It's a 106 miles to Chicago. We've got a full tank of gas, half a
packet of cigarettes. It is dark. We're wearing sunglasses. Hit
EUREKA EVENT OF EXCELLENCE - AN EXPERIENCE WITH VANGELIS
- or -
Seeing 400 singers, a load of gear and a Master perform 'live'
(Well...more or less)
ROTTERDAM, JUNE 18TH 1991
by Richard Karsmakers
Around April, an interesting rumour went round: The Greek
synthesizer expert Vangelis was supposed to be performing live at
the Maasvlakte in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
To mere mortals like myself this was of course a delight of
cosmic proportions. Stefan and me had been unable to buy tickets
for Jean Michel Jarre's "Docklands" concert. I had been in Paris
on July 14th 1990, completely unaware of Jarre's performance
there that evening. After two of these gigantic screw-ups of
fate, the fact that Vangelis was coming to Holland to perform was
Unfortunately, nothing was really certain about this. The date
was shrouded in mists, and the location was pretty vague as well.
Then, in May, the date became certain.
It was supposed to take place in the night of June 18th on June
19th 1991. The location was still supposed to be something called
the Maasvlakte, which is a giant slab of sandy beach at the mouth
of the river Maas. The occasion was supposed to be the xth
birthday of the city of Rotterdam.
Slowly but certainly, radio programs began to mention this
historic event. It was supposed to be a laser show with music and
all that stuff, the kind that one normally expects from a showman
the likes of Jarre.
Only after a special information telephone number had been
initiated was it possible to find out exactly what would happen.
The concert date had been correct, but the location turned out to
be at quite a different place: The Leuverhaven in the centre of
Rotterdam, along the river Maas. The concert was supposed to
start at 8 PM, with special guest star the Rotterdam Philharmonic
Orchestra (yawn). At 11 PM, Vangelis' performance would start,
and this would go on until 1 AM.
The occasion was the opening of a technical manifestation called
"Eureka", which had something to do with 18 countries working
together to beat the Japanese and American competition on various
fields of science and engineering.
The day after I found this out, I took the 19th of June off. I
knew that I would not want to go to work that day. I knew I would
want to ponder over the past experience - and sleep long.
Below you will be able to witness the Eureka Experience by means
of a real-time article that has been recorded provisionally on an
Aiwa Walkman (previously known as the headache obliteration
The names of the people writing here have not been mentioned
because it was me all the time.
It starts on June 18th 1991, in Utrecht, the Netherlands.
Stefan and I are supposed to meet at this time, but as usual our
dear master editor is late. He has been known to have trouble
finding my place, and this is only about the fourth time he
visits me since I live on my new address in Utrecht.
I have taken a shower very quickly in order to be finished by
18:00. If I would have known this, I would have done it more
Heavens! Miracles still happen. Stefan just arrived. He says he
encountered a traffic jam just outside Utrecht, but I tend to
We gather together some gear (a Walkman to record all this, two
cameras to photograph the event and some books to read in the
We're leaving my place. We have gathered all the gear we need
(including some we don't, like some delicious liquorice). We
descend the stairs (I live on the fourth floor) and head towards
Unfortunately we see the bus leave directly in front of us,
beyond reach of cry or quick dash.
We decided to head for a junkfood store, where we are now. We
get some 'Magnum' ice (the best ice cream to be introduced since
ages). We leave the place again for the next bus stop - where
other bus lines stop as well, thus increasing our chance to get
to Utrecht Central Railway Station as fast as possible.
It is remarkably warm, even though the sun has barely been
visible throughout the day. We are now standing at the platform
where within a couple of minutes from now a train should leave
for Rotterdam Central Station.
The train has arrived and we have entered it. There are more
people in the train that we strongly suspect of going to the
I take out "Stranger in a Strange Land" by Robert Heinlein which
I've been reading for two or three days already. Stefan takes out
a new Terry Pratchett book, "Good Omens".
It is quite busy at Rotterdam Central Station where we have now
arrived. Pamphlets are stuck to the walls and other places
announcing the Vangelis concert, how to get there, and a list of
extra trains for people that would like to get back home as well.
There are mixed emotions as the pamphlets state that Vangelis
will only play for about one hour, and that the whole thing will
stop at midnight. Many people (including Stefan and me) grow a
What's the use in setting up something as ginormous as this when
it only takes about an hour?
There are quite a lot of people. Even some of the rugged
looking heavy metal freaks wearing Sepultura T-shirts I had seen
in the train now stand gazing at Vangelis Concert pamphlets.
Getting from Rotterdam Central to the location of Leuverhaven
is more difficult than one might think - especially if one is an
alien in Rotterdam.
We do not succeed in locating the metro initially, and therefore
set out in search for a tram or a bus. Buses, however, are
either reserved or completely full. We missed the tram to the
We are not the only ones trying to find means of transportation.
There are a couple of hundred people. Chaos and anarchy seems to
Many youths are here. I guess all intelligent people of Holland
are present in Rotterdam now (or will be before Vangelis starts
We succeeded in locating the metro (Rotterdam's tube system)
anyway. It is very busy, and there is a low murmur of people.
Here and there, I catch the words 'concert' or 'Vangelis'. It
appears that we are in the right train.
It is getting even warmer here.
Someone farted. The smell is made worse by the warmth and the
small confinement in which we happen to be stacked together with
a lot of people. I try to locate someone that's inconspicuously
studying the ceiling, but I do not succeed. The farter remains
unspotted (and unpunished).
After one minute of stench and suffocation, the train stops at
We have arrived at the location, and are eager to get our of
warmth and this disgusting smell.
Hundreds of people are getting out with us. There are some
pretty artistic ones among them. Someone is wearing a hat. A very
narrow flight of stairs pours the huge amount of people out on
Stefan just bought some Coke. Blasphemy! It is lukewarm and
seems partly de-carbonated.
When we left the metro station we immediately beheld a huge
four-star hotel called "Inntel" (yes, one 'n' more than that
crappy brand of processors). We reckoned we could get a room
there, overlooking the river and the concert that would soon
happen. We dismissed the idea because of financial reasons.
We had heard that Vangelis would be performing on a giant
pontoon attached to two cranes, but we couldn't spot anything of
it so far. There was no equipment to be seen, either. I have to
say that it surely don't look as if a quarter of a million people
will be here soon (this amount of people was the official
estimate mentioned on the radio).
If it weren't for the Cola-and junkfood-vendors one would think
nothing is going on here.
The definite proof that something is happening here is someone
that is walking around selling booklets ('programmes'). They
could 10 Dutch guilders and are about 10 pages thick (i.e.
We look a Pitbull Terrier up its ass. Police are everywhere.
We have seen something in the middle of the river, and there's a
lot of people on the other side. We guess we have to cross the
(Note: We will call the river 'Maas', but officially it's called
'Nieuwe Maas' which translates to English as 'New Maas'. End of
Yeah! We just bought some Eureka Vangelis T-Shirts! I got a
spiffin' white one with the date written on it (the historian in
me urged me to), and Stefan bought a blackened one.
The cross-the-river quest is certain as we proceed Eastwards on
the Northern boundary of the Maas. Huge things have been built up
at this side, preventing people from seeing anything in the
direction of the river, so it is quite sure that the best view
will be obtained from the other side.
Huge spots and laser thingies are located on top of giant metal
Helicopters are flying to and fro.
The skyline of Rotterdam is dominated by three identical
appartment buildings, from which' windows one is bound to have
one hulluva view. We went to probe for the existence of some
distant relatives who happen to live there - so that we can visit
them and get the horniest of views.
As we see the spots and lasers, however, we realise that
projections of colour will be made on those buildings,
effectively preventing people (including distant relatives)
looking from their windows from seeing anything but a blinding
Drop dead, relatives!
Another chopper flies over. It sense it must be equipped with a
camera. I wave to it. I am now maybe on television!
The most important things currently pervading my vision are lots
of junkfood vendors and lots of police officers (on horse, on
foot, in cars, in buses...you name it).
We pass a small plastic dome where some musicians are playing
music. I suspect they are the Marines Band of the Royal
Netherlands Navy, judging by their striped uniforms and headwear.
They effectively succeed in not leaving any impression at all.
Not many people bother to watch them for more than a couple of
We have discovered that the major difficulty in getting anywhere
here is the (excuse my words) horse shit. We find ourselves
stumbled upon a Police Horse Excreta Evasion Quest of formidable
Some strange looking persons are selling plastic with air in it.
We are now located directly behind what appears to be the stage,
which we can't see as it is hidden behind those metal
contraptions with the spotlights and lasers on them. We
experience a bit of warmth flowing through us by the sheer
realisation that somewhere behind all that metal is someone named
Vangelis who just happens to make great music that can be put on
small silvery discs for us mortals to listen to.
We pass a Mobile Unit bus of the Police. Stefan is staggered to
see it's got a massive eight antennas - more than his Kenwood
The smell of junkfood and unions litters our nostrils. Apart
from having to evade all that horse excreta, we also have to
watch out not to trip over provisional sewers and loads of power
leads that are scattered in a seemingly careless way across the
I have just seen a Gard clone (i.e. a clone of Gard Eggesbø
Abrahamsen, an Insanely Witty Looking Nutty Norwegian we happen
to know)! He (or, rather, IT) is located in a huge orange,
selling (remarkably) orange juice.
Stefan, happily munching a quite typically Dutch thing we call
'appelflap' (apple cake or somethun'), states that it ain't a
Gard clone but a Frøystein clone - for the person located in the
huge orange does not look insanely witty.
As the bridge draws nigh we pass half a dozen of inflatible
lavatories, made for the purpose of allowing people to empty
their bladders and intestines.
We also see that there are, as a matter of fact, two bridges
crossing the river Maas. One is quite near, and it's a railway
bridge. The other one is further away, and of course that's the
one we need to go to.
Silent cops on high horses look down upon us, as if scanning the
crowd for radical elements. The only things that seem to tower
above them, except for the Rotterdam skyline, are the provisional
television transmission towers that are scattered all over the
It is slowly becoming difficult to comprehend (let alone
describe) the amount and the variety of people present here.
Fat, thin, blind, white, black, foreign, Dutch, ugly, beautiful,
heavy metal, classic...the oddest folk are walking around here.
The only type of humans missing here seem to be Nutty
We are now actually crossing the river, walking across the
bridge. The atmosphere is throbbing with suspense, and I think I
would not have been surprised to see everyone holding their
A demonstration of paratroopers is now being performed. Some
Dutch Navy paratroopers are trying to land on a small artificial
island in the river. A narrator's voice echoes along the
boulevard, keeping the people up to date to everything that's
been done, now and again explaining procedures common in the
And....yes! One of the paratroopers landed in the water. The
audience roars with laughter, giving forth a hesitant applause.
I have to suppress my paranoia when several police cars drive by
with flashing lights, frantically trying to direct the remaining
traffic on the bridge. There's people everywhere, effectively
cutting off the entire island in the Maas.
(Note: Just like Paris, Rotterdam has an island in the river
that splits it in two. It is on this island that we will witness
Later I heard that 30,000 people were on that bridge during the
concert, all trying to catch a glimpse (but probably not quite
Thirty-thousand. If they would all jump up and down on that
bridge in phase it would crash... It is at such a time when you
realise the true potential power of the masses, if only they
But I will cut this crap short right now.
It does give one a sense of Purpose walking here. There are
thousands of people that all have the same destination, the same
It looks like bloody war with all those choppers in the air,
people running and cars trying frantically to get out of this
We were innocently walking west once having crossed the river
when a bus passed us by. Behind one of its windows we saw a
laughing face and a waving hand: Relayer of the Quartermass
(Note: I have recently become a member of the Quartermass
Experiment, a rather cult group in Holland. Other members are
Eloy, The Mind, The Nutty Snake and this chap Relayer. The
weekend after, we were to do a Home Vid subtitled "QX on a Quest
The bus stops at a bus stop, and out of it pours a seemingly
continuous stream of people. The stream contains all members of
QX except for Eloy (the only one I haven't seen yet), as well as
some other reknown Dutch of Aenigmatica and Crush of MCA ('the
one to ritually insult', see ST NEWS Volume 6 Issue 1).
Relayer quote (upon me discovering Eloy is not present)
Small choppers fly over low, as if trying to witness any
possible conspiracies being concocted down here. A small Lada
nearly runs us over (after nearly choking us with exhaust gasses)
as we go down to the boulevard where we intend to find a place to
stand and witness.
The entire Public Relations section of Aenigmatica (henceforth
to be called Blaenigmatica) seems to be here (which is strange,
as this group is as dead as a Dodo).
We found a relatively OK position from which to witness the
Eureka Event of Excellence, at approximately 300 yards east of
the spot directly opposite the pontoon that is hanging suspended
on two huge cranes.
"No it is two and a half minutes to nine."
Throughout the Event, Crush was to state things like that when I
mentioned the current time in the Aiwa walkman. This is a typical
description of this lowlife kind of person, who is very daft and
exceedingly stupid altogether (so far the traditional insulting
of Crush of MCA).
It is very busy here. Only when people standing before us decide
it's actually too busy and retreat are we able to advance
"We'll have to stand here for three hours before all starts."
(Which altogether serves excellently to illustrate Stefan's
intelligence, directly proportional to his sense of direction
when searching my humble abode in Utrecht, as the thing should
start at 23:00)
Stefan is obviously quite incapable of doing simple maths by
We have discovered quite an interesting sub-culture of little
humans here. They emerge from between the legs of the people
standing in front of us, with strange enthusiastic gleams in
their little eyes. We strongly suspect them from either
performing certain jobs or picking pockets, and we're biased
towards the latter opinion.
A regular Oliver Twist culture here in Rotterdam, right before
our very eyes!
I decide to take a picture of them.
The whole afternoon the heavens had seemed bulging with dark
clouds of rain and thunder, but nothing had actually come down
(except for a damp warmth that makes your clothes sticky). But
now, raindrops are happily falling on our heads.
Fortunately, The Nutty Snake possesses an umbrella that I
eagerly use to cower away under.
(Note: I am becoming a bit thin on top already, and this might
be due to acid rain)
People have succeeded in locating themselves on the roofs of the
high houses behind us, facing the river. They probably have
positively gorgeous views on everything, but unfortunately the
owners have warned a rather mean looking cop.
That particular cop is now trying to convince them that it is
actually a good idea to get down and try to catch a glimpse from
the concert from 'down there' (we see him pointing down at us).
The crowd starts to yell abuse at the cop (something about a
'hondelul', which is a Dutch word I have no particular urge to
I really hate beer. I like bitter, but that's not available in
Holland so I can safely assume I hate all Dutch beer.
But when someone belonging to Aen...sorry....Blaenigmatica is
drinking beer right before your nose and when you realise you
have been so stupid as to not bring any liquid with you, a sudden
craving for this horsepiss alternative starts to dawn.
The Parachute demonstration team is now involved in
demonstrating the principle of (quote) 'an awesomely long free
fall'. After fifteen meagre seconds, however, the parachutes
unfold and the crowd, again, yells abuse. Obviously, these
demonstrations will not significantly increase enlistings in the
Stefan just now discovered what he suspects is an undercover
cop. He bases this upon the fact that this particular person
carries a scanner by means of which he seems to be communicating
Another person who seems obviously to be associated with this
undercover cop has loads of more Dutch beer.
We have also discovered that the Blaenigmatica chaps do not
merely have beer. They also have rum and cola! We are craving.
It is getting darker, by the way. In the west, far away, we see
the smoke of the oil refineries, drifting up into clouds that
grow ever darker. More helicopters course through the sky.
After over a quarter of an hour's talking, the cop on the roof
decided that these youngsters cannot simply be talked into going
down. Instead, he decided to employ some more drastic measures.
He is now actually chasing a couple of them across the roofs. Of
course, his older bones soon lack the vigour present in those of
the youths, and he decided to be content with the fact that they
are now at least off the roof he's standing on.
The Marines are now demonstrating the agility of their
helicopters (which are called 'Lynx', actually). One of them just
flew backwards, i.e. 'moonwalked'. The pilots waved at us. We now
feel very happy indeed. Nothing today can go wrong in a way that
will destroy our moods.
We also find out that helicopters are actually 'happy
omnidirectional people transporters'.
The Lynx helicopters have retreated to a safe distance when
suddenly the air is filled with machine gun shots, and the ground
thunders with heavy explosions.
A demonstration of the Special Aid Squadron (or something),
where a simulated hijack is being disemboweled (or something).
It's really awfully realistic except for the smoke caused by the
bombs, which is bright green, orange and red.
"The air above Kuwait is ablaze..."
The Nutty Snake quote (in a very heavy voice)
This really makes memories of news broadcasts covering the
initial bits of Operation Desert Storm fling back to mind. Shots
are reverberating between the buildings on both sides of the
"The undercover cop's got a Kenwood scanner!"
We have just discovered another subculture of humans. This
time, they transport themselves on wheelchairs, gently urging
people to part so as to allow them to move forward to a spot
where they can see everything without having to use something
akin a periscope device.
They remind us to take inflatible wheelchairs with us next time,
as these seem to comprise a front seat ticket!
One of the Blaenigmatica members, who can call himself the owner
of a top secret Panther Development Guide, just told me that it
(i.e. the Panther) is said not to happen. So much for all the
rumours involving the supposed launch of this miraculous game
console by Atari. He did mention that they are now planning a
true colour games console that is non-68000-based.
(Note: A recent issue of the mag "ZERO" revealed more intimate
information about this Panther, but no word about it not
Isn't it curious? One of the first people to develop software on
the Konix games console was Jeff Minter. Konix didn't happen. He
was also one of the first people to have a Panther Development
Let's observe a moment's silence in Jeff's name.
Aren't the Blaenigmatica chappies a very nice bunch? They have
just offered us some rum-cola (Pepsi, but OK). This really tastes
The narrator, whose voice has been present omnipotently
throughout the time we have so far spent along the river Maas,
mentions that the demonstration team often 'does it in July and
"They don't only do it in July and August, but also in boats."
Crush quote (well, a not too stupid remark of his this time)
Triggered by something unknown to mankind, Stefan starts singing
AArrrggghhh! Some pure rum surely beats the hell out of rum-
coke. The rum is made by Bootz. It's cheap but better than
nothing (or, indeed, better than anything without alcohol).
A gentle warmth spreads itself through my bowels. As I haven't
eaten much since breakfast (apart from the liquorice) it goes
straight to my head...
An eerie light is spreading across the boulevard, created by the
remains of the setting sun and the first street lanterns that pop
"Ik ben het er helemaal mee eens."
"I completely agree."
Innocent girl quote
"Helemaal prachtig hoor, helemaal te gek."
"Completely brilliant, far out."
Another girl quote
It's very strange. Whenever someone is seen chatting down into
some kind of electronic device other people get the tendency to
be immortalised as well. The above quotes are a witness to that
fact (as well as some other ones to follow).
There's 22 minutes to go until The Event will start. It just
started to rain a bit, but this happens to occur simultaneously
with an old steamboat passing by.
Promptly, the crowd starts off with a deafening bit of
(Note: In Holland we have a legend of a chap called Sinterklaas
or Saint Nicolaas, who has his birthday on December 5th and who
gives all little children presents. He lives in Spain, and he
comes to us with a steamboat filled with 'zwarte Pieten' (his
black helpers) and presents. He doesn't give all the presents
himself now - instead parents tend to buy them and give them on
'pakjesavond' - 'package evening', December 4th. Dutch children
under the age of 10 still 'believe in Saint Nicolaas'. After that
age, someone usually reveals to them that the presents have
always been given by the parents. They usually start to cry when
hearing this revelation)
It is now getting really dark. Many lights pop on everywhere,
which makes this an experience for which there is, unfortunately,
no other description rather than 'eldritch' (sorry Stefan).
Now get the second part of this, for this is the end of the
The text of the articles is identical to the originals like they appeared in old ST NEWS issues. Please take into consideration that the author(s) was (were) a lot younger and less responsible back then. So bad jokes, bad English, youthful arrogance, insults, bravura, over-crediting and tastelessness should be taken with at least a grain of salt. Any contact and/or payment information, as well as deadlines/release dates of any kind should be regarded as outdated. Due to the fact that these pages are not actually contained in an Atari executable here, references to scroll texts, featured demo screens and hidden articles may also be irrelevant.