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Portsmouth 10/05/2013
12/05/13 @ 03:57:30 am, Categories: General, 1323 words   English (UK)

We wanted to review last night but actually, and this has happened to neither of us for a long time, fell asleep on the bed fully clothed! We CAN relate to Mr Ball sleeping half the day. We are shattered and we only had to be there on time and applaud him. I mean we all joked that we had to travel ourselves, handle our luggage etc. but at the end of the day we know he had to sing this grueling set night after night and that this was hard work. Especially as he never holds back or tones down.

Anyways, Portsmouth. Checking into the Ibis hotel was like a class reunion. We knew everybody in the busy foyer. This is brilliant about touring. You get to meet everyone in a short period of time whereas with a musical it is all a bit more spread out. After some photo uploading it was time to walk to the stage gate (another one of those where the bus drives in and they usually close the gates to keep unauthorized fangirls out). It was uncharacteristically bright and dry for Portsmouth. Usually we are drenched there. It was very breezy though so at least there were SOME weather issues to moan about while waiting. God it was cold. Generally the mood was quite good considering it was the last one but most people confirmed that they lived as firmly in denial as we did. It just didn’t feel like it was all going to be over soon.

He arrived late for the sound check and some fans feared he’d dash straight in because of that. We had an inkling he wouldn’t on the last day and were proved right when the bus arrived and he walked over to the waiting crowd. As everybody behaved and no one tried to cross the magic line, they let the gates open and we had a clear view of the Ball when he came up to us all to collect his last night cards and pressies. Naturally he too said he was sad it was all over but wanted us to make it a good one. We promised we would.

Dinner with friends, quick dash to the hotel, get changed then join the queue (!) to be let into the venue. When we arrived it looked like an open air concert as people formed a long line all across the square in front of the Guildhall. We guessed they were doing security checks and were right. At the doors they did bag searches and confiscated plastic bottles! Outrageous in our opinion. You could collect your drinks after the concert and only drinks bought at the Guildhall were allowed in the auditorium. This is just not on. Airports, okay. Glass bottles, sure thing. But not being allowed to bring your own water bottles?! Should we add it was BOILING hot in the venue?

They also said no photography. Hence we only took some during the encore as all around us people started to film it and take loads of photos on their mobile phones and no one seemed to mind.

The stage was very low and we sat just off centre in the second row. It was perfect. He was so close you almost felt like you were given a private performance. What a dreamy way to end the tour. Also we were close enough to be hearing his real voice, not just the amplified version over the speakers. We took lots of photos with our minds to remember this final performance of what must have been one of the best tours yet. Really hoping the DVD will be released in November and bring across the amazing achievement of this buy one get one free tour.

On an unusually unselfish note from us we have to conceit that for him it is good that the tour is over. Sometimes, when you caught him turned half away from the audience to listen to one of the solos from the band you could see he was shattered and also when you knew him well enough you heard the strain in some of the more taxing numbers (which we still think adds to their appeal). After so many shows in quick succession and with having a cold this is neither a surprise nor a complaint. Quite the contrary actually. We are in complete awe that he could do this – as said before: definitely super human. He so deserved his rest after this immense effort to have us all entertained so sublimely.

The audience was fantastic. He had told us at the stage door that he’d have his mum in and we are always so pleased when the crowds show so much appreciation when his family is in. Wonderful reception throughout and as we have said many times before: A concert is not only about him performing for us but about us, the audience, showing him how much his hard work and outstanding talent is appreciated. Basically, for a final concert of any tour, the aim is to have him in (happy!) tears for the final bow. We dare say we succeeded. The place practically exploded at the end. It was deafening and utterly satisfying to hear this uproar of delight when the final note was sung.

This tour was awe-inspiring and breathtaking and heavenly and delicious and moneynotetastic.

What more can a girl want? Well, apart from matinee concerts and a tour that goes on for six months like a musical…both indeed we are afraid Mr. Ball would not be too keen on – sadly.

We could not believe it was all over when he left in his car and waved us all good-bye. We couldn’t believe it when we were sitting in the bar area of our hotel with our friends reminiscing. We could not believe it on our way to London where we were heading to see Chorus Line with Gary from the Heroes tour at the Palladium and Wicked with Louise from the Past and Present tour (definitely a walk down memory lane and both great shows). Even now, two days later, we cannot quite believe it is over. We will fly back home tomorrow which is when it will hit us hard. This really was good-bye.

There will be no more standing at breezy stage doors in the British spring and no more enjoying Run, Songbird, When she loved me, Edge of Glory, Memory, Sunset Boulevard, Close Every Door, Wonder of you. No more party time, no more rushes to wave the bus into the night, no more meeting everyone everywhere, no more city centres swarming with excited Ballettes, no more hauling massive suitcases past baffled receptionists, no more dressing up, no more photos, no more post-concert get-togethers, no more travelling. The tour is over, the Ball has left the stage for a little while. He promised he would not retire when asked what was next for the umpteenth time. There is Audley End of course and there will be more.

But for now we have to face the void and deal with it. Maybe not appropriately but eventually. Memories will have to suffice – but what fantastic memories they are. We know we are blessed to have been able to see eleven shows when so many fans cannot even make it to one. And yet it was all over far too soon. Reality hits you like a shock after the dream land that is a UK tour.

A big thank you to all of you who said hello and gave us so much positive feedback about the website. We really appreciate this and it was wonderful to put faces to the names. What a joy it has been.

We need a perspective, Mr Ball. And soon. Hopefully you will find a challenge that is worth your while and we will be there like a shot.


On the road with Michael Ball.
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