Café de Paris

12 September 2000 ~ Live Recording of "This Time ... It's Personal"

"This Time ... it's personal" that is the name of the new video and the same time it is a promise! It is personal! Yesterday's concert was certainly one of the most special evenings I had and I doubt there will ever be a better concert. To show you how special it was for me, I should start at the beginning.

Before this Tuesday, I have seen Michael live just once in Amsterdam from a distance that was so ridiculous compared to yesterday! I have had no other Michael live experience. Then since I have heard there should be such a private concert being recorded to be released later on I just thought "Wow lucky people, what would I do to be there." You can maybe understand already my excitement, when I read about the concert and the possibility for fan club members to take part. From that moment I dreamed of the possibility of being there, just ridiculous as my chances were certainly very low, nevertheless I took part and finally received the notification that I have won. I had to read the mail certainly 10 times to finally realize I did not get anything wrong. I was completely stunned. It was Thursday and the concert should take place on Tuesday! I had no idea, if I could get holiday, usually this is no problem, but I forgot, that one colleague was also on holiday that day. Great! Then it was not so certain, if Julia could accompany me. However it would work, we had to get to London both rather late and get back as soon as possible after the concert. I do not want to get too much into detail, but believe me it was just like an emotional drive on a rollercoster. I certainly do not want to live through such a "horrible" day again, but the result was perfect. We got a flight, from two different cities and our flights arrived and departed almost at the same time, just perfect!

  The days between Thursday and Tuesday morning were just ridiculous. All the time I had to say to myself: You will be in London! You will be in London! Just within a few days. Not 45 days until you will see Michael again, but somehow just 5 days. I had to dream, I will certainly wake up. No I did not wake up, indeed I still believe it was all just a dream! Maybe I should say that I have never before been to England! Oh yes and you should have seen my colleagues, when I told them I was going to fly to London Tuesday at 3 pm. They all asked for how long and I said I would be back the following morning at 9 am! They all just wondered why someone could fly to London just for maybe 14 hours! I explained and at least they understood roughly J , only real Balliosis can understand this I think.

  Finally it was Tuesday. My alarm clock rang at 5 am, I still had to take a shower, the last for the whole day, get all my things together and fight my nervousness. To get the one day holiday, I had to work until 11 am and for some strange reason these four hours work were the most hectic I have ever had here! Somehow I managed to get to Dusseldorf in time and was on my way to London, the third time in my life I was flying! At Stansted I just had to wait for the arrival of Julia and I have to say Stansted and Buzzaway gave me the hardest time of my life, as the flight was already mentionned on approach while it was obviously still flying over Stansted! So it took hours until she arrived, at least it seemed so for me! On our next stage we had to cope with funny things like taking the train or the tube and somehow I never believed we would be there in time, but we were. The first impressions I got from London were just great, cannot wait to be back within I think 39 days J . We immediately found the Café de Paris and searched for the stage door which was not hard to find.

 There we met Gill and Maureen, got our invitations and well met some really great people, just to mention Pat and Stella, two really great people who gave me and Julia a fantastic few hours, before, during and after the concert, thanks ladies. Besides there were so many nice people we met. There were so many new names, pardon me, if I cannot remember everyone at the moment, but you all gave us a great time.

When we entered the Café I was quite surprised where all the 150 people plus certainly several special guests should find a seat it, was really very small, but the atmosphere from the beginning was just exciting and electrifying. Well finally we discovered not everyone found a seat, there were still a number of people who had to stand. While everyone took their seats or searched for a good place to stand and some drinks wer ordered they played the RAH live CD and at least in our corner we were singing along almost all the time.

This may sound ridiculous to many of you, but my mouth fell open, when I finally saw Geoff Eales who came over to us to greet some of our friends. Not because he came, but just because I thought: Wow that's the guy I kept seeing on all those videos! This repeated when I saw Mick, Annie, Shèna and Phil who also spoke a bit with us. I should better say with our friends as I was so taken aback to see all these people live and to talk to them! Finally at the table behind us some younger people took their seats and Phil introduced one of the girls as his daughter. I do not know if someone said her name, if so, I cannot remember. She was really so nice and talked to Pat and some others about Michael and how nice he is. It was just a perfect introduction to the most fabulous evening I could have had!

Pardon me, but my mind is partly gone and I cannot remember all the songtitles, as there were quite a few songs I have never heard before and new ones written by Michael. I think it had to be around eight until the whole show finally started and some guy started to tell us all about the emergency exits and where we would find the. Finally he said, he had to tell us that being here means we were agreeing on being recorded. If we do not want to be on the video, we should go now. Of course everyone left and the concert was over before it all began. No just kidding J . He then introduced Michael, who entered and was welcomed so overwhelmingly. I still wonder how a bit more than 150 people can become so loud, but the atmosphere was terrific. Michael entered smiled all over his face. Said a few words and was just happy that we were there. He was wearing a dark grey suit and a light blue shirt without tie and the first three buttons of the shirt were open!

He told us that he will leave the stage again and will be back and then we had to welcome him, as if we have not seen him before. No problem! I was mesmerized, when I saw him enter for the first time, and then when he reappeared I still could not believe I was there. This time Michael was not only accompanied again by Mick, Shèna and Annie, but as well by three other background singers. It started with "I don't want a lover" and "You bring out the best in me" , which was written for him by Paul Carrick. It was so heartbreaking. Believe me the title of the CD and video really means what it says! This time it is personal! I still wonder how I shall overcome this month until I can get the CD!

Then it was "If tomorrow never comes" . I remember it so clearly as he once said it was his and Cathy's song while he was in New York. I really could have cried, but I was close to tears at almost each and every single song. Michael's voice was just so magnificent, I do not think I have ever heard him singing so beautifully. Every now and then the show had to be stopped, being it technical problems, or that Michael mixed up the lyrics, that all happened and it was just fun. He can go over these situations like no other person. I have to say I awaited anxiously the next problem, as he was just so funny. He imitated things, people, talked about Big Brother. Well he said he wanted to be finished at 10 pm, so everyone would be home in time for Big Brother (yes I think he did that right with me, as the second series in Germany will start this Saturday! J ).

What songs followed then were "The song remembers when" and his next self-written song: "Never coming back" , aka "The sexy song" . Well it was titled by us that way, but it is so right! It was brilliant, completely different to for example "Someone else's dream" that followed later on. This is one of the songs that will give me a very hard time the next few days. All those who will see him in less then a fortnight: Have a brilliant time, I am sure you will have!

What song kept being in my mind the whole night was "No matter what" . I love it sung by Boyzone and when he sang the first few lines, I just thought: "This should going to be nice.". How wrong have I been! It was terrific, well at the fourth try!

During the first one I think there have been technical problems. For some reason he then did at first "The first time I ever saw your face" . After this he had the next try with "No matter what" suddenly started singing:

"No matter what they tell
No matter what they do
No matter that I'm singing
I need to go to loo"

The third time he stopped himself. At the fourth try I got the impression, that everyone in the room just seemed to wait for this passage and to see it got wrong again, but yes he did it! Although I had the impression he was going to laugh, but he concentrated and the song was just brilliant. Sorry, to the Boyzone fans, I also like them, but after I heard Michael sing it, I do not know, if I can listen to Boyzone again. He does it in a way completely different, so I anticipate there will be people prefering Michael's, but also people prefering Boyzones version!

The first part was finished with, what they called themselves a musical medley, that included "Love changes everything" (without the money note!) going into "Last Night of the World" followed by "All I ask of you" and "Losing my mind". Then he did "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables" and I have to say this guy will always surprise me: Just when I think he cannot do a song better he does. This evening he was on top form. He sounded terrific, oh and by the way, in one of the technical problem caused pauses he told us, he is still not smoking. Congratulations on this Michael! What I just said about Empty Chairs is as well right for "I dreamed a dream" and the last few lines of "Love changes everything" that ended the first part. This voice in such a small room, so close. Somehow I survived the heart attack!

During the short intermediate we discovered Michael's dad Tony up there on the balcony and at his side was Cathy sitting. Tony seemed to have had a great time! The second part was opened with "Walking in Memphis" , wow! Although this song had to be interrupted, as he had problems with his monitors. He could not hear parts of the song and could not go on like that. I can just say: I had no problem with him repeating the song. The longer it took the more we had of him. This was followed by "The greatest man ". "Someone else's dream" (very emotional) as well as "Just when" were the other two self-written songs he promised to sing for us earlier that evening. He should have started writing earlier, I am sure you will all love that song and "Never coming back" that he sung in the first half!

In the meantime we always had quite a lot of fun, as the show was interrupted several times and it was quite a bit of fun, when Michael and his dad up there started to talk and Tony said something about Michael's hair not lying good and so on. I could not understand everything, but it was just fabulous, but over far too soon, believe me! Sometime during the show there was a loud bang, which reminded somehow to a gunshot and immediately Michael behaved as if he were wounded seriously, going a few steps backward and then back to the microphone saying "The show must go on". Reminded me a bit to "Shanghai Lil" J , although he did not lie down on the floor this time J

The last songs were "Why do fools fall in love" as an a capella version together with his background singers and "If I could dream" . Afterwards he left stage to come back for the encore "Wonder of you" . When we thought the evening was already over we were asked to sit down again and after a few minutes they told us they had to redo "Losing my mind" obviously again technical problems. That was a problem as it was in the middle of the whole Musicals medley. Michael did not seem to be very happy about doing it again. He had to sing the last few lines of All I ask of you again and he had to remember the words. It was so sweet when he turned to the side and sang them rather silent, just to get it back. And then he did the song again, great for us, but I am sure he would have preferred to get it right in the beginning!

Michael was that evening just looking gorgeous. He was in such a good mood and somehow I had the impression everyone was. Mick looked over to us several times just grinning and having fun. When the background singers did not have to sing they were somewhere in the "backstage area" and we could hear them laughing hard not just once. Only Annie came out several times to have a look at the show. I do not know Michael that long, that I could really judge over it, but he seemed to be very relaxed!

After the show we finally went out and gathered with a few other people in front of the main entrance and waited for Michael to come out. Before him we could see all the other people leaving: Mick together with Shena, Annie, the other background singers and the musicians. After a while Michael appeared and Cathy and Tony were with him. Unfortunately they had to get away quickly, but Julia was lucky enough to get a big hug from Michael after Pat and Stella told him, that we have come all the way from Germany. Michael was looking so gorgeous. Even better than during the show! He wore such a creme suit and a dark shirt, just gorgeous. I tried to get some pictures, but my camera was playing tricks and I could not get a sharp picture. L I was such a sad mood cause of this, that I could have thrown the camera to the next wall, when I suddenly felt an arm around my shoulder. Before I had just eyes for Michael! I turned around and looked in whose face? Tony! And he gave me this Ball-smile! And I was so astonished I do not even remember if I said at least hi to him. Well, if you have once looked into Tony's face with that smile you know from whom Michael has inherited it. I wonder if the Ball-men know what effect they have on women!

Well Michael dashed finally away, leaving an ever-smiling Julia with me and then it was all over, somehow. At least I got afterwards a mini London tourist round trip and got to see in the middle of the night, what Pat, Stella and Julia thought of most important. Picadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, Leicester Square. We passed the Queen's Theatre (where Stella told me after I thought for an eternity, where I had heard this name before, that Passion played there. Oh yes, I should have remembered that myself! J ), the Palace Theatre and I think somehow I fell in love with London. A really beautiful city.

Thanks to everyone, who made that evening possible. My Mom, for being so understanding, without her I could not have gone! All the new people I met there, especially Pat and Stella! Thanks to Julia, for being my guide and the only one I can cope with Michael embrassing her, but cause of lack of time not me (well at least I got my own smile from both Ball-men J ).


To all those not being able to get there yesterday: Look out for the 30 October, the video can just be terrific!

04/09/2004 14:32

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