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by Jim Lawhead

On holiday from America and staying in Amsterdam as my base I made the road trip to Antwerp solo and without tickets. I made a sign in Dutch at Kinkos in Amsterdam saying Je heb een kaartjie nodig! but when I arrived in Antwerp there were at least 10 people who had similar signs in English. So much for preparation. It looked bleak at first because there were many people looking for tickets and very few selling. The few that were selling were asking 3-4 times of the face value and most of those seats were on the Middenplain or General Admission floor. And like the Dutch the Belgians were line up early so there was no chance at getting into the Heart or close to it. I was lucky enough to find Wim and Hakim and with the strength of the US Dollar against the European currencies I was able to the pay the premium for great seats next to the podium. I had sat in this section in the States many times and these were the best seats if you werent in or around the heart. I bought one of these seats and enjoyed a beer with them outside of the show. What I like about the European venues is that the outside of the stadium is a big party for the hours preceding the show. The amazing thing is that in a on Holiday in a city I have never been I also ran into Corky who I had met in Arnhem a few nights before. Corky took a train from Rotterdam to Antwerp, also without tickets like me. He also got tickets from Wim and Hakim making it a party.

The Antwerp Sportspalais was a much better venue than in Arnhem and I was glad to deal with only 15,000 fans as opposed to 35,000. But as in Arnhem they sold every available inch on the floor and the people outside of the Heart were packed.

The band was on as they always were but what I noticed is that they seemed very relaxed and enjoying themselves. It appeared they were happy they were back in a smaller venue where they could really connect with the fans.

The only surprise from the setlist was the song Two Shots of Happy which was Bono wrote for Frank Sinatra, though Old Blue Eyes never recorded it. It was cool that he would attempt to play it from a request from a fan.

The special songs for me were Sunday Bloody Sunday when he asked the crowd to make the song a prayer for peace in Northern Ireland. That was very moving. I also thought Wake Up Dead Man was very good.

Another great show and I look forward to seeing the second night in Antwerp.

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