KIM WILDE Oostende, Wellington Hippodroom (20/11/2022)

It was back in 2019 that Kim Wilde was last in Ostend. Then at the Kursaal casino with the Here Come The Aliens tour. Before that, she also performed several times in the queen of seaside resorts, so fans now know where to go. But people who bought tickets immediately after the 2019 concert for Kim Wilde’s next concert in Ostend, scheduled for 2020, would eventually have to exercise patience for three years.

The virus, known to all of us, mixed up the agenda several times and eventually the announced concert moved from the casino Kursaal to the Wellington Hippodrome. But on November 20, was the heyday. Patience, in an ideal world, always pays off in the end.

It seemed for a long time that the hall was not sold out, in contrast to, say, the concert in Heist-op-den-Berg (CC Zwaneberg) on 25 November. But, sold out or not, the Hippodrome was packed with people looking forward to the performance. And that was good for the atmosphere. Because there seemed to be quite a lot of stress in the organization, although we didn’t really understand why all evening.

We were told that there were strict conditions around taking pictures, but in the end those restrictions were not too bad. What became clear from some conversations is that Kim Wilde is a diva who likes to have control over everything. And that will indeed cause stress for an organization. There was absolutely nothing to notice during the concert.

The Wellington Hippodrome is not necessarily a concert hall, but the people who were at the controls of the sound clearly knew their trade. The sound was not equally good in every place in the hall, but in general the sound was more than decent.

Vocally, Kim Wilde these days brings her niece, Scarlett Wilde. You would immediately expect the worst, but in this case you don’t have to. Kim’s voice is really still fine at her (as of 2 days) 62th. Cousin Scarlett is certainly not there to support Kim vocally, but rather to supplement. The voices match each other nicely.

The concert started with Rage To Love and immediately followed Never Trust A Stranger, Million Miles Away and Can’t Get Enough. Those songs went through smoothly but luckily there was a stop. Because for a moment we thought she would rush through all her songs right away. Kim made a small talk with the audience. For example, she said that as soon as she arrived in Ostend, she wanted to go into the sea. Of course that was not possible this season, but she still claimed, against all advice, to have gone into the sea in her knickers and bra. It was stronger than herself even though she wasn’t wearing a bathing suit.

That talk makes the audience more attentive and the concert continued with the songs If I Can’t Have You, The Touch and Second Time/Pop Music. And again they stopped for a chat. That brought the audience back to the lesson. At least that part of the audience that was there for especially the known hits of Kim Wilde and that really seemed to be a lot of people. There was quite a bit of buzz, both during the performance and during Kim’s talks.

The next batch of songs were Kandy Krusch, Water On Glass, Anytime Anyplace and Perfect Girl. The audience was already much more attentive during these songs, the sound of the 80’s started to work on them, it seemed. Kim extensively introduced her band and was honored for her birthday two days earlier (°18/11/1960). Some fans also brought gifts and with some help from security and organization they reached the radiant Kim Wilde. She was over the moon with the fantastic audience who also started singing Happy Birthday. Gifts were passed to roadies (“Don’t eat those chocolates!”) and everyone on stage was back on their feet.

4 Letter Word, Love Is Holy and Natural Way blasted through and the audience was now completely on board. The buzz was gone and no one could be seen at the various bars. Kim Wilde had her audience where she wanted them, eating out of her hand. And that was a good thing. She asked if they were still up for it and we were glad she asked now and not a number or 8-9 ago. Because the answer was now deafening and unequivocal “Yeeeeah!”

And that’s where the diesel really took off. The locomotive that had to pull and drag in the beginning was hot and wanted only one thing: to rumble on.
The first sounds of Cambodia sounded, the audience went wild and everyone knew that the roof would now come off. There was dancing, singing and jumping. View From A Bridge, Checkered Love and Hangin’ On connected seamlessly. People went crazy.

Kim Wilde announced that the performance was over and she and her band left the stage after saluting. But everyone knew she would be back and the audience chanted as if their lives depended on it “We want more!!” We did indeed see some bis numbers on the set list, but it seemed as if the entire audience had been cheating.

And yes, the band came back on stage and Pop Don’t Stop was started. At the outro of that song, she once again expressed how animalistic she found her audience and You Came was immediately launched, followed by Kids In America. And only now did everyone feel that the performance was really over. Including a heart gesture from Kim, followed by a deep bow from her and the entire band.

We think about what to think about this now. It all got off to a slow start, but as the performance progressed, the audience was more and more involved. And it was really fun. What should you do if you go on tour with The Greatest Hits Tour but 90% of the audience is actually there for 5 to 8 songs out of the 21 you perform? But the answer is actually simple: nothing. You don’t have to do anything.

She has been making music for over 40 years. She never had a number 1 hit (no, not even Kids In America) but she did sell more than 30 million albums and singles. In 1983 she was named best English singer at the English BPI Awards.

Naturally, she comes across as a diva behind the scenes. Making music for more than 40 years, being able to take the entire 90s as a sabbatical, selling so many singles and albums… you can only do that as an artist by taking control of everything yourself. About who takes pictures where and when, about what she does and doesn’t eat, about her planning around sound check and her expectations there, etc. And therefore also about the songs she performs on tour. You make the real fans happy with it and the rest sometimes follows the toppers.

And look, the room was full. And in Leeuwarden on 22/11 the hall is sold out, just like in Bergen Op Zoom on 23/11 and in Leiden on 24/11. Do you still want to see her at work? Then you have to hurry to Venlo on 26/11.

Even though it may feel like things might be running a little too smoothly, the ticket sales figures prove her right. Not just now. Because rest assured that if she sets up another tour next year or in 2024, the halls will be full again. Just like all previous years. And then you are doing well as an artist.

We went home with a good feeling. That damn sound of the 80s, it still does something to a person. Even though it’s really bad weather in the meantime and it’s not the season at all to jump into the sea in your bra and knickers.