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With the big event less than 1 month away, all the Eurovision pre-events have been under way across Europe. Ahead of this weekend’s London Party, we take a look back at last Saturday’s Eurovision in Concert!

For the 8th year running, Amsterdam played host to the biggest and most popular pre-Eurovision event last weekend; Eurovision in Concert, and this year certainly gave the audience something to howl about (thank you Ivan!)

EiC, for many, marks the collective beginning of the Eurovision season, the calm before the storm! Tickets for this year’s EiC sold out in only 5 days which showed the growing hype surrounding the event. A record number of artists signed up to perform also with 26 acts showing up on the night.

In Amsterdam centre on a busy Saturday night, the doors of the Melkweg venue in Amsterdam’s Leidseplien area opened at 19:30 and quickly filled up with ESC fans from near and far. Shortly after 20:00 the show kicked off and fans, with flags in hand, erupted. This year’s hosts, long time Dutch Eurovision-lover and presenter, Cornald Mass and the ever fabulous Icelandic Queen Hera Bjork, graced the stage and announced the start of Eurovision in Concert 2016.
Song by song, here is how Eurovision in Concert 2016 panned out 😀

  1. Cyprus
    Minus One; Alter Ego – A cracking and energetic start to EiC that really got the crowd going. The guys brought rock to Amsterdam and gave it their all; great stage presence and certainly set the standard for the upcoming 25 acts!
  1. Slovenia
    ManuElla; Blue and Red -ManuElla’s fun and upbeat country number was very enjoyable – she delivered a solid performance and reached all those “Allay” high notes flawlessly.
  1. Romania
    Ovidiu Anton; Moment of Silence – Ovidiu gave a mysterious feel to Moment of Silence at the start, and as soon as the chorus kicked in Ovidiu really showed off his powerful vocals. Enjoyable and a fun tune to belt out! 
  2. Albania
    Endea Tarifa; Fairytale – Eneda put on a strong and fierce performance of Fairytale, her voice is very impressive live. I still think this should have been left in Albanian, regardless, all in all she gave a great performance!
  1. United Kingdom 
    Joe & Jake; You’re Not Alone – From the first note, the guys were so interactive and playful with the crowd – they really brought the party factor to the Melkweg, it was energetic and so much fun! The guys took a crowd-selfie at the end and were very thankful for the well deserved applause! (One of my favourites this year so I hope I’m not being too bias!)
  1. Switzerland
    Rykka; Last of Our Kind – Amazing performance from Rykka, she has a captivatingly effortless voice with a stage presence to match! Great reaction from the audience and she seemed to love it as much as we did.
  1. Belarus
    Ivan; Help You Fly – Ivan’s entrance to the Melkweg stage was greeted with lots of howling from the crowd and he really made the most of it! A flawless live performance, he hit those high notes and everyone sang along. He couldn’t escape the questions from Cornald regarding the rumours of real wolves and no clothing, but he kept hush hush about Stockholm stage – looks like that image will only be in our dreams 😛 *ahem* Hera suggested naked wolves, not sure about that one SVT?
  1. Moldova 
    Lidia Isac; Falling Stars – Falling Stars is a great dance track, Lidia bopped along and encouraged everyone to join in, dance and sing along. She held her voice very well and used the stage.
  1. Iceland
    Greta; Hear Them Calling – Best staging of the night; the whole hall went dark and everyone chanted Greta’s name as one spotlight appeared. She entered and performed a dramatic violin solo for 1.5minutes, then did an amazing and powerful performance of Hear Them Calling! Everyone was clapping and screaming along, one of the longest applauses of the night! A dark horse in Stockholm I’ll say 🙂

    There was a nice 15/20 min break to gather our thoughts, and a few beers in the process!
  2. Montenegro
    Highway; Real Thing – A rocking performance from the 4 guys! It was loud and energetic, just what we needed after the short break after Iceland!
  1. Israel
    Hovi Star; Made of Stars – Hovi has a great stage presence, he gave an extremely powerful and captivating performance of Made of Stars. This was one that I wouldn’t have paid too much attention to initially but now it’s jumped up into a favourite!
  1. Serbia
    Sanja; Goodbye (Shelter) – Sanja has an adorable personality, she’s so much fun and so bubbly which really comes across on stage. Within the song she really tells a story and gives a strong and fierce performance. Sanja was extremely interactive and friendly, at the same time producing incredible vocals – very enjoyable performance!
  1. Poland
    Michał Szpak; Color of Your Life – Fantastic, the audience really joined in. – One of the funniest moments of the night was during Color of Your Life where the crowd screamed the “Woah oh oh ohhhh / tell me black or white” and another “woah oh oh ohhh” during “what color is your life” directly afterwards 😀 Proceeding his finished performance, Michał tried to teach the Ohhhs correctly with a nice acapella version of the chorus, but ultimately failed :’)
  1. Austria
    Zoë; Loin d’ici – Zoë is very cute and bubbly, her Loin d’ici performance was sweet, colourful and fun on stage! 
  1. Estonia
    Jüri; Play – This lovely Estonian had no trouble in charming the audience – Jüri’s deep vocals and simple performance was intriguing and very powerful! Images of Jüri flashed up in the background – similar to the staging of Eesti Laul. One to watch!
  1. Ukraine
    Jamala; 1944 – Jamala gave a truely captivating performance. Her words were sincere and genuine, so heartfelt. To add to that, her vocals are incredible and it was effortless for her to reach those high notes. Fans in the front row gave Jamala flowers and everyone cheered – excited to see how the staging will be in Stockholm for 1944!
  1. Bosnia
    Dalal & Deen feat. Ana Rucner and Jala; Ljubav je – This song just oozes ethnic and true Balkan sound mixed with modern rapping; we ate it up! It’s a passionate number, and we loved the cello! One of the most surprising and exciting songs of the night I thought.
  1. Croatia
    Nina Kraljić; Lighthouse – Nina came onstage with an amazing dress that incorporated into the almost haunting Lighthouse. She has such great control in her voice and it was evident throughout the performance that this was her stage! Again the audience enjoyed this one a lot.Croatia brought us into the 2nd break of the evening; time for refreshments, some dancing and quick catch-ups with Euro friends!
  1. The Netherlands
    Douwe Bob; Slow Down – Cornald said he was proud to introduce the Dutch 2016 act to the venue (full mostly of Dutch fans) and Douwe was gladly welcomed on stage by everyone. Douwe and his band, piano and guitars in hand, brought a mello vibe to Melkweg and gave a truly solid performance. They threw NL scarfs out into the audience after the performance which was a nice touch!
    Douwe told us that he is opening his own pub in downtown Stockholm – so keep your calendars free for a visit in May *lets hope the beers will be Dutch prices 😉
  1. Malta
    Ira Losco; Walk On Water – Huge cheers for the Maltese star, Walk on Water was performed exceptionally by Ira. Powerful vocals, catchy tune and a great personality, it was a fun performance!
  1. Latvia
    Justs; Heatbeat – Justs’ coolness, slight huskiness in his voice and ease of performing made for a super performance and an enjoyable experience that had you hooked from the first beat. Heartbeat is certainly a crowd pleaser, he’s a humble guy and got a great applause from the crowd!
  1. Bulgaria
    Poli Genova; If Love was a Crime – Poli put on a highly energetic performance and still managed to sing brilliantly! She’s a lot of fun, and you could tell she was excited to be back in the ESC bubble again!
  1. Italy
    Francesca Michielin; No Degree of Separation – Francesca’s performance was simple and beautiful! It was an effortless and heartfelt performance of No Degree of Separation. She charmed the venue with her signing, the Italian parts in particular were sang beautifully. She seemed a little bit nervous but she had nothing to be nervous about – the crowd loved her!
  1. France
    Amir; J’ai Cherché – French charm wasn’t even necessary for Amir’s performance, the crowd loved him! Clapped and sang along to every word – he did a great performance. Biggest applause of the night, and he gave a lovely speech after his song, ending with “God bless Eurovision” <3
  1. Macedonia
    Kaliopi; Dona – The Macedonian Queen of ESC, Kaliopi took to the stage welcomed by overwhelming applause – from the first note her voice stayed consistently incredible, and she didn’t disappoint at EiC! Her Dona performance was fantastic.
  1. Spain
    Barei; Say Yay! – and Yay indeed! There really wasn’t that much space to do the Say Yay dance moves but most people give it a shot 😀 A fun and upbeat number to end the 2016 ESCstar’s performances!

With all 26 Acts performed, we wanted some more and luckily the show wasn’t over yet! Hera took to the stage, swapping her presenter mic for a performance mic and gladly belted out her classics.
Hera also announced that she has a new show opening up in Stockholm on May 7th! So on that sunny May evening in Stockholm you know what to do – go to Hera’s show and afterwards be sure to visit Douwe’s pub – sorted for the night 😉

EiC After Party!

Directly after the concert ended, the other party began. We made our way into Amsterdam’s beautiful Vondelpark to Vondel CS, the same location where the EiC welcome event and interviews took place earlier that day. This is the 2nd year this venue has hosted the after party and what a venue it is. A fabulous and very grand building with an equally beautiful interior and plenty of places to walk around and discover.
For the EiC After Party, there were 3 main areas/halls to take in all the Eurovision-ness (one is never enough!):
1. Entrance/downstairs with DJ and Bar
2. Upstairs had a long bar too; then a room to the right where was music playing, a small bar and food area with hot dogs!
3. Upstairs to the left was the main dance floor where DJ Galfo lead the soundtrack and in there was the main stage where the artists would perform later on that night.

This encouraged lots of moving around the venue, especially to try and catch those quality ESC tunes! The best area to be was by the long upstairs bar as you were bound to catch a glimpse of some of the artists moving in and out of the Media Room.
France’s Amir performed both J’ai Cherché and excitingly Israel 2015, Nadav’s Golden Boy (highlight of my night – exciting surprise!)
Spain’s Barei performed also – unfortunately didn’t make it over to see her (she was amazing apparently!) as there were no exact times given for the artist performances 🙁 So if you in that room at the time you were lucky!

The night flew by; between walking around, bumping into old friends, dancing and singing along to the golden ESC party tracks and the new ones (some Kizunguzungu anyone?) and before we knew it it was coming up to 4am. The place started to empty, the DJs closed down their sets, and the bar men called last orders – another Eurovision in Concert was over 🙁
We walked back to Amsterdam Centraal Station in the rain at 5am, already I was looking forward to EiC 2017 – and remember to get your tickets early this time people 😉

Being born the night Ireland won in 1992, it was only fitting that my escXtra journey began in the same city 21 years later in Malmö 2013! I love everything to do with ESC; the people, music, culture, languages and travel - it's all my passions squashed together in one quirky Eurovision heart, and I even have the tattoo to prove it ;)

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