>>  Bunny Diaries
Manchester - most memorable
10/03/09 @ 06:58:58 pm, Categories: Shows, Pre Stage Door, General, Travel, 896 words   English (US)

This morning we woke up to severe weather warnings and gales of 70 miles per hour. This slowed down our journey to Manchester, a bit. We would have been there nice and early, but Lisa (the sat nav) had decided to guide us through Manchester city, where we more or less stood for 30 minutes.

We got there in time for Michael, but unfortunately there was no space left for our car, apart from one car park belonging to a wholesaler. So, we just parked there and got to the stage door. We were a bit apprehensive about our little parking space, but then there was a continuous flow of traffic. So we stood there and waited in the freezing storm. We certainly had seen many nicer days. Roughly a quarter to five the “Star Security” began to move us all from the street, so the bus would be able to drop Michael off at the stage door. The bus finally arrived, reversed and stopped directly in front of the stage door. Michael got off, looking lovely and sounding much better than yesterday. He did say though that he had a tired throat. Naturally he got in rather quickly. We would not want him standing in a fierce storm.

But what happened next does not have anything to do with Michael, really, but it certainly cost us quite a number of years. Goooood….. okay, if you are only interested in the concert review, just skip this paragraph and get down the “the concert” bit. Otherwise, read on:

So: Here we were, Michael had just got in and we were happily talking to friends, when a quick glance to the car park stopped us dead in our tracks. They were just locking the gates and driving away. We tried to make a mad dash for it, but too late. The car was in there, locked behind a massive metal fence. All our belongings were in the car, including tickets (row F, Centre), the hotel confirmations, just about everything, apart from us and our purses.

Brilliant, just brilliant. First we phoned the company that guards the premises, but low and behold, they had no key to the car park (we still wonder how the hell they would be protecting the premises without a key to the gate!). Then we phoned the company itself, but of course no one answered the phone. With the help from our friends we even tried the non-emergency police hotline, no joy. We would have to wait until they opened again at nine am the next day. We should mention that our hotel was a 20 minutes car ride away. We were stuck, without tickets, without clothes to change, without anything really. Said friend offered to get us to our hotel after the show and we then decided to make the most of the rotten situation and try to get ticket duplicates. So we headed to the box office and asked for their help. The guy there could not really understand our problem and kept asking, if we could not just get the tickets out of the car. That would be much easier. “well, but would not be able to climb the fence!” we informed him. He then replied this would not be a problem, as they were using said carpark for the concert parking and would re-open it around six. The guy manning the main car park should have the keys. We could have kissed him!!!! A true Eureka moment. Oh and by the way, we have not been alone with our plight. There was another car locked in as well. If they had put up signs, saying they would re-open the thing it would have spared us a nasty shock, an hour of the day spent with desperate phone calls and the embarrassment at the box office. But hey, this is the kind of adventure that will make a wonderful stage door anecdote in the future. We then had a very rushed dinner (thanks for having us!) and did not get changed in the end. At least we had our tickets.

Concert time:

Initially we were worried about Michael’s voice, but this proved to be unnecessary. He sounded wonderful and the audience adored him. This was the reception he deserves every night. The place went completely wild and he seemed so relaxed and even added a little dance to “Human”. The key change in The Rose remained as did the two omissions. A little strain was still audible, but only when you were in the know.

Loads of standing ovations, standing through the first two songs too! Cheers and applause in abandon. This was the perfect audience. It was just such an enjoyable experience being part of the excitement and seeing how it moved everybody on stage.

Just before the encore Michael admitted to having been nervous before he got onto the stage, because of his voice, but everything was fine now and he was close to tears when he took his final bow, repeating “amazing” over and over again. For us this was definitely the best audience so far.

We love you Manchester and wonder whether this atmosphere can be beaten by any of the future concerts. We have our doubts. But we hope for the best. It was all so well deserved. The perfect end to a turbulent day. Next stop: Ipswich..

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Newcastle - A night to remember
10/02/09 @ 06:57:35 pm, Categories: General, 882 words   English (US)

After a fabulous concert in Edinburgh we enjoyed a „day off“ or so it felt. We decided to drive down to Newcastle, slowly. Meaning we would not go down via the motorways, but rather take the smaller A and B streets. And it was so much worth it! We discovered some really lovely, pretty little towns and beaches, impressive castles and time generally just flew by until we reached Newcastle. We are happy to report that we did not experience any further scares en route.

In Newcastle we were greeted by fairly wet and grey weather. Nevertheless we had a wander around and took a few pictures, did some minor shopping until we finally made our way to the stage door. There were already a few fans waiting even though it was still early-ish for stagedooring.

We knew our friends would only get there around half past three so we hoped he would not arrive too early. They arrived just after the coach had left to pick him up. He arrived earlier than usual and his first sentence to us was, well it was more of a noise than a sentence. He demonstrated how his voice broke and said he was not a 100 percent. We all must have looked rather shocked for he quickly added “I’ll be fine!”. It was short, but sweet. And he looked gorgeous in that cap. We finally got to say hello to Andrew. Kimberly, we have your stuff. We then went to have dinner with the gang. Fabulous way to kick off a concert evening.

The Concert:

Unfortunately, we thought, we did not have the best tickets. For the first time and last time this tour we were up in the side balcony. The only thing that got us going was the change of perspective, which is a good thing once in a while…. Apparently. But the view was alright. Only the left side of the stage was completely invisible for us.

We knew we were in for a good one. The audience in the north is usually very enthusiastic. So once Michael got on stage there were massive cheers and applause, but hardly anyone got up! It was very strange sight to behold from above.

The first real signs of Michael not being in top form were audible in Human and they had actually changed the key of The Rose to make it easier for him to sing. Having said that, he did not spare himself the money notes. Oh no Sir! They were there! They had just taken the edge off some of the songs. And there we were sitting, silently willing him on, because we know he will be so unsatisfied with himself eventhough most of the audience probably did not notice a thing. This show is full of money notes and show stoppers. As he said himself: It’s a killer. And there came a point, where we actually thought it would have been better for him not to go on stage. We stress again, that this was not because he did not sound great, he did! It was just this anxiety whether or not the voice will hold on. Apart from that though he seemed chuffed with the reactions he was getting and the audience was loving every second of it.

Best fun was watching the ushers. In the beginning of the concert they were leaning on the wall with their backs to the stage. By the time we got to Human they had moved further down the aisle, so they could actually watch the show.

From where we were sitting we could see that when Michael leaves the stage for the Jesus Christ medley, the two people who are responsible for opening the back curtains for him apparently had missed their queue for he actually started doing it himself, before they got into action.

This change of perspective thing really worked out. For the first time we could properly see how during the Starlight Express medley Michael is actually mouthing each and every line of the others.

Generally he seemed much fitter in the second half. Whatever they gave him in the interval, it must have worked. He seemed relaxed and joked around with the audience. For his sake we hoped he’d cut The Prayer with its massive money notes. But he did not. Instead Mack the Knife and Winner takes it all had been taken from the song list.

During the first half of the show we were certain Manchester was not going to happen. Or rather in a fit of uncharacteristic selflessness we actually thought he’d rather rest his voice than do another show the next day. But that all changed during the second half. He seemed so much more confident and sounded fantastic, so we are back at being greedy and selfish and hope the concert tomorrow will go ahead as planned.

We had a fantastic night. It’s concerts like these that you will remember for a very long time. True showmanship and professionalism and boy that man can sing! He got a complete standing ovation at the end. Well deserved. Fantastic audience. We look forward to coming back to Newcastle for the next tour. Roll on Manchester (back in the stalls then, YAY!).

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Edinburgh - Addition
10/01/09 @ 04:40:05 am, Categories: Shows, General, Travel, 106 words   English (US)

What we forgot to mention last night:

Michael got quite excited, when he told the audience about the upcoming Hairspray tour. He just could not wait to get to Edinburgh next year and an added bonus would be that he would spent New Year 2011 in Edinburgh. He was just like a little boy who could not wait for Christmas. At latest, when he started a little scottish dance you could tell, he will love every second of it there.

So, with brilliant weather outside we are about to leave the hotel soon and drive down to Newcastle taking a scenic coastal route. Talk to you soon.

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Edinburgh - A Triumph
09/30/09 @ 09:03:53 pm, Categories: General, 405 words   English (US)

We just got home (well back to the hotel) after a fabulous night out with Michael (in our dreams ;)) and lovely friends, but let’s start at the beginning.

Once Michael was inside the Usher Hall, we planned to get our car and search for our hotel. We did not hold much hope for a smooth journey. A) because we have satnav and B) because we have been to Edinburgh before (many times). That does not make sense? You may know that Edinburgh is just one big building site at the moment. Loads of streets were just dug up. So we just knew our sat nav would have to work overtime and it did. Nevertheless we got there quite quickly, checked in, got changed and yes, drove back to the venue by car, although it should have been walking distance. Somehow we just could not be bothered.

Unlike yesterday the concert started in perfect time. Our seats were in the front row, to the side, but still in front row. They turned out to be just perfect! The stage setting was a bit smaller than usual as the stage is rather tiny compared to the arenas we were used to.

From the beginning you could tell the concert would be fabulous! Michael was on great form and enjoying himself and so was everyone on stage. The audience loved him. He received very deserved standing ovations for Gethsemane, Love changes everything, The Prayer and This is the moment. Actually we felt, he should have got them for half the songs he was doing. It was just bloody brilliant from beginning to end and a complete triumph. Nothing went wrong, everything was just perfect.

After the show we got to the very crowded stage door. We managed to speak to lovely Adrian again, who just gets better and better. After he left it did not last long for Michael to appear and enter his coach. He even got to the front door of the coach, signed stuff, talked to people and was his usual lovely self.

It did not last long, but it was a nice and lovely end to a brilliant, near perfect day. Thanks to Michael and thanks to the bunch of lovely ladies (and a gentleman) whom we shared the post-concert time with. For us it’s off to Newcastle tomorrow morning, including some sightseeing in the way down.

So, see you in Newcastle 

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Edinburgh Newsflash
09/30/09 @ 12:30:05 pm, Categories: General, 116 words   English (US)

Weather is wonderful after a gray and drizzly start. Sunshine all over one of the most beautiful places imaginable. We LOVE Edinburgh.

What added to the perfection surely that there was a fully blown stage door today. No rushing, just walking pas everyone after arriving in a people carrier. All smiley and happy. A full 6 minutes of bliss that we could share with an amazing bunch of people (you know who you are). :D so there will be photos (and plenty) and we MIGHT even try to get a little video online, but not sure whether this will work.

Now getting ready for the concert. Cannot wait! Front row (but at the very side), yay! B)

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Glasgow – better late than never
09/30/09 @ 03:30:47 am, Categories: General, 1183 words   English (US)

Apart from a near-attack by a metal tube lost by the lorry in front of us on our way up to Scotland, the journey went by rather peacefully. We had a look at beautiful Lancaster and Morecambe at the coast and took it slowly from there.

The closer we got to Glasgow the greyer the clouds became. It was pouring by the time we had reached he hotel. But that doesn’t diminish our joy to be back in wonderful Scotland. After a day of chilling we decided to brave the walk to the stage door in posh shoes as it wasn’t supposed to be far….well, it isn’t…technically. Trouble was that we had to do two detours as the streets were blocked off for residents. So it did take us well over 30 minutes in drizzly rain. Arriving fairly shattered we joined our friends. There is a roof over the stage door and there is plenty of room. One of our fave stage doors actually. Despite cold wind and rain time went by rather quickly as we spent it with a great bunch of people. We had so much fun! After a while though we were told Michael would be late due to his TV appearance (we walked past the TV studios! If we had only stood there! But had no idea it was a live show, we thought it was pre-recorded.). It would be half past five until he’d arrive. It actually got a little later than that (which is great, over 2 hours of standing in the cold…the things we do). By then we knew: this would be a runner. He had the meet and greet to go to, so when he appeared he basically ran pas us all, saying how very late he was. He did look rather yummy though…but those of you who could watch his appearance on telly will know that. Seeing the whole encounter lasted about 30 seconds there are no stage door photos we are afraid.

Desperate laughter all around and we all dashed off to grab some food and get changed.

While we were waiting an issue came up that would have some effect on the rest of the evening: The venue had printed a wrong time onto some of the tickets! They read doors open at 8 pm!! This would indicate the concert starts at 8:30! A full hour late. Michael confirmed it was 7:30 pm, as usual. Ticketmaster claimed they had sent Emails out to the customers who were given the wrong time, unfortunately though none of us ever got that. So we really could not imagine the concert to start at 7:30pm.

The Concert

We finally decided to get to the concert by car as we could not face such a walk four times a day. When we got there shortly before 7pm, we could tell, we were right about the concert. There was hardly anyone in the foyer. We have never seen it THAT empty. Getting into the auditorium was even weirder. You could count the people on two hands. By 7:30pm the auditorium was not even half filled. By then we had found out the venue would claim this was due to traffic jams that were caused by a football match nearby. LOL, yeah right, what a co-incidence. Some minutes later they even made an announcement the concert would not start before 8pm due to most attendees stuck in traffic. Well never mind, we had loads of lovely people to talk to. By 8:05pm finally the musicians took to the stage, as did Callum…. Needless to say to much applause by the audience. By now most people seemed to have arrived. And we discovered that the management of the Clyde Auditorium must have learned from the past. No ushers sitting on the aisles as they used to during the recent shows.

The concert started and everyone got on their feet and enjoyed themselves dancing for the first two songs. Michael was on top form and you could tell he enjoyed being back in Glasgow.

For one moment during The Rose there was a detectable strain in Michael’s voice. Spine chilling memories of this one concert 2 years ago when he suffered from a bad cold and could hardly talk. It was a memorable night, seeing him soldiering on so bravely. But luckily it was over quite quickly. Just goes to show to how much perfection we are used and how worried you get the second something doesn’t go to plan. But all was well.

After the interval we returned to our seats to find two ushers seated in front of the audience, backs to the stage, one in each aisle. The poor things. Will they ever learn?? But we heard how they were briefed to move back to row F before mayhem would break lose after the Duffy number. Phew.

The audience was quite….enthusiastic. When he recounted how he went to see Jesus Christ Superstar when he was 12 some people broke into hysterical laughter. Michael did a double take, smiling, saying a bit stunned: Yeah, I was 12…I know, I am older now..but I was 12 (with the what’s the big deal?!-voice).

We know the poor ushers were in for a comment from the stage. And sure enough at one point Michael quietly asked for a spot to be directed onto them individually. As they wriggled in their seats, their backs still turned to him he kept asking “Was it anything I said?” Giggles. The girl who guarded us was nearly dying of embarrassment, bless her. He said they were waiting for the attack, right? “You have no bloody hope.” Too true.

When he introduced the bit on Dame Vera Lynne and singing in close harmony there was a loud crack…something to do with the microphone. He jumped and laughed “Is she in then?”.

We got to Just When and he did the usual introduction, but added that this song was written for someone he loved very much and who happened to be in tonight – no pressure, boys. Having Cathy in the audience surely did add to his energy on stage. Family members in attendance always guarantee a great night for the audience.

He talked about returning to Glasgow for Hairspray and the place went wild.

Oh, we had such a great time! Party time rocked and the audience absolutely loved him. That’s what we enjoy so much about Scotland – apart from all our darling friends, there is always top reception for Michael.

After the concert we had the feeling he’d sneak out through another door. We kept our distance and saw him do just that, but naturally respected his wish for privacy and just stared from the shadows. Had a lovely chat with Adrian and Ben though.

Another wonderful evening…now it’s time to pack our things (oh god…the room looks like …we cannot even begin to describe what it looks like….packing may take some time) and head to Edinburgh. Hopefully with less rain and more stage door.

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Blackpool, what a night!
09/28/09 @ 04:09:30 am, Categories: General, 671 words   English (US)

What an amazing show yesterday – but first things first. We arrived in Blackpool without another car crash. Yay! Result! Found everything okay, which is hardly surprising for we have a) sat nav and b) been to Blackpool several times already. From listening to Sunday Brunch (oh yes, we did, in our car) we knew Michael was having fun on Pleasure Beach, so there was no hurry.

Chatted a bit and waited until the tour bus (there were no less than 5 identical ones parked around the venue. But half of them belonged to another act) left to pick Michael, the boys and one of the Louises up from having fun on rollercoasters. It took them a while but sure enough after some 30 minutes the massive bus squeezed itself through the narrow lane. Michael waved from the front. But we guessed right: he’d step out from the middle door. This is fun and it means he has a shorter walk through the crowd. But he was very giving with his time, told us all about their Pleasure Beach adventure (apparently Callum had decided against one of the rides in the last minute) and said we should see the photos. Once inside the boys came along and Ben made the crucial mistake of showing the photos from the rollercoaster rides to us all. Millions of cameras were out, the poor boy looked like he was surrounded by piranhas LOL We made no exception of course. Hilarious pics! Had a quick chat with the lovely Adrian, too (he is staying in Hairspray till April and Verity is too! Yay! Will have to see it again before April! But he will not go on tour with the show. Crying shame.).

When everyone was in we had some food and set off to find our hotel which did prove quite a quest even though we had a) sat nav and b) knew the place. Took us almost an hour to find our way through the labyrinth of one way streets. But we made it and are in a massive room WITH sea view!! In a Travelodge that cost us 9 pounds, would you believe it?

The concert was phenomenal.

Mind you, we thought it was a bit of a slow start with only half the auditorium on their feet for the first song (fans are scattered through the auditoriums these days, no real group feel). Also clapping along didn’t work even when Michael tried very hard to get everyone going. BUT the applause and cheers after each song were generous and enthusiastic, so that made up the lack of audience participation during the individual numbers. Those who did stand up gave plenty standing ovations (it sometimes felt like exercise, we were on our feet almost every song LOL). His voice was in top form and they had so much fun up there. Sadly the sound was a bit…let’s say the venue is not equipped for the huge speakers and so it was a bit over the top at times. Party time saw the whole place on their feet, dancing along. We had such a good time and, most importantly, so had Michael and company.

Afterwards we wished the boys a good journey (as we knew they’d drive straight on to Glasgow) but were then told Michael had left through another door. Never mind, we had a fab stage door before the concert (those are the ones that count) and headed straight to the beach, admiring the illuminated Blackpool.

Now it’s our day off and we will drive up to Glasgow via scenic routes and in no hurry whatsoever. Can’t wait. B)

PS:
A line we had forgotten in the Birmingham blog, but love so much we keep repeating it on a daily basis: when Michael told us that he now has been doing this job for 25 years he rephrased: “You cannot call it a job, can you? 25 years of showing off!”
loved it! even thought about changing Justy’s tag line! LOL

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