Time in Rieu

On Thursday night, I took my mother to see an André Rieu concert at the Olympic Stadium. She is something of a fan of his so it seemed a good thing to do for her birthday. In case you have never heard of him he is a violinist and entertainer.

Whatever else might be said about him, André certainly understands big. His ‘stage’ was a full-sized reproduction of the facade of a Venetian palace. On the upper floor, above the orchestra, was a dance floor where the Viennese ballet danced several numbers. There were ice-rinks in front of the wings where ice-skaters (I’m not sure of their nationality) skated in counterpoint to the dances. There was even, at one point, a carriage drawn by six white horses doing a lap of the arena. Four very large video screens were mounted on the front of the facade.

It is the presence of these screens which gives away the major problem – the Olympic Stadium is big. Big enough for Olympic events and games of football. Big enough, indeed, for the facade of a Venetian palace.

We were in the reasonably cheap seats in the middle of the football pitch. The orchestra stage was raised so you could see them OK although you only saw the top half of the ice-skaters. But although you could see the orchestra they looked tiny. More expensive seats were available back up in the stands but one side of the stadium is a long way from the other side so, while you would have been able to look down on the stage a bit, everyone would have looked very small indeed. Only the really expensive seats just in front of the stage would have had anything like a good view.

So you ended up looking at the giant screens a lot. There is no doubt the camera-work was excellent – he has been touring a long time now and it was a slick act. Everyone in the orchestra smiled and laughed a lot – possibly a bit strained in places but very professional. There was friendly mucking about and André is a good entertainer who kept the crowd with him.

I liked the music too. There is nothing inherently wrong with tunes you can hum and we got a lot of the well-known classics. There was even an Andrew Lloyd Webber number and while this is one more than I would included, I could put up with it.

The forecast thunderstorms never materialised (a good thing when you are seated in the middle of the arena) and it was a pleasant evening. By leaving before the encores finished we even managed a quick getaway rather than having to fight the crowd of 20,000 and the inevitable traffic jams.

But somehow, when the music has of necessity been heavily amplified (and the stadium was not built with acoustics as a primary design feature) and when you have to watch the video screens in order to properly see what is going on, you can’t help wondering if you might be better just buying the DVD and watching it in comfort.

I don’t regret doing it and we both enjoyed it but I don’t think either of us would do it again.

This entry was posted on Saturday, November 29th, 2008 at 2:43 pm and is filed under Family, General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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