London, The Forum, 1st November 2015 (Operation Manchester, part 4)

The irritatingly frustrating journey

You might recall me saying that this UK-part of my mini-tour was ‘everything-that-could-go-wrong-went-wrong…-almost’ -travel. Let me show you some more of it.

After the Manchester show I was flying like a bird. It had been amazing, and I had almost not slept at all because of all the thoughts and feelings buzzing around me, whirling. I had planned to take a train from Manchester to London, and I had my tickets booked and actually had them in my bag already, so I headed to the train station. I found the info about my train connection and tried to figure out how to get to the platform 1, which I didn’t see anywhere.

So, I saw a decent friendly looking guy standing there and went asking for help. He told me I should go over the bridge-kind-of-thing (including a lots and lots of stairs), and when seeing my huge bag he said he could carry it for me. I was amazed. You know, I don’t know how common this kind of behavior is in UK or in the US, but in Finland it’s rather rare. I have always been totally surprised about the friendliness of the UK people. I have heard some saying that they act arrogantly, but towards me they have never been nothing but hugely polite and friendly.

This guy carried my bag and I thanked him gazillion times, and then I was there where I though I was supposed to be. It was only there was nobody else. I waited for awhile, until a couple came there too and asked which train I was waiting for. They then told me that they had missed one train already because they had been on the wrong platform. I was getting really nervous, because this train was supposed to take me to another station from where the train to London would leave, and if I missed this train, I would miss my train to London – and my chance to see my Gavin again.

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They were kind, too, and when they find out we actually were in the wrong place, the guy carried my bag back from where I started. Then it was announced that this train I was waiting for will be delayed.

*sigh*

I waited a bit longer until my nerves just couldn’t handle it anymore, I thanked the couple for their kindness and took the cab. It was the right decision, because when I arrived, I could walk straight in to my train and almost immediately it took off. So, it almost went wrong, but not quite.

I had also decided to take the train to be able to see the countryside of England when travelling through it, and because of this I had booked a window seat for myself. It’s just that my ‘window seat’ was in the back corner of the coach and there was no window next to me. Only a white wall. So, I spent a couple of hours staring the white wall, instead of the beautiful landscapes.

*sigh again*

I found my hotel pretty easily, I’m always amazed how easy it’s travel in London. I’ve told everybody that I’m not a slightest worried that I would get lost in there, because it’s quite impossible. When you find an underground sign, you’re saved.

The hotel was tiny, and very cramped and pokey, and I didn’t like it much. I was very hot after the heat in the underground and with my Finnish winter clothes (yeah, right, I’m intelligent) on, so I only cared about having a shower. When I managed to cram myself to my tiny room I realized that there was only a bed. There was no bathroom and definitely no shower. I stood in disbelief for a second before I went back to the reception and told them there must have been a misunderstanding. They told me that I had actually booked a room with no private bathroom. Bummer.

*sigh*

I managed to upgrade my room to a bigger one – but… when I got back from my previous room with all my bags, and got a new key, and got back up with all my bags… the key didn’t work. I was swearing in the narrow corridor all by myself.

*sigh*

Oh well. Needed to drag all my belongings back downstairs again.

When I finally was able to go to the shower the time was very late. I had these plans of going to the venue pretty early to be able to get in the front row for Gav, because, you know, no M&G this time.


 

The show

It had been such an irritating and frustrating journey and I was feeling absolutely like a wreck. But a long shower and something to eat did me good and I was standing in the line 1.5 hours before the doors would open. Nothing compared to my Amsterdam-thing last year (11 hours, haha!), and the time flied. When I got in I got very happily surprised, because I managed to put myself in the third row this time. And the girls in front of me were small, I could see very perfectly. I was almost right in front of Mike (the drummer), and in a perfect spot to watch Gavin, because from the other side I would have seen only his hat from behind the piano.

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This is the only picture I took from the concert. I decided to concentrate on the thing more and play with my phone less. And besides, I knew that I could see all the photos and videos everybody else was taking later anyways. And I did not regret this decision. When in this kinds of situations, I want to give my all to the performer (read: Gavin, who am I trying to fool?), all my attention, being ready and willing to go with him, sensing the fine shades of the atmosphere. I loved – again – every second of it.

I heard the girls in front of me talking to each other, and the other one of them was saying that if Gavin is not going to play ‘Free’ and ‘Belief’ the night will be ruined. I don’t know if they knew what to expect, but when I saw their faces and reactions when these songs actually came on, it felt like I was living the last night’s huge surprise all over again.

This time I was able to contain myself from crying when ‘Free’ started playing, and I was managing very well, until Gavin stood up from the piano and came to the edge of the stage – and I saw all the emotion and glimmering he had in his eyes. I cried. Again.

Gavin is such a performer. I have said it like billion times, but I’m pretty happy to say it all over again. The way he lives through the songs is phenomenal. He doesn’t just sing them, he lives through them. He drags me with. He goes so deep in the music, he shows the song with everything he has, and this huge honesty and openness is making me all vulnerable and defenceless, and so his magical voice just cuts through. I fly with him, so high, every time.

This time I was able to watch Mike and Billy play, too, I could actually took my eyes off Gavin for a short amount of times occasionally. And I realized that they had just as much fun and their passion was just as great. (As a side note: I absolutely love Mike’s facial expressions!)

The set list was the same as in Manchester. I loved every one of the songs. I got the feeling when comparing these two shows, that the Manchester show was a tiny bit more cautious, if I can say that. I didn’t notice it back in Manchester, but when seeing them doing it even better in London I somehow felt the more relaxed vibe from it. More free, kind of.

For example in Manchester Gavin stayed nicely on the stage all the time. In London, though… he jumped off the stage, and came standing very close to the crowd, like almost as close I might have been able to reach. My heart was stopping when I realized that he is actually going to do it, and when he stood so close – and yet so far – from me. And, he stopped to sing the song ‘Run Every Time’ ending to someone holding her hand. And when I saw this, and when I saw his damned gorgeous smile and that content lip bite, I was totally losing it.

You can see it from Instagram, if you just CLICK.

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In the end of the show Gavin talked about how honored he is to find out that his music is appreciated in other countries as well. He talked a quite a bit of it, but I can’t remember anymore. He kept thanking every one of us. And when it comes to this, what I just wrote to him… (remember the story I gave to him in Manchester?)… he seemed to be talking about the very same thing, and speaking straight through my heart. I felt really touched. It suddenly made me think that ‘oh wow, have you been reading some stuff, mr DeGraw?’. I will never know, it could be only the fact that he had just noticed how much we all love him here overseas as well. But, just maybe he might one day peek some of my scribblings, it would make me so happy.

Nevertheless, Gavin always makes me happy.

Some screenshots from a show video to give you a glimpse. I may try to make yet another one post from these shows including videos from YouTube.


The afterthought

Back at my hotel I was super happy, and I was getting super wistful already. I kept thinking that I had only one more show coming up. I was slipping into pre-PCD so fast it made me actually a bit amused.

I wrote on Facebook:

Another amazing show!! So, so, so good. Getting speechless. I just love to see how much Gavin and the guys are enjoying themselves. Their passion shines through. Keep going, love ya all! – And, is it weird to be a bit sad because I have only one show left on this tour?

I was just thinking that I should enjoy this moment more and worry about the last gig later. But boy, I am enjoying!!

It’s so amazing how much they can give and share, how deep into my emotions they go so easily. The best part must be seeing the joy in their eyes.

I was feeling a bit stunned by all the enjoyment and everything, travelling and the very strict timings on my journey, and all… And because of Gavin. I was thinking that I should be able to say so much more, something that would describe it better. But I wasn’t able to. And I’m still not able to.

As I wrote to Gavin in my story, that the words are all I have to thank him, but that the words can never be enough.

And still, here I am. Writing. Because, you know, that’s all I have.

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