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Day 5: Groningen
Day 5: Groningen (De Oosterpoort)
(24/06/2008)All of a sudden, the last day of our little tour has come. It means saying goodbye to Amsterdam, which I have really come to like these past two days, and saying hello to Groningen. Erm, which actually turns out to be more complicated than I had imagined…The train tickets we’ve bought and the printed information for our journey tell us to catch the train to Amersfoort and to change into the train to Groningen there. Time between arriving in Amersfoort and leaving again to Groningen according to schedule: six minutes. Luckily, the train actually arrives on time in Amersfoort. Of course, there’s no lift, so it means manhandling our suitcases up the endless-seeming stairs (and me with my huge, stuffed bird suitcase, congratulations…), crossing the bridge leading to the other track and manhandling the bloody suitcases down again. But, we do it in time and we still have four minutes till the train to Groningen departs, neehaaa! The announcement on the monitor says something like “Voor: Groningen, achter: Leeuwarden” and considering the fact that I actually did a Dutch course at university for three terms, I’m pretty sure this must mean something like “To Groningen over Leeuwarden”. Well… Seems like I was ill in the lesson our teacher told the little story about the Dutch preposition “achter”. As we find out approximately an hour later, when the lovely Dutch conductor asks for our tickets, it rather means “back, behind” and the back part of the train, into which we just jumped when the train arrived at the station, is going to Leeuwarden, while the front part of the train was detached some stations ago and is going to Groningen. Without us! Lost in translation, in a mix of Dutch and English, the conductor and I try to find out how to get our little group to Groningen in time. We’re supposed to get out at the next station, take the next train back to Meppel and from there to Groningen. In the right part of the train of course.Thus, it means getting out at a little Dutch village called Steenwijk before we can continue our journey, experiencing strange Dutch animals making strange sounds. If the sun wasn’t shining I’d say being lost in this village that seems to consist of three houses and the one track train station would be scary. But, hey, let’s stay positive. This way you get to experience the Netherlands.After this small detour we reach Groningen, however, although there’s not that much time for relaxing or even having a look at the surroundings now. It’s more down to taking a shower and getting ready for the last show tonight.We meet Mia in front of De Oosterpoort, head for some Mexican food and then back to the venue, which is a kind of cultural centre and has its concert hall hidden somewhere in the complex, so it’s no surprise there’s nobody out on the street. When it comes to the crowd, tonight resembles Frankfurt a bit. There are about twenty people when the doors open and it only gets fuller slowly, the main proportion of the audience consisting of middle aged, already slightly bald men, who seem to take this show as a means of reviving their old rock n roll days again. And this, unfortunately, is reflected in the spirit of the audience.The Brothers Movement are there to open again tonight and although they are playing a great set again, there seems to be something like a “civility gap” between the stage and the audience. It’s the stage, us fans occupying the first row and then a gap of about two metres. Hm. People in Groningen seem to be a bit shy, maybe…And this somehow also continues throughout the set of BRMC, the audience stays to be rather restrained and doesn’t get really warmed up, that’s at least the impression I have. Hardly understandable from my perspective, but that’s what happens. Anyhow, we try to let this not spoil our last evening on this tour and thus enjoy a set of:666 ConducerBerlinWeapon Of ChoiceAin’t No Easy WayRed Eyes And TearsSix Barrel ShotgunStopSalvationHeart + SoulMercyShuffle Your FeetRiver StyxNeed Some AirAmerican XPunk SongPretendTook Out A LoanSteal A RideSpread Your LoveAnother time the show starts off with a phenomenal 666 Conducer, another time Robert has to cheat by reading the additional lyrics of Six Barrel Shotgun from a note on the monitor, another time Salvation and Heart + Soul blow our minds, another time we clap along to Shuffle Your Feet and shake everything we’ve got to Steal A Ride. Robert introduces Mercy by saying that, as they had never played in Groningen before, this was a song to make friends, starts off and leaves us standing there, trying to deny ourselves the tears. Yes, we’re getting a bit emotional here on our last night of the tour. A final time we know the true promise of hearing Pretend and rock out to Punk Song and Spread Your Love. The only thing I’m missing tonight is Peter playing some acoustic songs and hearing All You Do Is Talk another time. But finally, even this show is over and thus, with the last accord of Spread Your Love, our BRMC tour comes to an end.Unfortunately, there’s also no one of the band coming out to talk to the fans tonight, although all of us would have liked to say goodbye. There’s even no chance of sitting down and having a nice chat after the show as people are literally thrown out of the venue. Thus, there’s nothing else to do than to go and look for some shop that might sell something to eat, but even the McDonald’s is closed. Therefore we end up at a gas station, eating sandwiches and baguettes on the cold floor and I decide to buy a huge pot of Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream, which we share sisterly, in order to prevent upcoming post-show depressions. It’s a bit unspectacular, this end of our tour… But as I have said so many times before: we’re spoilt and probably expect too much.All in all I have to say that these past two weeks have been phenomenal. I met so many lovely people, shared some great laughs, saw five spectacular shows and got the chance to interview Peter again, thus I think there is no reason for being sad. If one thing’s for sure, then that there will be a next BRMC tour to look forward to. A big Thank You to my sister Melanie, who made it possible for me to actually do this tour, and to Natascha and Kirsty, our companions on the road. We had such a great time. Let’s hope we’ll get the chance to do such a tour again soon, as we try and we try, but we can’t get enough…
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