Manchester... You maybe should know that Manchester and the Bunnies does not go together very well. We usually are quite able to find our way around, but Manchester's signposts don't seem to communicate with us all too clearly. Suffice to say we spent about two hours on the Ring Road when we first spent a day in Manchester some years ago. And today was no exception. Our hotel is only ten minutes drive away from the venue and yet it took us almost an hour to get to the stage door. But anyways, we got there at about 2pm. it was a glorious day. Bright sunshine and there weren't too many people waiting for him. We even got a bit of tan, waiting for him for about 2,5 hours.
When his coach finally arrived the door opened and there he stood looking just gorgeous. Leather jacket, dark blue jeans, gorgeous shirt. We do advice you to have a look at the pictures we took, they are to die for. He stood there for quite a while, telling us he had a lovely day off and hadn't sung yet, so he would not know about his voice. He did say however, that putting in so many different songs that were so demanding, it was taking its toll on his voice. Someone asks how his smoking was going and he said, he was still off the ciggies and he will stay... until the next time. Even though there was now quite a crowd and it's only a short way into the venue, he took his time for photos and to sign things. He was very chatty and relaxed. You could tell he was looking forward to the gig. And after some glorious five minutes everyone left the stage door grinning from ear to ear.
From what we had heard before, we knew the audience would be good. But we had no idea that it would be THAT good. He got an amazing reception from the first moments until he left the stage. His voice was fine again, maybe not 100 %, but definitely a 99 %. He wore his black suit and a tie in striped in different shades of grey.
Sorry to always use similar phrases, but it's hard to write about the variations of the script without always using: "Talking about", "getting to..." etc. So please bear with us, it's also rather late, when we type these things.
So, back to "One Voice". His, as you know by now, 14th album, which by his calculation makes him 34. Massive incredulous laugh from the audience. He says "What? Work with me, if I am 34, you are 32, it works both ways!" We try hard not to feel offended by this, seeing we are only 30 and 27 years old, so we now are officially 28 and 25, which we like!
He mentionned of course that his album is still available, he wanted to point this out, in the foyer... Makes a lovely Easter pressie, too.
Naturally he got his standing ovation for "this is the moment" and it was long and enthusiastic and it just would not stop until he told us to do so, as we were embarassing him.
Overall he was very, very chatty that night. Once he knows he'll get a good reaction from the audience he will just talk and talk. It's wonderful. We had such a laugh. Eventually talking about the ENO and working with a proper orchestra, oh the look on his face as he looked dismissively at his band, saying "They are care of the community" He got the giggles saying "Oh they will play the next song very well. Shot myself in the foot now!" It goes without saying he got an arousing standing ovation for the Kismet songs too.
When the Musical section finished we knew for sure that he once more dropped "High flying adored", "Home" and "A house is not a home" for the sake of his voice. He said he had a special treat for us, but only if people would stop flashing away. He mentionned how distracting they were and sorry he had to vent about this. We have to say he had got a point there, as there were constant flashs going and while there were loads of security there, they did not seem to bother. It actually got a bit better, but really only a bit. Some people just don't get it.
Back to the special treat: He told everyone how he was a judge at "Soapstar Superstar" this year and introduced the lovely Hayley Tameddon. They sang "The Prayer" for us, which was beautiful. Michael singing in italian, it can't get much better. They got a big and cheery standing ovation for it. Annie brought in a flower bouquet for Hayley, which Michael then tried to present to Hayley, but she was so taken by the arousing reception that she did not see it at first and almost ran into it. What a sweetie. And she does have a beautiful voice.
After "Crazy" he did say he apparently got away with it, as apparently no one wants their money back.
The Savoy Story:
He told us that the TV Royal Family was much more fun than the real one. Also he advised us never ever to put a time on, when you will be back home after a party, the blokes in the audience would know.
He told us how "some bright spark.... i don't know who it was...." wink wink cough cough.... had the idea to move the party into the bar. And then came the bit with the manager and boy, has the story grown. He just did not stop, it was hysterical. This French accent got wilder and wilder and the sentence longer and longer. It got to a point, where even the band and Bvs (usually rather detached as they now know the story quite well) were laughing and clapping and shaking their head in disbelief. It was so funny. Even the security people giggled. Oh, and he did mention that they were in "The Sun" the next day and how cool that was.
So we get to the point, where he had left the party and goes outside and "you know what it's like, when the air hits you .... and the earth suddenly seems to be spinning faster."
ROFL, so we are back to his mantra. Funnily enough, we had just the other day discussed, how amazed we were he never mixes it up. You know the bit about "pay the driver, open the door, put off your clothes, go to bed." Tonight he did! He said he got it wrong and started "I paid the driver, I opened the door.... No, I did not" ... laugther. And he told it properly.
And this time he slurred "I bloody love you! Can I have some chips?" to "she-who-must-be-obeyed" (who was in attendance, btw.).
The only drawback to the night was that people started running to the stage far too early, but as he was in a very good mood he did not try to stop the people from doing so.
Before "Love changes everything" really everybody was on their feet and he was close to tears. He said that today he was asked, why he loved performing in Manchester so much. He just opened his arms, looked at us all and said "that is why" he is always looking forward to his Manchester concerts.
It was another brilliant night and despite our slight signpost communication problem we will surely try to be back, when he is next appearing in Manchester.
Manchester, you rock!