It's just over two hours since Michael came off stage at the Bristol Hippodrome, and after badly navigating around Bristol's one-way system a few times! I've just got home.
I was concerned by the reports that Michael had been looking tired during the last two shows, and this being his third in a row, I did wonder how he would cope. I needn't have worried! He was looking wonderful, and sounded as beautiful and as powerful as ever. A couple of times when he spoke, he sounded a little croaky, but it didn't affect his singing at all. But I'm glad he'll have a rest tomorrow.
I won't list all the songs - not even all those I can remember! Others have listed songs from Croydon and Portsmouth already. Whether the order was changed from Croydon, or some songs were substituted for those performed before, I would add that he sang 'My Heart Will Go On' and 'Oh, What A Circus!'.
The beginning is stunning - very exciting, with thunderous music, and dramatic lights. He appeared at the back of the stage, briefly in sillhouette, and started with 'Let the River Run'.
'Living La Vida Loca' was great fun, with the band donning false moustaches and sombreros!
For 'Only Fools Fall in Love', he was again joined by all the band, except for Neil who was stuck at the back with the drums. This time he dubbed them the Michael Ball Care in the Community Gospel Choir.
'Help Yourself' ,'Hot Stuff', 'One Step' and 'You Made Me Love You' finished the night. I was pleased to see the musicals section and the rock and roll medley were the same as he performed at the Cafe de Paris - so those of you not able to attend the concerts will eventually get to see them on video.
I had particularly been looking forward to 'Never Coming Back' which I really loved at the Cafe. I was hoping I hadn't built it up too much in my mind, after only one hearing - but I hadn't - it is wonderful - Deep South and bluesy. Can't wait for the CD! Michael performed this with two other songs he's written: 'Just When' and 'Someone Else's Dream'. He must be really proud to be able to have a whole section dedicated to his own songwriting. Well, if he isn't proud of it - I'm proud of him!
A few weeks ago there was a discussion on the mailing list about whether or not the concerts might be more dramatic. Some felt they tend to lack drama, perhaps hoping for something more theatrical. I think the complex lighting design, and the fast-paced show, with a great variety of music would more than satisfy those queries!
It was lovely to finally meet up with Ros, Laura and Ally, and great to see Maggie again. After waving Maggie off in a taxi to catch her train, I went back to the stage door to see Michael off on the coach. (I thought I was too old for such things - I'm not!) It was pouring with rain, and we were all getting soaked. Michael came out, hood up and head down, but he stopped to sign a few autographs, then got on the coach and told us all to be careful we didn't catch cold.
It was a wonderful evening, and can't wait for my next concert - Tuesday in Oxford!
Good luck for the rest of the tour, Michael. It's a great show you've put together - again!