Various eye witness reports on the show, by the spectators who attended the event.
It was in the summer of 1991. Vangelis would play in the port of Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
On the streets, posters were glued to walls and street lanterns. Vangelis was to musically enlighten a huge lasershow to celebrate the European Technology Cooperation - the EUREKA project. In an interview in a Dutch newspaper, Vangelis confirmed that he immediately had a good feeling about Holland. London would not have been so good because it would most probably rain then on such a night. In Holland it rains just as much. I was desperately hoping that there would be no rain that night.
On that particular evening, the harbor started filling up with people. I don't know where they came from but there were ten thousands of them. (Afterwards, a television reporter estimated a crowd of 275,000 in total, and thinking back of the docks that were all so packed, I tend to believe him).
After a long time (it slowly started to grow dark) we could very softly hear "Chariots of fire" come through. Very softly. I almost panicked while I thought "O no, they forgot to fine-tune the volume. We'll hear almost nothing all night!" But about a minute later they turned up the volume and Chariots of fire bellowed all across the harbor, while the laser beams were projected on the skyscrapers along the docks.
He played two pieces from Mask that night, an album that I did not yet have at that time, but the choir (that later turned out to be actually there) made me decide that that was an album that I had to buy soon.
The major disappointment was that most of the sounds were clearly coming from copies of studio tapes. Especially Italian Song and Glorianna sounded exactly as they did on the album. Every now and then I could hear him adding some second melody or another instrument for the main tune, but it could hardly be called 'semi-live', let alone 'live'. What made this worse was that many of my friends were rather skeptical about synthesizer music and this 'semi-live' character of the show didn't do much to alter their opinion. Neither did the too-long version of Kinematic from Antarctica. On top of that, it softly started to rain for about ten minutes.
The great thrill of the evening, though, was a version of Hymn that I had never heard before and that had great impact on the mood of the crowd. The chorus was very powerful and mesmerizing on the all-too-familiar tune.
Sadly, after what had been a very very short hour, the concert was over already. I don't recall anything from my trip homeward; I just wished that he would release this concert on CD soon. Thinking back, I think it's better that he did not, since it wasn't a live concert.
Later on, I saw the concert back on video (it was broadcast live on Dutch TV), and saw that the female singer on Glorianna, and Jon Anderson, had actually been there. Strange because it was clear that they had not performed live.
There were a lot of camera shots of Mr. Papathanassiou himself, and it struck me to see how fat he had become. But he always had that particular expression on his face of the true composer who concentrates on only one thing: bringing out the music within. It's nice to know that I have been standing less than a mile away from what I still believe to be one of the greatest composers of this century.
Jan-Willem van Aalst
The Eureka-concert was the first popconcert I went to, so I was a bit afraid of going there on my own. Luckily, I could find two friends who wanted to join me on my quest.
We arrived at the scene about 11:30, only we had to cross the "Nieuwe Waterweg" because the audience was supposed to watch from the other side of the river. Before crossing the river we managed to come very close to the stage where Vangelis would perform. I took some photo's of Vangelis' equipment (although it was covered with plastic) and the stage.
We arrived on the other side of the river about 12:00 and luckily, we were one of the first to arrive so only the gates and the river would separate us from Vangelis. During the afternoon various soundchecks where done, so we already knew that Vangelis would play Chariots Of Fire with a new intro. During a couple of soundchecks the crew probably put the volume on maximum so all the bass-sounds coming from the 500.000 Watt boxes vibrated in our stomachs. We also got a visit from Frederick Rousseau (I'm not sure if it was him), who probably came to see how the scene looked from the audiences point of view.
Early in the evening some people next to us suddenly climbed over the gates and stood in front of us so we also climbed over the gates. Unfortunately, we were sent back behind the gates by the security. At that time it was already very crowded so we didn't get back to our original positions, otherwise you would have seen us on the audience close-ups that where broadcast. The rest of the evening we where entertained by some "stunts" done by the marine and the army.
Then, at 23:00 (or a bit later) the concert started. At first the music was played at a much lower volume than during the soundchecks so we could barely hear it (on the TV-broadcast you'll hear that after the music has stopped, it takes about 10 to 15 seconds before the audience realizes it, after which they start applauding).
During the concert the fear grew that it wasn't going to be a live concert at all because all the music sounded like it came directly from the studio-tapes. But being it my first concert I didn't really care because I was overwhelmed with the combination of music, pictures, lasers etc.
The only music that was new to me was the opening music and the new version of Hymne. When Vangelis had played Hymne we al expected an encore, but it later turned that Hymne was the encore. At that time it was 24:00, so the whole concert lasted about an hour. Now we had to get back to the station, a journey that lasted 2 hours because more than 150,000 people had the same idea. Watching the concert back on video, I was a bit disappointed with the result of the TV-broadcast, which gave IMHO not a very good picture of what had happened during the concert.
Now looking back, after almost 7 years, this concert has conquered a place in my heart mainly because it was my first, and up till now (1998), my only "close" encounter with Vangelis.
A few days after the concert a classmate told me that his mother had been a member of the choir and she confirmed that the whole concert had been playback. Even the choir playbacked from the sheetmusic they had gotten. She still had the sheetmusic which she gave to me. This booklet contained all the music and the words (from Mask 2, Mask 5 and Hymne) the choir had to playback. It even contained Guy Protheroe's phone/faxnumber. Later, I gave the sheetmusic away to someone who also was interested in it: the creator of this magnificent web site. [Editor: Thanks Peter, I still appreciate that a great lot!]