Remember Werchter Parklife? Only a year ago we were all happy with little. Large, crammed meadows were taboo, but enjoying music in an ‘apero table setting’ should be possible. On the menu: the best the Belgian music scene has to offer just about every night. Although there is one Belgian who saved his comeback until the time when those tables were allowed to make way for crush barriers again. Yesterday that moment finally came, at Werchter Boutique. And that Belgian, his name is Stromae.
Werchter was allowed to open again, really open. And if it was busy. Werchter Boutique was soon allowed to put up a ‘sold out’ sign, which amounts to 63,000 people. Partly because of that great ‘we are allowed again!’ urge, but largely because of a nice lineup that also featured Gorillaz in addition to Stromae.
2 headliners, that’s how it goes in Schueremans-land. Although it soon became clear who the Great Crowd was for. Not for black wave. (ideal opener by the way), not for Arsenal, not for Khruangbin or Years & Years. It was the great return of Paul Van Haver who got his hands in the air en masse. And the mouths dropped open. Waiting 3 years for festivals is a long time, waiting 8 years for Stromae seems like an eternity.
the opener’Invaincu‘ (“Tant que j’suis en vie j’suis invaincu”) made it clear right away that this would not be a half performance. The production value of this show is nothing short of impressive. LED screens that rotate thanks to mechanical robotic arms, a moving sofa and an army of cloned roadies.
But the biggest showpiece is perhaps the robot dog present. For example, he acts as a costume assistant, but also got the honor of being the absolute Stromae cracker ‘papaoutai‘ (with a swinging sultry new outro).
The track is one of the many songs that is hailed as a Belpop classic. Which they are natural, that much is clear. It’s also nice how the charming, careful binding texts contrast with the millimeter-precise production. “Bonsoir Werchter, I will give my best to speak Dutch well.” Sweet!
Dancing in the daylight
It’s good to see that ‘L’enfer’ and ‘Santé’ are received as warmly as a ‘Formidable’, ‘Tous les Mêmes’ or the ecstatic ‘Ta Fête’. And luckily, because his last album multititude plays a leading role in the set. 11 newer numbers on your board. Here and there, this creates something that some crooks would call ‘a moment of hiccup’, but it’s also nice to catch your breath.
Such ‘Mon Amour’ and ‘Riez’ are also just pleasant listening songs and maybe hits-in-the-cap. To give something of criticism: it is a pity that this man was on stage so early, and therefore played completely in the daylight. You can only imagine what it must be like to see this spectacular production in the dark. But luckily we still have Lowlands for that.
Strange set Timez
Gorillaz once again proved that Down The Rabbit Hole is sitting on roses. But then for a meadow that had thinned out quite a bit after the end of Stromae. It’s all nice to have that blast, but it’s Sunday and there’s still work to be done tomorrow.
Luckily it’s always party time where Damon Albarn is (or he has to be in his Icelandic mood). Or that was his intention. He sought out the crowd, directed the front rows, and prodded the meadow to be more enthusiastic. Something that mainly worked on the hits and audience favourites. Fortunately there are many and with songs like ’19-2000′, ‘Aries’, ‘On Melancholy Hill’, ‘Stylo’, ‘Andromedia’ and ‘Feel Good Inc.’ on your setlist you always come home well. Even if your audience is not as enthusiastic and numerous as at Primavera Sound in Barcelona earlier this month.
One thing became clear at Werchter Boutique: Werchter is back on. Next weekend it’s up to Nick Cave at TW Classic. The following week it is full madness on the four days. This Werchter Boutique seems to have proven that the organization is ready for this. Thanks to the relatively short queues at bars and toilets, a shuttle bus system that runs smoothly and a series of small improvements on the meadow, such as a few sun cream pumps on site (which we unfortunately didn’t need too much at Boutique).
And as Werchter Boutique has just shown: there are plenty of big names this summer to blow things up. Use it to your advantage. health.
Werchter Boutique 2022
June 19, 2022
Not available anymore.