Portsmouth and Bristol ( 26th and 27th September 2000)
My day started at 6.30 Tuesday 26 th . I was going to see Michael at Portsmouth..I couldn't believe it had finally arrived, its seems such long time since we first bought our tickets!! As most of you know I haven't been too good lately so all my best laid plans for the tour had gone out of the window, so plan "B" had to take action. There wasn't a plan "B" really just last minute arrangement. I was due to meet up with Debra from Ohio & Susan May in Portsmouth but as changes had to happen I decided to meet them at Newbury Services which is half way between Gloucester & Portsmouth. My very best friends husband dropped me off at 10.30 and I wasn't meeting up with Sue & Debra until approx 12.30...What was I going to do for 2 hours? Out came the CD's..Big Mistake for me in a public place. I was happily listening to "BOMB" and of course I was singing along with him as you do. When I looked up three reps who were sat at a table about 5 feet away were giving me the strangest looks. I just don't know what their problem was. Anyway as I was listening to Michael I had to have my mobile on the table in front of me as I wasn't going to hear it. About 12.15 Sue rang to say they were leaving Heathrow and would be with me shortly. They arrived at 1.15 and I think that the reps and a few other people were glad to see the back of me. I gathered together my belongings and made the compulsory stop at the loo (Toilet). Those who have not travelled with me before. I can P for England.
The journey from the services to Portsmouth took about an hour, which was spent listening to MORE Michael. God it was such a chore!!!!!! Anyway we arrived at our hotel approx 2.00pm to be told, "You can't book in until 3.00pm". Well I am sorry, but we had somewhere to go so waiting until 3.00 was not an option. After telling the receptionist this she said we could book in up until midnight. Off we went heading for the Guildhall. Well I wont go into great detail but...trying to find our way to the Guildhall with a driver who usually drives on the other side of the road, and insists that we are driving too slow. Bearing in mind that we had travelled along the motorway (Freeway) so that was relatively easy compared with the streets of Portsmouth. I was a complete wreck by the time that we arrived at the car park. My heart was beating so fast I thought I was going to die. Oh well at least we would be seeing Michael soon!!!!!!!
We found the Guildhall with no problems and after taking photos outside the hall & Debra took some video with a running commentary we decided to look for the stage door without being obvious. We walked around the side of the building and sure enough there was lorry's & a coach, which of course we assumed belonged to Michael (Well not him personally). Debra wanted to take pictures of the coach just because!!!!... She really made me laugh. We finally made our way around the other side of the building where about 10 other fans were stood. We said our "Hello's" and asked names. Sorry but I can't remember their names. Next to come along were Nettie and her lovely mum Alice. This was the first time I had met Nettie and she was as lovely as her mum. Gill & Maureen came soon after and we all had a hug and kiss and renewed friendships again. We met MarilynK & her wonderful husband Stu, what a lovely couple. Marilyn asked if I went on the forum, and when I told her who I was she was so excited. NOT that she was excited to meet ME, just that I was someone she recognised I think.
We were stood outside of some gates which had this very strange bollard in front of it which went "Up & Down" if the right combination was put into a key pad. Now being such clever people we thought....When Michael arrives they will have to put the no in before Michael can go through the gates so we may get a really good look BUT..... A man came along and told us he had to shut the gates, so we moved inside instead. The moment arrived Michael was here. His coach pulled up and a nice gentleman got off saying that Michael wouldn't be able to stop for long with us as he had some changes to make, which of course we respected. He came off the coach wearing a baseball cap & sunglasses and said a quick hello to us all before going into the hall to rehearse. With that we all decided to return to our respective hotels and get ready for the concert!!!
Before the concert we met up in the "Weatherspoons" pub with some other fans. Nettie & Mum, Cherie & Friend (Dee, I Think) Marilyn & Stu and Gill & Maureen. We were all too excited to drink so sat there chatting and taking piccys of each other. Before leaving the pub I made another "P" stop. When we left the pub an enormous queue had formed and I thought we wouldn't get in on time. We found our seats and I decided I needed another "P" or I wouldn't get through the first half of the concert....Off I went but found yet another queue. Would I get back before the concert started. ..."Oh my goodness, the man announced 5 mins to the start of the concert and I wasn't even in yet. Well I did my business and ran (Well walked very quickly) up 3 flights of stairs, went through the wrong door and ended in the upper stalls so had to go back down. I got back to my seat with time to spare as he was late starting (Thank You Michael) just before a large clap of thunder & lightning, and Michael appeared like a God Like figure!!!!!!!!!
I don't want to go into detail about the actual content of the concert because there are some of you who have still to experience this wonderful man. All I can say is he was awesome!!!!!! The first half was some new songs, some of which he had written and one that was written for him. They will blow you away, and I strongly recommend a supply of tissues. His voice was just like chocolate and certainly made me melt. If I didn't already love that man I would certainly have fallen in love with him that night. He ended the first half with a medley of ballads from the musicals which included "Love Changes Everything" Must admit it seemed strange having this in the first half, but I am sure it will grow on me before the end of the tour.
During the interval I made yet another "P" stop....sorry folks but my bladder isn't what it used to be. Then it was time for the second half and Michael opened with "Something Inside So Strong" which does have a very strange meaning to me (Jinty Knows), so I enjoyed that one very much. Well girls this half is to die for, Michael & Co certainly excelled themselves with this one. We were pumping & so was Michael. He wore a black suit with a white shirt & a wonderful sparkly tie, which didn't stay on for long. Our cue to start the Mikey Olympics was not "Let the Rivers Run" as he opened the show with this one so just watch out. Cant give you the name of the song as it will spoil it for you all...But... MY GOD, I thought I had gone to heaven and back. The evening ended all too quickly for us all.
We decided that we would go and see Michael leave from the stage door. Everyone was happy and chatting amongst ourselves. Then Michael appeared said his "Good Byes" and got on the bus. I was stood next to the door at the time and when Michael put his hand out of the window I just had to take it in mine just for a moment. ..That just finished the night off for me...PERFECT!!!!!!!
We said our "Good Byes to our new found friends until the next time. We returned to the hotel to ring Laurie Lane in Florida to tell her all about the concert. She couldn't make it over due to unforeseen circumstances and we wanted to share our experience with her.
After a very restless night...Not sure if it was because I was hot, in pain, or the excitement of the evening but I had an awful nights sleep and couldn't wait to get up. Today was a new day and we were travelling back to Gloucester to pick up my gorgeous daughter Laura for her first tour concert at Bristol. I rang her at 8.30 am to see if she was OK....Bless her she had been up since 7.00 am and had done my housework so that it was tidy for when we returned . We arrived back at approx 12.30 and we were leaving again at 2.00pm..Just time to throw the bags in and sort out clothes etc for tonight We arrived in Bristol at about 3.15pm after a terrible journey on the motorway, it was absolutely pouring with rain. As we got closer to the Bristol Hippodrome the excitement was mounting especially for Laura...we were going to see Michael AGAIN!!!!!!!!! After I had been beeped at, and I had shouted obscenities at the other drivers we finally got there. As we were walking down to the stage door (This one was for Laura) we saw Michael's bus coming down the road, we couldn't have timed it better if we had tried. It was still raining heavily so we all looked like nothing on earth, so much for looking good for Michael!! Laura was so excited bless her little heart, she couldn't believe she was going to be up so close to Michael. She left a card at the stage door for him, which we had all signed.
Now I must say, I haven't really taken too much notice of Mick (BV) BUT..... he came along just as we were walking away from seeing Michael. He said "Hello" to us and I asked if he would mind having a piccy taken with Laura, which he agreed to so nicely. Bearing in mind she is only 12 yrs old, he put his arm around her and then bent down to her so that he was at her level and his head was next to hers. Laura was blushing terribly.... He said to her "You have got a bit wet"and went on to move the wet fringe away from her eyes. I fell in love with that man from that moment, I couldn't believe what a truly friendly person he was. THANK YOU MICK !!!!!!!!!
We met up with some more old friends from Chippenham concert and I met Debbie N. I knew her instantly. After we had all chatted for a while it was time for the concert to start. When Michael burst out onto the stage I turned to watch Laura's face, and it was a picture. She loved it!!!!!! I personally think that tonight was even better than Portsmouth, he seemed more relaxed and was really enjoying himself. We were sat about 9 rows back but I said to Laura to go for it when it was time to get up and dance. She went like a bat out of hell.... and was stood right in front of Mick, Annie & Shenna. Mick waved at her as soon as he saw her and it made her night. Michael was truly on form and the audience really responded to him. What can I say about Michael....He was truly awesome, Magic again. His voice has improved a lot and the power in his voice goes without question. My ears were ringing by the end of the evening, it was so powerful. Laura had a little gift for Michael, which she wanted to give to him. There was a gap between the stage and us so I told Laura to throw real hard when he came over our side. She wanted me to do it, so "Mother" came to the rescue. I knew that Shotputting would come in handy some day!!!!!!!!! I lobbed it over at Michael but he couldn't catch it, so Mick came to Laura's rescue again and picked it up for her to give to him.
Once again the evening was over far too quickly and he had to leave us. Quite a crowd had gathered despite the rain, which hadn't stopped all evening. We had been told that Michael was leaving straight away because he was exhausted but the traffic was horrendous and his coach was going nowhere. He once again said his good byes to us all and Laura touched his hand tonight which she still can't quite believe.
Today I am feeling a little weird...all the excitement over the past two days and now nothing until Sunday at the NEC......and I cant wait!!!!!!!!!!
Michael was truly wonderful, and those of you who haven't seen the show yet will be in for a treat. He excelled himself this time!!
Ros Davis - 28 th September 2000
Thanks Ros for doing it :-)