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
Now follows part II of the coverage of the Eureka Experience -
containing...er...the actual concert.
Ten minutes separate us from The Eureka Event of Excellence. The
Public Address System already stresses the fact that people
should not be sitting on or in front of spotlight or lasers.
People are constantly 'waving' (like the thing you do in
football stadiums with several thousand people). The air is
tense. A unique feeling of unity coarses through my veins.
I decide to be ridiculous and ask a girl what she thinks of
Voorburg (which had nothing to do with Eureka or Vangelis but
which happens to be the place where two QX members live and where
we are supposed to go and do a QX home vid' next weekend).
"Wat vind je van Voorburg?"
"What do you think of Voorburg?"
"Waar ken ik dè vinde?"
"Where can I find that?"
"Naast Den Haag."
"Next to The Hague."
"Vin ik ook prachtig hoor, ja. Ik ben er al drie keer geweest."
"I like that too, yeah. I've been there three times."
A quick glimpse over my shoulders reveals an empty roof. Empty,
that is, except for the lone police officer that has earlier
tried to get all kids off it (and who now seems to have
A very smart chap, obviously.
I decide to ask some more silly things to that particular female
responsible for the awesomely intelligent answers earlier. This
time I ask what she thinks of Bolsward, the town where Plantiac
Vieux is made which is located at approximately 150 kilometres'
distance from Voorburg.
"Wat vind je van Bolsward?"
"What do you think of Bolsward?"
"Ook mooi. Dat zal er wel vlak bij legge of nie?"
"Beautiful also. I suppose that lies next to it, no?"
"Nee dè leg dur nie vlak bij."
"No that doesn't lie next to it."
(End of rather silly questions and equally silly answers - for
The time has arrived, but the Master seems not to.
Crush has absorbed too much alcohol, and according to some of
his friends (I thought he didn't have any, but I guess I was
mistaken) he then usually starts to talk in a rather silly way
with any girl he can find in the vicinity.
He is doing so now, with some not particularly impressive
looking females standing behind us.
"...and then there are at least 38..."
Crush quote (very partial)
When he notices we're eavesdropping, he loses track of what he
was saying. I decide to take over.
"What do you think of Plantiac?"
"Never heard of it."
Obviously, Dutch females are dim-witted to say the least (well,
at least most of 'em seem to).
It is a well known fact that people who are drunk state that
they are not.
"I am not drunk."
We have just concocted a bit of a joke. It might not mean much
to the foreign (i.e. non-Dutch) readers among you, but it's
something along the lines of "He is over time - he must have
f.cked without a spiral!"
Ho ho ho.
I think Stefan actually came up with that one, though it might
just as well have been me.
"We want Vangelis DIRECT!"
Ho ho ho again.
The Nutty Snake ("The Snotty Bastard!" Crush quote) just
retrieved some English Crackers from an ominous looking bag. He
is really a very nice person and gives them to all of us before
even thinking about eating them himself.
They taste disgusting, however. They are as dry as a Dune and
don't taste like much.
We start to have second thoughts about TNS' generosity.
It seems like Vangelis is aiming to treat us at a completely
innovative and awesomely wicked kind of concert, i.e. a virtual
one. It is getting really dark now, and the crowd is getting
slightly noisy. They'd better get kicking, or the city is going
to have a riot on its hands!
Something is happening now! Deep, throbbing, subsonic sounds
shudder the people and the ground on which they stand. It seems
that the 800,000 watts that are said to be present here are
finally getting into gear.
Fourteen camera's are jumping into position. Finally, the event
that has been built up with the help of 1200 people seems to have
On the other side of the river, that we now behold while keeping
our breaths and kicking everyone who doesn't, there is total
A boat appears on the river, in front of the stage. It is lit by
hundreds of lights in multiple colours. It's one of those steam
boats one usually associates with the river Mississippi.
Then the boat releases the stage to our sights again, at which
moment a multitude of firework explosions light the sky.
The Eureka Event of Excellence has started. It is 23:13.
As we had seen before, the stage is located on a large pontoon
suspended between two huge cranes. Lights are aimed at it,
revealing a Greek temple not entirely unlike Metallica's 1989
"Damaged Justice Tour" stage props. In that temple, somewhere, is
a man playing synthesizer.
Synthesized sounds find their way to the audience. It's the song
"Chariots of Fire" with an alternative, extended intro.
My knees almost give way. Vangelis is here. In Holland. I am
looking at the Master, even though he is but less than an
indistinguishable speck in the far distance. Emotions crash
through my veins. This is simply devastatingly impressive.
On the river Maas, small rubber boats now move in front of us,
each of them containing someone holding a flag of a country that
is member of the Eureka initiative (see notes about Eureka
further down in this article).
When the real music started, one thing became very obvious:
Those 800,000 watts out there were not enough. We could recognise
the music, but we didn't feel it.
"Chariots of Fire" has given way to "Spiral". Lasers have been
drawing symbols on one of the most prominent buildings of the
Rotterdam skyline - mostly names of countries and their
geographical outlines, and keywords associated with the concept
Everything is slightly impressive. Really.
It was said, before the concert, that Vangelis had composed new
music for this event - but it is getting obvious that he hasn't,
and that he is now treating us to some of his 'all time best'.
Although the second bit of "Spiral" was conveniently skipped,
he's now gone over to "Other side of Antarctica" (i.e.
"Antarctica 7"). This is some bloody good music! I never thought
I would ever get to hear this music performed 'live'!
He's playing neatly as well. It all sounds identical to the CD
God damn it! He's playing a song off f.cking China ("Chung Kuo",
but without the bombastic intro)! This is the kind of stuff that
really urges the beholder to weep with joy. What "Roads to
Madness" is to Queensrÿche, "Far Beyond the Sun" to Malmsteen,
"Fade to Black" to Metallica and "Dead" to Napalm Death
(well...kind of), is "Chung Kuo" to Vangelis.
Fire extinguishing boats are ejaculating huge amounts of water
high in the air, moving to and fro in front of Vangelis' sonic
temple. It is obvious that the Master wishes to outdo Jarre: Not
only lasers and light, but interactive things like boats as well!
Beams of light cleverly colour the water sprays, creating a
The boats have ceased ejaculating, and the last tones of "Chung
Kuo" are dying off in a roaring applause. Some of the water that
those fire extinguishing boats have launched into the air is now
submitting itself to gravity on top of the crowd (i.e. us). A
drizzle of tiniest droplets.
He just started playing the only song I always skip on the
"Direct" CD: "Glorianna", featuring a female voice not unlike
opera (at this concert, the voice was done by Markella Marziano).
"God no! Opera!"
Virtually everybody quote
"That's actually my favourite song off that CD."
(Note: Relayer is reknown for his rather odd musical taste. He
also thinks Jarre's "Magnetic Fields 5" is rather neat. Need I
I guess Vangelis would have made many more fans here if he would
have refrained from playing this shit!
The trains that pass over the bridge across the Maas (remember
the bridge we wanted to cross but couldn't, resulting in us
having to cross the river using a next bridge? That's the one I
mean) move remarkably slow. Little faces can be seen stuck to the
windows - people trying to grasp a couple of glimpses of an event
they'll miss all the rest of.
Everybody knows this song, though most people probably never
realised it was done by Vangelis (in Holland, Vangelis music is
often used as background sonix for documentaries and several
sports events, but one never gets to know who it was done by).
It is getting rainy now. Very rainy, actually. We can't get out
the umbrella, however, 'cause that would spoil everything for the
people behind us (aren't we a social bunch?).
The lasers get an extra dimension of magic with the rain drops
falling through them.
Crush quote (he mentioned this quote quite a lot)
The boulevard at the sides of the stage explodes into seas of
red and orange! Explosions defy the music. Brilliant! Brilliant!
The orgy of fireworks and lasers has died down a bit. Vangelis
is now playing "Mask 2", assisted by a 400-people choir standing
in the back of his temple of sound. I do not have the "Mask" CD
myself because it features too much vocals to my liking, but I am
revising my opinion about this CD now.
The rain has virtually stopped (i.e. it tries hard not to be
seen but fails to succeed in not being felt).
A girl behind us tries to see something by hopping up and down.
One of the people that came with QX, that I didn't yet know and
that happens to be named "The Dungeon Master", tells her to
flap her hands. "That may help."
I was about to explain the girl the knack to casually throwing
oneself at the ground and accidentally missing it, but decided to
refrain from doing so.
The second really not too good bit of the concert: "Italian
Song" off the album "Private Collection" is being played, and
this entails the presence of a male singer by the name of Jon
Anderson (singer of Yes, who I think can't sing although many
people disagree - including all other QX members).
We can't see the man, but the presence of his voice is enough.
More than enough.
A large crane that is located to the west of the stage takes
water out of the river, gently letting it fall back in a game of
light and water. Very impressive. Very artistic. Very outdoing
The only term that comes to mind here is "wow" (in spite of
"Kinematica", the third song off "Antarctica"!
This is another one of those songs everybody knows from some
kind of documentary or sports programme. 'Movement' is the motto
of this song, and this is obvious as the railway bridge is
crossed by a steam locomotive, whistling. The steamboat has
joined in again as well, and...even some large white'n'green
helicopters appear above the stage!
A multi-vehicle event indeed!
Some of the Blaenigmatica beings are spreading around more beer.
So far I had been jealous of Tim and Dave of The Lost Boys
because they had seen Jean Michel Jarre perform at Docklands. I
may not have seen Jarre now, but I have seen the Master of Synth
instead, the Bearded One!
Magnificent fireworks spread out above the awe-stricken faces of
what must be about half a million people witnessing this event,
like jungle vines of fire leaping down from the sky in what seems
very much like a finale, during the end of another song off
"Mask" - "Mask part 5". More fountains of fire seem to emerge
from the river itself. Explosions sound.
Smoke is the only thing we can see now as the sounds die off
again, leaving an applause to be the only audible thing.
"This is the stuff you can tell your children in law
about...er...as well as your grandchildren!"
"Aaarrgghh! Napalm Death!"
Someone quote (could have been me, as I was kinda tipsy)
This surely seems to be the finale. In that case, the concert
has only taken three quarters of an hour, which is a
disappointing amount of fourth dimension if you ask me (or any of
Well, it turned out not quite to be the finale yet, for "Hymn"
has started (a song off "Opera Sauvage", that's also present on
the commercially more successful "Themes").
This is far out, really. Endlessly awesome. Completely kicken
(don't even attempt to understand this if you're not Dutch -
sorry). I decide to ask some of the surrounding people for a
Q: "Please say something."
A: "Oh no. I am not going to say anything."
So far the reactions of the local populace.
As the songs (including Jon Anderson's style of singing) have
been really 100% identical to the CD, questions arose whether or
not this was actually 'live' and, indeed, whether Vangelis was
actually there and not just lying in the Greek sun estimating
Relayer swears that this version of "Hymn" is different from the
album version, and I'll be damned if he ain't right there.
"Hij loop te liege hij loop te liege!
("He's lying he's lying!")
Strange female quote
The entire Greek temple, by the way, is now slowly being de-
roofed. At least, the roof has lifted and is now turning its
inside towards the audience. It reveals a giant 'Sigma' symbol,
the character that has curiously been selected as the symbol of
'Eureka' even though any Greek persons will wonder why. Or maybe
Application Systems Heidelberg has done some sponsoring here?
"It is not as beautiful as they say it is. They are
That same strange female quote
Some of the Blasphematica humans (are they? ED.) are now finding
it really difficult to control themselves, and they start
throwing with beer. Someone in front of us, a particularly mean
looking dude with tattoos, is looking at us and thinking whether
or not to beat the hell out of us. After seeing some of those
pitiable Blaenigmatica drunkards, he decided to be merciful and
continues watching the opposite side of the river.
The rubber boats are coming by again. This must be the finale.
Surely it must be. Yes it is. Even the ejaculating boats re-
appear. The choir is audible. Flashy lights.
Everybody is making pictures as if lives are depending on it -
including myself. Let's hope they'll contain something
Everything's dark and red. Yeah!
Another orgasm of fireworks lowers itself down on all of us. It
looks like at least two dozen deities are having a ball up there,
really. This is ultimately impressive - the kind of stuff even
camera's with a mega-large angle lens cannot cope with.
"F.ckin' A man..."
After three minutes of sheer nothingness (except for some
miscellaneous audience noises) the end seems to have arrived. So
the Eureka Event of Excellence has taken 51 minutes after all.
The 'thanks to' are appearing on one of the large buildings,
written in green laser light.
We are now thinking of retreating to some kind of bar. We're all
dying for something to quench our thirst.
Let's pray and chant, for one particular nerve cell in the back
of our eyes might have been triggered for a nanosecond by
a photon that recoiled from Vangelis!
We want to have a drink, but it's kinda difficult to move here,
as quite a lot of people are trying to move in all kinds of
directions (about 27) at the same time (makes me think of a
future Jez San game).
"Koning zak in muzijkland"
Stefan quoteth (God knows what he means with it)
Some people are whistling their head off: Not everybody is
entirely satisfied as it all was a bit short to their liking.
Well it was kinda short, and I still think they could easily have
made it two hours with all those preparations having been done.
Quite an extraordinarily loud applause suddenly bursts forth
from a surprisingly large part of the audience. An encore maybe?
I swirl around to see what they're all getting excited about. It
turns out to be a window of a house that had been behind us:
Someone is switching the light off and on repeatedly there,
causing a personal high definition laser show.
Before this I had thought the mass exodus of people moving from
the non-weekend to the weekend location of the ST NEWS
International Christmas Coding Convention had been quite
Well, let me tell you that it is utterly dwarfed by what we're
caught up in here. The streets are entirely crowded with people
that all want to go home and really don't give a damn what the
other quarter of a million people want. The thing that surprises
me most is that they are not yet walking on top of each other.
From the air, I imagine it must look a lot like an ants' nest
that has just been uprooted by an anarchic aardvark.
A fat faced First Aid person looks at us threateningly from the
window of a Red Cross van. Nothing much seems to have happened
during the concert, so that he now just wants to head home, too.
But with this mass of people trying to go everywhere he might
still have some work to do before being able to call it a day!
The bridge, above us now, is filled with people. It's a miracle
it doesn't collapse! The bridge is so full that one would expect
people to drop from its sides by the dozens. Miraculously,
nothing like it happens.
Ah. The steam engine crosses the river again over the railway
bridge, whistling gayly.
Everybody is standing still here. Not because of the steam
engine but because it's bloody difficult to get up here. We're
trying to get up to the bridge through a sideway, but it seems to
be somewhat of a bottleneck (it is at times like this that I
appreciate the power of the understatement - hail whoever thought
of the English language).
Ah! I see now a dangerous descent that is causing the
bottleneck. We're crossing a building site, and loose sand is
stopping everybody. There's a 6 feet drop down into more sand,
and on the other side there's a 6 feet ascend that makes even the
Chipping Steps (see ST NEWS Volume 4 Issue 4, the Microprose
days) seem minor by comparison!
It seems that even more people are here now.
At least Stefan was able to help a seemingly gorgeous female do
the ascend, so I reckon he's happy now.
We are stuck. A tremendously thin path is winding up a side of
the bridge. Hundreds of thousands of people have to go up there.
It is all minddeafeningly imploding...
"Just a bit of a nuisance, actually."
Crush quote (catching me using all those fancy words)
We found an alternative route, by passing under the bridge and
trying to get up on the other side. Adrenaline pumps fiercely as
we behold quite a steep ascend that's covered with bricks. They
are slippery, for everybody is trying to go up them, only to end
up sliding down all the way again. However, it looks like we will
have to make a fool of ourselves as well, as it seems to be the
only way. The Alps are nothing compared to this, but we will not
be set aback by this; we have conquered Norwegian mountains, so
this can pose no serious threat to us!
We find an alternative route to the alternative route: An even
thinner path winding through bushes. It's the kind of path you'd
not like to walk when it's dark and when you're female. It's got
conveniently located bushes on both sides. Lucky for everybody,
this little path is now filled with people, so individuals who
are interested in lonely females after dark are required to keep
a very low profile.
We are now on the bridge, crossing the river again. As we look
around us, seeing a couple of thousand people around us, Stefan
and myself suddenly realise we will never ever have as large an
audience again for a Death Groan Competition.
It is Rotterdam, the Netherlands. It is June 19th 1991. It is
almost twenty to one, AM.
Let's do it.
Yours truly quote
We (i.e. Relayer, The Mind and myself) are singing the chorus of
"Staying Alive" by the Bee Gees.
(Note: It has turned out to be somewhat of a tradition that,
whenever we three meet, we sing this song at the highest possible
pitch. We have even done this in a German swimming pool in
Gütersloh during a time when only old folx swam, and they are
rumoured still not to have forgotten)
When the chorus wears off, Stefan and me sing "One".
Blaak Railway Station. Officially, we have to pay for using the
train from Blaak to Rotterdam Central, but nobody bothers to
(nobody is bound to check tickets at this time and with this
amount of people anyway).
We climb the stairs towards the trains.
We are nearing the platform. We see a train but is is completely
filled up. Er...it's on the other side as well, heading for a
completely different destination.
Sirens wail through the night, but nobody heeds them.
A train passes by on our platform, but it seems to transport oil
and cattle only. We are not supposed to get in that are we?
No. It passes.
"Jill put her little daughter fifteen minutes under water - not
to cause her any troubles but to see those funny bubbles."
Relayer quote (pinched off a toilet door at the Technical
University of Delft)
We have arrived at Rotterdam Central. The train was quite full,
but not too full for us not to be able to use it (it would have
to be pretty full for that!).
A notice says that the first train we can use from Rotterdam
Central towards Utrecht leaves at 02:02, and it travels through
Amsterdam (which can be compared with travelling from 7 to 4 over
12 on a clock).
We are now questing for an alternative train, painstakingly
scanning the announcements plastered all over. Yet there seems
scant hope for us.
(Sound of something not unlike a herd of wildebeests passing by
at an awesomely close distance)
We are barely in time to head for cover to avoid being trampled
by about two hundred people that wanted to run from A to C with
us being located at B.
Deafening joy (well at least for Stefan, The Mind and me, who
are bound for Utrecht)!
The Station announcer mentions an extra train to Utrecht. It's
no intercity but we're not likely to be choosy here.
Stefan is complaining about getting sleepy, but this is no
wonder as he's quite young actually.
We are located in the train. We even sit, which we had
previously considered impossible due to the amount of people that
all seem to want to go in the same direction.
We are now leaving, i.e. we're leaving 7 minutes before that
other train to Utrecht was supposed to leave. At least this one
goes directly, i.e. not over Amsterdam.
The lights of Utrecht become visible through the windows. We are
arriving at the place where we will be able to put our tired
bodies to rest.
We have left the train. No buses are likely to be driving at
this unholy hour, so we head directly for a cab.
We have arrived at Looplantsoen 50, Utrecht. The streets is
completely silent apart from the sounds of a cab driving off and
me using my keys on the lock. The key happens to be a cheap copy,
so that it usually entails long trying on the lock. This time,
things go unexpectedly quickly...
We're in. The door wails a bone-shilling welcome.
And so we have come to the end of the real-time tape (annex
article). I ask Stefan to say something.
"Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah."
Well, that was yet another prime example of the omnipotent
things our beloved master editor tends to say.
A note about Eureka:
Launched in 1985 as an initiative of the French president
Mitterrand, Eureka has already changed the face of research and
development co-operation within Europe. It is an innovative tool
helping Europe to master and exploit technologies which will
prove decisive in the worldwide race for competitiveness and a
better quality of Life.
Eureka interacts with companies and research institutes in
Eureka member countries and helps them pool their resources in
the development of leading edge technology.
At this moment the Eureka project portfolio includes nearly 400
projects which have a total estimated cost of more than 7.5
billion Ecu and involve some 2,000 participants. At the end of
the present Netherlands' Eureka chairmanship, at The Hague
Ministerial Conference, approximately 100 new projects have been
Eureka's members are: Austria, Belgium, Commission of the
European Communities, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece,
Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands (of course),
Norway (!), Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the
On June 18th in The Netherlands Eureka celebrated its fifth
Isn't it a tad strange that nobody actually heard of Eureka
before this concert?
If you want a copy of the Eureka Vangelis Concert programme,
send £5.00 PO/Cheque to Silvercrest Ltd. 106 Baker Street, London
W1M 1LA, England. Send an SAE to that address for info on
A note about Vangelis (or, rather, Evangelis Papathanassiou):
Vangelis' career as a composer started aged four. At six, and
without any formal training, he gave the first public performance
of his own compositions. From then on, he has done numerous
things connected to music. He started off in 1968 with a band
called Aphrodite's Child - with his brother Leo and a chap called
Demis Roussos (Bwaaaarrggghhhh! Vomit! Yes, that one!). In 1972
he starts solo, and made albums some of which are Spiral, Albedo
0.39, Heaven and Hell, China, See you Later and Antarctica. The
latter was an example of a film score he did, but he has done
many more (Chariots of Fire was a film score as well). The album
Themes, for example, contained the title tunes of Bladerunner,
Missing and Mutiny on the Bounty.
If you want to get in touch with his best stuff, I advise you to
get either Themes or his Greatest Hits, a CD that came out early
June this year.
He has done some more albums with the Greek actress Irena Papas
which are traditionally Greek - stuff one should listen to and
then fervently decide not to buy. This is also the case with the
stuff he did with Jon Anderson (3 albums), if you ask me.
Beaubourg is pretty weird, too.
His most recent non-compilation CD is The City. It's pretty good
though not 'typically Vangelis', with some jazzy influences.
A note about Playback:
The day after the concert, I looked at it on vid' as well. It
was at that moment that a thing dawned upon my mind: The entire
concert was playbacked, except for the intro to "Chariots of
Fire" and the entire "Hymn" song. Probably, Vangelis played the
lead bits on top of a tape. He possibly also added some
percussion effect in 'real time'. I came to this conclusion not
only because the concert versions had been 100% identical to the
album versions (including even the tiniest of sound effects), but
also due to two things I saw on TV.
1) During "Pulstar", it started to rain a lot. Transparent
plastic was put on the keyboards by roadies, and at a certain
stage the wind blew it on top of Vangelis' hands. He then removed
the piece of plastic while the music continued as if nothing
2) Jon Anderson, even though he must surely have a load of
experience, did not sing 'in sync' with the music. At times he
was too late to open or close his mouth.
Only "Hymn" was definitely 'live', though still with a
background tape. The lead voice had subtle differences, and
it also sounded more like an acoustic flute rather than the
synthesised thing (more like percussion) present on the album
So far the coverage of the Eureka Event of Excellence and some
of its (more or less) associated topics.
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.