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Shooting Star Chase Charity Concert - 8 December 2013
11/12/13 @ 02:03:33 am, Categories: General, 1098 words   English (UK)

Seven months is a long time. It may not sound like it and the words look inconspicuous enough when written down like that: seven months; but, believe us, they can feel monumental. The last time we were lucky enough to see Mr Ball perform was the last night of the tour in May.

Yes, we know, many, many fans cannot go and see him at all and we really should just count our blessings and shut up BUT when concert after concert is announced and you cannot attend a single one of them, this becomes extremely hard. Especially after having had a rather Ball-filled time before with Sweeney and the tour. So we could not attend any of the summer concerts (they are always on Sundays and our holiday allocation had dwindled too much to take off Monday after Monday) OR travel to Abu Dhabi OR see him perform with Imelda at Sadler’s Wells OR fly to Shanghai. And from the reviews we gather that we have missed out on some very special nights. But we digress. All this is to say: we really have missed those money notes. Dearly!

So you can imagine how excited we were when we heard about his charity concert for Shooting Star / Chase.
After the excitement (and signed holiday forms from work – YAY!) comes inevitably the dreaded ticket sale: You know the drill, get the computers ready, ask your colleague to stand in for you for a couple of minutes, check out from work and wait for the tickets to go on sale at 10am our time. So when the seating plan opened on screen and we clicked on the front row seats (centre, 4 of them, as we were booking for friends as well), we were sure, we’d lose them before the transaction was finished but we didn’t! Needless to say the confirmation email was one of the most thoroughly scrutinized digital documents of all times. We kept opening it, checking date, time, seats and the word STALLS umpteenth times. But eventually it sank in: we had front row seats (no such luck for the tour) in the very intimate setting of the Phoenix Theatre. We would indeed be seeing him again, up close and personal. It really was true. Life was good.

Saturday: Travelling to the UK and “From Here to Eternity”

We surely have our reputation when it comes to our travels. Unfortunately, this is no exception. Just one day after the heaviest storm in 40 years to hit Germany and indeed the whole of northern Europe we were bound to embark our flights. We kept checking the airport websites anxiously throughout the whole two days of severe storms – miraculously all flights to London were on time in Berlin and Dusseldorf. Nevertheless we were relieved we had booked flights for Saturday noon and not Friday evening. The weather had quieted down considerably and everything was super…except….

Bunny 1 arrived at the airport in Dusseldorf in good time just to be told “You do know the flight is severely delayed, don’t you?” “Uhm, no! For how long?” “1.5 hours at the moment, but the computer of the Air Traffic Control has crashed and as of yet (9am in the UK) no plane has left Heathrow Airport. So you might expect long delays.” Brill, there goes our Christmas shopping. My departure time went from 10:50am to 12:50, back to 12:10, when we actually did board.

By this time the other bunny reached her airport in Berlin and was asked by the check-in clerk, if she really, really needed and wanted to go to London today? “Uhm, yes, I do!“ Places to go, shopping to do and shows to see, so YES! A big fat YES to that. The clerk still advised to change the travel plans and fly at a different day. Her eyes were full of pity and somehow this was not an altogether reassuring start to the journey.

Unfortunately, once the first bunny was on board and in splendid mood we were told that yes, we are boarded, but due to the technical problems we got a later slot and won’t be able to leave for another 1.5 hours. Apparently we were kept on the plane in the hope we might get an earlier departure slot. That didn’t happen. Rather dishearteningly it didn’t look much better in Berlin. All afternoon flights were canceled, one after the other. BUT our flights were not. Silver lining etc.
To cut a long story short, instead of getting on the tube at 2pm, we only got there at 4pm and then the tube journey to Kings Cross took 2 hours instead of the usual 55 to 60 minutes. There went our Christmas shopping and card writing. The only thing we had time for was rush to the hotel (we will spare you the lament of our abysmal lodgings…), get changed, rush to the Shaftesbury Theater and grab your seats in the second row for “From Here to Eternity”. So at least this time we did not miss the show we had booked. But instead of it being a day of leisurely (Christmas) window shopping in the splendidly decorated London, we were completely stressed out and exhausted. Not a single pressie bought, no festive feeling had, no photos of decorations taken.

Now, on a more positive note: Being back at the Shaftesbury Theatre felt like coming home. How many happy hours have we spent in these two rows enjoying Hairspray? Not nearly enough, surely but quite a few. It was a warm and fuzzy feeling all over. Naturally the show we were about to see was of a very different mood to Hairspray, as you would expect when the subject is the attack of Pearl Harbor in 1941.

Being in the theatre almost felt like being a Michael event as we saw several fans in the audience before the show started.
The show itself was great. Good music, good acting, great look but of course, very sad. You know all the characters are doomed so it is not uplifting. In the interval we spotted Tim Rice and several notices announcing parts of the show tonight would be filmed. We wondered what all this was about until he walked onto the stage in the finale and made a speech about it being the anniversary of Pearl Harbor (7 December 1941) and to mark this sad day the Military Wives (a choir of soldiers’ wives) would join the cast for the last song of the evening. They sang beautifully and it was a very emotional end to a very emotional day…

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