Arno hands over musical baton to Stromae in Brussels

Photo (c) Christophe Dehousse

The great singer Arno Hintjens does not have many concerts ahead of him. Just 72 years old, the singer was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer a few years ago. The life that the singer has already had, however, does not leave him much rest as far as old age is concerned. 6 Belgian concerts are planned this year, 4 in Brussels, 2 in his beloved Ostend, and the musical career of the old frontman of T.C. Matic. Sunday evening was the second concert in the series, in which he seemed to be handing over the musical baton to the new generation in the Ancienne Belgique.

After the first of the shows in the AB last week, it was again a tightly sold out hall on Sunday evening that came to see the old tyrant. With large letters “Vivre” in the background of the stage, Arno made it clear that he wanted to continue to celebrate life and not resign himself to the approaching death. Of course he does take care of it; Arno has already put together the script for his musical funeral in detail, but Arno does not give up.

Photo (c) Christophe Dehousse

Intimate, but impressive. That is how the first part of the concert in Brussels can best be described. With “Solo Gigolio” as opener, followed by the old T.C. Matic song “Elle adore le noir”, the singer continued quickly to eventually arrive at “Je veux vivre”, arguably the title track of his life. Arno moved from start to finish, and continued to play his part in Brussels, without self-pity. And yet the tears came. With “Les yeux de ma mère”, so beautifully performed by the singer, no one kept it dry, after which Arno finally took a different tack and picked up the pace.

Arno switched and the guitar strings were almost misused to showcase the musical violence on “Meet the Freaks”, from his short-lived project Arno & The Subrovnicks. It was about a completely different tack and Arno rocked like never before. For a moment you no longer noticed that we are now in the 20s, and no longer in the 80s or 90s of the last century. With “O La La La”, a seldom played live song from his T.C. Matic album “Le European-Cowboy” seemed to many to be Arno’s last concert, but Arno wouldn’t be Arno if he didn’t come up with a big surprise.

Photo (c) Christophe Dehousse

While Arno is now in the twilight of his career, he is still working on contemporary music. Even at the age of 72, Hintjens is still looking for new music for him and the legend found it at the top of contemporary music: Stromae. The new hero of musical Belgium joined Arno to sing the alternative European national anthem “Putain Putain” together. A song that the two have regularly performed together since 2011.

Three songs encore and it’s really over in the end. Arno, with a career spanning more than 50 years, indicated two things in Brussels: Firstly, that he will not stop until he can no longer, and secondly, that he is ready to hand over the baton to the new generation. The musical love that flowed from the eyes of Arno and Stromae flooded the Brussels hall. And was received with a mutual love.

Photo (c) Christophe Dehousse
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