Palace Festival - 21st June 2002: Done by Chris Kitchen
Oh what a day. It all started when Jean W from New Zealand arrived at my house with her sister in law Pat. England had just lost in the world cup, but we were off to Londn, so who cared?
We had an uneventful journey got to London, got to the hotel and rang the Seattle group o fans. We all arranged to meet at Waterloo to travel out to Hampton Court together. At Waterloo, we also found Elaine from Edinburgh so a happy gang set off in the sunshine. As soon as we got to Hampton Court, we met Trudy, Marilyn and husbands. A wander round the grounds followed, listening to Michael rehearsing, and meeting numerous friends along the way. Then it was picnic time, and it was lovely sitting on the grass with friends, sharing a happy meal.
As the time approached, there were a few spots of rain, but nothing worth worrying about. We eventually went into the courtyard and took our seats. As the band arrived on stage there were a few really heavy drops of rain, as they played the overture (Jellical Ball) it got heavier, and as Michael burst through the curtains at the centre back, it started to pour!
"This Is The Moment" when Michael appeared wearing a dusky blue open necked shirt and a gorgeous pure white suit! He was looking the best I've seen for a long time, and the hair is now just right for those of us who love the curls! Michael was thoroughly enjoying himself, being able to open up his lungs, and belt out the favourites, as well as the quieter ballads he does so well. He was also enjoying the repartee with the audience, which he said he had missed whilst in Chitty!
We were entertained by a lot of our favourite Michael songs. He once again sang "Lift the Wings", so the torrential rain pouring down my face disguised the tears. Also included were the newer songs of "Get on With Your Short Life", and "Hushabye mountain" - where he told us to imagine we were cuddled up in bed! He then realised what he had said, and got a fit of the giggles!
Claire Moore was guesting, and there were marvelous renditions from Phantom. Claire's voice does so match Michael's for these duets. Sandwiched between Phantom and All I Ask of You, was Claire's solo, which is breathtaking (literally). During this, Michael had changed into a very dark slate grey suit, white shirt and black tie!Truly scrumptious!
There were songs from Les Mis, Evita, and also from Alone Together! When it eventually got to party time, there was the usual rush to the front, by the eager crowd, but I think we were all really pleased to be able to get up, dance and shake off a little of the rain. Michael kindly took pity on us so had no interval, nor did he make us wait for the encore,because of the rain. He thanked the band, full of the regulars, and the backing singers.Unusually there was no Annie, but Mick and Shena were there, along with another singer whose name I didn't quite catch! Michael also thanked the audience for making it such a wonderful evening despite the torrents falling fromn the sky. The concert then wound up with Michael singing Love Changes Everything, and encouraging the whole audience to join in with him!
He is definitely looking sooo fit and happy at the minute. Any excess weight there might have been has vanished, as was shown by the fact that Michael kept having to pull his grey trousers up, and said he was in danger of losing them!!! He was really enjoying the concert environment again, as were we all, and I for one cannot wait for Blickling Hall, where joyfully we will experience it all (apart from the rain, hopefully!)