After these four concerts we all had a day off. Michael apparently spent his in Ipswich while we headed down to London to see the amazing Daniel Radcliffe in Equus. If you do get a chance: Go, see it. It’s amazing! 2,5 hours of exquisite theatre pleasure.
We spent a lovely day in London and headed up to Ipswich which is after all not that far away. Roughly a 2-hours-drive, if the streets behave, what they luckily did (unlike last time, when we just got to the stage gate in time for Michael). We even managed to find the venue again, which seemed to be the hardest part of the adventure. Yes, it is a bit pathetic, that we had already been there and still got lost after many: “Oh, we’re right, I remember this street, but where to go next?”
As we’ve been to Ipswich on the last tour, we did not have much to do and ended up at the stage door (knowing he’d surely arrive quarter past four it was a bit pathetic, but there you go). It does not help, standing there for ages and knowing the stage door is not ideal (to put it mildly – well for us, for Michael and might be the perfect stage door). You basically stand in front of those massive entrance gates to the venues car park (for crew and so on, not for concert-goers). Last time his coach stopped in front of the gates, window open. He chatted for maybe a minute and that was it. The coach drove in, Michael waved and off he was. There was only a tiny hope we’d get a bit more of him.
4:15 pm, the coach pulled up the street, through the gates and yes they stood open and everyone kept waiting at this not visible line, where the gates should have been, waiting for Michael to get out of the coach, which he did. Looking gorgeous, wearing only a t-shirt and the merchandise Michael Ball gilet. He chatted shortly, but I guess no one wanted to keep him for a long time, as it was not that warm out there. Anyway, thank you for taking the time and making the effort to come over to us, Michael.
After the grey-pink trauma we better say not much more about his clothes (on stage). We’d say his tie was blue, and he wore a grey pin-striped suit, but take no responsibility for the correctness of this information. Let’s say: He looked dashing.
If we don’t mention the standing ovations at all, it just means he got the usual ones for “This is the moment”, “Strangers in Paradise”-“This is my beloved”-medley and half a standing ovation for “Show must go on”.
Leading us towards the Kismet songs he was going to start to grow a beard after the tour had finished, he said: “And I really don’t think I will be able to do it … I am not growing a beard to become a recluse, well you never know…” And he went on explaining about Kismet and the ENO.
He said that “Crazy” is becoming his favourite song of the show. We couldn’t agree more!
Introducing the Savoy Story he said he is not proud of what had happened, but he decided to share as it is supposed to be a good thing…. “to share” he meant.
We could tell it was a whole new crowd this night. Many of the regulars were not doing Ipswich and it was great to hear all those little gasps again. Most people sitting behind us clearly had not heard the Savoy story before. When he finally got to this really bad cocktail pianist at the American Bar, explaining how bad he played those Andrew Lloyd Webber tunes, all in the wrong rhythms he suddenly turned mid-sentence asking his pianist “Well, that’s where I met you, is not it?”
When he’s in the character of the French bar manager going on about them having a “complete competent pianist” people kept laughing and made Michael stop, having the giggles, saying “I can’t do this if you make me laugh.”
So, when we managed to get to 11:30 (in the story, not in theatre. Unfortunately, we would not have minded ;-)). He knew he was in a “teeny, tiny bit of trouble.” Getting out into the real air hitting you, he wondered, who made the world go faster and pleaded it to slow down. At this point at the latest, you cannot help, but wonder how a night in a pub with Michael Ball telling stories must be. Fantastic!
The Regent as such is not an ideal venue. The sound was not working too well for us. A shame seeing we were sat in row F in the very centre! It was far too hot in there, the air could have been better and we already feared for the poor wheelchair users, that were positioned on the ends of the front row.
What spoilt the evening not only for them were the people who started rushing down the aisle way too early. It all began with one very cheeky single woman slowly walking down the aisle. We were a bit surprised, as that seemed to be a weird moment to go over to the loos (that were situated just at the sides of the stage!). The song did not even have started properly by now, so we did not really think, this was a try to rush to the stage, until she stopped at the stage, turning, broadly smiling. Now everything was los. Everyone seemed to be dashing to the stage. In all fairness we have to say that Michael did his very best to stop it, but it was way too late. Nevertheless he told them to go back, they were way too early. He even turned his back to the crowd and stopped singing, but with those masses already standing at the stage he was on lost grounds. So he continued, looking everything but happy.
Actually, when he reached the appropriate point into the song he stressed out that “THIS” would have been the moment to come down.
We mentioned before they do use a lot of smoke and the stage is very small, so eventually all these fast runners were drowned in smoke, caughing loudly, which Michael enjoyed and remarked upon, saying “That’ll teach them.”
He usually ends “I don’t feel like dancing” in the big John Travolta pose, now this time he knocked down his microphone, doing so. He picked it up again, we had a laugh and he went off stage. No damage done…. We thought….. Until he returns to start the first line of “One Voice” a capella and you just could not hear a single thing. He had such a laugh and with all dignity… turned around, strode back to where Callum was standing, got the replacement microphone, turned to us again, as if nothing had ever happened.
Seeing this is our last but one concert it was over far too soon. And by the time we got out of the venue Michael had already left.
We cannot believe how fast these last two weeks have gone by. Only one day off and then is Cardiff, our last concert. Ipswich might not be one of our favourite venues, but we’d still want to repeat it again and again instead of going home in two days time…..
So off to Wales and let’s hope for a little bit of sunshine…. For once!