Per’s concert in Gent a real doorbuster

GENT, BELGIUM – Per Gessle had a doorbuster of a concert here in Gent last night.  And we mean that literally.

Leaving the venue at the end of the concert, this reporter asked one of the staff members who work at Handelsbeurs, a young man named Andreas whom we had met two days before, what he thought of the concert.

“It was good,” he said somewhat hesitantly.  

“Only good?”

“Well, the concert was good, but his fans are CRAZY!  They broke our door!!”  Apparently, that had never happened before.

For several hours, fans from around the world had waited patiently outside Handlesburs, waiting for the doors to open at 7 pm.  It was a festive atmosphere, with a mix of fans from countries including Spain, Russia, Holland, Germany, Romania – Belgium of course – and even small groups from as far away as Argentina and Mexico.   Many had taken advantage of the three-day holiday weekend to attend this particular concert.  

At one point, the house manager came outside to tell the waiting fans that there would be plenty of room inside, and that everyone would have a good view (the venue can hold up to 800, and only around 280 tickets had been sold). But, of course, many in the assembled crowd had hopes of being in the “front row.”  So when the big, strong, wooden outside doors opened inward, there was a mad rush to get inside.

The actual concert hall was still closed, however. The idea of course was to give the venue a chance to sell drinks in the lounge area.  Not interested in “lounging,” the small mob outside quickly became a small mob inside, and when they finally were ready to open these much more fragile wooden frame doors, they needed to be opened outwards.  It was difficult for the staff to get people intent on proceeding forward to move backwards, so when they did manage to get one door open, there was enough pressure placed on the other door as it was opening to cause the unmistakable sound of cracking wood to be heard throughout the lounge.

Seriously, it was an accident. Per's "crazy" fans had a lot of fun during the concert*, and were by all accounts very well-behaved afterwards, waiting this time in an orderly line as Bo Johansson, the tour manager, ushered everyone waiting past Per, who was willing signing autographs and posing for quick photos. 

* In a surprise addition to the set list, "Hey, Mr. DJ" was added just after Per had introduced the band.  Helena, with a huge smile on her face, looked out at the audience, then over at Per, and began the song's now-familiar introduction. The crowd of "crazy fans" cheered wildly!

This article was written for an earlier version of The Daily Roxette.
Technical errors may occur.

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May 3rd, 2009

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