ZWOLLE - The Netherlands - May 5th 2000.


By: David J. Boldinger


"Happy Liberation Day - are you liberated?"

They expected eighty thousand to show up, and I am not going to argue with that, I certainly have been to a fair few Melanie concerts, and never seen a crowd as big as this before! Beau-Jarred was amazed!


In Holland thirty years ago, one in three people had a Melanie album! The weather was lovely and warm, beautifully sunny during the day. The atmosphere of the huge crowd was equally wonderful.


Sunset was almost here. Melanie kicked off her set with 'Perceive It' in front of a joyfully rowdy capacity crowd on Podium one in Zwolle's Turfmarkt.

'Close to it All' followed, Melanie had caught a bug on Queen's Day after her arrival in Holland, she had been in bed, sick for three days prior to the show. She came early to make sure it would be a great show, but ended up only have a short rehearsal at their hotel.

Beau-Jarred accompanied Melanie, his excellent guitar work earned him several cheers from the crowd. His arrangement of a song Melanie sang to him as a child followed, 'Baby Day'.

Apart from Melanie's voice being somewhat under par due to the infection, there was a problem with the monitors on stage, plus her voice microphone was distorting a little. Melanie explained for what she lacked in her voice, she would make up with her heart, as an introduction to her next song, 'To Be a Star'.

 'Brand New Key' followed, without the chat that we have come to expect, time was short, Melanie was only allocated about forty minutes, the audience were singing along to this 1972 Melanie hit, that also reappeared a few years back by Meredith of Pop In Wonderland.


'Momma Momma' came over well as Melanie struggled with her throat.

'California Dreaming' which was recorded with Richard Tee (keyboard) on the recent Deshima "Shine On - The Latest and Greatest" CD followed. At the point for the piano solo Beau got up and apologised for not being a keyboard player - 'Beautiful People' quickly followed.

'What Have They Done to my Song, Ma?' closed Melanie and Beau-Jarred's set. The stage crew did not permit an encore, just a bow/curtsey. The sun had set.

 Although Liberation Day was originally based on the liberation from German occupation at the end of the war in 1945, the day was now simply a celebration of freedom with many concerts throughout Holland. Zwolle is the main centre in East. The streets were very crowded. There were hardly any nasty incidents - they were very happy.


Zwolle is filled with small shops of every description, all with beautifully laid out displays. I didn't see any grocery store or supermarket, just individual trades. There were lots of restaurants, bars etc. Not a place for bargains here, I was hoping to take something back to England, but everything seemed about the same or more expensive.


Friday and Saturday were market days in the street of my hotel. There was no free parking in the centre, so I left my car just outside. A 'moat' upon which there were many boats, houseboats, barges and restaurants, one of which was the Pancake ship, surround the centre.


I arrived a few days early, and was very pleased to meet some fellow Melanites prior to the day of the show.

Michael Schneider from Germany arrived on Wednesday, he was staying with his two Dutch friends in Zwolle, and we all met outside the information centre at 5 pm, had a drink, parted and met up again for dinner at 7 pm - It was very relaxed, not at all what I am accustomed to, I normally would like to rush off home to my dear PC!

The following day, Mechthild, also from Germany arrived in Zwolle. We walked to the stage area at Turfmarkt; the stage was already built the day before.


One of the crew hinted there might be some sound checks the next day from 9 am. Yesterday the Pancake ship was mentioned by Michael, Mechthild had also noticed it - in the slim hope that Michael would also show up there - that is where she and I ate that evening.

Friday, the morning of the show, Mechthild and I met outside McDonalds at 9:15 am and went back to the stage area, where we waited a while, until we heard one of the crew mention 'Melanie' to another crew member, I enquired what was happening, and from the expression on his face; he couldn't believe his luck, for he was looking for the fans who had 'come all the way from England'! They were doing a video project of the volunteers from the sponsoring college who were helping put the show together; I made the necessary introductions and before I knew it; was being videoed!

They were not filming the actual show, just the volunteers mainly.

There were TV (TMF) and Radio news crews at the show when it started, but were not there to film or broadcast the whole show.



Come 5 pm, returned to the information centre to meet up with all the other Melanites we knew were coming. Michael had prepared address labels headed 'Melanie's Beautiful People' with enough room for our names with a thick marker pen. He duly stuck them on our chests as we met and introduced ourselves.

Our group now consisted of Michael(DE), Mechthild(DE), Johan(NL), Kees (NL), Michael (UK), Dia(NL), Heleen(NL) and some friends, plus myself, eleven of us went for a drink, before going to the show at 8 pm leaving plenty of time to find ourselves good spots before the 9:10 pm start.

Hans was looking after the CD table with some Precious Cargo and Antlers CDs.


After the show, Melanie and Beau-Jarred went straight back to their hotel, Melanie was not well enough do her normal autographing. Michael (UK) and I walked Mechthild to her hotel, as we left she ran out to us to tell us she saw Wilma, for the second time, Mechthild was staying in the very same hotel as Melanie, she couldn't believe her luck! She invited us in for a drink, but alas we didn't see Melanie or Beau, I don't think Melanie would have wanted to be bothered anyway when she is not feeling well.


I returned the next morning to meet Mechthild and collect some CDs from Wilma, who told us Melanie and Beau were still sleeping after a late night.


Mechthild was pretty disappointed and was unsure whether she should just hang around or not. Before we left Zwolle, we went to a CD fair in a church hall but didn't see anything we needed. I dropped Mechthild off at the train station and commenced my drive back to the Hoek van Holland port to catch the ferry back to Harwich port. I was on Cloud nine and very sad my stay in Holland had to end - my sincere thanks to all who came to keep the dark away. You really brightened my life.


And finally to Melanie; even while sick you went on - I for one wouldn't have blamed you for cancelling - how could we thank you enough?


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