zondag 30 november 2008

Bedlam in Belgium (from an eye witness)!

This is the most complete story that I have ever read, covering the events of the 1977 show in Kontich, Belgium in a very detailed way. This show resulted in the creation of the Bedlam in Belgium song, as heard on the Flick of the Switch album. Thanks to an anonymous reader of this blog who posted this as a comment to one of my posts, we can now enjoy a full report what really happened that night. Happy reading!

Worst gig I saw was AC/DC at the "Thier Brau Hof" in Kontich (near Antwerp, Belgium) in October 1977. As openers there should have been a local band called Mothers Of Track, but the word "should" indicates that the lot never showed. On top of the opening act not coming through (cuz their van ran off the road), there was something wrong with the electricity (never gotten to know what exactly). All this meant that the start of the gig was furthermore postponed, so, instead of starting around nine, AC/DC hit the lights at 22.45. A couple of minutes into the show, outside of the venue, some fans who had more beer than common sense in their body, had a wee piss amidst the flowerbed in the front garden of an elderly lady who lived accross the street. The dear old lass phones the coppers because of some long-haired weirdos crawling all over her Petunias. In one go she also complains about the "terrible hells-bells" (she was ahead of her time) coming from the "Thier Brau Hof". Coppers promise to investigate the matter. Coppers arrive at the scene with two units (2 VW-Combi vans with 3 coppers each) and go have a talk with the lady who stands befuddled between rows of broken flowers. Coppers also notice that there's more than just a neighbourhood party going on at the "Thier Brau Hof". Coppers check with the station to see if there was anything out of the ordinary planned at said location. Aside from a Darts contest the next day and a Bar-B-Q, organized by the local fire department the previous day, nothing's on the calendar. Coppers pull-up their pants, sniff loudly and head towards the cauldron of decibels accross the boulevard. Coppers enter the premises through the back door and try to speak with someone in charge. Meanwhile, the second squad, outside the building, get confirmation that whatever is going on inside the "Thier Brau Hof", it is certainly not koosher and certainly has no permission to lift the tiles off the roof, noise-wise. Second squad enter through the main entrance and are greeted with boo-boo-hiss-hiss, a couple of half empty (half full?) beer cups fly in their general direction. Coppers feel threathened, so coppers call for extensive back-up. In the mean time, the first squad is hanging by the side of the stage, half deaf by this time, speaking with the organizer of the gig and asking to turn down the sound, not because there's an infraction, but because they can't understand a bleedin' word that's being said. Back outside, the 2nd squad is joined by a detachement of "Gendarmes" (state police, [gents d'armes: gents = people/men, d'armes = of arms... Gendarmes = Men Of Arms]) who have Barracks just a couple of miles down the boulevard. Smack in the middle of "Let There Be Rock" the Gendarmes and 2nd police squad enter the building through the main entrance, with the sole purpose of stopping the gig, as no-one bothered to ask for a permission to have a party where there would be substantial noise after 22:00Hrs.At approximatively 23:05Hrs, after the Gendarmes have explained what's going on to the organizer, that organizer tries to do the same to the people of AC/DC. The people of AC/DC show toothy grins and a lot of shoulders make shruggin' movements. A passing roadie, the size of a healthy Oak cupboard, knocks off the cap of the copper who's in charge of the first squad, who are getting deafer by the second. The copper, who's hair has the colour of copper, is getting all red-faced til there's no distinguishable border between features and hairline, crawls onto the stage in an attempt to stop the musicians playing on. He is swiftly lifted off the stage by two Australian bodyguards and calmly posted back where he crawled on. The Gendarmes have by now reached the side of the stage, by making a circumventing move along the wall and are just in time to see the copper with the copper top beying gently but firmly removed from the stage. Copper-top spots Gendarmes and is boldly trying to get back on the stage. The Australians, tho still shrugging a lot, are slowly losing their toothy grins as they see the small army of Gendarmes encircling the side of the stage. Elbows are being poked in rib-cages, nods are being shaken in the direction of the Gendarmes. Signs are gesticulated towards Bon Scott, who thinks Hell Ain't a Bad Place To Be. Copper-top is back on the stage and storms towards Angus Young, who happens to be the closest to the copper, as he (Angus) leggylly hopped to the side of the stage, his schoolbag bobbing on his frail back. The two Australian body-guards stop the copper, but this time, instead of gently putting him back off the stage, they simply throw him off, amidst the onlooking gendarmes. The rest of the Australian crew forms a cordon on the side of the stage. Teeth are being gritted, jaws are being squared. Bon Scott, who by means of Angus young, has spotted there's something not quite like it should, informs himself amidst the tattooed army. Scott announces to the public that there's 'some clowns' trying to stop the gig. The crowd applauds and cheers... 'fakkem, we ain't stoppin for nobody' squeals Bonnie, as he starts to take the measurments of a gal named Rosie. Somehow, copper-top has again managed to get his arse back on the stage and this time, he means business. The bloke pulls his service pistol and walking up to Bon Scott, points the barrell to Bon's head. The crowd goes wild, the tattooed army in seconds are all over the poor copper, who's top vanishes in a sea of colourful arms. The music is stopped as Bon and Angus suddenly fail to see the funny side of things. Coppertop is muscled off the stage again, while in the confusion some of the Gendarmes manage to get on the stage. The crowd starts to whistle and scream, some punters also crawl unto the stage... as AC/DC merrilly restart where they've left off and continue their Bad Boy Boogie. The crowd grows a tad calmer, but on the side of the stage there's a small war raging, between punters, security and Australian crewmembers on one side and the coppers and Gendarmes on the other. The arm of the law seems to be outnumbered and a withdrawl is planned. The band stops playing once more, as there's too many people running around among the bandmembers, with fans dancing on-stage and the battle of Gettysburg-minor taking place at the same time. Scott starts cursing in some fiersome Australian dialect, which is totally incomprehensible, but is understood by all... the words "Fakk" "Nuts" and "Piss-off" are among the terms that make sense. Angus and the rest of the gang gather at the other end of the stage and watch the shenanigans with growing amazement. Scott starts humming "I'm Gonna Ride On" into the mike, Angus hesitantly joins in. All of a sudden, the organizer, whom everyone had missed cuz the guy's only just over five foot tall, jumps into the arena and with broad arm movements envites everyone to gather around him. The organizer again vanishes out of sight as he is swallowed by the Gendarmes, AC/DC and security people in true rugby-scramble style. Bon Scott emerges the first and apologizes to the brow-raising audience. The Jack is pulled out of the deck of cards. It is 23:22 and the band plays on. One minute later, the main overhead lights go on. For ten seconds, then go out again... It seems later, that copperhead has found the basement, by following the cables, where the main electricity switch is situated...At 23:24, instead of the lights going on, everything is going out... the side-lights, the stage lights and the PA all fall out...Copperhead has found the Main Switch and pulled it...30 seconds later, power is back on, as copperhead found out that when all electricity is gone, he himself has no light and so is stuck in the basement... not good, so he switched the Mains back on...In the meantime, punters are seriously getting annoyed. We were expecting a small show, with some coloured lights, but certainly not an avant-premiére of Le Cirque Du Soleil. Bon Scott throws away his microphone and walks off the stage, just as copperhead emerges from the basement... for the second time that evening, copperhead pulls his side-arm and points it at Bon Scott. This time, the man is jumped upon and disarmed by his own colleagues. Another small discussion ensues, with lots of pulling of clothes, swearing and the occasional punch is being thrown... after which the overhead lights spring back to life and the concert is declared to be over. The time is 23:33 on October 12th, 1977 and we go home... my left eardrum is permanently off its rocker as I stood about 20 cm (8 inches) from the left main boxes...Six years later, on the album "Flick Of The Switch" a song entitled "Bedlam In Belgium" remembers that dreadful evening...JJ

11 opmerkingen:

Dirk Terweduwe, Kortenberg zei

Hallo iedereen,

Ik was er bij die avond in Kontich. Het verhaal op de blog lijkt me te kloppen. Laat er geen misverstand zijn over het publiek: er werd die avond NIET gevochten. Na de stopzetting van het concert verliet het publiek al snel de zaal. Toen we nog met een twintigtal overbleven is Bon Scott himself nog mede het podium komen ontruimen (en niemand anders van de band), en vroeg hij ons of dit altijd zo is in België. Wij ontkenden, maar het was inderdaad een bizarre en mislukte avond.
Beste groeten,

Dirk Terweduwe

Sven Mazet zei

Misschien wat laat om te reageren op dit bericht, maar ik vroeg me nu al een paar jaar af waar de inspiratie voor dat nummer vandaan kwam. Bedankt om het verhaal uit de doeken te toen!

Rana Islam zei

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Anoniem zei

laughed my socks off.

Anoniem zei



I like to this type music.
I like listen to music. All music make me happy : )
And I see Rockstar have a this shoes

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Nice information for all about this. I really get wonderful information . Thank you so much

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