I wake up and I am glad to see that I am still surrounded by Michael tour posters Thank God everything was not just a dream!
"That's the trouble, it's sort of boring."
Nope! I was never bored. How can you be bored, when you are desperate to find a way to get to the north of England and at the same time thanking the Lord above that you did not decide to start your journey just on the same day of the first concert! (Would we have managed to get to Harrogate just in time? I doubt it!). And I mean just the excitement to know you are going to see him very soon (Ok I understand, it would be quite strange, if he was excited to see himself on stage that evening, though he should be happy to see us down in the audience J )
"It's a lot of waiting around and then you can't do too much, cause you gotta safe your energy for the evening "
Well actually: Yes it was a bit of waiting around. But the best chance to meet up with people J .
"and then for those kind of three hours: Bang! It's explosive!"
Oh yes! Twice. Try something like that! Stay in England for say 10 days. Start with two Michael concerts directly on the first two days and then go on. The adrenaline keeps you just going. And then you get back to your friends house and all you think is: wow it cannot be the first two concerts are already over. It went by like nothing!
I am one of the people who always thought: How can someone go to concerts more than just one time? It's the same all the time, how can they do that or follow stars, boy bands whatever for a bit of a tour, strange behaviour. And now I am the person topping it, following some guy not through Germany, but through England! But trust me, so far it was worth it and I doubt I will ever change this attitude! Just so strange you became like one of the people, you thought of they were strange - well before. But good to know you overcame another few prejudices J
What have my plans been for the time in England?
Actually I did not have any! I thought it might be nice to manage a photo with Michael's dad Tony, but I did not expect anything more!
- I did not get a photo with Tony, cause I did not ask!
- We got to meet friends I never met before
- I got a hand-kiss of Michael (Thank you! - My all-time intellectual low! At least now he knows I am mad!)
- We met Cathy
- We got a photo with Cathy (my sanctum!)
- We got stuck with Shena in the lift
- We had a fire alarm, which was after everything went well, funny
- We had the two best concerts I could have dreamed of, including some fabulous new songs!
Honestly, just one of these things would have been enough for me to say that was a fab week! So now it is Monday, these things are gone, past, memories, but the best memories a girl can have. One more concert to go and one more week to see a bit more of England. Strange getting up really gets harder, if you don't have the right motivation! Wait! The rolls! I need to get them processed! Again my body is faster downstairs with Julia than the rest of me. And after looking at each other saying things like: We really met Cathy McGowan yesterday didn't we? we decide to take a quick shower and to get things photographed. After all I have this roll in the camera! And I am only at photo 6 and this stupid stupid roll holds 36! So we need to get out to do some photos. A shower later we explore Hartlepool. Getting on the quickest way to Boots to get the first rolls processed.
Now can someone explain to me, why 1-hour processing in Hartlepool, England is much cheaper than 3-day processing in Dülmen, Germany? I don't! I learn once more that Wohlgemuth is certainly one of the worst names for English people, but who can blame them? Honestly I better don't think how strange the pronunciation in English would be!
Ok then off to the beach. We think it is a good idea to go there. Lol we did some stupid little things that only our friends and Michael know of there. Well all I can say is that afterwards my roll was almost completely full. Just shows what madness can do J .
A look at the clock shows us, that it is already 5 p.m. and Pat should get back home soon. Damm, damm, damm. Ok we should not get back the same way, we walked here. We have a nice plan, that shows us, that we walked, very very and I mean very far. Did not help, that Pat told us, when we were back home about 1,5 hours later, that we were already in the next town, that this was not even Hartlepool any longer. Oh my!
One good advice I can give people coming from abroad to England. Please, never, never, start to watch English TV and never ever try to eat frozen pizza! You will get completely addicted! Pat did the big mistake to give us frozen pizza to eat at the first night, so we never ate anything else. Every time she asked, what we want to eat there was nothing else. I know a bit monotonous you might think. But on the other hand it tastes so much better than German ones and who knows when we will have the next one? After all there is no chance when we will be in London in September.
British TV is another thing. There were some musts we just had to watch! First one was: ER. We both love this show and we were curious on how it is in the original version. I have to say that everything in Germany gets synchronised and sometimes really, really bad! Before this was shown on Wednesday we had seen several other bits and pieces and I have to say I was quite soon used to watch English TV and did not have many problems to follow. Just until ER came up and it took me 20 minutes to get used to the way they speak, but we finally managed! It was quite fun, although strange. Just some weeks ago season 6 finished in Germany, now we were in England watching the second last episode of the 7 th season (plus afterwards getting send the last one by Pat). Really nice to know who will get together with whom and generally what will happen, now we just have to find out, how we got there, LOL.
I don't know what we all watched all the time. The new and last episodes of "Friends", something with Jonathan Ross and Ulrika Jonsson, that was just so funny. We had a bit of "Buffy" (unfortunately this time no "Angel"), "Casualty"........... OH my and the biggest mistake we could do, watching Coronation Street! Now I have to say I understand Michael for not wanting to miss just one episode. We were just there at the right time with the right plot and tried not to miss anything out. But now we wonder: How did Sarah's parents react after the disaster with her far older chat-friend who kidnapped her. Will they be understanding? Ok ok I will stop boring you with our TV programme, just this much: five channels and we always had something to watch (at home 33 and I am zapping like mad most of the time!).
We just had the best week together with Pat and Stella, and we could really enjoy it after we managed to get a car for our way to Liverpool and then back to London! We saw quite a bit of the North of England, and I have to say I was very impressed. I did not expect too much, thinking there was plenty of industry and so on, but when we got there, wow. I mean we have been to the Lake District and that is such a wonderful area!
Just that the week was over much too soon. And a really strange feeling on Monday morning, when we stood at our rented car and had to say bye to Pat, who was not able to come down to Liverpool for the concert. Hugs and many good-byes later we were back on the English motorways. The first nervousness was gone quite soon, after I got roughly used to the new dimensions on the new car. We were pretty good in our time and finally arrived in Liverpool around noon (having driven on the highest motorway in England, LOL although the 300 something metres were not too impressive J ). Nevertheless, after twice driving too far, 'cause our hotel thought it was a good idea to place all the signs just from the other direction, we got to our hotel just to be told, that check-in starts at 2:30 p.m. So enough time to go over to the tent and explore Liverpool a bit.
The tent looked amazing and so did Liverpool I have to say! Again I had my stereotypes when thinking of Liverpool. I thought of a boring, grey not really beautiful city and where we end up is just such a wonderful and beautiful place, that I had to make sure we were really in Liverpool, but we were! So we went into the city centre to get us something to eat and when we were back, we were just in time to discover that Michael already arrived. No problem, at least this means we have plenty of time left to relax a bit. And what is the best way to do it? Watch English TV while you are lying flat on the bed eating sandwiches (did I say they are extremely yummy as well?).
We needed to get back to the tent and then find the Holiday Inn, cause we wanted to meet up with Jane and Lucie again. Luckily we had to cross the place with the tent again. It was quite nice actually, walking there to the sounds of Mr. Michael Ball singing "A Boy from Nowhere". What a way to start the afternoon! Just to let him finish that and getting just seconds later the intro of "Phantom of the Opera "(still a minor miracle I did not suffer bruises when Julia squeezed my arm in excitement). It was unbelievable and we could not wait for the evening to come when we listened to him rehearsing with Claire Moore. Wow what a voice. We met up with Jane, Lucie and Pam finally to accompany the first two to their hotel. There were several people obviously standing outside the tent listening for the rehearsals the whole afternoon, not a bad way to get an afternoon done.
Well we had a great time with the two ladies and enjoyed the view from their hotel room directly down to the weather map island at the Docks, where Michael sang once on (I think it was One Step out of time, but could be wrong). They went for dinner, while we had a nice walk and just enjoyed a beautiful summer evening at the sea (well ok I see almost at the sea!).
Finally we walked over to the venues and took our places in the tent. Humm front row on the edge. I figured I better should have taken seats in the centre and maybe some rows, back, but well no problem, it's not that bad, I mean how bad can a front row be? Right.
But I have to say there was one thing quite disturbing me and that was the security. Not only that there would not be a chance to get to the stage, as there was a barrier in front of the stage. Ok I figure: This is not Michael's concert, well ok it is part of the Liverpool Summer Pops and therefore it is no miracle they have all this security, after all they even had people like Bob Dylan performing here this year. Nevertheless I tried to stay calm. When Julia took a photo of the whole venue (she did not want to do any more, cause her camera would not do too good on this distance) one of these security people came over to us and told her not to use any flash (Oh really!?!) and told me to get my lens away! Great, he thought it was too big, so it meant I would leave Liverpool with worse photos than Harrogate, where I was eight rows back. And that as he was doing "Phantom of the Opera" with Claire Moore! How cruel can life be? Well against better knowledge I have taken some photos, but, well only a couple of them came out really well and you can find them here!
In the meantime I was quite unnerved and I have to say I was being unfair towards Michael. It was already a more than difficult task to do another fab concert like the Harrogate ones had been, but for me he had to be even better, so I would finally say the concert was just great! And the reason, why I was in such a bad mood was nothing Michael could have changed honestly. What should he have done about the security that was looking at you all the time you moved like you are a potential killer (Trust me, I love Michael for what he does and I hope to enjoy tons and tons of more concerts in the future so I won't harm him! J ). Then all the VIP people entering all the time, but especially shortly before the concert started. Ok I can live with that as well.
Just about 20 minutes before the concert started I felt like Michael in Godspell. "The doors swung open" - They did! - "A spotlight hit me" - Looking around, hummm nope, not so far (but that should change later on) - "Which I liked!" - Not really, as I could hardly see Michael when it happened! Ok to start the story at the beginning. There was a chance to get inside the gap between stage and the barrier. At our side at least there was a gate, which was not locked, as I could see now. Suddenly after a few more people walked past us, this gate slowly swung open and not the spotlight hit us, but the gate. So I sat there, holding the gate in front of me, waiting that one of the 6 to 7 security people that were just five metres away from me, would discover our little problem. If they promised me a nice treat afterwards, I would not have minded holding the gate the whole night long, but as I figured that wouldn't happen, I was quite happy that one of these really observative people finally discovered our problem. So he just pushed it back! Great, I could not have done this with such elegance, gurr. Of course it swung open immediately again. It was nice to see several men not being able to close a gate! Always thinking: Well, if I just close it often enough, it might give up, I would win, and the gate would stay close! Trust me it did not! It seemed an eternity until finally one bright person appeared with a piece of wood, that really managed to keep the gate closed.
Did I tell already that in my opinion there was far too much security all the time, but well just my point of view. It did not help, that my "favourite" was just sitting in front of the front row facing the audience. I guess his task was to save Michael's life, if someone was going to attack him and to prevent people from taking photos with flash. I cannot judge, how good he would have done the first part of the job, only thing I can say is he did not get the second one really well done, but more about this later!
Poor Michael had to get better and better I figured and at the same time I thought myself as the meanest person on earth, cause I KNEW it was not his fault! It just showed me that I am really, really happy and thankful he is so open at his own concerts. Thank you very much for this Michael. I just hope it will ever be like that and that we will never reach a point, where he has to be protected, because of "fan behaviour".
- Let the rivers run
- Any dream will do
- Last night of the world
- Show me
- Can you feel the love tonight
- You and I (with Claire Moore)
- Song of Dreams (Claire Moore)
- At the barricades (intro)
- Empty chairs at empty tables
- I dreamed a dream
- Prepare Ye / Gethsemane
- Send in the clowns
- Boy from Nowhere
- Phantom of the Opera (with Claire Moore)
- Think of me (Claire Moore)
- All I ask of you (with Claire Moore)
- Oh! What a circus
- Sunset Boulevard
- Walking in Memphis
- Why haven't I heard from you
- One Step out of Time
- Fat bottomed girls
- Rock'n'roll Medley
- Love changes everything
- Help yourself
- You'll never walk alone
Lights faded, my fave security guy was really sitting there, looking mean (at least he tried!), while the first sounds of "Let the rivers run" were played. Here we are again, we in the audience, Michael on stage, singing breathtakingly well, looking just astonishing gorgeous (Michael, please tell me your diet secret!) and just being Michael. I wonder why he did "Any dream will do" already as the second song. Preventing that people rush to the stage, before they should after the Harrogate experience?
Update on my security man: Still looking at you as a potential killer, every time you moved (honestly made it hard to keep your concentration to Michael). I can announce so far, he did not do anything really, but trying to look mean! flashs were going all the time and he did not do anything, despite trying to kill people with his looks!
If you ever get the chance to play as a musician for Michael Ball in a concert, please think really well about this! The job is not easy! As he told us, they did not have a real concept before this very day. Obviously they just only decided the same day which songs to do (what could be a proof for this, was that I read someone had seen Mick crossing himself during the concert). You have to expect the unexpected.
Yes, yes, yes "Show Me", one of the songs I have been waiting for and was dying to see again. The song starts Michael acts and.......... wait, where is Michael? GAHHHHHH, I don't believe this. Our security guy got up, he finally did it, but now? During "Show me"? God what have I done to deserve such punishment? Ok go on, go on, I want to see Michael again. Oh my god. He really stopped in front of us, to tell people who were in the second row, not to use flash light, and of course, as the speakers were directly in front of us, they did not understand him really. I really tend to physical aggression, when he finally really managed to leave us alone there, not that I missed half of the song already, gurrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!
After another beautiful performance of "Can you feel the love tonight" Michael introduced us to Claire Moore, saying she had been with her family in Blackpool and was just as nice to come down for his concert to sing with him. Claire Moore entered and I am not the biggest expert, but since when is Claire Moore blonde? I was just happy to hear afterwards from the others, she obviously just coloured her hair in that colour. Great, at least there is something in me that could be a memory! They did a wonderful rendition of "You and I" from Chess, before Michael left her on stage to sing her songs "Showstopper" and something self-written called "Song of Dreams" which was quite nice.
She left while we got the "At the barricades" intro from Les Misérables. And we were up to his to songs from that very musical. Again as always breathtakingly performed. I will never get used to all the sadness he puts into Empty Chairs. This time the real "Prepare ye" showed us "Gethsemane" was about to come and we were off to the interval. Michael was great, and did such a wonderful job that in the meantime I really forgot my anger about security and all such stuff. Just thought it a bit strange that the musicians were not even really finished, when someone placed herself just in front of us and started to sell Walls ice cream!
When we came back to our seats the ice-cream sales still went very well. I still do not understand why they had to open, the walls sun umbrella, but at least when the music started, she realised it might be time to get her ice out of the tent! she really managed to be gone (almost) when Michael came on stage to the sounds of "Send in the clowns" followed by the killer "Boy from nowhere". I don't know when and how and why he decided to bring these amazing songs in a row. I was hardly able to breath normally during on of these songs and then he does them in a row. And if this was not already enough, the next I remember is the sound of "Phantom of the Opera" and Claire Moore back on stage. It was unbelievable, the way he interacted with Claire Moore was just as if they did this on a regular basis. I have to say she has a very good voice, they matched so good on the singing bit and, oh well the rest. I mean watching him doing the song, listening to his voice........... I was having a constant mixture of goose bumps all over my body, shivers running down my spine. I was not able to close my mouth. I felt all the time Julia's hand grabbing my arm - not that I was any better. Let me put it like this. No matter what I am going to write. Words (at least no words I can think of at the moment) are able to describe this song, this whole moment just roughly adequate. It was just over that we jumped to our feet (that is Julia and me, possible we were the only ones, uhum) and gave standing ovations, yes I know sad! Unfortunately Michael left the stage immediately to give way for Claire again. At least this was the moment I was able to calm down a bit again, well only until "All I ask of you" but who cares.
At his next introduction he told us the next song will be something he has not done for a while and just today decided to put it in. So if it won't work, we should excuse him. And my prays became true. He sang "Sunset Boulevard" just breathtakingly. I mean, God only knows how I managed to survive this night, but I did, LOL would be writing here otherwise? I have to say with his choice of songs he did not make it easy for me and I am sure for many other people. never in my life have I cheered as much as during this concert, esp. the second half. And I mean the best way to show how good he was will be telling you that the whole second half I hardly saw the security guy, cause I was so strictly focused on Michael and his show. The only moment I did see him, was when he jumped of his chair in panic, when everyone got up after "Boy from Nowhere" to give Michael standing ovations.
Maybe he thought the whole venue was about to harm Michael, LOL although I wonder what he would have done then?The musicals bit was officially finished with the beginning of "Walking in Memphis" and "Why haven't I heard from you". The party was about to start. We were invited and there was no way in staying back, we rushed to the stage, well or better barrier and enjoyed ourselves during the usual songs. Michael was in his absolute over top-form. Really honestly, I don't know if he was even better than Harrogate. I don't know, if it was the audience reaction, that was just amazing! The choice of the songs? Well I guess it was a bit of everything and after all: It was Michael Ball! Do I need to say more?
We were told he would certainly end the evening with "You'll never walk alone". He did and again it was fab. He was joined centre stage by Claire Moore and his backing vocals: Anne Skates, Shèna McSwain and Mick Wilson, when the whole venue was singing that song. It was such a great feeling. I even felt great although I knew this would be my last bits of Michael live for a month and I knew I would envy the people going to Audley End, but I was glad to be able to say: I have been there!!!
Michael left the stage, extremely chuffed. And I have to say I had one of the best nights of my life. Despite I regretted some little things like the people responsible for the light always waited for switching the spot on Michael back on until the music for the next song started again. You hardly had a chance to see his reaction towards the audiences reaction. Ok I mean, not too important, but this is an aspect of concerts I just love. I still see his reaction after "A boy from nowhere" at the first Harrogate concert, where he opened his eyes some moments after the cheering set in and saw he got standing ovations in the middle of the show! Missed that bit here.
Outside we met Pam, Jane and Lucie again. Gill and Maureen from the fan club have been there as well and we just stood there, talking a bit and waiting for Michael to come out. It took some time until Michael was finally leaving and we were standing there in our row waiting for him to drive down the street. What followed then, well to say the least I was not very enthusiastic about this. We stood there for quite a time, when the car came closer and some "nice" or in this case rather not so "nice" girls were not content with the chance they had and run after the car, just pushing their way between us and Michael and half jumping into his car. There was no chance in saying bye to him. Sorry if I am stepping on someone's toes, but I don't like this behaviour and I am not used to it. Usually everyone stands there waiting for their chance (at least it has mostly been like that at the concerts I have been to), but pushing other people aside and half jumping into a driving car.... Sorry, I just hope this won't get usual custom, as I am sure, if that will happen, it won't be too long and Michael won't take his time for the fans, but just leave immediately after the concerts. So he was gone finally.
People left immediately, as we were still standing there with the ladies, chatting a bit. After several hugs, bye-byes we finally found ourselves on our way back to the hotel. Watching TV, eating our last English McDonalds menu for some weeks and just talking until after 3 am to get awake again at 7 am.
It was a quite strange feeling, when we got back to the airport together, placing our car in the parking lot and just sitting there, thinking this cannot have been 11 days in England, it was just over so soon At least I did not have to leave Julia immediately, I went with her to Berlin for some days to cope together with her, with my withdrawal symptoms, that hit us really hard!
This report about 11 days in England. I hope you enjoyed it. it was great to write about it and to bring the memories of a fabulous time back. Please do not take everything written here too seriously and on other things: I am no saint, and I do not want to appear like one. Just my subjective view of things I have seen and thoughts crossing my mind.
My last special thank you goes to
Mama: for letting me do, what I did and caring for Placy while I was gone. Without you I could not do all this: Thanks a lot and I love you!!!!
Pat: for taking us for a whole week without moaning and being just so nice
Stella: for being so nice to us (and letting us have a look into your little MB-world J )
Bine. great to finally have met up with you. Hope you are back soon J
Pam, Jane, Lucie, Debbie, Fran and all the other people we have met there and had a fab time with
And last but not least:
Thank you Michael and Cathy for being that nice to me in Harrogate.
Michael I do not know how you do it. So far I have been to 9 concerts in two years and I thought I get used to it one day, but I am not! Each one of these concerts holds special memories for me. Thank you so much for all the wonderful work you do. Lots of love and CU soon in Chelmsford!!!!