here we are, just on our way to Blackpool. What do 2 Germans know about Blackpool? Not much is the simple answer. There is a Tower and a Pleasure Beach and the way you hear people talking about it, you expect kind of Great Britain's Las Vegas, well maybe rather Atlantic City!
On our way to Stella's we changed cars at Pat's parents. We left her Ford Fiesta there to go for the very comfy Alpha Romeo, purrrrrrr ... Just love that car! Strangely everyone keeps asking us, if we'd ever been to Blackpool and each time you reply: "Nope, first time!" you get this "Poor girls! Don't know what they let themselves in for!" glances or sometimes the "Dammit! So far they believed we were sophisticated!" views! So we are dying to find more about this Babylon of England!
We can look back onto an impressive (cough, cough) three-year-period of travelling London and England together! I can't even count anymore how often we had been on the isles during this period. We went through several highlights of British Cuisine Culture: Kerstin tried Marmite (Julia was "happy" with only smelling!). One little taste and we were finished with Marmite: been there, done that! Fine! Then we went on to Mince Pies and again we were not too excited, to say the least! So this time we stopped to give original English food another chance! "Fish and Chips"! We hit Kirkby Stephen,a tiny little market town! Anyway, all the places selling Fish and chips were closed! Monday does not seem to be a good Fish and Chips day! So we finally went for a tea-room and treated ourselves to a cup of hot chocolate and something to eat! Who'd have thought, that while we were having a nice, cosy meal, a certain performer we all know each other for was already entering the Blackpool Opera House!
Now, what we could see so far, Blackpool is certainly a strange place! Not as much Las Vegian as we thought! Though there is hardly a car, this town seems to have the highest number of parking spaces per inhabitants of most towns on earth! Mind you: They were all completely deserted! Just as deserted as the whole beach (okay that's likely in November, with or without sunshine! Mind you we had sunshine and I have the photo to prove it ;-)).
As we were late anyway, our hopes have not been too high to be in time! Still thinking he might be in at around 4 pm! We drove past the stage door around 4.30 pm and could see the coaches and everything had already been there! Hoooray! OH well, still some more concerts to go this week, aren't there? We got to our lovely hotel, left Pat and Stella for a little break (LOL from us ;-)) and enjoyed our fabulous sea-view we. And later on "The weakest link". LOL too funny, once that is over, you just know, you should start with getting dressed! And mind you: Michael is a great mediator of knowledge. Unfortunately I don't remember the questions at the moment, but we had several questions we could only answer because of Michael and the knowledge we achieved more or less through him (I fear not directly L ).
About a quarter past five, we are back at the Wintergardens that include the Opera House. We have a similar feeling than in Newcastle. There aren't that many people you know. We try to do our friends-spotting, but aren't very successful: It's very crowded in the little foyer and we should admit we have to be blind. But hey luckily we are found by several people, weyhey! Let's better have our eyesight checked one of these days!
But what happens once 8pm is coming closer and closer is the weirdest feeling I think both of us ever had! Here we are sitting in front of the Blackpool Opera House, where Michael Ball will be having a concert just minutes later. Everyone is rushing in, and what are we doing? We sit down at one of the tables outside and wait! Michael won't be on now! He will start his bit at 8:50pm! We know that! And still it's a strange feeling, as if you expect all the time, that the Magnets might not be on today and Michael will start immediately! You could truly call it guilt!
Instead of listening to the Magnets we are chatting away and as we look totally edible Pat just has to take a photo of the gorgeous bunnies (LOL, hey we are! ;-)).
Question to the webmasters: If you don't go to see the Magnets, how on earth do you know, when their part is over?
Answer: Nothing more easy than that!
Firstly: The Magnets ask everyone to get up for their last song! Sitting outside, you see that this is the moment quite a number of fans sneak their way out to the toilets!
Second: The ushers open the doors again.
Thirdly: A wild, mad bunch of women storms out of the auditorium and splits basically into three groups! The first one dashes (and we mean dash!) their way through to the toilets. The second bunch heads towards the bar. While the last bunch just gathers around in the foyer to let the time until the concert really starts pass!
After a little while we try to find our way to our seats, which is not as easy as one could think. I don't know, who created the seating chart for this venue, but he or maybe she, certainly wanted to stay unforgotten - successful in a way - at least for us! It's really hard to describe. The counting does not start at the end of one row and then goes on through the row. It rather starts in the centre and from there to the right side (seeing it from stage) you have the uneven numbers and to the other side you have the even numbers. That means that we are sitting at each others side, having the numbers 11 and 13! V Strange!
Not even completely sat down we discover a nice lady at our side who recognises us from the Liverpool summer Pops in 2001, where she sat at our side as well! Funny how you shall meet again J . Just when we get prepared for the show we find Tony, Michael's dad, sitting just a few rows back from us! This certainly will be a fabulous concert!
After starting in Newcastle with second row tickets we were just as lucky this time. Once more we were sitting in the second row! Only shortly after the lights fade and the music starts we hear THAT voice again and another couple of seconds later he is back! Michael Ball just getting on stage like what seems to be inches away! Yes, should be a great concert J . Whoever is interested: He had two glasses of water standing there on stage and he was wearing both chains and both famous bracelets. Maybe Cathy should be careful with the jewellery she is giving him as presents ;-). Anyway he looks gorgeous, great, fit, slim and better than ever.... And excuse me, but how on earth does he manage to look almost the same as in 1996. You would not think he is just one day older!
The first half of the show is exactly like it was in Newcastle. This time "Just When" is a song " I wrote it for someone I love very much." Awwwww. What else was important? Michael got once more standing ovations for "Boy from nowhere". You can really feel that he strives for those standing ovations!
The "Love Story" section is completely unchanged of course. His explanations and descriptions of how you feel when you lost a love and how you suddenly start looking around for another love. Thinking it can happen everywhere, maybe as well in a concert hall! It's so cute to have him looking around for the one person. Eagerly scanning the audience, looking into the crowd, starting to flirt and then you can just see that the girl he just threw an eye on is joined by her boy-friend or husband! Poor performer! But then you see this very special person and, if you are lucky someone might introduce you. You fall in love, but what then? "You have to tell the person how you feel, otherwise there is no way forward for the relationship." Then you have this fabulous honeymoon period, where you just want to spend as much time as possible with the person you love!
"And suddenly you think :She doesn't know me at all..." And as he would say: Then everything goes horribly wrong and you get to the point that you see, we were not meant to be. "There is only one way to get over a broken heart..." (points at screen, Me and My Shadow is shown). While Michael gets backstage to change we are treated with the video of Michael and Antonio and we can see it far better than the day before!
When Michael gets back on stage we have the first change in programme. Michael is singing "Don't rain on my parade". I bet loads of people were quite happy afterwards when Michael changed over into singing "This is the moment" and "Empty Chairs at Empty tables". Only afterwards we see what is missing. Instead "Vaults of Heaven" we change over into "Bread of Heaven", having to admit this change seems to work better than before the change.
Other changes include the loss of the Chitty medley, for which we have "Dancing in the Dark" back. Then in the middle of the song, just as Michael is dancing away having fun, something starts flying through the air landing hard on the stage. Michael does not show any sign of surprise and just goes on with the song. Only after the song he gets over to pick whatever it was up and put it into his pocket. Luckily only one of the bunnies is blind and the other one saw that it was the newish bracelet whose clasp opened.
Help yourself ( "You're not fed up with this song, are you?" "Nooooooo!!!" "Me neither!" ). Once more the whole venue - including his father - are on their feet dancing and having the time of their lives. I wish you love ( usual pause after the line Never lovers... he looks around, giggles and says "I'm not sure!" Laughter, then continues Ever freinds..).
We find our way to the stage door, where we finally meet up with some of our friends and meet for the first time ever Joan's lovely niece. As Michael takes some time getting out we have a lovely chat, until we are asked to move over a bit, because the tour coach wants to pull backwards to the front of the exit. So far we don't know we are going to be witnesses of bad fan behaviour once more L .
Everyone neatly gets in line to say bye to Michae. We step back slightly in the hope of getting some neat photos and maybe a nice video of Michael leaving, while Joan stands close to the coach with her niece, who sits in a wheel chair. There is loads of space in front of them, so the chances are there for Nadine to say bye to Michael! Unfortunately it only ends up like it almost always does. Once Michael can be seen and the flashs and the screams start many people try to get their share of Michael and rush to the coach door! Hooray! Michael got in quickly and I cannot blame him. Nadine ended up with not even seeing anything of Michael! It's really a bit sad this has to happen all the time! I know most of the people don't mean it and it's a lot of excitement, but I wished they could sometimes be a bit more considerate!
The coach slowly drives up the street and Michael takes as much time and effort to say bye to as many people as possible and then he is gone once more. Little do we know what a great party was waiting for us after the show, when we gave our good-byes to our friends to meet up with Pat and Stella again for a night to remember!