Friday 9 April

The Royal Albert Hall
Nathalie The arrival in London…that's another funny story.... I took the plane from Frankfurt to Heathrow Airport where Bianca was arriving approximately at the same time. As soon as I arrived, my cellular phone, which was finally turned on!, rang! Bianca was calling me to announce she was already waiting for me in THE TUBE. From the moment I met her in the Tube, we chatted away like we had not seen each other for a century..... The people around us thought for sure we were out-of-our-mind since we were completely oblivious to anyone around us and were talking about the FAN CLUB as if it were life or death ha! ha! Bianca An early morning flight.. yuk, and the usual delay... still, that was quickly forgotten after I met up with Nathalie at the Heathrow undergroundstation. Herma On Friday, Jules and I got on the plane and arrived at midday in London. Brought our luggage to our hotel. On St. George’s Drive ! of all places. :) Just a coincidence, I didn’t even know they had named a street after him. We called Cav on her mobile and found out she and Nathalie were at the Royal Albert Hall, talking to other fans and we decided to meet there. They had already found out that George would be rehearsing later in the evening, so we decided to get some drinks first. But first of all we had to take a pic of the poster outside the RAH, what a good idea.
Bianca, Herma and Nathalie.. posing in front of the concert promo poster

Nathalie leaned against the poster which obviously had just been glued on minutes before. Luckily she didn’t stand there long or her leather jacket would have been glued to the poster. Glue all over her jacket, we thought this will never come off if we don’t immediately do something about it. So we went to the entrance of the RAH, where the artists arrived. The nice man at the door let Nathalie in and I decided on the spot that she might desperately need help. We got passes to get in and headed for the loo. Well, what can I say? The glue came off and we inspected the RAH behind the scenes. Not a very glamorous loo, I must say. No attractive men in there either.. So we went on and ended up backstage. We acted ofcourse as if we belonged there, nevertheless we didn’t find anyone interesting other than some light guys, who were working there. No rehearsal going on. Just waiting. We thought we were spotted so we left quickly, allthough we had our story ready if anyone should ask what we were doing there. We decided we couldn’t stay away any longer without raising suspicion and went back to the door, we did notice we had gotten day passes. :) Unfortunately our fast goodbye and thank you didn’t make the doorman forget that, so we had to turn in our passes. Good work sir! Too bad for us. Outside Cav and Jules told us the man had been looking at his little t.v. screens all the time…ahum…And we thought we could crash the RAH without being noticed by security… :) Well, we desperately needed a drink after all that exitement! So the dreaded walking started. Love London, hate walking! No pubs near, so we ended up taking a buss to Knightsbridge and drank some very nice wine there. I hadn’t met Nathalie and Bianca before and we finally had time to chat and discuss all kinds of things. Stayed there much longer than we intended and ended up having a meal at the Mac. There we had our own restroom incident LOL. It’s not just George who has something with loos, his fans too, as you can see on various places at this site. Jeannette Via Gatwick Airport, Herma - who eventually bought the fifth ticket - and I arrived in London. I looooove London :) My hotel was in a street named St George's Drive which - I can honestly say - wasn't chosen for the name, because I just didn't know. Honest. We knew that Bianca and Nathalie would arrive in London on Friday as well. Hurrah for mobile phones! Bianca had one with her, so it was easy for us to find out where they were that time of day. After Herma and I spent too much time in the hotel room - drinking coffee and what else Herma? -, we decided to meet up with Bianca and Nathalie. We tried to trick Bianca by calling her in an English accent and ask for "Biiiaaancaaa" :) After we had first dialed the wrong number - no Biiiaaancaaa's there :D - , it was obvious that she didn't fall for it; she recognized Herma's voice immediately :( We met right in front of the Royal Albert Hall, where Bianca and Nathalie already had spent some time chatting with some Paul McCartney fans.
Jeannette, Nathalie and Bianca
It was so nice to see Bianca and Nathalie again. Last and only time I met them, was in June 1998, in London too at the If You Were There Party. The four of us checked out the promotion poster of the Here, There and Everywhere concert, which had - as it appeared - just been glued to the wall…Nathalie's coat got glued all over… What did she do anyway, rubbing herself to the wall like that? Maybe she liked the poster so much that she hoped that she could get away with a poster attached to her leather coat… like no one would have noticed, Nathalie! The dirty coat as an excuse, made it possible to enter the Royal Albert Hall where Nathalie and Herma checked out all the loos - what were they hoping to find? Or who? :D After Nathalie babbled for half an hour with some Swedish passengers about Stefan Edberg, we got ourselves to this very nice pub. Don't remember the name… We had some wines - some wines? :) - and talked, and talked and talked…can't even remember what about… Oh yes, now I think of it…I do :)
Herma and Jeannette in the pub
Bianca The rehearsals: ok.. confession time, that was my idea! :o) When I got the MOL email from George on Thursdaynight... saying that he had just gotten back from rehearsals for the concert... I realized, of course.. they have to rehearse as well! I just had to check the place out.. With the excuse, "well.. we need to know where we have to pick up the tickets tomorrow" Nathalie and I went to the Royal Albert Hall after lunch that Friday.. and stayed for quite a while.. chatting to a few other people we met there, mainly Paul McCartney fans. After meeting up with Herma and Jeannette, we had to show them the promo poster of the concert. Of course we all had to pose before it, and smiled but found out later that there was white glue on her black leather jacket. Yuk, well, we needed some water to get that of, so we headed for the receptionist at the artist entrance. He gave Nathalie and Herma a pass to enter the Albert Hall and Jeannette and I stayed at the reception. We talked for a while, checked out some folders, talked some more and some more.. and then we realized that it was taking them an awful long time to get back. *grin*... guess the receptionist thought so too because he was checking out all his monitors to find a spot of the girls. :) When they finally did come back, they rushed so fast that I didn't even get to show them the nice card we found, with a pic of George on it. Later on in this website, you'll find out that this card (well, not this one, but hers) got a very special meaning to Jeannette! :o)

the card we got from the RAH reception
After that incident, we thought it was time for some drinks, so we went looking for a nice pub and had a great time there. And since it was getting later and we still wanted to go back to the Royal Albert Hall we decided to go for a quick meal.. with a fun incident, haha Nathalie decided to go check out the men's room! Herma …Then it was quickly back to the RAH as we had heard that George would be rehearsing that evening and we wanted to see him arrive. I can tell you, this was the first time in my entire life that I spent waiting for someone for hours, for anyone…and the last! Whether it be George Michael or the Pope, never again, this just isn’t my kind of thing. A very nice London spring evening can turn very cold, thirsty and no loos around…not my idea of fun. Well, to be perfectly honest we did have a lot of fun together, it was George who spoiled it. I have been a fan since the first days of Wham!, I have had all his home addresses through the years, but I never waited outside his house because I respect his privacy too much in order to do that. But I thought this rehearsing at the RAH is work situation for him and he probably wouldn’t mind some fans being outside there. And just maybe he would be so nice as to give us an autograph, there weren’t that many people there, he wouldn’t get mobbed or anything. We saw all kinds of people arrive and leave again. Elvis Costello, Sinead O’Connor and yes even Paul McCartney! They all went inside that door, all the other doors were closed so all we had to do was wait for my alltime favorite singer. They all stopped to sign and have their picture taken. They were all very nice. But after all, why wouldn’t they? They are called Stars, but they are people too, right?
Elvis Costello... Yvonne in the background
Noone groped or grabbed at them, it was all very civilized, very nice. In the meantime we were told that George had already arrived, yeah right, that was just a trick to make us leave, haha. Would he? Would he arrive and get in through another door? When even Paul went through that door? God, the man is a legend in his own time. Maybe George is hotter at the moment, but surely not bigger than Paul? Would he go as far as to take special security measures in order to avoid meeting the few fans that were there that night? Ofcourse not, we have faith in him, he is a very nice guy we think, so we wait…. and wait… And then just as we thought everybody had left by then, we heard him sing! No doubt about it, wouldn’t we recognize his voice?? Great place the RAH, you don’t even have to pay to get in, you can hear everything outside, well not as good, but when you have good ears, and we do, you could clearly hear George sing. A concert especially for us! So we knew which songs he was going to do, mmm, unfortunately I’ve never really been a great Beatles fan. I mean you have to be good to achieve that level of success, but I prefered the Rolling Stones at that time. (Allthough I was just a very small kid, my older sister had the records back then) Anyway Elenor Rigby is certainly no favourite of mine, but I always enjoy hearing George sing covers. This was fun, all the waiting had paid off! After he finished we waited again, suspiciously thinking.. …which door would it be now? Since there were only maybe seven or ten people left, we thought… but no! The other door. Ofcourse…no such luck. Sigh
Jeannette Earlier, Nathalie and Bianca had heard that George would rehearse that evening….at 8.00 p.m. So, what can you do? We arrived at the Royal Albert Hall at 7.15 p.m. and thought that we would have to wait for only 45 minutes. Yeah, right! I think Bianca and Herma were fed up at 9.00 p.m. and I think we all were at 10.00 p.m. But what can you do? You know that George is going to rehearse sooner or later and we were there already for three hours…it would be a total waste to leave at 10.00 p.m. knowing that you spent three hours on a door step for nothing. So we decided to hang around. We killed our time laughing, and talking to the same Paul McCartney fans who had been there earlier that day. Among the George Michael fans on the door step, there were Yvonne and her niece Michelle. And Tim! Tim: a fan…a fan of anyone who would show up that night :) We did hear other artists rehearse. And one at the time, every 30 minutes, we saw them leaving door 1 of the Royal Albert Hall, the door where we were standing. Elvis Costello, Sinéad O'Connor…and…Paul McCartney. The last one didn't fall for Nathalie's trick question: "A picture with you? Only one?" :) Elvis Costello and Sinéad took their time to give autographs and to have their pictures taken.
Paul McCartney in his car
The doors next to the entrance/exit weren't closed properly; one of them was opened a crack and tied by means of a chain on the inside. Just enough to listen to the rehearsals… Most times however, we had to guess who was singing; not all the artists were loud enough to understand, but luckily Tim "a fan" was quite good in recognizing artists' voices. With the leaving of Paul McCartney at about 11.00 p.m., most fans left too. I think we were there with only 10 or 12 persons, still waiting for George…to do what? To rehearse? To arrive? To leave? We had no idea… Big compliment for the staff of the Royal Albert Hall here! They didn't tell us anything, and when they did, they contradicted. Very, very smart! Got us totally confused: is he (still) in? Will he be there at all? Suddenly, music came out of the cracked door and it was definately George! We could tell immediately. We didn't even have to press ourselves against the doors to listen - we did though. With all respect to the other artists, George has the most loudest and clearest voice of them all, but you probably knew that all along. At one time, Nathalie, Herma and I were pressed against the door, but Bianca - who was standing five meters away from us - could hear the rehearsals loud and clear…standing on the pavement in front of the door! It was about 11.30 p.m. when George started his rehearsals. It must have looked like the door was a giant magnet, as the four of us hurried up and dashed ourselves against the door to get a listen. The crack in the door was very well used, as all four of us managed to get our "own place" at the door: one person laying on the ground, one person sitting on the ground, one person standing bent over and one person standing stretched out :) I think the picture on this page says enough…
Herma, Nathalie and Bianca... doing their best to hear something from the rehearsals
The first song we heard George rehearsing, was Eleanor Rigby. Then he did The Long And Winding Road and after that another time Eleanor Rigby. Quiet for five minutes….Then…"what's this?? Is this Faith??" "Yes, it is". I think he rehearsed Faith - or pieces of it - two or three times. I remember I was quite surprised by his choice to perform Faith the other day. It was when George rehearsed Faith, that Bianca danced a bit to it standing at least five meters away fromm the cracked door. Unbelievable, does that man have a voice! We had frequently been asking out of which door George would be leaving, but like I said…no one was willing to tell. Most likely he would leave via the door the other artists used…"our" door. We knew there was another door, and one of us had been walking up and down to the other door constantly. But at the end, we went for door no 1. George must have peeked out of the window, having a laugh and the minute he saw the person who guarded "the other door" left his or her place, he must have gotten outside to leave. One of the Royal Albert Hall people told us 15 minutes after we last heard him rehearse, that he had left already. I don't know why, but we believed him this time. It was most likely that he left via the other door. Too bad, we were with only a group of 10 people, so it wouldn't have been as if he had to break himself a way through an enormous crowd. Maybe it was that one guy with the big camera who scared him…:( Anyway, he has every right to leave via whatever door he likes ofcourse… Bianca Back at the Royal Albert Hall the waiting started. Waiting for George to arrive, waiting for the rehearsals.. well, waiting for whatever was going to happen! *grin*... I had enough of it around 9:00pm already and suggested that we should get back to our hotels, get changed and then go out clubbing! I mean.. come on, how big was our chance to 'meet' George? Sure.. maybe we would see him walking in the Royal Albert Hall, but that's it.. I didn't really expect anything else and wanted to go out and have fun. But the girls convinced me to wait a little while longer, so we waited, talked, waited.. saw several people arrive/leave.. but no George. Again I suggested to go back to our hotel, but nooooo.. although Herma was on my side, the rest said we had been waiting for so long already that we might as well stay if we didn't want the evening to be a complete waste. So we stayed.. :) It got later and later.. but whoever we saw.. no George Michael! We saw Sinead's son arrive in a taxi (*grin*, well, I didn't know he was her son then.. but found out later when he left with her). She was very nice btw.. posed for pictures, gave autographs, etc.
Sinead O'Connor giving Nathalie an autograph
Anyway.. we still hadn't heard George, and we were speculating all day what songs he would sing.. from the MOL email we knew that it was going to be two songs of Paul and one of his own.. of course we were curious as to which song of his own he would pick. Finally, when we thought that everyone had already left the place, we could hear George rehearse!! :) Nathalie filled me in on the Beatles titles.. I never really was a great Beatles fan, so she had me confused for a little while when I thought that "All the loney People" and "Eleanor Rigby" were two different songs. When it was quiet for awhile I thought he had finished rehearsing, not realizing that he hadn't done a song of his own yet. I was standing away from the door, when all of a sudden I heard these very familiar tones.. *grin*, I started dancing and had this huge smile on my face, realizing.. "yes, I know this song".. lol, immediately followed by a sad look and saying something like "yikes.. from all the songs why does he have to pick my least favourite GM song"? The look on my face must have been really funny.. :o) After the rehearsals we waited a bit longer in the hope to see George leave.. but no such luck.. he managed to sneak out cleverly.. like he managed to get in the place without us noticing him!
Sinead O'Connor
Nathalie Being at the rehearsals; well what fun did we have there.....! Absolutely Crazy, that's what we were (Bianca, Jeannette, Herma, and myself). Spending hours by the Royal Albert Hall theatre door to try to get a glimpse of George's voice... What can I say, we ARE dedicated... or completely Bananas....! One of the best parts of that evening was first, when we had a drink at a Kensington pub. The wine was fabulous, I speak for myself of course, and the company very interesting. Then, we went back to the Albert Hall and met Tim, the wild girl with the short cut... what was her name? and some other onlookers. Although London was at our feet that evening, I could not have experienced more pleasure than standing from 5 PM until 12 PM while freezing my little "derriere," feet and throat with the company of my accomplices. Herma …So, it was time for drinks again, we went to a place called Cheers, drove the d.j. crazy by requesting, no, demanding George songs all the time.. We had a few drinks and I had Sex on the beach…OK, shock horror, it’s a cocktail. Don’t know what’s in it, but it’s the best sex I’ve ever had …..well, almost. :) As we were leaving we got stopped by two guys, outside. Obviously drunk, we had a chat, why us girls were George Michael fans…he is gay after all… one of them wanted to know. So what? We tried to explain, but this guy obviously only had sex on his mind. He said he liked George a lot, he wouldn’t have minded having breakfast with him, instead he settled for the boyfriend…Who incidently didn’t like George Michael…Well, I wonder why?.. :) Nathalie taught me the difference between the different taxi’s in London. These guys just kept coming up to us to offer us prices to get back to our hotel. In my town here, a taxi is a taxi with standard prices. What did I know? Nathalie drove a hard bargain…which saved me a lot of money, allthough the taxidriver had no idea where St. George’s drive might be… It took us an hour to get there and we had to give him directions…we are the tourists! Much too late we were back at our hotel. I can’t remember anything after that moment, so I must have fallen asleep pretty quickly despite all the exitement of the day. One day? Yeah this morning I was still in Rotterdam, Holland…seems like lightyears away. Jeannette We ended the evening in Cheers, together with Tim, having a good time, drinking - again! You are going to read another twenty times - talking and dancing.