You know at this stage I’d nearly be embarrassed to report when I played in Dongen for the first time but it’s fair to say it’s awhile ago. However, one thing I will say without hesitation is that it’s always been a joy to play there and who knows, maybe I’ll still be playing there 20 years from now. Did I say 20 years!!
If my memory serves me right, the first time I played for the Blues Promotion team in Dongen was in the Café Modern on a Sunday afternoon. We’d played in a place called Elke’s Pub in Roosendaal on Friday night, Café Friesland in Bergen op Zoom on Saturday and by the time we got to Dongen on Sunday the word had spread and we broke their house record at that time (104 paying customers through the door). I think we broke another house record on the 2nd of September when I had the pleasure of playing in De Gouden Leeuw (the blues promotions’ present venue for gigs) with Mick Taylor. The place was like a sauna and it was sold out solid – and then some. It didn’t take away from the pleasure and sure, doesn’t a bit o’ sweat go hand-in-hand with a good rock ‘n’ roll gig!
We arrived early, as I was sure it would be a crazy house closer to gig time, but even then the autograph hunters were out. One guy asked me when Mick would be arriving and went on to tell me he wanted a photograph of his son and Mick together. He mentioned that he had a picture of his son with EVERY Rolling Stone and Mick was the only one still missing. I told him to stick around as it was sure Mick would be there! I spoke to him much later and indeed he’d gotten his photograph. I can well imagine he was a happy man that night! It’s lovely to see that Mick still means so much to so many people.
We had a nice soundcheck, and while we were soundchecking a queue had already formed outside the club door, which went right out the alleyway and around to the front of the building. When they opened the doors the place filled up in record fast time. I never saw anything like it.
We started with “In The Dead Of Night”, which we did on the German tour as well. We had a rough battle plan (read – setlist) but I think the loose atmosphere of the gig got to Mick and in no time we were ‘lost in music’ – which suited me just fine as I never use a setlist. Rudy, my old player from the Albatross days, was playing bass for the gig and I had told him before rehearsals that we weren’t really doing much Stones material in the set – only to have Mick come along and start rehearsing several Stones songs. The first one we played in Dongen was “Stop Breakin’ Down” (off Exiles), which got a great response of course. You could see some people could hardly believe it. Then Mick threw us all off by launching into “Honky Tonk Women”. We HADN’T rehearsed that one but hey, who doesn’t know how to play that song. Mick sang the first verse and then turned it over to me. I sang the next verse and then turned the chorus over to the crowd!
After that we played a mixture of Mick’s songs and my songs and you know the rest of the gig just seemed to pass by in the blink of an eye. Time waits for no one, I guess! We finished up with the second part of “Can’t You Hear Me Knockin’” (off Sticky Fingers) and that turned into a massive jam. I really enjoyed that. We encored with “Bye Bye Johnny”, a Chuck Berry song made famous by The Stones. Actually, we had another Stones song ready but obviously we ran out of time so I guess that one will have to wait until the next time!
The reviews of the gig were very positive the next day and there is a translation of one of them on my site. There are a couple of photos up as well. Check out the ‘reviews’ and ‘photos’ sections