We got to Portsmouth with mixed feelings, because Brighton was great, but we feared he might have overstrained himself there. Everyone else decided to be cheery and confident, so we decided to keep this worry to ourselves.
It was not too crowded and it's a spacious stage door. We were hopeful we could present him with the printouts of our guestbook, the reviews and the tour photos. When the coach finally arrived his usual security staff started to gather, but Michael anticipated them and went off the coach, long before they were near him. The crowd behaved though. He signed things, posted for photos and chatted in a low and hoarse voice (and sexy!). We just waited at our spot until he was near and handed him our little folder. He turned, pen at the ready, prepared to sign something and was apparently rather surprised he did not have to. We got a cheery “Thank you very much!” and our mission was fulfilled. On his way in he informed us, his mum would be in tonight (so we knew we were in for a good one, as he is usually very hyper when he has family in).
Actually, we were shocked to hear him talk like he did. It got a bit better on his way in, still we were shocked. We would have been worried, if the concert would have gone off, but then we spoke to other people who had seen him arrive before the cancelled Cardiff concert on Sunday. They said he sounded so much better today! Oh, we almost forgot. On his way in, he informed us they were going to re-design the set, as the some-posh-word-with-an-oo-sound-in-it, would not fit. Ooooooooooooooooookay, blank faces all around him until someone was brave enough to ask the stupid question everyone had in mind: The WHAT? “Oh, it's the curtain!” he explained. “Aaaaaaaaaaaahhhh!” he had a laugh.
We spent some time talking to fans afterwards and actually saw Andrew carry Missy in. So we had kind of a little conversation with him and a closer look at lovely Missy. He said he grew quite attached to her and he thinks she will return to “Woman in White” after the tour.
We have to say a big thank you to the people at the stage door, who usually make each concert day extra special. This time though was even more amazing. We got a nice pressie that travelled all the way from Australia (Thank you soooo much) and we were asked to pose for a photo by lovely Jill. We were on a High again, we can tell you. We love this tour…. Thank you guys, you are amazing. And now enough off us, we know you don't care really, but we had to tell you. Back to Michael now, we promise to stay on topic now.
Portsmouth Guildhall was incredibly hot with no air condition until roughly six songs into the show. Never mind, he got a rousing reception and reckoned “This will be a hot and sticky one!” The entrance was different, because of the curtain thingy! It was rolled up in the middle to create a gape, which was just big enough for him. They still had the big spot behind them. The effect was amazing and worked just as well. You could tell that many people in the audience knew the show roughly, as no one was getting to their feet until he would usually be revealed by the dropping curtain. So basically everyone in the stalls knew that was the moment to get on their feet and welcome him adequately.
He sang far more confident than he did in Brighton . His voice was much better than in Brighton as well. It felt like we did not have to fear his voice breaking at certain points, so the atmosphere was far more relaxed. Mind you, he is always welcome in Portsmouth , because they probably regard him as a homie there, as he has a house nearby. He said he'd spent the next two days there.
Okay, we promised to mention the changes in the script over the next couple of reviews. So here goes the first part. We get an exclusive bit of behind-the-scenes in the West End gossip. He told us, when he had a little white mouse in his hand, during his appearance in “Woman in White” in one of the songs (please note it's a little white mouse, not Missy we are speaking about!): Whenever he picked it up it was peeing in his hand. Every time and only with him. And would you believe how much pee is in such a small animal? “A pint and a half!”. Background information from the rodent-loving bunny-expert Julia: If a tame mouse does that to you, it simply means it marks you as its property and shows its affection in doing so. So Michael was really popular with the mouse. It was a mouse of great taste!
Just as we expected Michael was on an extreme high that night. Probably because the voice was good and parts of his family were in and the audience was amazing. So that all added up. We had a very naughty Michael that night (those hips….. mmmmmhhhhh, we wondered what his mum made of them)… But anyway, what we were about to tell you is: When Michael was doing “You can get away with anything” he proved that he actually can. Passing Callum while striding across the stage, demonstrating Count Fosco's camp-ness he mimed to grab poor Callum's bum. Callum did not notice, but the audience and band were in stitches. By the time Michael was back on the other side of the stage, apparently someone has told Callum, cause Michael looked at him laughing a devilish laugh at the look of Callum's face. Poor Callum!
Since the Brighton concert (well for us, we would not know what happened in the 7 concerts between Bradford and Brighton ) a standing ovation after “Show must go on” has established, which is so deserved.
Naturally “Bread of heaven” was extra special tonight with Michael's mother being Welsh. We all gave our best, not to let him down. We really love his Welsh accent. He puts it on whenever we reach that song.
When Lucia got back on stage accompanying Michael during “You raise me up” the curtain was lifted again and created an amazing scenery, very atmospheric. Actually it will be the best to have a look at the photos, once they are online, to get a better impression.
We have to say the hall erupted at the end. It's so great to be part of this. After all it's the only way we can give back some of the elation we feel when we see him perform.
When we got to the stage door, we saw that not only his mum was in, but his sister and her husband too. Unlike last tour they put up barriers to prevent people from getting into the car park that leads to the stage door. So we all had to wait behind the gate until Michael got onto his coach and slowly drove past us. He even signed programmes from his coach window.
Little did we know, what a long night was still ahead of us. Gosh, once you are with great friends and having fun….We were up till half past three…. Well actually we got to our room about that time and maybe went to bed about 4-ish . We had so much fun and we learnt SOOO much. (Pam you are our role-model!!!!!!!) LOL