André's First Concert in Australia ~ Nov. 13th in Melbourne!

Al (Girard) has traveled to Australia to see André and all in their World Tour! He has sent us some pictures of the first concert in Melbourne Thursday night by meeting with our friend Jann from the Aussie Fansite and sending them through her computer. André again makes our world so much smaller. :)

Below is a little of what Jann wrote about the First Concert on the Tour and her VERY FIRST LIVE CONCERT with André!

It was a brilliant opening night at Telstra Dome last night, started the night off meeting up with friends from Interstate and Overseas and matching faces to names. André and the Orchestra were in great spirit and treated us to their full ensemble of talents. Mirusia knocked us out in a magnificent red sparkling gown and was given a resounding "welcome home" applause for which we were rewarded with a raucous AUSSIE AUSSIE AUSSIE - OI OI OI - the audience loved it, but I have a sneaking suspicion that Mirusia loved it even more. To be on tour in her homeland for the first time and be so enthusiastically applauded would have been a tremendous emotional "high" for her. It was trieully fantastic to see the audience enthusiastically join in, there were so many couples up waltzing and down the front for the encores, it was like looking at a traffic jam, can you imagine what Saturday night is going to be like !!!! I have to admit however to being traumatised, "Banana's in Pyjama's" was fun BUT when they played the theme to "Neighbours" - well I fell off my perch !!! and sorry folks - no balloons, they will be there tonight and Saturday night. After the concert, our charming journalist from Channel 9 News ambushed me again by the fountain and again I found myself looking into a camera and microphone, how did I enjoy the concert? did I have a favourite during the concert? - still on a high, I blubbered between "everything" then "Bolero", back to "everything" and back to "Bolero". I have my fingers crossed I end up on the "cutting floor". Now it's time to get ready for Saturday ... Cheers, Jann

© ALL Photos On This Page Are The Property of Al Girard

Al's Concerts and Fan Dinners in Australia 2008

I know that Australia is high on nearly everyone's list of places they wish to visit. This was my seventh time in Australia, and my third in a year. My first trip there was in 1985. I have a lot of friends in that marvelous country, and the circle keeps growing. I'd been in both Telstra Dome and AAMI Stadium before as well.

On the evening of the first Melbourne concert I arrived early and met Jann and her hubby at the appointed place. It was nice to meet the person who had done such an amazing job with the Aussie fans website.

This was the third location that I would attend concerts on the World Stadium Tour. The castle in Toronto was the largest, but then again, Toronto's Rogers Center is a huge stadium. Telstra Dome
would fit inside Rogers Center.

The concerts that I attended in Amsterdam in July showed me that the castle was adjustable to stadium size. The castle in Toronto had six jumbo-trons, while the version in Amsterdam had four. Missing were the two vertical screens where only the image of André were shown. In Toronto and Amsterdam the two supporting pillars to the roof section over the orchestra were quite wide-probably more than four feet to a side, and they blocked the stage view of people who were sitting off at an angle.

The pillars in Melbourne were half that width, giving much better views for people off to the sides. There were other changes at Melbourne as well. Gone was Tanja, the cellist and in her place sat a different blond girl. Tough act to follow, but I thought she did an excellent job. A few others were not there either, and I spotted a few unfamiliar faces amongst the orchestra. The choir had six girls instead of the usual eight.

The skaters had a difficult task because rather than skating on ice they were skating on plastic since the ice would melt in the heat of the Australian summer. The four skaters who performed to "My Heart Will Go On" noticeably had a tough time on the plastic. They did not do throws at all. However the Australian Stars On Ice, the groups who waltzed on the two rinks did pretty well.

Both Gary Bennett and Mirusia were heartily applauded when they were introduced. Mirusia appeared on stage in a stunning red sequined gown that was on fire under the lights. She looked simply spectacular with her golden curls, silver necklace and the flaming gown. I noticed that Andre is not using her surname at all.

There were no balloons for Radetzky March, and when I asked a crew member about that, he said that there would be balloons the next two concerts because they were to be taped.

It was a great concert and the audience was really into it. I would
certainly say that the trip from Canada was a good idea.

After the concert I again met Jann and her hubby Murray. We got into their car and drove to their home where I uploaded all of my concert photos to Jann's computer. She then drove me to my hotel before she headed home. I got to bed at 2:30 am.

The next day around noon I phoned her. She sounded tired, so I asked her if I woke her up. She told me that she hadn't been to bed yet. She'd been working on the website all night!

The Friday concert was just as enjoyable, but playing to a much
larger audience.

Saturday was the fan dinner, and to say that Lyndall and Rob did an outstanding job is to do them an injustice. The work they did in decorating the facility was nothing short of amazing. There was a very good turnout for the function which was held at "The Fix", a first-class establishment about a kilometer from the Telstra Dome which was just across the water. Lyndall and Rob thought of everything, including hiring two busses which took us to the venue for the concert.

I had never seen a technical problem occur at an André Rieu concert, but the luck didn't hold as The Empress Sisi's microphone failed. Not a sound was heard as she sang the first few bars of her featured song "I Belong To Me". André stopped the music and both Suzan and André handled the situation in a most professional manner. André finally asked a technician to give Suzan a hand-held FM microphone so that she could finish the song. I'm sure that when the DVD is released we won't see that glitch. I'll bet they'll insert her singing from the previous evening.

Now to Adelaide. The fan gathering was at an absolutely beautiful home right at the edge of salt water. This time it was pot luck and once again the turnout was terrific. Once again Lyndall and Rob had done amazing preparation, and once again busses took us to the venue.
Terribly diasppointing crowds, but appreciative nonetheless.
The support pillers were different here. They were the same size as
those in Melbourne, but they did not have the panels on them, so
one could see right through with just the black ribbing showing. I doubt anyone but me would have noticed that. I noticed, of course, since I had seen the other configurations, and my verdict is that the new pillers did not look out of place.

It was interesting to see the castle in the daylight of the outdoors.
Due to local regulations which dictated that the concert must end at 10:45 pm, the concerts began at 7:30 pm. One casualty of the lack of controlled lighting was the Mozart medly "A Little Night Music" because near the end of it there is a dreamy segment where the lights dim dramatically and the screens show stars. It's really a nice segment wich was beautiful in Melbourne but not visible in Adelaide. It was dark by the intermission, so once again the controlled lighting took over.

Dancers were up waltzing in great numbers at all of the Australian concerts for "The Blue Danube". I was up front for all of the Melbourne concerts, but chose not to go up front at Adelaide. I had great seats at all five concerts and had a truly memorable trip overall.

~ Al

André Will Be Back Next October 2009 in Australia!!

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