I worked on the Prologue to Tainted last night *mini celebration*. I'm not quite feeling it yet, but at least I've set the scene and I've got something to play around with now. Sometimes it's more important to write something, then sit staring at a blank screen because there's nothing more depressing when the words don't flow. I force myself to type and I leave out technicalities to keep it simple. Other times, it's best to walk away. I admit defeat when I'm tired, I can't get my playlist right and my brain won't picture the scene. I can't make it work if I'm too detached from what I need to be feeling.
I promised a little piece on the wonderful MJ Forever tribute, so turn away now if you've got no soul because this is all about the amazing artists that performed and the build up to the gig. Firstly 2 things you need to know about me: 1) I always follow my heart, so if there's something I really want to see or do, I'm there and no amount of advice against or bad press and hype will deter me. 2) I always want to go with someone who's 110 percent into the event with me and totally matches my enthusiasm like for like. I knew my soul "music" mate Wendy was the perfect companion to head to Cardiff with. We love the same music and we could wax lyrical all day every day about our favourite artists. Wendy rocks! I don't think she'll mind me saying ;)
When we arrived in Cardiff the city was buzzing (Wales had just beat Ireland in the rugby that morning and 50,000 dressed up MJ fans had descended on the city for the concert), so being women with no sense of direction, we wandered down St Mary's street - I'd like to say soaking up the atmosphere, but we were also trying to locate our hotel...! It ended up being opposite the castle (handy landmark for later) and we checked into our room with an amazing view of the stadium. Lucked out there!
Once back out onto the sunny streets of the city, we headed for food. We'd both spotted (and smelt the wonderful aroma of) the same hot dog stand outside Cardiff Central train station. That's where we met the man we dubbed "Onion man". He wanted free onions and banged on and on about it, hence the name. We couldn't tell whether he was a real beggar or just plain loopy. I kept looking for the giveaway mobile phone. But come on, onions?! I wouldn't want to be sleeping rough next to him... It seemed he followed us around after that because we then bumped into him again on the way to our gate where Wendy, big hearted that she is, gave him a few coppers - which she had thought were silvers. I guess she couldn't ask for them back to then replenish him with 5 and 10 pence pieces. Could have been awkward.
The build up outside the stadium before they let us in was immense. Lots of media VIPs shot past us and the ones that remained on the streets were geeing up the crowds. I think our screams made it onto a few Welsh radio stations that evening! There were also plenty of MJ hat stands and concert glow-in-the-dark props for sale, plus an awesome impersonator in every sense of the word. Not only did he look like him (nose job an' all), but his persona, mannerisms and voice were spot on too. It was like Michael was right there with us. Freaky!
I love to take my seat early and watch the stadium fill up, and as soon as the light dims and the sound system kicks in and the crowd roars with anticipation, I'm totally and utterly mesmerised. Neyo's opening with Billie Jean blew me away. The beat to that tune is timeless, not to mention hypnotic. The music was so loud it crushed my skull, split my ear drums and pulsated through my body like adrenalin. That sounds really off putting but trust me, it was anything but. When your heart is pumping in rhythm with the beat, OMG!!! We were then treated to a host of artists - some of the greats sprinkled with up and coming UK talent - who showcased the 5 decades of MJ's music and work. For both of us, we would've paid just to see the Jackson's perform and also to hear the children speaking about their father. Love them or loathe them, there's no denying the Jackson's are a legendary music family, and always will be in my mind.
Surprises for me were Alien Ant Farm who totally tore up the stadium with their set, and at the other end of the musical spectrum, Yolanda Adams, the gospel star, belting out Earth Song. She really gave that song a whole new meaning with her awesome vocal.
Smokey and Gladys were incredible, but then, I knew they would be. I felt honoured watching them perform and it is something I won't ever forget. I just sat and listened to every word, and I felt every word. Magical.
Adding to the experience was a drunken Scottish bird who was unfortunately sitting right in front of me. I mean, come on, what were the odds?! She did my head in to begin with, but then I got to know her and we were cool by the end. I totally surprised myself because at one point I was considering knocking her out. I don't think it would've taken much. It was the falling about all over the place and constant arm waving with beer glass in hand that got my goat. On the other hand, the drunken rambles and shout outs were quite amusing. She won't remember any of it in the morning, but she thought my name was piranha and she almost stuck a straw up Wendy's nose. We also high fived a lot once the formalities were over.
I must be mellowing in my old age!
After the thrill of the concert, we bust a gut queuing for a program (only 1 stand in the whole stadium selling merchandise, yep, go figure...) and then it was back to our hotel for room service and a massive XFactor catch up. I almost wet myself when I saw the trailers from our window and thought maybe the stars would be mingling and we could spy, but they were only production trailers unfortunately. Damn shame that!
To seal an amazing day, we ordered everything on the menu for brekky (which would be arriving in approx 6 hours time) and hung our card on the door, then laughed and laughed ourselves to sleep. We chuckle about the tiniest things, Wendy and I.
I think my morning after tweet encapsulates the whole experience: "The Michael Forever tribute concert was EPIC last night. Still dazed and starstruck and in awe of the whole event. Simply amazing *hashtag*mjforever
Blogging is an amazing concept so here I am giving it a whirl. You'll get words. You'll get pics. Sometimes a vid or two. You'll get tongue in cheek, the odd humble opinion and an honest insight into my travels and writing life. Maybe even a few gems along the way. I'll be musing on home turf as I see more and more of the UK and sharing my experiences further afield on holidays and adventurous trips across the globe.