Rotterdam 1987

The Pre-sale

wtgverh1The rumour of Madonna coming to The Netherlands for her ‘Who’s That Girl’ Tour had been going around for quite some time now. I was practically calling a Dutch music magazine each and every day, to find out if they knew anything about her possible visit to my country. And if they knew when and where the ticket sale would be.

The ticket sale wasn’t going to be announced a few days before, due to fights that had happened at ticket sales for U2 which was in Rotterdam as well. This truly sucked because you simply didn’t know when the sale was going to be, and how tough it was to get tickets. So there was already lots of stress even before anything was even announced.

I had phoned with the same Dutch magazine again, they still didn’t knew, they said ‘probably next week…’. But when I went to work the next morning and I saw the newspaper laying unfolded which the headline ‘Madonna tickets on sale!’, I put my jacket back on and rushed to the nearest ticket office. When I arrived there was a huge queue! When it was my turn there were only very bad seating tickets left, but it was better than nothing so bought them anyway. Still I was very happy to have them, even if I had preferred to have field ticket (gladly just two weeks later I managed to get field tickets for the second show in Holland).


Tuesday, August 25th

Together with some friends we left by train to Rotterdam. I had booked a hotel that night, and the girls still didn’t know. Because it was going to be a surprise that I had managed to get tickets for the second show as well! When we got closer to Rotterdam you could already feel the tension, because how was it going to be tonight? She was going to put up a show for 45.000 people, would there be a lot of people already? But our main question was: how good or bad would our seats be?

After several cups of coffee, and one that decided to spill all over my trousers (it’s the nerves), we arrived at Rotterdam Central and we immediately went on to the South of Rotterdam. When we got there we followed the crowd going up to the Feyenoord Stadium. My heartbeat was racing, I still knew we had to wait 5 more hours before we could enter the stadium. The stadium became bigger and bigger and more crowded each second, cars that played Madonna very loudly, and ticket brokers asking if we had any ticket for sale, NO WAY MAN! If you only knew how much sweat it had cost me to get these tickets!

We finally arrived but before we sat down I went to change my voucher for the real tickets. The tickets were very beautiful! We were in section R, and that meant first block, people told me that I had good seats. So that certainly was a relief. I then tell the girls that I have tickets for tomorrow night and ask if they want to go (stupid question), so of course their answer is ‘YES!’ It still became crowded with each second passing and we were now just stuck in between other people.

The doors finally opened and it took a while, but then it was our turn to enter, RIP!! (no not my clothes, but my ticket that went through the first check). Then we ran to our place, up some stairs and then another rip, second check of my ticket! Our seats were really all the way in the back in this huge stadium, it was a real letdown to know that I would not get any closer. And to make things worse it started to rain as well (bummer!) We just decided to make the best of it and the stadium started to fill up real quickly. I had brought a small photo camera, but then I didn’t have a clue that this camera would not work at all from such a distance!

wtgverh2We saw someone on the stage vacuuming, then it was announced that people should stop pushing and that they had to take two steps back so the front row could breathe again. The first support act was Candy Dulfer and The Funky Stuff, which wasn’t amusing to me at all. The second support act, The Force MD’s were much better and much more fun. It became dark and around 9 the time had come!

All the lights went out and there was excitement all over the stadium, everyone was screaming ‘Madonna!’ And then we heard the very first notes of ‘Open Your Heart’, I just flipped. And this feeling truly cannot be described (even now when I hear this, I still get goosebumps thinking of that moment). And then there she was…..MADONNA! After ‘Open Your Heart’ Madonna said ‘Hello Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Haarlem, I’m gonna talk fast because it might start raining, but you’re gonna keep me warm right?’ YEAAAAHHH!! We yelled. ‘So Let’s Go’ was her answer. Then she performed ‘Lucky Star’, sometimes I looked up at the big screens but I miss having the live sensation, so quickly look back at the stage.

‘True Blue’ and ‘Papa don’t preach’ were performed and each and everytime you see Madonna changing clothes so quickly and there she is again in a gold jacket with black pants. A cop!! And ‘White Heat’ starts, everybody cheers and screams along ‘Did you like that huh?’ And then it starts raining again, but this time I really don’t care and hope that this night continues forever. After faking a shot she again says a little something to the crowd ‘Hello Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Wherever the fuck I am’.

Then they play the new single ‘Causing A Commotion’, time passes by way too quickly. ‘The Look Of Love’ and then a phonebooth up on the stage. What would happen we got to see later, but Madonna changed in the booth in a very funny dress. She continued to sing ‘Dress You Up’, ‘Material Girl’ and of course ‘Like A Virgin’ with an amazing bit of ‘I Can’t Help Myself’. Then ‘Where’s The Party’ comes on and we get blinded by light (say cheese!) ‘Live To Tell’ is the highlight of the evening, the stadium changes into a see of colours (thanks to the lighters). But the wind causes them to go off all the time, made a very funny effect.

Then ‘Into The Groove’ “Is this the country where everything is possible?!’ she screams and of course we answer with a big ‘YEEAAAH!’, ‘Okay that’s good for me!’. The whole stadium appears to be dancing, it’s one big giant party. The piano solo is just amazing and I’m just hoping that this goes on forever, and then she seems to be saying goodbye. But WE WANT MORE!! Everybody starts to cheer and scream to make her come back. And yes there she is again with ‘La Isla Bonita’, of course we sing everything along. Again this too goes by way too quickly. Then ‘Who’s That Girl’ starts which was the number 1 hit in Holland right then and there so of course everybody sang along. The lights went down and Madonna’s eyes then appeared on the big screen. GOOSEBUMPS. Then one eye blinks and we think it’s over, but we’re wrong. There is ‘Holiday!’, she just goes on with singing and dancing and jumping even though the weather sucks! We all enjoy ourselves to the fullest. Then she takes time for the audience and asks us if we want to go home. Then she says ‘I Love you Holland!’ and brings ‘Holiday’ to an end. And then she leaves the stage for good that night. Tomorrow we’re going to see it again, and at a much better spot than today!


Wednesday, August 26th

We slept like a rock and got up early in the morning at 9. After breakfast we went back to the stadium immediately. When we got there, there weren’t a lot of people, so we sat down at almost the same entrance as yesterday. The sun was shining and we just leaned back and relaxed. We still had 7 more hours ahead of us before we could enter the stadium.

After some coffee some girls joined us, they asked if we had been there for a long time. We said ‘only 30 minutes’. Oh so you live here?’. Naaaaah but we came especially for the show’. Somehow she just didn’t understand what I was saying. We then said that we had already seen the show yesterday as well. Then she said ‘so this is your second time?’. They asked us how we had liked it, of course we couldn’t find the words to say how incredible it had been. And now we would see her up close instead of in the back. After eating some fast food (missing my mother’s cooking!), buying some shirts, it got a lot more crowded and the sun was still shining.

At 5:15 we got to go in, we were crushed but are the first to enter and ran up to the field, which was a very long run. The stage became clearer and clearer until we ran into the barriers which separated the audience from the stage. YES we made it, we were front row! Turned around a couple of times to see where we had been yesterday and that we didn’t need to videoscreens anymore. Pushing started but we just held tight to the barriers, so we managed to keep our spot. Candy Dulfer does her thing and today it is just as bad as yesterday, Force Md’s were great again.

After vacuuming the stage, the lights went out and there is the dancer! And ‘Open Your Heart’ starts again. And then just a few metres away Madonna sings a verse to us. What a woman, I keep on pinching myself to see if this is really happening to me. Someone throws a plastic key on stage and Madonna says ‘A key? A key to my heart?, Well you need to do more to get my heart baby!’ Then Lucky Star comes on, during Papa don’t Preach she looks at me and I scream and she winks! After a couple of more songs the infamous phonebooth is on stage again, and there she is in her funny outfit. Amazing to see this all up close!

She throws some Madonna money and her dancers brushes the money from the stage. Where the party is just so much fun and I love the stairs on the stage! Live To Tell, Madonna is crawling on the stage, my lighter remains on this time. She almost crawls over the side of the stage! Into the groove and what a show, so good to be so close! We know then that she will come back for three more songs. So nice to see all the lighters when you turn around. There she is again in red dress and sings ‘La isla bonita’ followed by who’s that girl. Let me hear ya! And yes my shirt is completely soaked!

And once more there is Holiday! We are all going nuts, she is dancing her butt off. And then she stops and asks us if we want to go home, NO, of course not! Do you want more?! Yes of course! Before we know it she says thank you and goodbye and leaves the stage. My dream to see Madonna live from up close has just come true!

We stay a little while longer to just rest against the fences and to feel the fresh air come over me. I am crushed and completely beat, so we easily walk to the exit. Buy a tourbook, a shirt and go up to the train. We couldn’t sit from Rotterdam to Amsterdam, had to stand all the way, after that I could finally sit for the rest of my trip. I then fell asleep slowly, but I had to stay awake, still had to pick up my bike and get home! I truly felt like a train had run over me, that is the effect that Madonna had on me. It starts raining softly and I really don’t care because I just saw Madonna twice and it was everything that I could’ve hoped for. Can’t wait to find out when I get to see her again.

HANS