Back in the mid sixties
(yep, long time ago), I was a big fan of Them,
The Stones, The Who, John Mayall, Keef
Hartley, Cuby & The
Blizzards and blues in general. But most of all: THEM!
When I heard that Van Morrison would come to The Netherlands for some concerts I wanted to join one of the concerts at least, so I managed to get a ticket for the Amsterdam/Amstelveen show.
Some saturday in March 67 (the 10th) I went to Amsterdam by train (had no car) and believe me, it was a giant step for a naive boy from the countryside of the North! In the hal of the Central Station I was supposed to meet a penpal (yes, those existed back then...) from Amsterdam and it was a miracle we found eachother. Anyway, she took me to her parents, they asked me where I would sleep. I answered something like "I don't care", just take the first train back. But they insisted I should stay at their house, so I did.
Then the show at the Spinoza Lyceum: waiting for hours before Van & The Blizzards (Them didn't exist anymore, The Blizzards was a Dutch blues group) and yes, at last they came! They played three songs and left......... . I was standing right in front and had a good look at the man himself. Very disappointed after such a short gig we left.
Back home I read about the tour, it had been a disaster: bad organised, 5 shows in three days aso.
So I thought: "I can do that better!". You must know, I hadn't any experience in organizing what so ever....... .
But: a guy nextdoor was a manager of a bluesgroup: Art.461; I told him my plans: a new tour with Van & Art. 461. He thought also that it was a marvellous idea. So I wrote a letter to Mr. Morrison in Ireland, I even got an answer, wrote again and again and everytime a nice respons. By Mrs Violet Morrison......... . But she told me she talked with Van about it and that he liked the idea, but he was too busy writing back himself. Dorus (my neighbour the manager) and I started making phonecalls, contacting clubowners aso. In the meantime the Them fanclub in The Netherlands heard about it and invited us to talk about the whole organisation of the tour. They convinced us, that they could do it much better than us and all that blah blah blah. But we believed it (we were just that naive guys from the country, like I said before, and they were from the big cities in the west and they knew all the "important" people) and I didn't hear anything from them anymore.
Some weeks later, when I was at work at the postoffice in the village I lived, I was called away from the desk because there was a phonecall (collect call) from England. And guess what: it was a certain Van Morrison, asking when the tour would start....... .
It took a few seconds before I came to my senses and I answered him, that the Them fanclub had taken over and gave him their phonenumber.
Van never called them, left for the States and the rest is history........... . Some people even whisper that this is the reason of the start of a wonderful career of Mr. Morrison
Dorus, the manager got fired, I became the new manager (with no experience at all....), we made three singles and became world famous (in our own region.....). But we did play with, f.e. John Mayall, Cuby & The Blizzard, Focus and many more!
And the day Van called me at the postoffice was almost my last day there: I got almost fired,because I had a private phonecall while I was supposed to sell stamps aso. and most of all: it was a collect call. Who would pay for that........... .
Anyway, it turned out allright at the end.
To prove that I'm not telling fantasies (like many people think), I attach some articles from a newspaper and a music magazine. It's in Dutch, but it is definitive proof!