We all know the story. It wasn't (quite) the end of the world but it was still an ominous omen: the Eyafsjallajökkull volcano in Iceland awoke and had managed to expel enough dust to paralyze European air-traffic for several days. Now everything is again as peaceful above the volcano as it is busy in the air. Stranded tourists and organs (even corpses) are now once again able to quickly arrive at their destinations. Even the army and singer/pilot Bruce - Iron Maiden - Dickinson were involved in the massive repatriations.
We've learned something new. That things happen very quickly these days. Even shut-downs can take place fast. An entire piece of the economy ailing. Exasperating for air-traffic and for our concertgoers. Fortunately we're also able to respond quickly. Below, an overview of what AB was saved from in mid-April... and how.
It all started with Merdan Taplak (planned together with Balkan Beat Box): who was stuck in Scandinavia and with many detours finally manged to get back a few days later … in order to go pick up his car in Charleroi. The AB emergency solution: Selah Sue, in the house that day for a full ABClub with band, quickly did an extra 'solo support slot' in the Main Hall. More than okay and henceforth to be referred to as an ABtour.
Newton Faulkner wasn't here again! How often have we not tried to get hold of this big fish? This time our healthy surfer was stuck in Asia, once again resulting in a disappointed sold-out club, but fortunately immediately rescheduled: to Sunday 13 June. Now he'd better not fall out of an airplane in the meantime or we'll come and pull on his reckless dreadlocks.
Meanwhile it became more reassuringly clear: LOU is coming! Both Lou Reed on Thursday as well as Lou Rhodes on Saturday. Dear Rhodes had already had to cancel a number of shows when other acts on her bill couldn't attend. But both Lou's were apparently already in Paris for a while prior to their dates in Brussels and so that was no problem for the Metal Machine AKA TGV.
Speaking of airplanes: what a fine clip for that refreshing song from The Hundred in the Hands: full of staggeringly daring acrobatics but, how ironic, in the end this very promising band didn't make it to their Domino-premiere either. A pity, but they'll be back another time for sure.
Possibly the finest stunt? Don McLean! You wouldn't believe it but this concert was astonishingly excellent. Planned “with band” but his musicians were stuck in the US, while Don was already hanging out on the old continent. So what would a pedigree performer do? Decide that 'the show must go on', and as he used to do it like that too, so why not perform all on his own. In jargon: 'a man & his guitar'. But, oh boy, what a play of strings, what a solid voice, what witty 'statements' and for almost 2 hours too. We knew that Don McLean was also pretty much the inventor of the singer-songwriter genre. But here it was apparent to what extent this man on his bar stool forms the missing link between Alan Lomax, Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Roy Orbison, Buddy Holly, Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan… An evening full of pure chanson with a high rock n roll factor. The primal form of our entertainment. With a performer who rediscovered his former self (while his latest CD, with band, is barely digestible). A wise lesson, Don and everyone else awake again, and thank you Eyafjallajökku!
The brilliant De Mens concert of course went ahead without delay (like a Learjet).
So that is our round-up. We now look up and see many aircrafts pass overhead again. We look ahead in the ABcalender and see that everything appears to be set for Los Lobos, Natalie Merchant, The Residents… Strange that we immediately associate long-distance flights and performers with the route US-Europe... while we've now also learned that in 'the States' they just fly around a cloud of ash like this one. That can't be done in Europe due to all sorts of territorial rules.
Yes, one becomes wiser in a crisis. Some can now even pronounce the name of the volcano correctly. Most importantly: is Ben Crabbé already back in the country? That good-looking guy from De Laatste Show can apparently drum well with the De Kreuners too.