Café de Paris

Review by Pat Stearman

You'll probably have read loads of reports by now, but here goes! We made the decision on Monday to travel by train and hang the expense - just no way of knowing if we could find petrol to get home again if we went by car.I was expecting very busy trains but luckily they run frequently on our line so no problem there - and in the end we were in London by 4pm - much earlier than we could have been by car. (We have a 'fuel crisis' at present) So - straight to Rupert St to suss out where the entrance was, whether Michael was already there (of course he was), and if anyone was 'queuing' anywhere - I'd imagined a line on the other side of the street or something!! But everyone was keeping to the letter of the invitation and no-one was there - tho we assumed everyone we saw wandering up the street were probably fans - and even recognised some.

OK - at 5.10 after food we decided to wait for the friends we expected from 5 - no we weren't queuing - just standing on the street - and no, we didn't make enough to pay for the tour!! so along came a few people we recognised and then the friends we expected - and then I spotted Julia - isn't it strange- someone you only saw a photo of and you think 'will I recognise them?' - and when you see them there's no doubt at all.

Anyway - nuff of the preamble - you want to get to the juicy bits! So, at 6.50 or so we started to go in - and found ourselves with stools next to the side of the stage - beside the backing singers mikes. Not bad we reckoned - and it wasn't, until the end when we were wanting to be up and rock'n'rolling and the cameraman was in the way - oh, but yes, this was meant to be a videorecording ;-) - and if the cameraman recorded what we couldn't see then that was fine!

So many people with headphones and wires and Phil in there as an oasis of calm sorting out problems. (he even introduced us to his daughter Laura - who is very fond of the Michael she sees around the house!! - very nice!! - as well as the one she sees on stage).

Eventually we all were seated and the techos had sorted out the wires and then - here was Michael! (actually we'd had a brief sneak preview as we saw him come in - we were seated next to the dressing room entrances!) - Dark grey/blue suit and beautiful blue shirt - in fact the one he's wearing on the video sleeve we just got - interesting how he knew it was going to be the most exciting night even before it happened!!

He chatted a bit, explained how things would work, then went off so we could yell for him even louder this time! I can't do the song list - for one thing I have to say I don't remember it all, and for another I don't want to spoil the surprises of the CD or the video - but I cried a lot!!! Probably the best songs were the ones he'd written himself - I know I'm biased but I do think he's turning into a really gifted writer - and one of the songs will knock your socks off - it's not the pretty ballad you may expect! Just When was in there as I guess we all knew it would and it was wonderful to hear it again - and to hear those lovely lyrics again. More tears from me - more kisses blown to Cathy from Michael!

There were also songs written for him and songs he'd picked up from the 'new country' artists he mentioned earlier he was interested in recording. He pointed out how similar in effect songs from Musical Theatre and this sort of country music are - about real people and real feelings and tell some sort of story. But there were the rockier things in there too, and he had to finish the first half with some of those favourite musicals songs. 

The interval was time to get fresh drinks - and in our case to hunt out Tony to say Hi - he was up on the balcony so we had a conversation with him while he enjoyed the view down our cleavages!! (he did, he did! - so did Michael! who had a more straight on view ;-))

The second half started less well - with Michael forgetting the words to a song - and having to admit to a crib sheet - or monitor! - which he couldn't read! But he got in there and got it right at last - and it was the only error on his part that I could see - he's got much better since the TV recordings where he would corpse quite frequently - more pressure there,more experience now! After that he went straight back into more of the new songs - and a few of the old ones too.

There were only a few hiccups in the whole show - a couple of lines he forgot - some tech difficulties -lots of sweat! It was very hot in there - we were roasted in skimpy clothes and sitting down - he had a suit on, was dancing around and under those hot lights! No wonder one of the audience managed to persuade him to let her refresh his face with a Wet One - to some rather naughty comments from Michael as you may imagine! His sense of humour remained intact throughout - tho he was heard at one point to ask his dad for a few gags when things ground to a halt! (Dad didn't oblige... keeping the best for himself I guess!)

At one point they decided his battery had run down - ahem! - and great amusement ensued as the tech guy fiddled down the back of Michael's trousers to replace it! We now have another job in that list of ones we'd like to have - Battery Replacer!! :-))

Only one song to redo after we thought he'd finished - or dear, how sad! Didn't they want to re-record the whole show? Please? (we were going nowhere anyway as we couldn't get trains back till after 5am!) but in the end it was all over and Michael had thanked us for being there - he thanked us??? and hoped he'd see us all in a few weeks time. 

We left slowly - no need to rush - and went round to the front of the building - where Michael's car was waiting - numerous pleas to Cathy etc during the show asking if they had petrol - and decided to 'help' the security man chase away potential clients (no, not that sort!) and watch men at work loading up the trucks with all the equipment Michael had brought with him - well, not Michael but those techo guys again! Julia was most impressed with the ones who'd decided it was too hot and humid to wear a shirt -but wondered why Michael couldn't have had the same thought? but then she hadn't recovered from Michael bending over in her direction - why does he always wear a jacket over that perfect bum???? 

Just after midnight Michael came out with Cathy and his Dad. The next bit is from comments afterwards cos I had other fish to fry and was quite happily to be seen hugging and kissing Tony - and holding his hand while we had a short chat... tho I have no idea about what! Michael was lovely - well, there's a surprise - in cream/yellow suit and black t-shirt (sexy!) and stopped to chat/hug/kiss many of the people who had waited. Then he called for his dad - who was still doing the hug bit - and they drove off.

We wandered into KFC to get changed into something a bit more suitable for walking round London at night - and I was seen to be doing a little jump dance, Julia and Kerstin were just crazy at how wonderful Michael is - and Stella was just pleased he'd asked how she was, told her she looked great -she did - and kissed her. 

We finally got home at around 10am - with no sleep! - and reports from Germany suggest Julia and Kerstin were home around the same time.

What a day - still high as kites! and we do have a video recording to remember it by - tho unfortunately not one of the after midnight section!!


04/09/2004 14:32

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