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Plymouth – the final curtain
10/10/09 @ 04:05:44 am, Categories: General, 1296 words   English (US)

It really is over….very hard to get our head around that fact, which is why we didn’t write this yesterday night. The grim truth needed a while to sink in.

The stage door was lovely as you may have seen on our video. It even stopped raining when he arrived (usually it had been the other way around recently). He seemed subdued though. This may have been to rest the voice or because he was moved (he said that he doesn’t take the fan support for granted and was all sweet about it…glad he didn’t elaborate or we would have been in tears!)…or both.

We grabbed some food afterwards (he had been nice and early) did the website stuff and then got ready for the final concert of the tour. Back in front row which made a nice chance from being far, far away in Cardiff. It has to be said though that while we were standing in the aisle in front of the stage before the concert started, looking for our friends, one lady seemed to be most seriously displeased with us. No idea why really. We didn’t do anything, just stood there and scanned the audience. Ok, we were wearing the same dress (It’s a double-wide twin bunny thing) but that can hardly cause offence? Or can it? She gave us all sorts of displeased looks and sighed heavily, shaking her head. NOT the best start to the evening. Ah well, we hope she enjoyed the evening despite having two girls in the same outfit a few seats down the row LOL

Sadly once again the fans were really scattered throughout the auditorium, most a few rows back (or a few more) and not in one block. So while most of the audience was on their feet for the first song, many still remained sitting. Not the last night we had hoped for. Polite applause frankly is not what you want for him after a long tour. The ticket sales system killed the atmosphere; it’s as simple as that. We are all for a fan-block-allocation. Then those who want to clap politely can do so in peace and those who want to stand up for the first song and the one or other standing ovation can do so with like-minded people without getting on the nerves of others. Rant over, sorry about that.

Back to the show: Mack the Knife was by now firmly back on the set list, but seeing that in one point during Seasons of Love Michael’s voice was completely gone, we knew we wouldn’t get to hear Winner Takes It All again. While this was sad of course, we were happy he didn’t go for it no matter what. This tour has been very demanding with money notes left right and centre. The Pavilions being a smaller venue meant that we had the joy of hearing his actual voice again, not merely the speaker sound like in the big arenas. So we knew from the start that things were not 100%. But Michael Ball with a 90% voice is still a world more impressive than most singers on top form. He completely blew us away (slight rasp in the voice for us only adds to the pleasure, but we feel bad about it, for we know he will not be happy). Also there seemed to be a sound problem throughout the whole show, not so much
one that affected the audience but one that affected the sound for those on stage. There were a few occasions when the tempo was a bit off, probably because Michael couldn’t hear the band properly. Again, no one will have noticed…you’d have to have seen the show a few times to pick up on it. They are all professionals up there, quite impressive.

In the second half things seemed back on track (there were moments in the first half that had us really worried, but again those who only saw one show will not have noticed anything being wrong, apart from that moment in Seasons of Love, which he solved with a quick sip of water and a charming reference after the song). We did our best to memorise the sparkly tie and enjoy everything for one last time. Relishing in the songs, the music, the light concept…this was just SUCH a wonderful show. (Roll on DVD!!)

We can happily report that he even won the polite clappers over and in the end there was a healthy amount of partying going on. Everything was perfect…until…

He came back on stage for Impossible Dream…well, he made his little speech about having a truly blessed life and career and the mood was festive yet melancholic, everything was wonderful and he had started the first few lines when suddenly there was this almighty noise from the speakers. We think one of them had died. Poor Michael pulled his ear monitor out like a shot (just hearing this sound from standing in front of the stage was bad, we do not want to know what it must have been like for him) and looked over to the sound desk (someone will be in trouble there). Magical moment ruined. Naturally Michael turned that into a laugh and simply began again after a few seconds…still, it was not the perfect end to a wonderful concert that he’d have deserved after all this hard work.

Naturally we went to the stage door and of course it was massively crowded, so we decided to stand way back on the sidewalk and watch everything from a distance. Big thanks to Adrian and Ben for coming over to us and some friends for a proper good-bye.

The tour is over. Two weeks of travelling through England, Scotland and Wales, more money spent, than we wish to remember, some scary moments (car crash, locked-in car, three near crashes, because we were not seen – next time we will get a bright red or pink or such car instead of silver-grey!), approximately 5 years less to live, because of all the stress. Was it worth it you wonder?

Absolutely! The show was brilliant, not one song we wished to fast forward. Each night it felt like the concert got shorter. The last three we actually wondered, if he cut anything, because we could no believe we had already reached Jesus Christ Superstar. Off stage, Michael was his usual charming self. We had the added bonus of lovely and gorgeous Adrian Hansel, our one and only Link, Ben James-Ellis. It was lovely to see Emma Williams again after such a long time. “Hasn’t she grown nicely?” (quote Michael Ball). Oh , yes, she has! We should not forget the two main discoveries of the tour: the two Louises. Louise Marshall did such a brill job with the arrangements and she shone impressively during Tell me it’s not True and I don’t know how to love him. Amazing that she had once been one of Michael’s backing singers. Our main discovery though is Louise Dearman. We fell in love with her warm and stunning voice right from the start.

What else made this tour extra special? It’s our friends! The old ones, the new ones… Memories of the most hysterical stage door ever at Glasgow…..

Best concert: Manchester

Highlight songs: If Everyone was Listening, Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy, Mack the Knife, Mercy

Miles on Motorway: way over 1000

With special thanks to: Michael & gang, of course; Andrew; Helge & Petra; Pam & Rose-Marie, Gill & Maureen; Pat, Stella, Linda & Pam; Bev, Hillary & Brian; Marilyn, Mary & Susan; Audrey & Fran; Lorrie & Sue; Joan and Sharon.

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