I’d heard about this ‘special night’ (Nacht van Assen) many times and was curious to experience it for myself. Assen is famous for its big motor cycle races (and probably for other things too) and they have this big series of concerts on the Friday night before the races on Saturday. Bands play all over town and there is easily well over 100,000 people in town for all the action.
The organisation was first-class and you can see they’ve been doing it for awhile. The stages were excellent, sound equipment was first-class and the crews were on the ball for everything. With all that in place it’s kinda hard to blow the gig, so basically all we had to do was turn up and play. Nights like this are a real pleasure and make being on the road a very enjoyable experience.
We played on what is known as the ‘blues stage’ – excellent location (it’s the first stage you see as you arrive into town) and we had the perfect spot time-wise as well (starting at 11pm). Lefthand Freddie & his band did a great opening set and then it was out turn. The crowd were very enthusiastic right from the start and they stayed for the entire set, which was really nice because sometimes it’s difficult to hold on to your audience when there is so much other stuff they can see at the same time (and for free!!). Nice to see so many familiar faces. There were lots of people I didn’t expect to see (as they came from far away) but they said they’d come for the festival and to check our gig out in particular. Thanks!
After the show (and after signing CD’s, etc.) I headed across town to see a Dutch guy called Syb play with his band Spanner. Bep (our superfan) is also a BIG fan of Syb’s music and through her I was made aware of him and his music (and he with mine in return). People from Holland know Syb really well as he’s had several BIG hits there. He sang in Dutch with his first band (De Kast) and now sings in English with Spanner (www.spanner.nl). He has a great voice and is a real rock frontman. Caught about 20 mins. of their show and enjoyed it thoroughly.
Sadly the night had to end but I must say I had a great time in Assen for the Nacht van Assen. I’ve been in Assen before (as part of the “War Child” tour I did awhile ago), which was very enjoyable too. I hope everyone had a good time at the races the following day. It sure looked to me like they were getting ready for it in style. Compliments to everyone who was there because even though it was A LOT of people, and even though some of them had obviously had quite a bit to drink, there was absolutely no sign of trouble and everyone was there just to have a good time. The security and police presence was low and very laidback. Congrats! Thanks also to Aart Roza and Piet Vogel for their input!