GLASGOW ONCE AGAIN ENJOYS A NIGHT OF ANDRE RIEU AND HIS JOHANN STRAUSS ORCHESTRA... REGARDLESS OF FREEZING CONDITIONS OUTSIDE, ANDRE RIEU MANAGES TO WARM-UP THE CROWD AT THE SSE HYDRO
Glasgow may well have been shivering with minus degree temperatures outside, but the packed audience at Glasgow’s Hydro Arena on Thursday were soon warmed up with the arrival of Andre Rieu and his Johann Strauss Orchestra. The crowd greeted the Maestro and his ensemble as they entered the arena from the rear of the hall, through the crowd towards the stage, a nice touch getting up close and personal with his adoring fans. The orchestra took their places on the main stage as the PA played Seventy Six Trombones, a nice intro tune to get the crowd on their feet.
68 year old Rieu, from Maastricht in Holland, soon had his orchestra on their toes, performing a light hearted run through of some popular classical pieces, some quite recognisable as music from television advertising from throughout the years. These were interspersed with more traditional music. As its Christmas time there was some festive music too, of course, and for a short period there was more snow inside the Hydro than there was outside, thanks to huge buckets of the fake stuff sprayed all over the crowd during Sleighride.
There were a number of guests introduced throughout the evening, the first of these were The Platin Tenors, comprising of Australian Gary Bennett, Hungarian Bela Mavrak and Eric Reddet from France. They treated us to a few operatic pieces before being replaced on stage by 4 female sopranos, including Anna Majchrzak from Rotterdam. After a few carols, the Tenors and Sopranos sang together This Land Is Mine, dedicated by Andre to the children of the world.
The first half of the evening was concluded with a rendition of Carl Orff’s O Fortuna, a very popular dramatic piece, again often heard in movie scores and television commercials.
After a short interval, the second half of the show began with the ladies of the orchestra dressed in traditional Dutch clothing performing a typical Clog Dance. While the ladies retired to get changed back into their dresses, the gentlemen from the orchestra clowned about, and threw instamatic photographs of Andre into the crowd, causing more than a slight commotion at times!
Highlight of the night was the introduction of a Scottish Pipe band, who entered the venue as the orchestra had earlier, through the crowd up towards the stage, while playing the rousing Scotland the Brave. Once gathered on stage, the orchestra and pipe band joined to play Highland Cathedral, led by the very versatile solo bagpipe player Manoe Konings. The pipe band left the stage to Scotland The Brave once more.
Johann Straus’s The Beautiful Blue Danube was next on the agenda, and Andre encouraged people who wished to dance to join him in the aisles and at the front of the stage. There was no shortage of participants.
As the evening grew to its conclusion, the fake snow was replaced by a barrage of balloons cascading from the roof, and the encore included more traditional songs including Amazing Grace and The Wild Rover, plus more festive music, an up tempo Jingle Bells and We Wish You A Merry Christmas. After each piece, Andre was having fun with the crowd, encouraging them to leave, go home, you must be tired!! But no one was for budging. The Elvis Presley classic ‘Can’t Help Falling In Love’ saw the crowd hold lighters up to illuminate the arena, and as the lights twinkled and sparkled around the venue, the orchestra burst into a medley of 50’s rock and roll numbers including Tutti Fruiti, which saw pianist Stephanie Detry spectacularly dance on her piano lid!
Andre and his orchestra closed the evening and waved their goodbyes, the final song of the second half was We’ll Meet Again, which going by the reaction of the crowd, they can’t wait to happen. Andre Rieu, a Maestro indeed.