I’ve been so busy worrying about Oxford (weeks trying to get a ticket followed by the stress of how I was going to get there and back) that tonight’s date with the Barlow at my beloved Hammersmith Apollo sort of crept up on me. Still, by the time I’d taken my seat in the front row (woop!) after chatting to various Thatter friends for an hour or so, I was primed and ready for the Captain (my Captain). I didn’t think the front row would be THAT different to the second (see the RAH gig blog, if I ever get around to publishing it), but oh wow was it different. For one, there was no barrier. As I discussed in the interval with one of my friends, there was nothing at all stopping us from simply climbing up onto the stage! I actually had one of those brief I-could-do-anything moments (see the below XKCD comic for clarification) during the first half when I vaguely imagined what would happen if I just did it – before security carted me off, banned me from the Apollo and presented me with a restraining order, that is! When he was front, centre, with the microphone stand he can’t have been more than ten feet away from me, it was a heady feeling! Just imagine how I felt watching him do the pray dance from such close quarters!
Unfortunately I lucked out on the venue and he does his walkthrough around the edges so I’m unlikely to get the kiss I missed out on at the RAH anytime soon but I can’t complain too bitterly. I got two handshakes and I mean proper, firm grip, squeezey handshakes, one on each hand and during the second one he winked at me. Weirdly the wink seemed to have more of an effect on me than the handshakes and my knees went weak and I got all shaky. It took me a song or two to recover and it certainly gave an extra sparkle to the rest of the evening! I was even more delighted to find that my attempt at videoing the whole thing actually worked and I not only have clear footage of him Gary Barlow holding my hand, I also managed to capture the wink, just about (ok, so you can’t actually tell he’s winking, but I know he is and that’s what matters)! I think I’m in heaven *does the Pray dance*.
It was a really phenomenal concert and he was definitely on form, as were the band. I noticed Mike putting his hand up when Gary asked who phoned the helplines when the band split (while Milton laughed his arse off on the other side of the stage) and I also noticed the video behind Gary during the Never Forget encore. I don’t know if he’s used it before and I’ve just been too focussed on him (and that deliciously attractive sequinned jacket), but I can’t really see how I could have missed it. It somewhat resembled the NF official music video only it was Gary’s greatest hits. There were concert clips and official video snippets from Do What You Like (that got a few screams) through Forever Love (the bed and the lifting of the vest got even more screams) right up to Eight Letters at Progress Live (including Howard wearing my garland – woot!) and I would absolutely love a copy of it! It was actually quite distracting though. Much as I love watching the real thing doing his thang (and oh dear Merlin he was REALLY getting into it tonight – all that passion in the ballads and the bouncing at the piano… *fans face*), a twenty foot video of Barlow in bed is going to distract anyone!
Anyhoo, despite my initial fears that the Green Day/rock phase might negatively impact my enjoyment of the evening, I needn’t have worried. I had an amazing night even without the handshaking and winking (and I’m sure I made eye contact several times during the evening, especially while he was singing The Flood (which really blew me away tonight) at the piano) and I cannot wait to spend new year’s eve with him in Oxford!
Peace, loVe loVe and happiness,
PS. I have to admit I had my eye on his set list all night, taped to the front of the stage close enough that I could almost read it, even though it was upside down at a funny angle. I therefore made a point of grabbing the first crew member I saw and asking for it. He told me it was wrong and that it was only a typed piece of paper that he’d written, but he gave it to me . I shall probably call it quits now and let other people have a chance as tonight was the closest to ‘normal’ it’s been for me so far. As far as I’m aware the only difference was that the Like I Never Loved You duet with Nell Bryden was replaced with Fairytale Of New York.
EDIT: PPS. I was excited enough after the Albert Hall when Mike ‘liked’ one of my photos that I tagged him in on Facebook. Imagine how I felt today [28/12/12] when he commented on one of the photos from last night! Soooo cool in a totally sad geeky sort of way!