As you can imagine we were quite a bit anxious about today's concert. So we arrived early at the stage door. We parked at a NCP car park across the street knowing fully well that it would cost us a fortune, but there you go.
It was a glorious day once more. We even had our roof down in our convertible car on the way to Edinburgh . Anyways, we started proper stage-dooring shortly before 3pm. While waiting we met so many lovely people, most of them from the fan club forum. We had so much fun that we forgot about the aching feet and usual stage door boredom. And then, really early, it must have been merely half past three Michael's coach pulled up the street. Now the Usher Hall's stage door has a similar layout to the one in Oxford , a very narrow alleyway and this time even a gate the bus has to pass. There were so many people that we knew our chances of getting close to him were slim. Mind you, seeing Michael was unwell the night before we did not want to keep him outside for longer than was necessary anyway.
It took only seconds until the small gap between the bus and the building was blocked by fans. We stood at the back using our zooms while other people were not as relaxed and kept shoving and pushing to reach him. It got pretty wild. One woman even grabbed Kerstin's hips and shoved her by the side. We could not believe it. Similar things happened to other people. They even asked him to take pictures and you can tell from the pictures on the website how chuffed he was, standing there in the cold…. Not! He was in after a few minutes and we asked Andrew how Michael was. He told us the long journey was to blame and that they were all very tired and exhausted. As you may know, whether concert is cancelled or not depends on the sound check. So we left the stage door, still not sure whether the concert would go ahead as planned or not.
After some shopping and uploading of the stage door photos to the website we returned to the venue to check for any signs of a cancellation before we would go through the trouble of getting changed in the car park. But luckily everything seemed to go according to plan. The front of house staff was busy opening doors and so we went to posh up.
The Usher Hall is a beautiful venue and we were set right at the aisle of row C, quite perfect actually as it is a rather high stage. Oh and we did see Tara this time again and really enjoyed her performance.
And then there he was and seemed ever so much better than yesterday. You could still hear the voice being a bit edgy, but that is hardly surprising after almost four weeks of touring. He wore black suit with thin blue pin-stripe, a black shirt and a blue tie. As it was the first song, we were all on our feet, clapping along happily, when we could see a security man approaching two fans in the front row, right underneath Michael's nose. We had no idea what his intention was, seeing we were all standing there. Why talking to these two in particular? The unfortunate man had no idea Michael had seen it too. He came forward on the stage while singing pointed at him with a threatening look. You would not believe how fast a security man can disappear.
After the first two songs Michael told the audience he had a little frog in his throat, but he would not let that stop him from being there.
Talking about One Voice and doing his usual 14 albums per year since he was 20 calculation he got the incredible laugh he anticipated. He merely smiled “Work with me, it's a two way traffic. If you work with me I'll work with you. You must have been 16.”
There seemed to have been a little sound problem. Nothing obvious, but if you watched him closely which we sure do, you could see him gesturing to the sound desk now and then. We gather his ear monitors were too loud and that the band should be tuned down a little bit, but that is pure guesswork.
When he got to the bit about working with a proper orchestra with the ENO and everyone went aww for the band he said “I didn't say anything they are very good …. For their price range. For 20 pounds and a bag of chips.
He got a standing ovation for “This is the moment” and the Kismet songs. And the generally very lively audience gave him such an intense and long applause that he actually stood up from his stool between “Empty Chairs” and “Tell me it's not true” and thanked us.
Talking about “Tell me it's not true” we both thought that the concert flies by more quickly then it usually does. And it took us quite a while to work out why. He omitted three songs. No “High flying adored”, “Home” or “A House is not a Home”. A wise decision for he has only one day off and then four concerts in a row. “High flying adored” is very short, so easily left out. And both other songs are very demanding songs, both in a different way and we felt they were causing him the most severe problems last night.
He also kept reaching into his pocket and where he probably kept some candy or such to keep the voice going.
He told us, when he first heard “Crazy” he wondered if he'd get away with it and judging from the rousing reception, he did.
Getting to the Savoy story: He mentioned, when it got four'o'clock (the time he promised he'd be home) he could not possibly leave, it would have been rude. Talking about all the glamorous guests of the South Bank Awards he said Lesley Garrett was there. Well he tried to and got to “Lesley G…” and made a pause for thought, finally remembering her surname and admitting that “my brain went there”.
He told us how they all had fun until Rob Brydon decided to sing “Delilah” to the key of Q which kind of hurt and made his teeth bleed he said.
Party time was just great, only that a few people started running too early, but not dramatically so. Just for your info, the official running moment is at the line “Having a good time” quite appropriately. Apparently the security people tried to do their job, because Michael quickly changed the lyrics to “ Don't stop them now, cause they're having a good time! ”
All in all it was a wonderful concert. He seemed ever so much more relaxed and confident. We love the atmosphere in Scotland . We sure hope Michael will feel much better when he comes to the Manchester concert. We want to say thank you again to all those wonderful people we met. It was a brilliant night out!