Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Holiday in Rotterdam (Tuesday)

After the statutory 'big-breakfast' in the hotel, we headed out to explore the local area today. Ann noticed that in the local theatre - The New Luxor - The Alan Parsons Project were playing live - a rare occurrence these days, and a real coincidence that we're in the same country as his greatest hits tours. It was too good an opportunity to miss, so we plan to pick up some tickets later today.












Our first stop locally was the Maritime Museum (just a ten minute taxi ride away). The museum was a mix of exhibits inside and out. Ann wasn't too impressed, but it all looked pretty OK to me - although the slightly surreal multi-media 'event' on the first floor made it all feel a bit strange! The main disappointment seemed to be that you couldn't actually get on board any of the ships outide to look around.













In spite of the very blue sky, it was freezing outside, so we went back into the Museum and sought shelter in the Cafe. Then, suitably warmed-through, it was off for a short walk around the harbour area - partly to see what it had to offer, and partly to look for a taxi to take us to the Theatre to pick up the tickets. After ten or fifteen minutes battling the cold, we gave up exploring... and the search for a taxi! We headed back to the Museum and they booked one for us.

And so, we said goodbye to the f-f-f-freezing harbour area and headed for the Theatre. It was at this point I realise my already lack-lustre Dutch had let me down! I'd 'read' (or thought I had) that the Box Office opened at 1pm. Actually, it read THE TELEPHONE LINES open at 1 and the Box Office opens at 4!!!!

err, F***!!!!

Luckily, over the road was a Diner - 'Citroen' - where we quickly headed to get out of the cold. The menu was basic, but it suited us perfectly.

Whilst gazing out of the window, we realised that we were next to a Metro station. After some quick navigation work using the local map, we realised we could get back to the hotel via this route (in fact, there was a station NEXT to our Hotel!). At the same time we hatched a plan for the rest of the afternoon to kill some time before the Box Office opened - we'd take the Metro up the line to Delfshaven and have a look around the place.

Once again in full 'exploer-mode', we set off with gloves, hats and scarves earning their space in the luggage!!! The Metro was brilliant! and we got an all-day ticket for 7.50 Euros whilst Lee's and Denis' was half that! (old persons' privilege!)

On arrival, it was just a short walk to a really tranquil part of the town - very Dutch - canals, tall town houses and of course the obligatory windmill! Although it was still perishingly cold although the four of us did manage to find a small sun-trap - and it was PERFECT!






















With the soft chiming of the local clock from the Pilgrims' Church in the background, it was about as perfect as it was likely to get this week, so we made the most of the quiet surroundings and the warmth!













After basking in the sun for around 20 minutes, we then returned to reality and took the short walk back to the Metro station. We jumped off at Wilhelminaplein, the station next to the Theatre, and headed for the Box Office. Success!! we managed to get two tickets at a reasonable price.

It was then back on the Metro to the Hotel, wher we chilled out for an hour or so before heading back to the Theatre.

We arrived in good time where the crowds were already building. Clearly, the Dutch LOVE Alan Parsons! I still can't quite get over the coincidence. AP's probably my fave artist. Over the 35+ years I've been collecting his albums, I never actually got to see him in concert. His appearances live in the UK were very few and far between - and then he moved to the USA, (although bizarrely, still appearing in mainland and eastern Europe for live gigs).













It was only by chance that Ann happend to spot that he was on tour. AND, in the same country as us, AND during the time we were in Holland too - AND in a Theatre, just a spit from where we're staying - a perfect coincidence!

The concert kicked-off just after 8, to a packed house. Entitled 'The Greatest Hits Tour', the event certainly lived up to the name - see below. No support acts just pure Parsons!

The Turn of a Friendly Card
Eye in the Sky
Let's Talk about Me
Don't Answer Me
Games People Play
What Goes Up
Sirius
Wouldn't Want to be Like You
Old and Wise
...plus quite a few more!

There was a short 20 minute break at around 9pm, and in part two, the band played on until 10.15 including a two-track encore.

We've been to a few concerts in our time and we've found that the acoustics can vary dramatically. At this Theatre, the New Luxor, the sound was spot-on - maybe through design, or maybe because AP is a sound engineer. Every track was just spot-on = and the audience, us included, really appreciated it. The say that 'the crowd went wild' would be an under-statement!

We took the short walk back to the Metro and luckily didn't have long to wait. Three stops later, we were walking back into the hotel - 10.45pm is late for us, but it was well worth it - what an unique experience!