour going against most rumors... and that is one of the few songs left that I am chasing... Jungleland, The Fever, My Love Will Not Let You Down, and Drive All Night for me... lol.

And Fade Away, New York City Serenade... shall I go on? hehehe ;)

Tomer said...

I noticed his website said that this was the final leg of the tour :( And it also says he toured every year for the last 4 years, so maybe he'll take a break? I hope not, but we'll see.

Jungleland is a great song. Any songs you really don't want to hear again?

Anonymous said...

Yeah that's true... but I also heard that there was a new CD coming out... that means a tour usually but not always. we can hope!

Funny... but the songs that I didn't think that I wanted to hear, eg. DITD and Hungry Heart (yuck) went over so well live... and Bobby Jean actually had me in tears in Amsterdam. (embarrassed smiley)

What about you? Anything that you'd rather not hear? :b

Tomer said...

I'm really not all that picky when it comes to set lists. There's some stuff on Human Touch and Tunnel of Love I could do without hearing, but that stuff isn't really showing up this tour.

I actually like Bobby Jean, and I can't say that after two shows I'm sick of hearing any songs.

(gotta admit, I'm not a big fan of NYC serenade *hides* )

Anonymous said...

lol :D

You don't have to hide for being honest... but try to keep an open mind... k?

Click on my name and check out this version of NYCS... if you don't like it then I'll accept what you've said. :b

Pure elegance...

Tomer said...

I'm sorry, but I don't care for it much. It just sounds like 10 minutes of weird intros and outros stringed together. The fishlady and train parts make me cringe.

Each to their own I guess :D I hope he plays it to you in Hersehy :)

Anonymous said...

That's cool... at least you tried your veggies. ;)

I'd actually rather hear My Love Will Not Let You Down, For You or Jungleland. Shhh.

But I wouldn't complain whatever he plays. :D

Tomer said...

Hehehe, I just had veggie noodles too!

Jungleland is fantastic. It's gotta be even better live. With that violin intro you know you're going to be in for something amazing. I can actually hum along to the sax solo :D

My love will not let you down would be great as an opener, like on the live in NYC album.

What other music/bands do you like?

Anonymous said...

That's a tough question... I like certain songs from Counting Crows, The Coors, Tom Waits, Tom Petty... but not sure I'd skip a Bruce show to see any of them... oh yeah... I like the Rolling Stones. :D

I love Billie Holiday, too.

Anonymous said...

What about you? What other bands do you like? :b

Tomer said...

There's a lot I like. R.E.M., Pearl Jam (they put on a great live-show too), U2 (but not as much as I usedt o), Tom Petty, Queen, INXS, Keane and some smaller bands like The Drive-By Truckers, Joe Purdy (www.joepurdy.com), Over the Rhine, Athlete and The Black Keys. I'm always trying to discover new music :)

Anonymous said...

Excellent taste!! :D

I got lost on your fm page... :o
Thanks for sharing!!

I'm putting together a cd of some of my favorites... I'll share it with you soon!!

Tomer said...

Thank you!

Last.FM is a great website.

Looking forward to the music :)

Only a couple more days until Hershey! Where are you from? I think I saw Ohio on the back of your sign, but it might have been a different state?
My memory isn't very good :D

Anonymous said...

:D Great memory... yes Ohio.

Tuesday!! I'm so excited... but that dang lottery is such a roadblock. lol

Disc is almost ready! ;)

I meant to get back over to FM...

Tomer said...

Over the Rhine and The Black Keys are form Ohio! Have you ever seen them/heard of them?

I'm watching the wings for wheels documentary now. Interesting stuff. Blood sweat and tears.

Anonymous said...

I did notice when I was checkin out your fm-page that Black Keys was from here! That's cool.

No... I've never heard of either.

Can you believe he played Back In Your Arms last night?? Wow!!


Tomer said...

He's playing a lot of stuff that I wouldn't recognise in concert. Not that that has to be a bad thing, I didn't know the three songs int e encore in Amsterdam either, but I was still rocking out and enjoying them.

The Black Keys are a blues-rock duo, with just drums and a guitar. Attack and Release is a good album, but I'm not sure how long it stays fresh. They have 5 albums so far I think. You can watch them do a live set in Paradiso, Amsterdam at www.fabchannel.com I'm seeing them in September, so I'll see then how good they are.

Over the Rhine was a band and is now a duo with some hired musicians. very good music, I would recommend Changes Come (a live album) and the double-album Ohio. Very soothing music. Both bands are not much like Mr. Springsteen though.

If you want, I can upload some music for you. :)

(ps. this is tom. I'm not sure what happened exactly, but I seemed to ahve logged in under a different name or something.)

Anonymous said...

You'll have to let me know what you think of them...

Yes I would love you to upload some of your favorite tunes for me!!

I have some to upload for you too... just haven't had the time to yet... maybe I'll do that for you tonight while you are sleeping! ;)

Talk to you tomorrow, Tomer!! :D

dubious.blues said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tomer said...

Sleeping, yes. I'm on vacation (university student, new year starts in two weeks), so my sleeping schedule is... well,... weird at least. I often to go bed between 3 and 4 am.

I'll upload some stuff for you tomorrow, perhaps whilst you are asleep :D

I'm going to have to think about what to include :hmm:

Tomer said...

Congrats on getting Jungleland. That's one to cross off your list!

Hope you had fun!

Anonymous said...

:D Thanks!! Oh my goodness... what an amazing show!! I had a great time!! I hope the boot is just as amazing!

I have something for you...



Tomer said...

Thanks! I'm going to think about what should be in my mix now...

Tomer said...

It actually gets easier to pick songs every time I make a compilation for someone. Anyway: here it is!

Anonymous said...

:D Thanks!! It's downloading now.

C-ya after my trip!!

Tomer said...

Where's the trip going? Is it Bruce-related?

Anonymous said...

Very much so...

I just closed the tour with Bruce!!
4 show ending... it was incredible... I'll write about it soon!! ;)

Missed you... :b

Tomer said...

Awesome! You got some weird stuff in those shows :D

Looking forward to the reviews!

Gina said...

Yes... we got some wonderfully weird stuff!!

Yikes... I better get busy on that review. ;)

dubious.blues said...

Me again!

Yes, you better get started! I want these reviews on my desk by 7! :D

How many different songs have you seen/heard live?

Gina said...

Good topic for a post. lol

I'll get back to you on that one. :b