* Public Appearance for Autographs May 2008
* Concert Suncorp Stadium Dec 2008
Dot had watched Andre Rieu DVD's on her big screen TV at home .. one time to enhance the party mood of the Radetzky March when all the balloons come down at the concert, I threw many balloons into her room so it was a virtual experience.
By going to the public appearance and autograph signing of Andre Rieu, Dot had the chance to combine seeing the Brisbane city area - opportunities become less and less to see how the city has changed unless it is a planned trip. Seeing the flow of life, the normal activities of people going about their day, the shop window displays, the traffic .. it had all changed from when she knew it. To most people, the day to day routine is just that. Nothing special. But to a person who hasn't seen it for years, it is a whole new world.
In the top row of photos, the shot of Rieu and Mirusia show where Dot was in the queue. She was near the stall selling his products which is why the middle photo was taken. The photo on the right is of a lady, 87 yo Lucy who waited with us in the queue. She was a total stranger before this day .. since then she has become a close friend. Although Dot is unable to speak, Lucy kept us entertained while we waited as she was an avid fan of Rieu. Lucy's son, who had gone to so much trouble to get her there, passed away soon after and her going to the concert alone was tinged with sadness.
When tickets for his concert went on sale early in the year, I reluctantly didn't purchase one for Dot .. it seemed impossible that she would last until the end of the year. The fact that she walked through the doors on the night and sat at that concert is testament to her strength of character and will to live. The atmosphere was electric and incomparable. Never before in her life would she have been to such a grand show. Until she was in her 30's, she usually only saw a small country fair!
Not only was the staging incredible to see but the interactions with total strangers sharing the joy is shown in the photo above left. I was simply taking a photo to record her being next to the stage when several people seated behind me took it upon themselves to make her laugh. She always brings out the best in people. The photo above right shows where Dot was seated.
To watch Dot's reactions all night (because she can't say what she's feeling) was priceless. The sheer volume of the music, the contagious happiness throughout the whole audience, the ice-skaters, debutante dancers, the horse-drawn carriage .. and all under a canopy of stars. The grandness of it all seemed to be a beautiful reward for all she'd been through over the last decade. Rieu made the whole experience possible by undertaking to bring the whole castle and show to Australia.