When I made my first steps inside the Corner Hotel last Thursday night – I knew I was in for a very, very unique concert experience.
Assembled before me were 900 fun-loving 90s children, donning bright clothes, sailor outfits and other crazy props. They’re all ready to revisit their childhood and lose their marbles to the cheesy tunes of one of Europop’s most infamous acts, The Vengaboys.
Part of me thought that this could be one of the most painful shows I ever attend … but the other part of me was optimistic that it could also be a pretty fun night out. After all, intrigue is what sent me here – considering this was the first of three sold-out shows The Vengaboys have at the venue this month. The result (excuse me while I duck for cover) was emphatically in the latter direction.
Walking into the band room was as if I’d just come out of a time machine. There were flashing messages on screens everywhere – saying ‘If you love the 90s, go buy a beer!’, disco balls, and a DJ spinning oh-so-memorable anthems from the era as well. Tracks such as Aqua’s Doctor Jones, Eiffel 65’s Blue and La Bouche’s Sweet Dreams are all on the playlist and are met with countless fist pumps, daggy dancing and loud mass sing-alongs from the crowd. And that’s all before the Vengabus even parks on the stage.
When it does, piercing screams fill the air – and it feels like it’s 1998 all over again. With their wireless microphone headsets firmly in place – the sailor guy, the Zorro look-a-like and the two girls then proceed to whip the crowd into an absolute frenzy.
We’re Going To Ibiza and Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! are all delivered early on in the set – and other crowd favourites such as Shalala Lala, Kiss (When The Sun Don’t Shine), Uncle John From Jamaica and new single Rocket To Uranus are also delivered with pizazz.
Interspersed between all the old school hits are numerous “We love you” and “You are such a hot crowd” references – along with several “Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! Oi! Oi Oi” chants and hi-fives to punters up the front. Say what you want about their music – but the actions clearly show that the Dutch popsters know how to work a crowd and have done their audience research.
And naturally, their biggest hit of all – We Like To Party (The Vengabus Is Coming) is left till last – and results in complete pandemonium. If that wasn’t enough, the band then defied their wind-up calls from the roadies, and returned to take fan requests with an encore containing repeat performances of Shalala Lala and Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom!
Sure, it was only a 45-minute set – and they repeated a few of their hits. But it’s not as if The Vengaboys don’t know it – as captain Kim loudly and proudly declares: “We are the Vengaboys, and we play sleazy, cheesy Euro dance music!”
And you’d be hard pressed to find one person in the crowd who walked out of the Corner’s that night- this reviewer included – who didn’t enjoy the tunes and the bucketloads of fun which they served up.