|Thursday, 27th November 2003 - Stansted International Airport
On the road again..... Just can't wait to get back on the road again.... ladadi.... ladada... uhm... ooops, sorry, we'll shut up! Just be happy, we don't put sound clips of ourselves here ;-). But here we are (back-on-the-road-again- not putting-sound-clips-on-), bunnies doing south England once more! Uhm, maybe we should shut up, before it starts to sound more and more juicy? So here the review is finished. Thanks for reading, we had a brilliant time! Maybe not? LOL, okay, here we go:
For the first time ever we are in England having an English car. Actually, a Rover it is and we are doing England the hard way: Arriving in complete darkness we have to find our way to dearest Angela's and Darren's house! Easy! WHA? You are not trusting our path-finding skills? Just because we were driving around Hartlepool for half an hour, not being able to find Pat's house, where we've been before? Hey, we have an address for Angela's house and we know we are on a good way once we found "Safeways". And we have a mobile phone - yes you guessed right - is a blessing as we get a tiny bit desperate after driving through "Safeways" roundabout for the tenth time, no idea where to go next.
Welcomed we are by the sight of Angela's beautiful new.... excuse me? FROZEN CAR! Please tell us Volvos usually come with a frosted surface... okay, maybe not! So, yes it's cold, but who cares having such a great landlady who don't only offers us big hugs, but frozen (well of course now oven-baked) pizza and hot chocolate? You start to wonder, if she talked to Pat over the last two weeks? Or does our reputation travel that fast? If not and in case you ever happen to have the Bunnies in your house, here are the Golden Rules to Bunny-Happiness: Michael Ball, frozen pizza, Michael Ball, driving around England, Michael Ball, Hot chocolate, Michael Ball and in summer (though we hardly are in England in summer) milk shakes..... and humm what did we for.... oh yes: MICHAEL BALL.
Come to think of it, our reputation does travel. Darren is not there! Actually, he had to go on a business trip to Japan.... humm... when we were in England in June he had to get to New Zealand on short notice .... Okay, Darren we got the message, but London would've done as well! Did it have to be JAPAN? Though as it is way past 4.30 am, when we got to bed, he might have done a wise thing by just leaving us alone ;-).
Friday, 28th November 2003 - Cardiff / Wales
After a lovely night on Angela's guest bed, we awaken to the unbelievable thought of seeing Michael again. Hurrah! Excitement builds as we get our concert outfits packed for our sixth concert of this tour. Innocently parts of us walk down to our car opening it with the remote control (don't you just love that?). Getting to the boot to get the shoes out, when a horrible alarm sets off..... Oooer, shut up, shut up... oh my god, we have a car alarm... uhm shut up... please.... uhm... maybe it helps if we close and open the car with the keys? PLEASE (Meanwhile in the house: We have a panic-stricken Angela running to the window, fearing it is her car alarm, that just went off! No, darling it's not!). Ah it worked, silence. Phew... So let's open the boot. GURRRRR horrible noise once more... ARRRRRGH!!!!! Silence produced once more after Angela ran to the window again! Half of Chippenham should be awake by now. A bit panicky, the boot is finally opened, this time the car stays silent, thank god! Traumatised? Bunny Kerstin? You bet! Oooer!
What's better after such an experience than to have a nice breakfast, accompanied by the presence of Michael at Des and Mel (on video)! Gosh, is he funny, lovely and sexy there? (It's only the voice!). Perfect way to start a concert day, actually! Around noon, we are back on the road, once more: This time, driven by Angela and led by her lovely Volvo, that is led by nice navigation system! We have to upgrade our cars for our next trips!
We are brilliantly perfect in time for the stage door, the weather seems to get a bit better from way to dryness at least and at some points you can imagine there is a sun behind all those dark clouds that get lighter. Traffic Jam! Suddenly we are in the middle of a traffic jam! Nightmare! Get us to Cardiff in time, please Chitty, please! Angela's car is lovely, but it refuses to do the Chitty part and so we have to wait until traffic is rolling again! And just as we decide to leave the motorway at the next junction we really start to drive once more. Quick decisions have to be made and the bunnies vote for staying on the motorway! Yep, you guessed right, just after we were past this junction, we were jammed again! GREAT! Whatever is going on: Listen to what the bunnies have to say and then do the contrary!
Still we are lucky. Only one mile later we get floating again and head towards Severn Bridge, which surprises us with an unbelievable toll of £4,50, excuse me? We don't remember it being so expensive! A bit feeling comes up with Kerstin, when Julia gets more and more quiet in the back of the car. We should say, that this part of the bunnies got problems with her circulation over our last trip, feeling all sick with low blood pressure! And now it hit her again!
Getting closer and closer and closer nice little man in the navigation system tells us. Only problem: Angela has not been to Cardiff very often, the places we cross don't seem familiar to Kerstin, Julia is not really fine enough to tell, but the system tells us we are more or less there! What's even more scary: Last time we found signs early, we must have, otherwise we'd never found it on our own. Now, we are supposed only to be 300 yards away from the venue, but no signs so far! But should we really criticise posh car as the nice little man hiding in the navigation system? Nope, better not tell your thoughts of "But we are in the right city, aren't we?"
No signs of the CIA! Or the FBI! LOL, okay, cheap one, but we don't have the Cardiff International Arena signs and still our little man tells us, we reached our destination, when.... hang on: THERE IT IS!! YES! Now let's find a car park! Humm... We have, but obviously one that's only made for Minis and not posh big Swedish cars!
3.30 pm as we get out of the car. Big question: Has he or has he not... arrived that is! The fans' To Be Or Not To Be.
Run, run, pray, run, pray, run.... YES! People standing there! :-D And the big question, panic-stricken looks thrown at the others: "He's....?" "No!" "YES :-D!"
Ladadi ladada, we might see him arrive, ladadi, happy bunnies :-D. YES! Hum, but what more? Certainly not the best stage door. There is a barrier. Michael will drive through in his coach, the gates will close again and we will stand there, zoo-feeling as we watch him get out, look at us, smiling pitifully, saying "You look pretty daft standing in all that rain. Have you no homes to go to? Get inside and a hot drink!" And off he goes, leaving us wet, cold and sadly happy.... It was so much worth it (and that is in no way meant in an ironic sense! Which really should make us wonder re our sanity....)!
No, no, no, hang on. No rain! Sunshine, actually! Oh, that was October 2000, same place and vivid cold memories. Yeah, still cold, but at least not wet.
Ooooh, ooooh, oooooh. People carrier is leaving, good sign? Michael might come soon! Hopefully, as bunny Julia still does not look good and supposedly is far from being good and certainly doing the stage door today might not be the best idea ever, but there you go! Actually her circulation dropped and only Michael could make her get out of the car, or the thought of seeing him. So we hope for a quick arrival that allows us to just sit down somewhere!.
Black coach, "Beat the Street" pulls up the street... Something was.... Oh! There he is! It's his coach! He's coming!
There he is, as expected. The coach pulled inside the gated area. We don't see much. Mind you, we hear hm. Uhm.... Gates open???? Still???? So, one bunny dashes over, forgetting about the other bunny (sorry Julia) in her expedition to find the natural borders of Michael Ball - fandom... or in this case not. Soon bunnies are re-united, standing inside the gated area, like many other fans, having a brilliant view on Michael! And this man just doesn't leave (as if we ever wished him to!). He seems to be talking to everyone, being completely relaxed chatty and - mind you - drop-dead-gorgeous (the voice only of course!).
Business as usual....
And what happened then? Our sweet hostess, driver and friend was determined to get us a photo with Michael. Asking us several times. Not a good idea though... considering Julia actually feels like passing out any second, unfortunately not due to Michael!
Hum, Angela is persistent as you don't waste such an opportunity (Michael + time + stage door + willing photographer). So, what do you do? Finally Julia remembers her three-year-long ambition. Getting the bunnies not only on a photo, but on a video with Mr. Michael Ball!
A two-second instruction of how to work the camera and a stopped West End star later (hang on, was that Julia, just going over to Michael and asking him? For the very first time? WOW! Is that the secret? GEtting her sick, miserable, shaky, rotten? No, probably not a pattern we should stick to in the future!)
He greeted us enthusiastically " Hey girls, good to see you!" Oh my god, now we have TWO bunnies on the brink of fainting, he recognised us! And while we gladly get positioned, one on either side of him, his hands around our shoulders, ours on his back Angela gets a "lovely to see you!" Smile.
We still don't believe what happened then: Angela asked him to say something for us and only then he realised it was not a camera, but a camcorder. "Oh, you are filming this?" Three bunnies (Angela being bunny of honour) reply "yes!" unisonous.
Michael being Michael gave us an impressive display of his professionalism as an actor: He hid our faces by his hands, ducking is down, exclaiming:
"It's only about me! I am important!"
In doing so he practically forced us (being now blinded by his hands) to cling to his chest. Pulling us closer. WE ACTUALLY HAD OUR HEADS THERE! EAR TO HIS CHEST!!! Moments of bliss! We were, all four of us, laughing out loud..so much fun...and we two been on the verge of a nervous breakdown. He knows how to please his audience!
This is the second "Nothing will ever beat this!!!" experience during the tour!
We think, he went straight in afterwards. We cannot remember as we were in a state of cloud-nininess. But he was gone, so yes, we assume that much! Another brilliant side-effect ... and we are not kidding you here: Julia is feeling much better now! Being on Michael's chest was obviously all that was needed. Hum, wonder if Michael would oblige providing this remedy each time one bunny is feeling that ill!
Floating back to the town centre, on our now own private cloud. Doing rather unexciting stuff like Christmas-shopping, film-shopping (explaining a Jessops clerk what kind of films they've got and yes, that they are different) and we are food-hunting. As you can see, quite mundane affairs after such a celestial encounter.
Beautiful Christmas decorations and craft fairs in Cardiff. You feel a little reminded to all the Christmas markets everywhere in Germany! Finally though we found KFC and got our popcorn-chicken. Then it's time to get changed, which we do in the car park, as no one is around (still envying Michael for his warm, cozy dressing-room). And off we go to our next concert.
Our seats in row C are brilliant, and unexpectedly once more aisle seats. Seems like there's going to be a stage run once more! The song-list seems to be basically the same than last concerts.
Audience reactions are fab and we get standing ovations after "Boy from Nowhere", Love Story bits and "This is the moment!". Michael really gets better and better all of the time!
The Anti-flash thing is asked again. "I got lots of letters from people saying it's disturbing and distressing! I hope the mean the flashes!" (laughing). Well you never know, Michael ;-)
As we get the introduction to "This guy's in love with you" Michael changed his text a bit and tells us cutely: "Sorry girls, boys don't like to be honest!" It seems to be the hardest thing for some of them and you believe him, when he quotes the most awful possible reaction of the beloved girl.: "Awwww, that's lovely. I feel flattered!" Poor boy!
We get a long and beautiful introduction to "Empty Chairs" about how this musical - after 18 years - still touches people of different races, religions and genders. How he was honoured to be the first one to sing this song. According to him, actually "Les Mis" holds a different meaning for everyone around the world. And you only have to open the newspaper, watch the news to see how much relevance this musical still has today.
At the end of the night, we use our aisle seats well and get to the front. We are there in the centre and have a great view on Michael, who is just so overwhelmed by the once more very enthusiastic reception he received from the Welsh audience! He truly is very touched and the audience is right! We know we keep saying that after each concert, but so far he got better and better every time we see him!
Only the stage door was left now and we did our best to get out and around the venue as quick as possible. Michael kept leaving very quickly sometimes, so you really never know and better rush instead of missing him by seconds. But as we get there, he is still inside and will be for some more minutes. The crowds around the gated area grow. The problem is, there is not too much space with a street directly behind the venue. This seems to get the security going, who put up barriers and shout at each and everyone who just puts a toe off the pavement!
As there is no chance in getting close and you wont see anything near the gated entrance we decide to take our places on the pavement that divides the two lanes of the street. Obviously they don't mind us standing there. Actually it's fun to stand there and see how the security tries to keep everyone from the street. An impressive display of truck-driver ability later (One of the big tour trucks just turned on the street without hitting or damaging anything! Amazing!) people are leaving from the stage door and only minutes later, there he is: Mr. Michael Ball!
He got out, shortly thanked us for being there, saying they still had a five hour journey ahead of them. It was funny though to see the group reaction. Before he got out, everyone was on the pavement as ordered, being neatly in line. Just when he got out, everyone kept dashing over to him, mind you, running on the street. And guess what the security people did? Nothing, but more or less excitedly watched Michael, being the star. No one seemed to care for security anymore until - supposedly the boss of the security crowd - shouted like mad at the people and told them to get back onto the pavement! Brilliant work, guys! LOL
Moments later he left in the big tour coach. We kept waving and then it was over! Michael was gone, that was our first day of the last three concerts. Wow! Unbelievable, but that must have been our best Michael-day ever so far!