The 2002 US and Canada tour
           Andre Rieu and his JSO

On April 26, 2002 Andre Rieu gave another concert in Columbus, OH.  None of my friends did had much interest in
going and several were unable to go,  since I did not really wanted to go by myself, I did not decide to go until the
very last minute, when my daughter told  me to buy tickets for her and me as an early Mother's day present.   The
concert was held in the Mershon auditorium of Ohio State University in Columbus.  The Mershon Auditorium has a
seating capacity of about 2500 people.  

I was amazed that the day before the concert I was able to buy two tickets in the
front row.   Seats, directly right of the aisle. They were great seats and we were
right in front of Marcel.

Now that I was able to get tickets that good a day before the concert was great
for me, but not so good for Andre and his JSO.   The hall was not even half full
and there were maybe 500 people?   The middle of the auditorium was about
half way full. The whole right side only had 4 people in the first two rows, my
daughter and I in the first two seats in the first row and two gentlemen in the
first two seats of the second row.  The left side was about the same.   It was kind of fun, Marcel did not have
anyone else to flirt with us the only two women in front of him, so we were at his constant attention.  He is such a
flirt.   Totally innocent but fun.  

We went pretty early and parked right next to the Venue, in the University parking garage.   When we walked over
to the Hall we saw Andre's busses in front of the building.     At the time he still used the long busses which were
18 meters (60 feet) long.  I took some nice pictures of them and later used the cartoon on the back as model for
the shirt I made and in Aachen the following year I asked Andre to sign the shirt.

My daughter and I thoroughly enjoyed the concert.   At the time,  Tamara still smoked and during intermission we
stepped outside.  It was a beautiful evening, and we saw several of the orchestra members outside as well.    We
walked over to them. We talked to Suzan, (it was her first US tour) she had already changed into her jeans and
said that she only sang before the intermission.   That she loved the song from 'Phantom of the Opera' and that it
has special memories for her, as she sang it at her father's funeral.  We also talked to  Cord, Arthur and Karlien.
Karlien is no longer with the JSO, she has been replaced by Agnes)  We had a nice chat, they signed my book. I
asked how I could get Andre's signature. They made a suggestion and it was time to go back in for the second
half.    Even with so few people there they put on a terrific show and nothing less than when he has a house full.


I bought the concert program, but it did not have the song selection in it, and I do not remember all that was
played, but do remember Suzan singing the Phantom of the Opera song, 'Wishing you were somehow here again,
she wore a beautiful white gown and came up in the back next to the harp,  Andre joked about blond angels, and
she came to the front of the stage and sang a second song.    They also played Heigh-ho, Heigh-ho,
the members of the brass section came on stage with bona-fide alp horns.  

The encores included the Blue Danube and the second Waltz.  They also played America the beautiful, but at the
time, Manoe did not play the bagpipes yet. All in all we were not sorry we went and even my daughter really
enjoyed herself.

After the concert I followed the suggestion of the Orchestra members and was able to first talk to Manoe and later
to Andre for a little while.  Manoe was checking off who gets on the bus.  I told her I am a friend of Paula's and she
told me to say hello, she explained that it is her job to always check who gets on the bus.  She said that once a
Orchestra member is on the bus they are not to get off again.   She told me that one time one of the musicians had
gotten back off the bus. He had realized he forgot something and left the bus.   The driver thinking everyone was
present left and they left that person behind.    Manoe signed my book and later when I spoke to Andre, he too
signed my book and he also signed my program.  Andre was clearly unhappy with the turnout in Columbus.   I told
him I had not seen any advertisements in Cincinnati anywhere and had found out about the concert from my friend
Paula, who knows Manoe.   
(see the Manoe page)

                                                                       In 1997 there had been advertisements in the news papers, but in
                                                                       2002 I had not seen anything and many fans that were at the
                                                                       concert said that they too had just found out accidentally from
                                                                       others, and had not seen any ads.
                                                                       Andre said that he had worked with a US promoter that year and
                                                                       that the promoter had not done his job.   
                                                                       Later I found out that it was not just Columbus which had done
                                                                       badly, but several other Venues had not done well either.    Andre
                                                                       had brought all his equipment, even his busses were shipped.  I
                                                                       felt bad for him, here was a musician who plays all over Europe in
                                                                       front of tens of thousands of fans and I was sure this tour had
                                                                       cost him money instead of making money.    As we all heard on
                                                                       the road show, the first years in the US did not make them any
money and they had to decide if they were going to continue coming to the US.  
This concert was the reason of this website, which has since snowballed into a very busy hobby.  


Andre's 2002 US tour:
April 21 Grand Rapids      (Devos Hall)
April 22 Chicago               (Rosemont Theater)
April 23 Detroit                 (Opera House)
April 24 Cleveland        (E.J. Thomas performing Arts Center)
April 26 Columbus        (Mershon Hall)
April 27 Washington      (Constitution Hall)
April 29 Boston             (Symphony Hall)
April 30 Hartford           (The Bushnell)
May 1   Buffalo             (Shea's Pac)
May 2  Providence        (VMA Arts and Cult. Center)
May 3  Newark             (New Jersey Performing Arts Center)
May 4  Allentown          (Symphony Hall)
May 5  Pittsburgh          (Heintz Hall)
May 6  Philadelphia        (Keswick Theater)
May 7  Baltimore           (Meyerhoff Hall)
May 9   New York          (Radio City Music Hall)
May 11 Montreal            (Molson Center)
May 12 Toronto             (Massey Hall)
Link to 2002 Program picture book.
I bought the ticket on the 25th,
the concert was the 26th, with
seat 1 and 2 in the first row.  
Karlien Opsteeg
I found out later that, while in Columbus
Andre was Knighted.   On the cake it
"Congratulations, Knight Rieu"!
click to go to Knight page.
2002 Pierre and Andre
in Columbus
2002  The JSO brass players with the Alp Horns in the Alps.  
                         (From Andre's site)