Lee Towers’ Harbour Lights has
all the ingredients of a new tradition.
A rush of healthy annual statistics for the port of Rotterdam for 2002. The effect of Lee Towers’ appointment as first ambassador of this illustrious economic bastion?
Well, his appointment won’t have worked as quickly as that, but with his series of concerts in the new Luxor Theater under the banner of ‘Harbour Lights’ the constantly active singer did place his own favourite city fully in the limelight. And confirmed once again that, when it comes to pioneering entertainment of international quality, Lee Towers can still certainly stand his ground. After his departure from Ahoy’ in October 2000 LT took things a lot more easily for a while, finally appearing once again between 6 and 15 December last year with an original top-class production to mark Rotterdam’s fortieth anniversary as the world’s largest port.
A glorious evening about Rotterdam then and now, with Lee Towers as the singing host to a whole assembly of equally famous fellow Rotterdammers, in particular Loes Luca, Anita Meyer, Jules Deelder and Gerard Cox. With an additional highlight on the final day, thanks to the presence of the American ex-president Bill Clinton, for whom Lee Towers gave a special rendition of Neil Diamond’s ‘America’.
While his Galas Of The Year in the Rotterdam sports palace were often characterised by the grand gesture, on the new theatre stage in Kop van Zuid Lee Towers showed himself to be an entertainer who can also play subtly and intimately to his fans. “What I myself really enjoy with this project is exploring all the technical possibilities offered by an ultra-modern venue like this new Luxor,” explained Towers enthusiastically during the preparations.
Everyone who experienced ‘Harbour Lights’, press public and the more than 400 personnel, recognised that this challenge certainly wasn’t wasted on him. Before the interval in particular, full use was made of Luxor’s ‘theatrical’ advantages. Among other things in the depiction of Rotterdam before the Second World War, using historical film images and photos, plus of course the choice of repertoire. Such as ‘Ik Mis De Stad Van Toen’ (I miss the old City), the sparkling duet by Lee Towers and Gerard Cox, ‘1948’ and the joint performance by the ‘Harbour Lights’ captain with children and gospel choir of ‘Tears From Broken Children’ and ‘The Living Years’.
The second half of the show took place in the present, looking forward to the future. So that Lee Towers was finally able once again to indulge himself as the Dutch answer to Las Vegas. Accompanied by his two special female guests Loes Luca (with whom LT lived it up with ‘Two Can Have A Party’ ) and Anita Meyer (the sensitive duet ‘Islands In The Stream’).
Heading for the future
The ‘Rotterdam Is The City’ ode ensured a spectacular finale, but not before a number of infectious musical Christmas thoughts had been presented. This was greeted by such tremendous applause that it inspired Lee Towers with a new idea: “Maybe we should link another edition of ‘Harbour Lights’ to Christmas and everything it involves”. Which goes to show that LT is already thinking about a follow-up. “It seems logical to me when you see the results that this series of concerts has produced. Aside from the memorable shows themselves, new life has also been breathed into that wonderful Rotterdam feeling. Heading for the future together, tackling things positively; that’s the mood that I’d like to develop further. But first I’d like to think carefully about exactly how that ‘Harbour Lights’ idea can be conveyed.