2022 European Tour Pre-Show Thoughts: Pinkpop
Aurélien Moreaux shares his thoughts going into the Pinkpop Festival
I took a drive today…
Landgraaf is a short drive, 2 hours and 45 minutes.
France, then Luxembourg, then Belgium, then Germany, then the Netherlands. You are for sure in the cradle of the European Union.
Even if I’m crossing the border everyday to go to work, I have always felt lucky to be able to drive in and out of countries without starting in Frankfurt in the initial 2020 tour schedule.
Pinkpop is one of these classic festivals that happen all around Belgium, Netherlands, and Germany in summer: Rock am ring, Werchter, Pukkelpop, Grasspop, etc. It has always been a bit different from the other ones, as the line-up is usually quite eclectic and as it is less genre focused than Rock am Ring is, for instance.
After a pleasant drive with no one on the highway and no traffic jams, finding the parking lot was the only tricky thing. Once there, I got on the bus right away and arrived on time for Crowded House, which was my objective.
Having already been there in 2018, I knew the site and headed right away to one of the front sections. I got the side rail that separates the two front sections in front of the center stage. These sections are closed for entry during the show and you don’t have to exit after shows. Not everyone is there for Pearl Jam, and I know I will be able to progressively be closer to the stage between shows. In addition, it is easy to get water from the security if needed, perfect spot then…and way easier than I expected. Everything was tougher in 2018, but I will keep that story for an upcoming LO4L episode of Pinkpop 2018 in 2028!
After a pleasant set from Crowded House, I’m already somewhere around the 8th row, but with a great view, as I have the side rail. I’m also already in the shade, which is a relief considering that it is the hottest day so far, 35C/95F. Who ever said climate change was not a thing? Sorry politics again.
Pearl Jam will take the stage in 4 hours, so I will relax a little bit and enjoy the other bands, particularly the Deftones, who I have seen many times but not since 2017.
The two biggest stages are face to face, you can then easily enjoy whoever plays in the second stage when you are in front of the first stage, quite convenient.
Maybe I shall speak a little bit of Pearl Jam. I will start with merch. I try to avoid merch as much as I can for several reasons. First, I am a completist and if I start to buy a poster, I will want to buy all of them. Luckily the poster for my first PJ show (Amsterdam 2 2012) was awful and I have never started.
Second, I know I will put money and time in something that will sleep in a drawer and that I will never sell, even if the value has increased.
Third, posters aside, the quality of shirts, hats, etc. is quite disappointing. No chance that a PJ shirt would last as long as my OG LO4L shirts that are still pristine after 3 years and knowing that I wear them twice a week (to the disappointment of my wife).
I will then stick with pins and maybe buy my first poster this year, the Pinkpop one is quite great.
Turning to setlist predictions, I would not be surprised by a 25-set song with lots of Ten and Gigaton songs in order to accommodate the crowd.
A new song that we will probably hear: Dance of the Clairvoyants
An old song that we will get for sure: Porch
A staple that would be great to hear: Rearviewmirror
A curveball that will most likely not be played: Insignificance
A white whale song that will not be played: Education
See you after the show!
My tickets for the 2020 European tour were bought in November 2019; I was supposed to attend 8 shows. Having attended 1 show in 2012, 5 shows in 2014, and 7 shows in 2018, it seemed like the natural progression. These Summer 2020 dates were soon supplemented by 5 spring dates in California, and while everyone seemed to be disappointed by the lottery results, I got everything I requested, which seemed crazy. 2020 started great and the planets were aligned.
But of course, everything stopped on March 9th, 2020 when the band decided to postpone the tour. To be exact, everything stopped, or I would say really started, on March 16th, 2020 when the French president declared a strict confinement. It was just the beginning: confinement, homeworking, homeschooling, social distancing, face masking, PCR testing, vaccines, etc.
Looking back, I would have never imagined going through all of this. It was for sure not easy and exhausting. Even if I was not a front line worker, working 50h/60h a week with my wife giving school remotely to her students and 3 kids at home was no joke. Sleeping 5 hours per day was the ‘new normal’.
Coming back to Pearl jam, the tour was rescheduled once and then twice. The California plan was scrapped and more European shows were added in my schedule as new dates better fitted my agenda. The idea was to accumulate tickets and to decide in April 2022 which were the ones I could attend…but obviously it was too hard to choose, and I decided to try to attend as many shows as I could.
Today is June 16th, the tour starts in 2 days and I have tickets for most of the dates of the European tour. I am spoiled for sure. Living in the northeast of France is definitely a good spot. Dates in the Netherlands, Switzerland, western Germany, and France are only a 3h/4h drive and the Luxembourg airport, which is close to my office, has connections with most of Europe’s capitals.
I should be excited but I’m not.
I’m not, because lots of factors could prevent me from attending these dates.
First, even though I received three doses of the vaccine, lots of my colleagues have been testing positive recently. The probability of my wife, my kids, or myself getting positive in the coming days is far from zero.
Second, the situation in European airports is really not good at the moment. With massive lay-offs during the past two years, there is a lack of workers in the biggest airports and flights are cancelled everyday.
Third, my expectations were way too high in 2018 for the European tour, which led to on and off disappointment throughout the tour. I still see myself in Amsterdam, not understanding why the band did not play a 3h show with 35 songs and 10 deep cuts. Keeping in mind that shows should be sustainable for the band, I have really grown in this aspect, not expecting anything in particular except the band to have fun and keep on touring.
My plan for this tour is to appreciate every show and every song as if it was the last one. I have already prepared myself for disappointments, unexpected events, and last minute cancellations. My only anxiety for now is how I will manage to write short pieces for this blog.
See you on the 18th,
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bonne chance et bon voyage en cours de route