On June 23, 2023 it has been 45 years since the Rotterdam Stadion Feyenoord, generally referred to as De Kuip, served as a concert venue for the very first time. A look back at the concerts I witnessed there.
The stadium is also known as Stadion Feijenoord, and De Voetbaltempel (The Soccer temple, so-called by the Feyenoord fans), but is generally known as De Kuip.
The primary user of the stadium is the Rotterdam soccer club Feyenoord. The man behind the idea for the stadium was Leen van Zandvliet. One day, the 1930s Feyenoord chairman called out “I’ve got it, I’ve got it!”. He had wakened from a dream and quickly wrote it down. The shape of the stadium, including the second ring, providing viewers excellent view on the pitch came to him in his dreams.
Architect Van Der Vlugt got involved and on September 16, 1935, the first concrete pole was put into the ground. The construction was finished in 1936, but due to delays in providing the surrounding infrastructure, the stadium stood vacant for months on end with the grand opening taking place in March of 1937.
Besides soccer games, the stadium would also be used for concerts. The first ones to perform there were Bob Dylan and Eric Clapton on June 23, 1978. In 1995 Dutch singer René Froger was the first Dutch artist to play a sold-out show at De Kuip (in fact he played two). The last concert (for now?) that took place there was on May 29, 2021, by the Dutch formation The Streamers.
Of the 45 tours that visited the venue, I only witnessed 6. I saw 10 concerts at De Kuip. My first show at De Kuip was Pink Floyd and my last one was 20 years ago: Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band.
|Artist (tour name)
Pink Floyd (The Momentary Lapse Of Reason Tour Europe 1988)
2/5: A somewhat dull show. The band wasn’t very exciting. Comfortably Numb and Run Like Hell were really stunning!
Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band (Tunnel Of Love Express)
5/5: My first Springsteen show. The Tunnel Of Love Express Tour. From here on out Bruce was one of my favorites.
Prince (Lovesexy ’88)
55/5: First of three Prince Lovesexy shows at De Kuip. Topconcert!
Prince (Lovesexy ’88)
5/5: Second of three Prince Lovesexy shows at De Kuip. This night featured a solo piano part by Prince. Topconcert!
Prince (Lovesexy ’88)
5/5: Third of three Prince Lovesexy shows at De Kuip. This night the encore wasn’t played. Candy Dulfer played along and was immediately re-christened Candy D. Topconcert!
The Rolling Stones (Urban Jungle Europe 1990)
4½/5: The first time I would see The Rolling Stones. The audience was immensely annoying and agressive, but the show was impressive!
4½/5: Opening of the Nude tour in Rotterdam. Concert was cut short due to torrential rains above De Kuip. I have never had such much fun during a concert!
4½/5: Topconcert of the (very) sparse Nude tour!
U2 (Pop Mart)
4/5: The tour accompanying my favorite U2 album Pop. I thought the mix of rock and dance was bold and it had turned out perfectly.
Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band (The Rising)
4/5: The last time my mother went along with her kids to a concert. It was a great night indeed, with lots of songs from The Rising.
Half of the shows I witnessed at De Kuip were by Prince, which were all superb. Barring my first show there, I have only witnessed (very) good shows at De Kuip. What really stood out for me was how good the sound quality at De Kuip was, which is quite extraordinary for such a large venue. To be honest, I never had seats, but on the pitch the sound was really good every time I went there. It’s in stark contrast to the abominable sound at the Amsterdam Johan Cruijff Arena and the Arnhem Gelredome, where complete shows were ruined by the bad sound (The Police!).
What stands out in the total list of concerts is that only 7 concerts by foreign artists have taken place there in the current century. The vast mojority of concerts were by Dutch acts. The main reason for the decline in concerts was opened in 1996: the Amsterdam ArenA (now known as Johan Cruijff Arena). In their opening year the first concerts were staged there, with Tina Tuner being the first artist ever to perform in the Amsterdam ArenA. Since then concerts are commonplace there. In 1998 the Gelredome opened in Arnhem, where concerts are staged as well. Despite the horrible sound at both venues, the Rotterdam and Arhem stadiums are still preferred over Rotterdam. In Amsterdam more tickets can be sold and both the Amsterdam and Arnhem stadiums have roofs that can be closed, ensuring good view of the light shows and the certainty that concerts can’t be marred by heavy rains, like the infamous Prince concert on June 2, 1990.
The chance that De Kuip will ever regain its status as a bona fide concert venue are null and void. Unfortunately.
What shows have you witnessed at De Kuip? Let me know!