We bought the tickets months ago, but there was no way we were going to risk missing Elbow’s concert in Amsterdam last night. I’ve been waiting for this opportunity for years, having been incredibly frustrated to learn that they were playing in Amsterdam — at the picturesque Paradiso — shortly after we first moved here, but with tickets well and truly sold out. They played PinkPop, a summer festival here in the Netherlands earlier this year, but summer festivals are a heat stroke waiting to happen for me, so I had to give it a miss.
We got to the Heineken Music Hall early last night, not long after the doors opened. We knew that going for a spot on the ground in the standing-room-only section would be a nightmare for us, knowing that we’d probably be surrounded by Dutch giants and not see much at all. Instead, we headed for the seated section in the back, but still got a decent spot. The hall soon filled up, with even the steps next to me in the seated section becoming impromptu seating.
By the time the show started — which included their beautiful song Mirrorball, of course — the place was packed! The show itself was amazing. So worth the years of waiting to see them live! Besides making great music, they put on a fun show, with lots of laughs, as well as some moments of heart-aching beauty. As the saying goes, “I laughed. I cried. It was better than Cats.”
One of the best moments of the show came when the band joked that since they’re celebrating 20 years together, the audience should sing Happy Birthday to them. We dutifully did, and then things took one of those wonderful turns and the audience ended up surprising the band by launching into the Dutch birthday song. It started off in patches, but eventually, the whole audience came together in one voice, singing and cheering, while the band looked on in amazement. They truly had no idea what was going on but seemed to absolutely love it all! See for yourself: