With his fabulous (and I do not use the word lightly) UK tour drawing to a close the phenomenon that is Andre Rieu (pronounced Ree-err) must be delighted with his sell-out concerts.
His music spans all ages, cultures and languages and the crowd leaps to its feet when the rousing Seventy-six Trombones begins with the ‘10 down to one’ countdown starting on the dot of eight.
The maestro enters the auditorium from the back giving a high five to those fortunate enough to be near to him. Everyone is happy as he ascends the stage followed by his multi-talented Johann Strauss Orchestra and singers from around the world.
He looks radiant in his dark blue Regency-style tuxedo. The smile that melts millions of hearts is centre stage and in command.
There then follows a selection of classical and seasonal favourites – each with their breathtaking computerised backdrops The haunting and melancholic Second Waltz – renamed by Andre’s wife, Marjorie, because the original title of Waltz no 2 from Jazz Suite no 2 by Dmitri Shostakovich was too long – was first released in 1994 and has been popular since Andre sang it at Amsterdam Stadium in 1995 during half-time of a Bayern Munich versus Ajax football match. Guests are the Platin Tenors, the Berlin Comedian Harmonists and three beautiful soloists including Mirusia Louwerse.
Everyone is encouraged to dance during The Blue Danube (and hundreds do!) and ardent fans are aware that, just as the concert seems to be ending, it is really only the beginning of a new phase of encores with fake snow and a riot of balloons.
Flowers and presents in shiny bags are tossed on to the stage. No-one wants the evening to end. But ... it does.