So, after a six month accidental hiatus, I’m back! Did you miss me?! (Don’t answer that )
I’ve actually been writing blogs the whole time but never got around to publishing any of them (they all needed at least a quick once over and many of them never even made it past the notes stage). I’m hoping to get them all posted eventually, though any of you who may recall The America Trip from 18 months ago (the blogs I wrote there STILL haven’t made it out of the drafts folder) will probably be aware that it’s somewhat unlikely to ever happen. So, in the meantime; new leaf. I will start again from now which leads me to…
[WARNING: This post contains spoilers and is going to be loooooooooong (and a bit fragmented as it was written over the course of the day and hasn't really been edited much). Back with a bang huh? *jazz hands*]
My latest obsession is Rock Of Ages (the show, not the film), which is doing a fabulous job of filling my time while I wait for Adam to do something international with Trespassing, or Robbie’s new album to be released in November, or even Lawson’s debut album to be released next month (Lawson being another new interest, though it has yet to reach obsession level – watch this space!). Today marked the final day of the original West End cast and I was there for it all…
Rock Of Ages – Original London Cast
There are no excuses. None. Even for Hair I didn’t do this, but… I queued for Rock Of Ages day tickets for the original West End cast’s final performance from earlyish. [Note; this is not the bit that needs excusing]. It was a reasonably respectable hour, I felt, especially given there were campers. I wasn’t holding out hopes of proper day tickets, but I figured if I could get cheaper stalls seats it would still be well worth the time. I passed a rather enjoyable few hours chitchatting with the people around me and then, finally, made it to the box office. To my complete shock and excitement, being a sad loner paid off far better than I ever could have dreamed – I got a proper day ticket in row BB! It was on the far side on the right and I thought I preferred the left at the time of purchase, but damn, it couldn’t have been better really! High on my success, I left the box office to talk seat number with my queue buddies and all one of them had to say was three words: ‘muck up matinee’ and suddenly I found myself at the back of the queue again purchasing matinee tickets as well [Note: this was the bit that, from some perspectives, may have needed excusing]. Not so lucky this time, which was my own stupid fault for taking so long to decide I wanted the ticket in the first place rather than buying it when I was at the front the first time, but I got row E, also on the far right (they only had row M on the left), which was pretty damn good really, in the circumstances. I know it’s silly. I knew it when I bought the ticket, but hey, it’s only money. Call this my last treat before payday and the return to sensible spending – I may or may not have mentioned that for the first month in my new job I allowed myself to splurge on whatever I wanted (within reason, of course) without worrying too much about savings. As of next week, however, that’s all over and it’s back to monitoring everything I spend, so here’s to my last hurrah!
Admittedly I did spend several hours wondering if I’d made a mistake, but damn the matinee was one of the best shows I’ve ever seen! To be honest, it was worth every penny as soon as I saw Dylan (instead of Zizi) sprawled out in front of Shayne on the big screen wearing nothing but his underpants! It was both hilariously funny (Shayne couldn’t quite keep a straight face while fondling Dylan’s arse ) and brilliantly hot at the same time. Before that was almost as good, when Simon ran through the street with his pants down followed by Justin… and the rest of the cast also with their pants down, including Dylan *swoon* (Sandy dropped his notebook and looked even more horrified than usual)! There were loads of tiny things that you’d only notice if you’d seen the show a lot (like Stacee wearing novelty guitar sunglasses for his set), but it just drew the fans in even more, making us all part of the joke.
The second act was even better. Simon and Justin finally, FINALLY kissed and they really frickin’ went for it! It started with an Adommy-esque tongue lick, but suddenly they were practically devouring each other. After a year of foreplay it was about damn time! Of course, I’ve forgotten most of the other little bits and pieces, but Jamie was on the leash at the Venus club instead of Twinnie, wearing a bra and all, though I couldn’t actually see him through the curtain, unfortunately . Another personal highlight was when Jodie asked if [jumping] was crazy for the second time and no one (except Justin who apparently missed the joke?!) popped out to shout yes and instead the band started singing Van Halen’s Jump! This was funny enough as it was, esp. when Jodie didn’t know what to do (in the end she just carried on as normal with a ‘Fine!’), but it was made extra brilliant by the fact that it was Nick Kendall doing the vocals. I think I’m in love .
I’m sure plenty of other bits will come back to me and I may add them here if I feel the need. For example, the three backing dancers during Hit Me With Your Best Shot were wearing the boys’ black and white costumes which turned out to be hiding their own Regina glitzy leotards. Instead of a newspaper with the news of Arsenal’s split, it was a copy of FHM and Natalie had her own newspaper to read while she waited for Ollie to finish his massive note at the end of ‘Oh Sherrie’. By contrast, the Simon/Ollie bit was less amusing, though still funny. Apparently Ollie’s been in Puppetry of the Penis too, who knew? Certainly not Ollie . Rohan also shouted in German for ages to call Sandy while he was talking to Regina. I couldn’t tell what he was saying but he ended with Bratwurst, so I’m guessing it was just a jumble of German words or German sounding gibberish. Sandy went with ‘that means I have to go’ in response! Simon’s slow clap (pre-Oh Sherrie) was great too – he did the big arms, then stopped before his hands met. The audience, however, did not and clapped anyway and Simon made a show of looking around with a WTF expression. Hard to explain but hilariously funny. (Note: I think I’m just going to keep adding these as and when I remember them!) When Simon threw the reasonably priced souvenir brochure off the stage, following the usual ‘Oww!’, the programme came flying back at him! He apologised contritely, then carried on as usual. Probably shouldn’t have been as funny as it actually was! Aaaand, when Simon walked across the stage in We’re Not Gonna Take It, he brought Jamie with him, arms linked and both acting incredibly camp . Also, when Ollie gave Natalie the mix tape, it was all unwound and he wrapped the chewed up tape around the cassette before giving it to her.
[EDIT:] In fact, I’m going to cheat and add all of these bits, which I didn’t remember until I saw them written on the RoA facebook page, but the whole thing was just so brilliant, I don’t want to forget a moment of it…
Justin “fell” down the stairs at the beginning (I wasn’t actually sure if this was on purpose or not, but apparently it happened multiple times – though I didn’t notice it, so I’m guessing it was intentional!). Simon had eyeliner on his binnoculars during I’ve Been Waiting, like a proper old school prank, that left him with lovely black marks on his face . Speaking of faces, Nathan actually licked Natalie’s face when she first arrived on the strip. It was sorta gross, but very funny! Nathan also got VERY touchy feely with Ollie in the record company office. Shayne slapped Justin when he ordered him to fire Sherrie and Sandy whacked Simon in the face with his suitcase before Rohan appeared to smooth everything out at the end. That was particularly excellent as Justin went off on one at Sandy saying it’s just a show, how could you?! while Simon milked it as much as he could. A particular highlight was Justin saying he wanted “Drew’s ass [MASSIVE pause...] behind the bar, right after his set” . Simon’s line to Dennis about him being wrong and that ‘Phil Collins is Kick-Ass sometimes’ became ‘Michael Jackson is black sometimes’ (which he actually kept in for the evening show!). Sandy settled down with a beer and his feet up in the Bourbon Room while Hertz threatened Dennis. Simon gave Ollie a proper dressing down for being a liar after he denied telling Sherrie that they were ‘just friends’. The rant was brilliant both for its unexpectedness and the childishness of some of the things he said . Amy and Zizi had a bit of a make out session instead of a cat fight at the Arsenal gig – and the boys seemed to enjoy it too (or at least Dylan and Shayne did ). Scarlett came on in Sherrie’s costume (the black t-shirt/purple skirt combo) in Oh Sherrie and Ollie saw her and said ‘Sherrie?!’ in a surprised tone, though it was quiet enough to make it easy to miss. Ollie also seemed determined to keep the baby from Franz at the end, though I don’t know why (did I miss something?!) and kept giving him dirty looks. Natalie really overdid the lipstick on Ollie’s face pre-I Wanna Rock, so there was still loads of it even after he tried to wipe it off! Sandy started with ‘Dennis, Dennis, Dennis…’ befgore he did his ‘it feels like Easter morning when I say it’ bit and then added another ‘Dennis’ after ‘you have a sadness inside of you’ all of which had everyone in fits of laughter for no obvious reason other than, perhaps, the tone of Sandy’s voice (I seriously love him as Franz and cannot imagine anyone else ever coming close to being that brilliant). Speaking of Dennis, when he called Stacee, he ended with ‘remember when you tea-bagged that baby llama, you sick bastard’ (the last three words were new ) and instead of saying ‘I’ll do it’, Shayne went with ‘f**k you!’. Justin also swore (FFS) in response to the usual audience boos when he points out that he’ll have to clear the entire area (pointing at the audience). There were also multiple clangs (rather than one) when Nartalie hit the pole with her head when she first starts at the Venus Club. Her look of confusion was highly entertaining! And finally… I didn’t actually see this, but apparently Nathan had a picture of Dylan in his pizza box with a sign saying “Hire Me”! (BTW, I apologise for the mish mash of actor and character names in all of that, but if you know the show well enough to know what I’m talking about I’m sure you can work it out! If not, I’ll try and stick a full cast list in at some point.)
Side note: I only noticed on Saturday night that Dylan had a beaver puppet during Every Rose, but I wasn’t sure if I’d seen right from such a distance. At the matinee I couldn’t see it because he and Rohan were all cuddled up, but I chceked again in the evening and it was definitely a beaver. As Lonny would say: love it!
I hung around by the stage door between shows for lack of anything better to do, but it was rather pointless. I saw a few people but the gap between shows is so short they didn’t hang around and I didn’t get near any of ‘em. Ollie, Simon and Dylan ran in through the door at one point, but didn’t stop so I couldn’t get my photo. Back inside for the evening performance and the guy who tore my ticket recognised me (asked if I was back for more), which was amusing and embarrassing at the same time! I also said hi again to the cute FOH guy I saw when I went to the bar in the matinee interval. I’m assuming he recognised me, but at least he’s friendly if not!
I have to admit, after four hours sleep and my trek yesterday, I was kinda knackered by the time the evening show rocked around. I still loved it though and it didn’t really feel like I’d been to see it already today. Natalie got all choked up at the end of More Than Words/Heaven and couldn’t get the words out and Justin kept crying which was rather sweet. Other than that, the first act didn’t seem overly special until Here I Go Again which was electric. The audience were on their feet and it felt pretty special. Though of course it helped that Dylan was directly in front of me on the stage, less than ten feet away… Man I’m going to miss him after tonight, probably more so than anyone else that’s leaving. I do hope he does something new soon *sigh*.
The second act was more emotional. Can’t Fight This Feeling was weird, but in a good way. Felt far more real and emotional, even though it was still funny, I guess, since it really was goodbye. Then there was Simon’s ad-lib with Ollie, which was perfect. He started by saying he wanted to be serious after months of telling people Ollie had been in shows such as Bob The Builder and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, even though he hadn’t (and now thousands of people believe he has). Then he told Ollie good riddance . It’s all a bit hazy now, to be honest, but the band provided a musical rendition of Another One Bites The Dust which had everyone on their feet and then Simon gave Ollie a t-shirt as a leaving gift, which he made him put on. It was plain white with the words ‘Lonny Loves Me!’ written in black marker on the front (I am very tempted to make one similar ). On the back however was something to the effect of ‘Drew likes it here’ with a big arrow pointing to his arse. Ollie was stuck wearing it for the rest of the scene with no idea what was written on the back.
It just got more emotional from there and the atmosphere at the end, both on and off stage, was fabulous. When Simon said ‘Well, that’s how our story wraps up’, I don’t think there was anyone who cared even the slightest bit about the cast change that didn’t have a lump in their throat at that moment *sniff*. Even Simon looked emotional and he didn’t really let any of that show during the performance (at least, not that I noticed). I’m so glad I made it to both shows, crazy as I may seem to most people who know me.
On a random note; it was a bit weird… the girl next to me didn’t seem to be into it at all. Barely clapped, never cheered etc.. That wouldn’t be odd of itself, it’s just that I was in the day tickets and pretty much everyone else camped overnight to get them, so you’d think there’d be a bit of passion there. It was a shame though, since I was on the end – it separated me from the atmosphere a bit when people were sitting down, but to be honest, I got so into it that it sorta stopped mattering by the end.
The stage door was just as mental as I’d anticipated, but there were a lot of Justin and Shayne fans who clustered around the door. I didn’t even bother trying to get close, just kept an eye out for some of the others. I got a photo with Carly, as she was the one person I wasn’t sure if I’d previously met and two with Ollie, again (I’m so greedy ), the last of which, finally, is one I’m satisfied with! And of course, there was Dylan… He was lovely and I couldn’t resist asking him for a hug. Of course he didn’t catch what I said the first time and I felt even sillier having to repeat it, but he was perfectly obliging and very huggable… *sigh*. All those muscles felt lovely, even if they were hidden beneath a coat . Then he thanked me for all my support, which even though I know it’s his stock thank you and I must’ve heard him say it a dozen times, I still felt rather fuzzy about. It really won’t be the same without him *sob*. I didn’t cry, but I certainly felt pretty emotional by the end. I didn’t stay for the band, mostly because I forgot I wanted to until I was already on the train, but according to one of the girls, they’re all staying, so I’m sure I’ll get the opportunity to ask Nick about his music some other time.
So that’s that, I guess, the end of an era. I can’t see the new cast for at least a fortnight and it’ll probably be more like three weeks as Sundays are so much more convenient than weekdays. In the meantime, I have plenty of other shows to see, starting with Idiots of Ants tomorrow night and including the Judas Kiss at some point which means one very important thing; Freddie Fox. I’m sure he’ll help ease the pain of losing my semi-regular Dylan fix .
Peace, loVe loVe and rock ‘n’ roll,