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Teena's Concert Review(2/25/06)

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I do apologise for taking so long with my review of the recent Barossa Valley concert on the 25th February, but I have only had this chance to be able to type it up.  (It's so terrible when there is only one computer to share between two people!).

Anyway, since this is – or, rather WAS – my very first time experiencing the man, I hope you will excuse my excitement and any errors that I may make.

Well, first of all, some facts should be listed.  Apparently, (from an M.C.I.F.A. Hotline message that we read afterwards), there were over 9,000 people in attendance at the Barossa Valley Concert - more than his previous two concerts!  And, although Jaime and I were NOT seated in the front row, we still had an excellent view of The Man.  (Jaime also had the assistance of a pair of binoculars too).

Let’s see, what else?

Well, as Jaime said, the man was absolutely amazing at the concert.  He was so funny, and hilarious, and so incredibly charming.  He bedazzled me with his singing, and he had me laughing hysterically every few minutes when he told the audience various stories about his career and his First Date on a sailboat with “Olive”.

But, before I get to the actual concert itself, I really should describe the Member Gathering that we had beforehand.

The Gathering took place at around 4pm, and there were several OFFICIAL M.C.I.F.A. staff – that seemed to recognise Jaime from various email messages and pictures that she had sent to the Association website in the past.  Even I, myself, was recognised by Rosalind (pardon the spelling, but she’s the one responsible for putting NOTES together).  She had recognised my name from the three articles in the recent edition of NOTES.

Also at the Gathering, I had purchased the Calendar for this year (what gorgeous photos of The Man, by the way!), as well as a “Michael Crawford Fan”.

Aside from consuming the nibbles and the drink, everyone in attendance had the opportunity to chat, and meet, with the special guest – Sheryl Armstrong.  (Is her name spelt with an ‘S’ or a ‘C’? – I have read a couple of sources with both spellings.  But, my apologies if the name is spelt wrong).

Let’s see, what else happened at the Gathering?... I think that’s about it.

Anyway, onto the concert in a moment.  I just wanted to say beforehand though that I was quite disappointed with the merchandise available.  Aside from the “programmes” – which were REALLY just a booklet describing Monsieur Michael Crawford’s career – there were little more of interest aside from a couple of shirts (no picture of The Man!); a cap (again, without a picture of The Man); the “In Concert” DVD and also “The Best Of…” CD.

(So, for those of you that I had said I would get them a souvenir, I do apologize.  I just didn’t see the point, really, as there was nothing of particular interest.  Besides, I understand that Jaime had promised a small few of you a program each).

Alright.  Now, onto the concert!

First of all, I should mention that there was a Dark-coloured helicopter circling the 'location' not too long before the concert started, in which I would think Monsieur Crawford was aboard.  (I would certainly like to think it was him!).

It was such a wonderful performance, which the opening act was a trio of violinist girls called “String Diva”.  They performed various tunes/songs that vary from Bizet; Carmen and a couple of Western-themed pieces.  They weren’t too bad – although, I feel, they reminded me too much of that girl-violinist-group “Bond”.  I did like their long red, sparkly gowns that they wore in their opening number though.

Well, after that performance, there was a twenty-minute interval before the “Main Event” was announced.

Monsieur Michael Crawford appeared on the stage at approximately 8:50pm, first singing “Gethsemane”.  He then went on to talk about the song – describing the songs he was going to sing that night as being from shows he ‘was in’, ‘was in, but he doesn’t perform them’ or ‘not in entirely’.

He then went into the next song “Bring Him Home” and “The Impossible Dream”.

I cannot remember the exact order of the songs he sang throughout the night, but the songs were pretty much the same as on the “In Concert” DVD, with the exceptions of the two listed above – and, of course, Dale Kristien singing “Think Of Me” in the Phantom section.

Even Lucy was brought onto the stage (from her seat in the audience) to sing “The First Man You Remember/Other Pleasures” with her father.  (That was a particularly sweet duet, that one).

As for any bloopers and/or funny bits, I’m sure Jaime told you about the ‘Mike’s mike dying’ during the Phantom duet with Dale Kristien – and his trying to locate a microphone that actually worked.  However, did she tell you that one of Monsieur Crawford’s shirt buttons actually popped after singing, and conducting, “Before The Parade Passes By”?

When that happened, he placed the button in his pocket and parted the shirt slightly, saying “If you see any hairs, they’re not mine”.

When he was conducting too, he reluctantly handed the baton back to Larry Blank (“Mr. Remote Control himself”, as Monsieur Crawford described him after telling the story of the boat in Phantom going ON the stage, then OFF completely, before going BACKWARDS ONTO the stage again).  Monsieur Crawford said, as he returned the baton, “It’s not that hard (to conduct)… You might well be overpaid!”.

Let’s see, what else?... As for any stories, he told one about the boat – as briefly described above.  He also told the one about coming to land at a Perth airport (I doubt this is spelt correctly, but it sounds like “Looin’…”, or something – again, my apologies), and there were a couple of Portable Potties at the end of the Runway.

Monsieur Crawford even told the story of his “near-Asthma-attack” in Phantom, and imitated ALW, as only he can.  He said something along the lines of “When he’s (ALW) mad, he walks in like this…”, and placed one hand of his hip, and imitated ALW hurriedly walking.  “When he’s really mad, he’s like this…”, and he placed both hands on his hips and hurriedly walked again.

I’m not sure if it sounds funny typing up these stories like this, but if you saw the REAL THING in action, I’m sure you all would be wetting yourselves with laughter too.

What else happened?... Oh yes.  Frank Spencer made a couple of appearences throughout the night.  Once when Monsieur Crawford was starting a story and he said, “I had a bit of trouble”.  Also, Frank Spencer made a brief appearance – in the way of an expression – when he was having the problem with the microphones.

At the end of the concert (after three or four encores – and quite a few ‘Standing Ovations’), Monsieur Crawford ended the concert with “Papa, Can You Hear Me?” – in which we could hear him make a slight gasp for breath (in the way of moving a lump of emotion).

Monsieur Crawford was quite emotional in some parts of the show.  Quite a few times, Jaime and I could hear him make a slight pause in a song – or, as above, make a slight gasp for breath to regain control.

Well, there was so much that happened during the concert, but I hope this little review gives you all SOME idea on how it went.  I wish I could describe EACH and EVERY second of the concert to you, but, really, in all honesty, I have forgotten some of the details already.

All I know is that the concert was far too short – even though it was like 11:30pm by the time Jaime and I (and the other M.C.I.F.A. people) returned to the Motel rooms.

Also, Jaime and I didn’t get the opportunity to meet him in person – bummer! – but, there’s always next time.  I am only hoping that he will come back to Australia very soon.  We Aussies never seem to get the same amount of time to see Monsieur Crawford as some people do.  Plus, I would love to give him a copy of my autobiography that I have just finished writing – in which he features in a great deal of the chapters.

As for my opinion of the concert, I think my thoughts are pretty well clear, in regards to Monsieur Crawford.  Lucy was very sweet too – her father really did seemed quite touched by her joining him in song.  But, as for Dale, I must say that I was quite disappointed by her voice.

Don’t get me wrong.  I DID indeed enjoy her voice on the “In Concert” DVD.  But, on Saturday at the concert, her voice just sounded far too high than I remembered.  In fact, her voice was so high that I thought she would break the speakers/microphone at one point.  Or, at least, shatter the wine glasses in the first five rows of the audience.

Well, as I said before, I hope this review settles some curiosities about the Barossa Valley concert.  I do apologize for the abruptness and the ‘jumping’ of the details, but this is my first review, and I wasn’t too sure how to start.

Take care everyone.  If anyone does get the chance to go to a concert in the future, and are uncertain if they should go or not, take it from me – a first-timer.  You will NEVER regret going to a Monsieur Michael Crawford concert!
Your friend,

P.S.  Forgot to mention.  Monsieur Crawford also sang the songs, “On Eagle’s Wings” and “Not Too Far From Here” – which almost made me cry.
P.P.S.  Monsieur Crawford also imitated an Australian accent for a couple of his stories, which was quite hilarious as well!


"May Your Hopes and Dreams Always Be Carried on Eagles' Wings"-Michael Crawford