Antwerp-Amsterdam 22, 23 June
A mid-afternoon, hour long drive to Antwerp from Brussels today. We arrived at the venue, Sportpaleis, just in time to catch the last of lunch in catering…. spicy chicken kebobs with vegetable fried rice and tomato soup. I dove into it all including bread, butter and a trip to the juicer… green apple, carrots, loads of ginger, celery. If that weren’t enough, I followed it with a large espresso and a cookie. No wonder after soundcheck I opted out of dinner for a nap and good bit of practise prior to the show. Another venue we’ve played many times before, tonight’s show was literally filled to the rafters with nearly 14,000 folks. Top show and audience. The usual runner and hour drive back to Brussels. Having skipped dinner I was now very hungry and just about to head out to find something to eat when Guy rang with the offer of gin and tonic in his room and two bags of sandwiches that catering had made up… cheese and pickle, ham and mustard. A sandwich never tasted so good along with a couple of drinks then off for an early night.
Decamped Brussels for a 25 minute flight to Amsterdam and a gig at Ziggo Dome Arena, another venue we’ve played many times. I was here a couple of years ago with Neil Diamond on his 50th Anniversary tour and being here this afternoon brought back memories of him as well as the many shows played here with MK. Ziggo is a fantastic arena, modern, clean and a pleasure for the crew as well as the artist. The sound of the place is exceptional for such a large arena and they’ve continued to improve it over the years. Sold-out at 12,500, tonight’s show was a joy from first note to last, so musical, confident, relaxed and well played all around. There were glasses of cold Heineken draft beer back stage when we came off thanks to our hero Pete Mackay. Day off tomorrow in Amsterdam. I’ll be having lunch with my friends Nadia and Henk Quintelier who over the years have put together a brilliant fansite for me that I endorse wholeheartedly. They’ve done exhaustive research and have uncovered recordings and articles to do with me that I’d long ago forgotten about. If you’re interested it is: www.fansite.richard-bennett.com or go to the “Links” section of this site and click on Henk’s RB Website.