On Wednesday, loyal fans gathered at the Ancienne Belgique Concert Hall in Brussels to bid farewell to their hero Arnaud. He died at the end of April at the age of 72 from pancreatic cancer. “I feel like I’ve lost a close friend.”
In the warm spring sun, people patiently wait their turn to say one last goodbye to their idol Arno Hintjens. A large banner by the artist hangs on the facade of the Musical Temple, below which the words “Praise be to God damned.” The family of the Belgian singer called the fans one last time for the artist.
From locals from Brussels to people from Ostend to the French: Arnaud fans came in droves to get one last look at their idol. “He was a poet,” confirms Philip, who wears a yellow flower in the folds of his elbow. He wants to put it in the Arnaud jar displayed inside the Ancienne Belgique (AB). Photographers and crews are not permitted entry.
“The beauty that Arnault has been able to impart on and off stage, will stay with me more than anything,” says another Philip, also from Brussels. He knew Arno’s music, but admits that he hasn’t listened to it much in recent years. However, he thought it was important to say goodbye. I loved the person he was. That’s why I wanted to pay tribute to him.
Arnaud was discovered by Dimitri Vermessen (22) not long ago. “It’s a real shame, I’ll admit, but I only saw him live once.” However, he went to Brussels early to greet his musical hero for the last time. It really meant a lot to me and to Belgian music. I have been immersed in his music during the various lockdowns in our country. The song “Solo gigolo” affected Dmitri so deeply that he would play it on the piano almost every night. For some reason that song resonated with me, everything about that song was known. Like a lot of people, I was feeling lonely at the time, and you feel the pain engulfing you in that song. Like Arno, I often feel lonely.
Especially over the past months he became fascinated with Arno. “When he passed away on April 22nd, I felt like I had lost a close friend. That’s kind of crazy when you think about it, because I’ve never known him personally. I cried when I heard the news, I thought it was really tragic. It’s a pleasure to see that he meant so much not Just for me.I think it’s very special for someone to touch you in this way.
For many other fans, Arnault was also a true Belgian, who could unite French and Dutch speakers in words and songs. “Arno is my life,” says Raphael Fortuna, 47, from Brussels. For me, it goes in line with other great artists, like Jacques Brel, who really put Belgium on the map. He was a modern character that any outcast could easily identify with. I’ve known myself countless times in his life and his songs.
Raphael had bought a special elegant flower bouquet for the final salute to his musical hero. “My apartment is covered in Arno’s posters, and I’ve already collected many records and CDs.” About twenty years ago he began to listen extensively to Arno’s music, never leaving it. ‘Since album Charles Ernst Since 2002 I am a loyal fan.
His best memory of Arno will be the first concert at If in addition to the lover She tested it. That was in 2007, at Forest National. The atmosphere, the people, the raw music and the way Arno enjoyed it on stage – I will never forget it.
Some of the fans who go outside seem downright emotional. Anne Strix (58) cried when she saw her idol’s urn. “He was always present at different fulcrums in my life. The birth of my son, whom I named after him, or the death of my husband, where we played ‘Lonesome Zorro’, for example.
Comforting her during the final salute, 43-year-old Tim Funke tells how Arnaud exemplified him in always following your course of study. I think that is why he left behind such a rich and, above all, timeless work. I really loved being wrong about it. He can always make you laugh. For example, when I saw him perform in an interview, I always knew that he performed more. He hates interviews. However, in rare moments, it can be very touching and real at the same time. This was also symbolic of his music: He wanted to make you laugh and move.
Enthusiasm, this is what defines Arnaud most according to Joel Labe (72) and Ronnie Kerkhove (66). “In the ’80s, Arnault was really nothing of my own,” Rooney admits. Only after TC Matic did he learn to appreciate the Belgian musician more and more. I think I especially admire the way he can inspire people. I also wrote it down in the mourning log. He always pretended to be an idiot, but he definitely wasn’t. Every time there was an interview with him in the newspaper or magazines, I would buy that edition because I found the things he said about society and people very interesting and insightful.
“I first met Arnaud during a local festival in my hometown of Brittany,” Joel says. Then he asked before the show: Are you the mayor here? That’s funny, because we both have the same hair.” Our friendship got off to a good start right away,” he laughs. People often talk to me on the street because I look like him.
Joel has also known Arno personally for a long time. Their last meeting was not so long ago at Le Trianon in Paris. Then I went to see one of his shows, and I ran into him afterwards. Then I told him he did a great job, that at his age he still had a lot of energy and still felt good on stage. “And it’s a good thing, Ida!” He said. I don’t have much more. ”
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