Johny and Carine left Kursaal Oostende with a won CD box ‘The Golden Collection’

Johny Helsen and wife Carine Symons will not soon forget Helmut Lotti’s performance in the Kursaal in Ostend. Just before his third song ‘La Vita’, Helmut said that he gave away a complete CD box of ‘The Golden Collection’ to the person in the room who could tell who the song originally belonged to.

Helmut started this song. To the left and right of the stage was one of his crew members, who looked around the room to see who would jump up first to pronounce Shirley Bassey’s name. We also saw someone standing up left and right, but apparently Helmut on stage did not understand what those people were shouting. At the end of this song Helmut said: “I saw one jump straight, but heard nothing. But whoever did say it right away is that gentleman in the hall.” Helmut went to the winner with that exclusive CD box. During the break we inquired whether the winners might be from West Flanders. “Not at all”, says Johny Helsen from Hulshout, who used to work as a clerk in the American Embassy and then kept café ‘Da Voat’ open in Hulsthout before retiring. “Honestly, it’s actually my wife who won, because she knew the name but didn’t dare say it. My wife is a big fan of Helmut. I myself only saw three shows, including one in Brussels, one in Antwerp and now this one on West Flemish soil. Will we drive back to the Kempen tonight? Not at all, we have a country house in Bredene.” And so those winners are a bit of West Flemish. “I already own a lot of Helmut’s albums,” admits Carine. “I used to watch a lot of his performances.”

Johny and Carine Helsen-Symons with the won CD box. © PADI/Daniel

Helmut started with ‘Io Che Non Vivo’. After that first song he said, “Did you hear it? I sang one sentence wrong. Last year I had rehearsed all those songs very well, but then we had to postpone this series of performances. This week I rehearsed on the numbers. It’s not easy,” he smiles. Then followed ‘Uno Dei Tanti’, ‘La Vita’, ‘Bella Ciao’, ‘Una Lacrima Sul Viso’, ‘Grande Grande Grande’, ‘Tiritomba’, ‘Caruso’, ‘Piccolissima Serenata’, ‘Tarantella’, ‘La Spagnola’ and ‘Volare’.

After the break Helmut started with ‘Mack The Knife’, followed by ‘That’s Life’, ‘Love Me/One Night’, ‘Sweet Caroline’, ‘Flemish medley’, ‘Hallelujah’, ‘Hello Dolly’, ‘Such a Night ‘, ‘Que Je T’aime’, ‘What Now My Love’, ‘You’re Lost That Lovin Feeling’, ‘Pata Pata’, ‘Proud Mary’, ‘Havah Nagilah’. The bis numbers were songs by Elvis Presley and ‘Nessun Dorma’.

Helmut just gave the present to Johnny. © PADI/Daniel

During his performance, Helmut also stopped to think about Johnny Holliday and how he got to know that artist. Then he sang ‘Que Je T’aime’. With the song ‘Pata Pata’ he left the stage and marched through the hall. “During this song you have to click on as many body parts as possible,” he said and did so as he walked through the room. When Helmut was back on stage, he said: “Wow, I did that again 20 years ago, but now… I’ll be 53 next Saturday, huh”. However, Helmut still looks very fit and healthy. He watches his diet, is sporty in the Ardennes where he lives, etc. When someone from the hall shouted that he had to sing something in Ghent, Helmut immediately started to sing three songs. Walter De Buck’s song ‘Mijne Vlieger’ was sung along so loudly that we thought that everyone present was from Ghent. Helmut said: “Wow, we are here in Ostend, aren’t we!”. His last song of part two was ‘Havah Nagilah’. “A song of peace. Hopefully they will hear it in Russia and Ukraine,” Helmut said. (PADI)

The article is in Dutch

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