For both of us, it was a treat to be back in Liège – Reidun’s home for several years in the 1990s, and also the scene of Paul’s first Continental adventures in the 1970s (long story…). It was pleasant to wander the historic town centre and the Citadelle. Of course much has changed since either of us was there. For example, there’s the futuristic new train station.
And this skyscraper building and new footbridge across the Meuse:
Wednesday 2 May
Our next performance was a concert in Le Phare, the Médiatheque (library for all media) in Uccle, just south of Brussels on the Chaussée de Waterloo. It was another brilliantly sunny day, so after we’d called in to the venue we took a stroll in a nearby park, Le Bois de la Cambre. Picturesquely set in a lake is Chalet Robinson, approached via a pleasant boat trip of perhaps 100 metres. A perfect spot for a light beer in the sun!
After that, the concert in Le Phare was a delight: very attentive audience, and good sound, thanks to our friend Patrick van Uffelen. We were now quite happy with our concert set, two parts of about 45 minutes each, easily adaptable as required.
Thursday 3 May
Next we crossed the border into The Netherlands, where Martin van Hensbergen had arranged a concert for us in ‘t Huys Dever (or Kasteel Dever), a restored fortified house or small castle in Lisse – a stunning setting for what turned out to be a very enjoyable evening. Even our accommodation was palatial: nearby was another castle, Kasteel Oud-Poulgeest, and the coach house has been turned into a hotel, where we stayed.
Kasteel Oud-Poulgeest, Lisse, Netherlands.
Our accommodation was in the converted coach house of Kasteel Oud-Poulgeest
‘T Huys Dever has been brought back from a ruinous state, and now houses a museum and performance venue, filled with beautiful historic artefacts.
‘t Huys Dever (Kasteel Dever), Lisse.
Reidun tuning up before the concert in ‘t Huys Dever.
In concert, ‘t Huys Dever. (photo by Christoph Weikart)
Once again we were blessed with a lovely audience, and the natural acoustic of the room was excellent. It was an inspiring place to play, and we were touched to receive a standing ovation!
Friday 4 May
For our next performance, we crossed back into northern Belgium, for a concert in the Kristoffelzaal, Dessel. This community hall is in a suburban setting, beside an old chapel on a mound, but is just a few minutes walk away from open fields and streams. After so much driving, it was a treat to spend an hour or so walking through peaceful countryside.
Countryside near Dessel, Belgium.
Kristoffelzaal (on right) (photo from Mapio.net).
After that, the concert itself was a pleasure, and it was great to meet some old friends. The evening was also memorable for the solution of The Great Plectrum Puzzle. Paul had started the tour with a plentiful supply of Jim Dunlop .73mm picks, but their number had dwindled mysteriously night after night. He was down to his last one when the cause suddenly became clear. The change pocket in his jeans (the natural storage place for one’s picks) was actually a double pocket – after a gig he had been putting his pick into one part of the pocket, then next day looking for it in the empty other part! Now, to his relief, he had a pocketful of picks in his “pickpocket”, as Reidun called it.
Saturday 5 May 2018
PointCulture, the médiatheque (library) of Namur, is where our friend Patrick van Uffelen works, and we were delighted to have the opportunity to do an afternoon concert there. It was a lovely event – way more people than usually attend such events (according to Patrick), and they were really into the music. Another standing ovation!
In PointCulture Namur (photos by Delwiche Christian).
Sunday 6 May 2018
The final gig of this tour was a “Sundae@Seven Concert”, in the Alter Schlachthof Kulturzentrum, in Eupen, not far from where Reidun grew up; many familiar faces in the audience! And indeed on stage – the concert was hosted by Hugh Featherstone, a fine singer-songwriter from England who has settled in Belgium; Reidun played on his 1995 CD “Negotiations and Love Songs”.
Alter Schlachthof, Eupen, Belgium (photo from grenzecho.net).
We arrived on a hot sunny afternoon, and it was pleasant to sit outside the venue’s cafe with Hugh and enjoy a cool beer and some flamkuchen (the German version of pizza, more or less). The concert was in a stylish, dark room with tables and chairs, which somehow gave the impression of being a chic basement club despite being on the ground floor – a very different ambience from the former use of the building (“Alter Schlachthof” means “old slaughterhouse”). Hugh played a short set of his own songs to start the concert. Then we once again had the pleasure of playing for a very receptive audience, and rounded off the tour with a final standing ovation – you never get used to that!