Manchester, The Ritz, 31th October 2015 (Operation Manchester, Part 3)

Manchester, 31th October 2015

The Acoustic Evening with Gavin DeGraw -tour started from Manchester this time. I was happy to know that I would have my first Meet & Greet with Gavin in Manchester. I was happy to know that this tour was going to be an acoustic one. I had still no clue how perfect it would be.

Let me tell you about my story.

The UK part of my mini-tour was what I now call ‘everything-that-could-go-wrong-went-wrong…-almost’ -trip. It was frustrating, and funny in the same time. It started when I took my first flight from Kuopio to Helsinki and the receptionist told me that they ‘hope’ that my luggage will get on the next plane in time. That didn’t calm me, much. I needed to change planes twice to get to Manchester and I was terrified that all my belongings would go missing right in the beginning.

I needed to run to my next flight. Not kidding. I was amongst three last persons the whole flight was waiting to be able to take off. Uhh. The next receptionist told me that he had no clue what would happen to my luggage, ‘you’ll see it when you’re there’. Did not calm me down.

My bag was found from London when I arrived and I could relax, finally. I wouldn’t have to go and meet my gorgeous Gavin with the same clothes on I did the travelling.

So, I had planned to say some things for him. This was my second time ever to meet him in person and I kinda knew what to expect. I hoped to be able to say how much I have been waiting for this tour, how excited I am to know it is an acoustic one. I planned to ask him to draw something my daughter, E (5 years), who loves Gavin very much, and had drawn something for G as well. I planned to ask Gavin to play Free, if it could be possible in any way, because it is such a meaningful song to me, and it made so much sense to me. And I had something to give to Gavin as well. I had written a story how his music and example has been changing my life, and with that I tried to thank him, to pay him back, to let him know that no matter what, someone has been set free because of him. And it’s not just a little thing for me.

Okay, those were my plans. I was also extremely anxious, because I know my talking skills when it comes to this attractive guys and when done in English (which is not my first language at all).

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I went to the venue a bit early, but it was so much fun chatting with other GavinGirls, who had their M&G’s, too. And find out that they were just as freaked out as I was. Ha. We told each other how gorgeous and a great singer he is, what else would have we talked about anyways?

Then it was time. We were led to the basement, and someone made jokes about this being a really Halloween-themed M&G. And there we waited, patiently in the line. It seemed to take forever before the sweetest of men arrived, smiling widely. My heart melted. I wasn’t so scared as I thought I would be. I only felt the sweet and warm… something. Love? All I knew I was happy.

Then suddenly it was my turn.
“Hello”, Gavin said, and I squealed something that was meant to be ‘hi’, but the sound that came out was just terrifying. Gosh. I thought that this is so not going to go well.
He asked my name, and told me his name is Gavin, as always. Then he took the set list and was ready to write my name down. Then I actually followed my plan.

“I have a special request for you”, I said.
“Oh, really? What is it?” he asked.
I then explained that my daughter had made a drawing for him, and once again he asked if I wanted him to sign that drawing for my daughter (he did that last time too, SEE?). I said that E wanted him to have it, and that I had hoped that maybe Gavin could draw something to E.

He started hesitating.
“I’m a terrible drawer”, he said, and agreed only to sign the set list for E.
“Just something, like a tiny heart or something?” I tried, but he wasn’t excited about it, or so it seemed. So, I thought ‘man, you’re dull, you should’ve done something, I’m not asking you to draw a whole painting, but oh well, I’ll take the signature, then’.

Then I started explaining that I had brought something for him as well.
“In this I tried to explain what your music has been doing in my life”, I said, and I hoped I could have said something more, but my courage faded, and I just kept going. “And I really hope you could read at least a part of this.”
“I will read it, I look forward to reading it”, he said immediately, and I thought ‘yeah, right, sure you do’.

“How do you spell your name?” he then asked.
I got confused, again. All I could do was say: “Umm.. Umm.. uh, I need to think about it.”
Ha! But, what I did then, was a marvelous exploit: I managed to spell my name correctly! Just like that. How proud I was.
“Where does this name come from?” he asked then.
And suddenly I was feeling like it was just a nice little conversation, not a huge rock star and a tiny fan of his, but I just somehow relaxed.
“From Finland”, I told him. “Have you ever been in Finland?”
“I have never been in Finland”, he answered.
“You should come”, I said.
“I would like to come”, he said. “It would be exciting.”

And I guess it was about this time when my brain finally told me that that’s it. You’re not saying anything important anyways, so stay silent.

So, we took the picture, and it felt so good to hold him, ha. I smiled, though I thought that the more natural smile of mine was gone before the flash. The picture looks like this:

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Damn he is gorgeous. And damn my smile is wide, though maybe not very natural or relaxed looking. Ha. But if I’m completely honest with you guys, I can’t stop staring this picture. I just can’t.


 

The show

Then it was time for me to go back in the venue. I kept thinking ‘oh wow, did I really take that much time with him, or does it just feel like it?’. I still don’t know, but it felt to me that the others went much faster, and I just kept babbling all kinds of very important things. Ha.

The venue was very full and very hot. It was getting hard to even breathe. I had no hopes to go anywhere near the stage, so I stayed in the back rather willingly. And waited.

I was so not prepared for what then happened. The songs. The voice. The whole freaking thing. It was… I know I’m not in the position to be able to say this, but still I’m going to. It felt like the old Gavin show. I have never been in one, but what I have seen from YouTube, it was just like it. Just his gorgeous, beautiful, golden voice. Just the piano, just the guitar, just the drums, and sometimes nothing at all. Just the music at its purest.

I had the set list in my bag, but I hadn’t even peeked it, so I didn’t know what to expect. When the first notes of ‘Free’ started playing, I sighed out loud ‘OH MY GOD’ and started crying immediately. I realized that I had planned to ask him to play that song and now he did even I didn’t say anything. And I thought about the writing I gave to him, in where I told him things about the song ‘Free’, as well. I cried.

And this continued. A song after a song I kept saying ‘oh my god’, and crying. ‘Why are you doing this to me?’ I thought. ‘Good god, how much I love you’. I would have been pretty happy with ‘Free’, but he did sing also ‘Belief’, that has been my wish to hear live as long as I can remember. I cried again. He sang ‘Stealing’, yet another one I hoped for. He sang so many, so beautiful songs. He kept singing and singing, and my feet kept aching and aching, but I didn’t care. He sang ‘Glass’, he sang ‘Stay’. He sang ‘Spell it out’! He sang so many songs I had never heard live, or I had thought I would probably never hear live anyways. It was pure heaven.

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The songs, the sounds. It was… Just the thing I needed. One of my most favorite albums of his is ‘Free’, and he sang so many songs from it. It felt the whole show was just planned for me, planned to be real, planned to be the original stuff, the thing he started doing music for.

I don’t know. Just my interpretation. But I loved every single freaking minute of it.


 

The response

Right I got back to my hotel from the venue I wrote on Facebook:

I just came back to my hotel from Gavin’s concert. It was soooo amazing. He played all my favorites. I mean: all. I cried. So totally worth of the whole day travelling. So worth of it.

I’m not able to say it out loud, all the feelings. All the enjoyment, belonging, meaning. All the beautiful things this one man just did to me. How much I enjoyed. I told you guys sometime before that when listening to ‘Chariot Stripped’ -album I used to have myself all over covered with goosebumps, like my arms, back and toes… And this was just the same. Except when seeing him doing it live right in front of you, it multiplies it, it makes it impossible to comprehend.

How deep in the music Gavin can go, and how high he can lift me when he sings.

I keep saying it was amazing, but there’s no other word for it. It was amazing. It was everything I had ever hoped for, and even more. I don’t know how it is possible for Gavin to every time exceed my expectations. Every. Single. Time. And even when I know it is probably going to happen, he still blows my mind.

I so much love him, and his music, and the experiences he has been giving to me.

THANK YOU, GAVIN!


 

Oh, and the ‘terrible drawer’ -thing… Back at my hotel I realized…

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It wasn’t a heart, but it was a drawing. I just didn’t see at all him doing it. I was so happy for my E, and I was happy for myself, too, because I could prove my previous thoughts wrong. Gavin is anything but dull, right? The sweetest man in the world that I know of.

(E put this on the wall in her room immediately, next to her Gavin-picture collection.)

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