Outlandos d'Amour

Groningen, NL
Huize Maas
"Sting from ''Broken Music'': ''Our first gig is in Groningen, in what looks like a village hall. The PA system, which has been rented by the promoter, is being driven down from Amsterdam. It doesn't arrive until seven-thirty, so there is no time for any sound check. We go on anyhow, and halfway through the first number, the sound, such as it is, starts to go off and on, off and on. Then comes the deafening howl of feedback, bass end rumble, and high-frequency squeals, which have the audience covering their ears. I've had a trying day and uncharacteristically throw a tantrum, threatening the hapless Dutch sound crew with dismemberment unless they sort out the sound. Stewart plays throughout my tirade even more frenetically than usual and the audience, made up of stoned hippies seated cross-legged on the floor (who believe this new punk rock is somehow associated with violence), think my behavior is all part of the act, which infuriates me even more. I launch myself from the admittedly low stage, trying to shake the audience awake at least, kicking them, knocking them, rolling onto their backs. They thankfully start to fight back and I retire to the comparative safety of the stage. 'The sound out front seems to have sorted itself out, whereupon we have a genuine if slightly delayed rock-and-roll experience. We are now going down a storm, the entire audience on its feet, when Stewart, who is playing like a man possessed, snaps the metal rod of his bass drum pedal in half, closely followed by the collapse of the rest of his kit. Hi-hats, tom-toms, and cymbals roll all over the stage. ''The set dwindles to a pathetic halt, and in a stunned and embarrassed silence we exit the stage. It is only when we close the door of the dressing room behind us that we hear the ovation. Cheering, whistling, stamping. I think they must be out of their minds. We were rubbish. And anyway, we can't do an encore because the drums are in pieces. Our set has by now expanded to fifteen minutes from its original ten, and now it's Wayne's turn. Being as the audience have been prompted to react in the correct manner, Wayne too goes down a storm. 'At the end of the night we each get a twenty-guilder note...''