The enormous success of Dutch violinist and orchestra leader André Rieu has spawned a whole industry in the unearthing of his early recorded output, which was large and poorly controlled by copyright organizations. This odd little disc contains undated material, and it represents a poor choice for the listener who has heard Rieu at one of his European concert extravaganzas or on a U.S. television appearance and wants more of the same. It may, however, be of considerable interest to confirmed Rieu fans. What is heard here is music apparently from the very beginning of Rieu's career. No recording venue is given (in fact, there is no documentation of any kind), but the music was apparently performed in a small auditorium in the Netherlands, with a rather raucous crowd that readily sang along with the familiar Dutch songs and marches that make up much of the program. Rieu leads some of the pieces with his violin, and there are also unidentified vocal soloists of the Everyman type. This is Rieu in an even more popular vein than usual, interacting with the crowd, mugging through some Mexican and then some Italian songs, and mixing down-to-earth local entertainment with his trademark Strauss pieces and operetta selections. Sound quality is poor, and the disc is basically a curiosity. It also shows the kind of control over a crowd that has made Rieu a star, and the final Auld Lang Syne (who knew that that song was popular in the Netherlands?) may be worth the purchase price by itself.
AllMusic Review by James Manheim