On tour with Kim Wilde: ‘a wonderful human being’

About forty years after her first world hits, Kim Wilde is still busy touring. Even in a chock full Neushoorn in Leeuwarden, last night. Production manager Johan Koster, from Dokkum, then steers such a thing in the right direction.

She beams as soon as she climbs on stage. Kim Wilde, the singer who was in her early twenties when she sailed into the collective consciousness with hits like Kids in America and Cambodia, is looking forward to it.
Kim Wilde looks really armpit fresh, almost as if she’s just come out of an icy sea whistling merrily. Blonde, tall, dancing enthusiastically, singing powerfully, not a wrinkle in sight (from the back of the room, at least): huh? Is she already 62?
Yes, that’s Kim Wilde, since November 18. Usually she is on tour during that period, and if possible, that birthday is celebrated lavishly along the way. With good food and good bottles on the table, Kim pays, and wild stories. “Then all the adventures will come along. I grinned so bad again. It was just like a good birthday party like the one held in the Wouden [region in Friesland, ed.].”
Waldpyk Johan Koster, who now lives in Dokkum, has been the ‘production manager’ for Kim Wilde’s tour in the Netherlands and Belgium for about eight years now. So he is almost always there when she performs in the country, and that is quite often. That ball got rolling when he booked her in 2014 for Dicky Woodstock in Steenwijkerwold. That is one of the festivals he does, he is also the man of the Veenhoop festival.
Then it came up that Kim Wilde did not really have an agent in the low countries. So DiBa Concerts jumped in, the company of Bauke Algera from Sneek. “My surrogate father,” says Koster, who accompanied her tours. “I make sure it gets on the road. The logistics, the hospitality, the lamps.”
Kim Wilde, the woman who had such world hits as a girl, must she have star allures? None of that, says Johan Koster. “A wonderful human being”. And he realized that before, when she played at Retropop in Emmen in 2013; Koster was there with Het Goede Doel, who doesn’t know them.
“She tripped over a cable on stage. Then she immediately got the giggles. I immediately thought: that must be a good person, that you don’t get angry but that you can laugh about it. I got a good feeling about her .”
In the beginning, Koster had some trouble with the clan feeling. After all, it is a family club, somewhat closed: brother Ricky plays guitar, his daughter Scarlett does backing vocals. “But once you’re in, it’s good forever.”
This is how it looks on stage. The whole band, with actually two drummers (m/f), is fooling around when necessary, between the razor-sharp serving of the hits. Plus the more recent songs, which should have been hits in another decade. Kim Wilde receives all the presents, sometimes passes them on to cousin Scarlett (pregnant of a new generation of Wilde) and puts an orange cap on brother Ricky’s shiny bald head.
That is also the man with whom Kim Wilde (they are actually called Smith, by the way) writes most of her songs. In the past, dad Marty Wilde (Reginald Smith, hence), a pop star in his own right in his best days, also came into play. Koster reveals that brother and sister will be working on a new record in January.
According to Koster, they both have the right motivation. After all, they no longer have to do it for the money. “They like to tour and they are incredible pop fans. They also always play a few songs from others from their time. Exactly the sound you hear in many bands today.”
And such songs, If I Can’t Have You by The Bee Gees and the appropriately titled Pop Muzik by M (with a rapping Ricky), contribute significantly to the recognizability for the public. That is clearly from a different generation than with, say, rapper Joost.
And no, Koster has no other juicy stories. There is nothing crazy on the rider, the wish list for the dressing room. Yes, tequila and Jägermeister for the “to take the edge off” shots before the show. Kim Wilde herself has not been drinking for years, “he is super healthy”.
Well, one crazy story then. Recently in Ostend she absolutely wanted to swim. In the icy sea. “So I went to the beach with her in the van. She already had the bikini on under her jacket, swimming cap and so into the ice-cold water.” He repeats it again. “A wonderful human being”.
And after the encore, with her first and probably biggest hit Kids in America as a predictable conclusion, the audience agrees with him.