But first I want to give you a link to check out. Because happyhybrid put so much work into this project. What she did was taking all the videos from youtube and cutting them together, so to get different perspectives and complete coverage of the songs, much like a real DVD would have been. You can watch all songs in that way on her site here: http://johnbarrowman.happy-hybrid.com/my-unofficial-john-barrowman-youtube-tour-project/
And here is the instruction how to download the files: http://johnbarrowman.happy-hybrid.com/unofficial-john-barrowman-2011-tour-dvds/
A big thank you also goes to rheidol who helped me with a few English phrases so I wouldn’t embarrass myself too much. Any remaining mistakes are mine of course. Also many thanks to all the people that let me use their pictures.
As for my report, just click onto everything that looks like a link - you will hear all songs and can listen to all the funny stories in between - John tells them so much better than I ever could write up!
The concert started with the curtain still closed and we only saw the silhouette of John in his typical concert pose, with raised up arm, already dancing.
Picture by alaschija - used with permission
Then a voice announced: “Ladies and Gentlemen – John Barrowman!” and the curtain fell and he started straight away with
01 “Celebration” (Kool & The Gang)
John wore a blue shirt and a suit with corresponding blue sparkly lapels. The dancers, also called “The J4s”, were dressed in a lovely way and were in full action as well. I really love it when John moves in a nice choreography together with them. It looks all so easy, as if he just in this minute decides to do a few moves, but of course all is well rehearsed. How one can at the same time sing AND not forget to do the right steps is beyond me ;)
It definitely started the evening well (and it was even a song I knew beforehand! Yay! LOL) and it did set the right mood for the things to come. Let’s party!
While singing, John also walked to the far ends of the stage left and right, to wave at the people in the side blocks. He got then greeted with a loud Squee from there. The song finally ended on a high note and a lovely pose with him and his dancers:
Picture by hope2259 - used with permission
Another song followed right after that.
02 “Listen to the Music” (Doobie Brothers)
After the first verse we got treated to a lot of hip swings, which raised another loud Squee from the audience ;) You can see it in the video above. There also was a moment where The J4s stood more or less still and John walked from one to the other and touched them and then they started to dance.
Apparently the men with the wind instruments also use to have fun with this number, but I did not notice this for myself. I got told by a friend that they were clapping, then doing roly-polys with their hands and every time the chorus came around they cupped their right ear to “listen to the music” and on the line “all the time” they tapped their watches on the word “time”.
Based loosely on James Bond: One concert is not enough.
Then it was time for John’s welcome speech. He promised us, hard times aside, that we would be entertained that night. And he certainly held his promise.
Picture by hope2259 - used with permission
Because of the picture that was shown behind him he encouraged us also ”to go and fart sparkles” – it surely will live up the neighbourhood! And if we get asked where we have been just say “At a John Barrowman concert!”
Then he said, there are some new and old faces among the musicians, and walked from one to the other pointing to their faces: “We got a new face, an old face, a new face, an old face… “ (continuing for a while) and finally the guy on guitar was: “… a big face.” He especially introduced Matt at the keyboards, because Matt’s from Cardiff! John commented on Matt’s age: “You could be my son! No – never happened…”
It led to John talking about his business partner and friend Gavin Barker, with whom he owns “Barrowman Barker Productions” and he showed a picture of him and Gavin. “Guess who is who! He needs to have some work on his teeth!” LOL Sorry, didn’t photograph that one, here is a screenshot from the video above:
But that was not Gavin of course, here is what he looks like. This picture must be a few years old, John mentioned that both of them would not fit into their suits anymore.
And John said that Gavin is a big Gay. He also asked if there are any Gays in the audience and there responded quite a few, which made him happy. So, what do gay people love? A good Barry Manilow song. John then showed a picture of the night where Barry had invited him to sing a duet at a Proms in the Park concert in Hyde Park, they are good friends now and apparently Barry told John he could sing any song of his that he likes, and he chose the next one because there is a story that it actually was written for a puppy dog.
03 “Mandy” (Barry Manilow)
The video and sound quality in the Watford video is HD and superb. My only complaint is that John’s long note near the end which raised loud cheers is rather short in this – I happen to think that we got more from “Mr. Leatherlung” in Cardiff. If you like, you can also check out Manchester with a rather impressive 13 seconds (yes I counted):
“Mandy” in Manchester
Next up were some family pictures with wee John and all the others being much younger as well – Mom with sunglasses, Carole with pigtails and John and his brother in short pants, and he talked and joked a bit about those
He asked if we also think that he looks like his Dad in this picture. His brother Andrew stands there with his head a little bent – the family had no idea at this time that their other son would come out really bent (and John bent sideways ;) )
When he was a little boy he entered a lot of competitions for muscle men:
“And I continue to enter the muscle men – oh, that somehow didn’t come out right!” ;)
Next picture was of him at the age when he discovered that he likes music. And he wears a bowl cut.
He asked if there are any mothers in the audience who also put a bowl on their son’s heads to cut the hair. Some said yes and he returned that they will burn in Hell ;)
He also wears a “Grease” T-shirt in this picture. He loved “Grease”. John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John – “Guess who I wanted to be!”
So, when they left Scotland to move to America, John had a few things he thought he would never see again, one of them was the Eurovision Song contest. So we got a medley with some of his favorite Eurovision songs!
04 “Eurovision Medley”
The J4s joined him of course in some colorful clothes and did some Seventies dance numbers. But not only that, they also upgraded to singing now and sang together with him! First song was “Save your kisses for me” by Brotherhood of Man and I sang along right away. Then followed “Boom Bang A Bang” by Lulu. After that Kate, James, Jenny and Jamie asked whether it now was time for their own number. It has been four years now! John asked James to kiss him but he declined with a funny expression and walked on ;) Jamie even went down on his knees and declared they would do anything. I’m not sure he really had thought this through ;)
Then they stood on the side with very sad faces. John said: “Don’t laugh, this is your big acting moment!” So funny ;)
The audience was all “Awwwwwwww” so of course, when John asked whether we really want to see a solo number of them we said YESSSSSS! So the four of them without John sang “Making your mind up” by Bucks Fizz and I really felt like having been put back into the Seventies. Loved the whole thing. Back then at least some really good worldwide hits came out of this contest, nowadays you don’t even remember the 1st place from last year. During the song they also ripped off the clothes of each other – first the boys the skirts from the girls, and the girls ripped off the pants from the boys, to much squeeing from us of course. They all ended up standing there in short golden hot pants (or “Kylie pants” as John called them) and John joined for the finale with ABBA’s “Waterloo”. By this time we all were dancing in our seats.
The whole set was really great, and very sparkly.
After the song had ended they bowed, but then The J4s were taking all the applause, pushing John to the back. He got more and more agitated while we laughed and laughed. Jamie even said that J4s merchandise is available in the hallway before John snatched away his microphone.
John introduced the next song just by saying that Gary Barlow had written it.
05 “What About Us” (John Barrowman)
The guys with the wind instruments in the back didn’t have anything to do at one moment, so they waved their arms from one side to the other, and of course the audience joined in. I took off my eyes for a quick moment from John and looked behind me – it was a great sight! Near the end John also joined in with the waving.
I really wonder how they do the backing vocals in such songs though. Clearly they are pre-recorded, yet the band plays live and of course John sings live, too. So what if they do it slightly faster or slower than the original track? How does it work? In any case, I am happy that John also has original songs which are no covers, now even two of them (the second one will be covered later in this report).
Then John showed a nice picture of himself with Scott
and asked how many of us had partners. There were mostly female voices shouting “Yeah!” Then he asked about husbands, this time many female voices. Then he asked for wives. There were definitely less deep male voices. John cracked up and said he loves this every time, first the high pitched females and then the low males.
He then asked "How many of them have what I call a Selective Mute Button?"
And he started to act out how he would come home, and wanting to tell Scott about his day, but in the middle the mute button comes on and John continued to talk animatedly, but it looked like the microphone was off and we didn’t hear a thing. He pulled some very funny faces, this went on for a while ;) And after a while Scott would look up from his book and ask: “Are you talking to me?” ;)
John thinks the selective mute button only comes off when men hear the words “dinner” – “football” – “beer” – “sex”. Equally, women only hear “shopping” – “handbags” – “glass of Chardonnay” – “fabulous shoes” – each word was followed by a bigger squeal from the audience. Well, apparently I am not fitting into the norm ;)
John recently got an honorary Doctorate from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. “I’m a Doctor!” and with a beat “Who? – Okay, that was a cheap one, but very effective.” When he and Scott travelled home from the ceremony by train (another thing I love about him – he uses publish transportations like trains when it is comfortable, like any ordinary bloke – there are lots of Twitter pictures to prove this), John was sitting at his table, listening to music on his headphones and thinking about which songs to put into the tour, and Scott was doing Sudoku. John called him “Suzie Sudoku” and admitted that he hates Sudoku.
At one point, Scott shook John by the shoulder and said that someone wanted him in the next carriage. John thought that maybe someone wanted an autograph and so he got up and walked over (isn’t he lovely? I mean, really *sigh*). He opened and closed the door (he acted it all out and made the noises of the opening and closing train doors) and came right to a woman giving birth. “Ladies, you know I’ve never been there, but now is not the time to start!”
The guy who helped her turned to him and asked perplexed: “What the hell are you gonna do, we need a Doctor!” And John answered: “Well, I am a Doctor of Musical Theatre, I can do a number” and he did a bit of dancing with a turn on stage, watch the video above to see it! One of the things I cannot describe in words, you have to see it with your own eyes.
But apparently he was the wrong kind of Doctor, and when John came back to Scott to chide him he just shrugged and said that he thought they needed someone with a Doctorate. By this time the whole audience was in stitches. John clearly has a talent for telling funny stories. Here’s an idea: Someone should pitch the “Gill & Barrowman comedy show” to the BBC! I’d watch it.
But John hadn’t finished with his story yet, he showed another picture of Scott – wearing just a towel at his hips and another at his head, and he said “That’s how I get to see him every morning”.
It was followed by another picture which I sadly was not fast enough to photograph, it showed Scott lying asleep with a book on his chest – “and that’s how my family sees him at parties.” You can see it in the video above, though. Here is a screenshot.
The last picture was the best, it showed John and Scott from behind, holding hands, and the audience went “Awwwwww!”
“…and of course, no matter what they do, we still love them, right?” There was not much enthusiastic response from the audience and John doubled over cracking up, saying we now ruined his transition into the next song, because how shall he sing a love song when we respond just with “meh”? John really had difficulties to put himself together after this for the rather serious song, because we started so snigger again and again. He pulled out a bar stool, sat down and tried to take a deep breath, even encouraged us to do it together with him to get some composure back, but to no avail. In the video from Cardiff you can still see him smile and shaking his head after the music already had started.
“Put your arm around your husbands, wives, partners or the person you actually shouldn’t be caught being here with!” And then he started to sing
06 “And I Love You So” (Don McLean)
I’ve never heard this beautiful song before (even though I found out now that also Elvis Presley and Shirley Bassey and a lot more sang it – guess it’s one of those that everyone has sung) but I really love it and can’t get it out of my head now. John is very educational for me, last year I discovered a few new (for me at least) songs as well which are now my favouritest.
After the song was finished, some tour guy led Scott, who had been sitting in the audience, onto the stage. He literally pulled him out from behind the curtain by his hand so he wouldn’t run away. Scott wore his leather jacket and stood there having no clue what would come next. I expected maybe a “This is Scott” or a little kiss or something, but when John made him take off his jacket, because it is hot on stage, we all realized that this might take a little longer. Then he gave Scott a microphone and showed him how close to hold it with the words “just pretend that’s me!” (naughty, naughty! LOL) and Scott made as if he wanted to slap him ;)
John then started his speech: “I’m only doing this especially for Cardiff as it is our home town. Our neighbours have heard you singing, I have heard you singing, I know it’s your favorite song and just remember, there’s six thousand people out there watching.” Scott was all “NO!” but then the music started and he had no choice, so he sang
07 “Rhinestone Cowboy” (Glen Campbell)
At first I felt for him, he looked a bit shy up there, with his thumb in his jeans pocket to hold on tight, but as the song went on, he got more and more confidence and the voice got stronger, and with the first chorus he put out his hand to John and they put their arms around each other and stood really close and sang together, and you really could see how proud John was and how much this meant to him. It must have been a long dream for him to do this together.
When the second verse started, John took Scott by the hand and led him first to one side then to the other side of the stage “You gotta work the audience!” They ended up in the middle again to finish up the song with John giving us another example of his very looooooooooooong notes and we all squeed like we have never squeed before and gave a big applause. Those concerts are becoming more and more a family affair. I think Scott did very well under the circumstances, without any preparation. It was good to see him smile, I guess he also was a bit stunned that he got so much applause. You can have that anytime you come back on stage, honey.
John gave the jacket back to Scott, he gave a little bow and wave and left. I hear when he came back to his seat he got a big hug from John’s parents. Didn’t see that as it was behind my back. I also hear after he had sat down he put his face into his hands and shook his head, maybe only just now registering what he just had done. Apparently Scott’s parents and brother also were there, surely being very proud. On stage John said that probably he will be killed in the evening when he gets home, followed by a very proud “Wasn’t he good, though?” Of course we agreed.
In Glasgow they sang the song again, this time apparently Scott was prepared. You can watch it here:
“Rhinestone Cowboy” in Glasgow
At a convention John also has told us that one evening he found Scott checking out videos of it on youtube ;)
I love that several people covered this, it was an unforgettable moment, one that probably never will come back, and I am happy that I am able to share it with all my friends back home or over the big pond who could not come and see it for themselves. Isn’t the Internet a great place?
For the last few songs now two dark sweat spots had appeared on John’s chest, which you could clearly see when the jacket opened a little wider. Check it out in the “I love you so” video, if you like. I’ve never before have anyone else seen sweating in this particular way. I think it’s cute ;) Well, I probably think everything John does is cute, but there you go, I’m biased. Sue me. In any case, it was time for his well deserved break (and to give him time to change into another suit – one of many more to come) and so he introduced Jodie Prenger. He met her first when he was a judge on the TV show “I’d do anything” and she won the role of Nancy in the musical “Oliver”.
Jodie wore a long blue glittery dress and started with a mixture out of
08 “Freedom” & “Respect “ (Aretha Franklin)
After that she chatted a bit and then followed with
09 “Under my Umbrella” (Rihanna)
Jodie left the stage, and John now turned up in a green shirt and a suit with green sparkle. He gave a little speech how he appreciates that in hard times like this people spend their well earned money on concert tickets to see him.
He also mentioned his new cosmetic line “HIM” which in September he personally sold on QVC – “I want to look like HIM! I want to smell like HIM! I just want HIM!!!” LOL - and after the first half hour it already was sold out. Such things still amaze him and make him humble and he does not take them for granted at all.
Picture by jbsnow - used with permission
Therefore, he wanted to give back to us with a special song, and he went to the people who have written “Hero” for Enrique Iglesias and told them to write a song for him. The outcome was
10 “I Owe It All to you” (Mark Read)
You might wonder why I put not the name John Barrowman in the brackets above. Which should be there if that song was written especially for him. Only, there can be a video found on youtube which shows that Mark Read sung it in 2009 already. I have no idea what exactly happened there and don’t want to start any rumors, but in the end it is just a love song and I always wondered a bit about the lyrics, as I didn’t quite grasp the meaning. In fact, I think last year’s ”From this Moment on” (Shania Twain) worked better as a thank you for the fans, as even though it was a love song as well, each line fitted very well.
Then John showed a couple of pictures of a flight to Hollywood – starring himself and Eve Myles, who plays Gwen Cooper in Torchwood. As the flight wore on, the pictures got more and more silly. I won’t even try to spell out what exactly John said and did – just watch the video and laugh ;)
Story of John's and Eve's Flight to Hollywood
One of the reasons for his behaviour he gave with „There was free Champagne, I’m Scottish, I drank it – all of it". Apparently all the Champagne turned him into a French Lady which the Stewardesses tried to make sit down “Mr. Barrowman, could you please sit down, if you don’t we’re gonna land in Vancouver!”
All this lead up to a behind the scenes video where John and Eve sang the intro to the next song:
11 “Firework” (Kate Perry)
I have no memory of the introduction of the next song, but the beginning of the video shows that there must have been one. It followed
12 “Greatest Day” (Take That)
The J4s had been upgraded to background (or rather foreground) singers. I hope they get paid double now – for dancing AND singing!
After the song was over the band played on and John ran up and down stage like the proverbial Duracell-Bunny and waved to his audience. Astonished I looked at my watch. Was it the break already? The concert had started at 7:30 PM and now it was 8:40 PM, so over an hour already had passed. Felt like minutes to me. For months after buying the ticket you are looking forward to the evening, and then it is already half over. While when you are sitting at work one hour feels endless. I’ll never understand the measures of time. Must ask the Doctor. He should know.
At least we weren’t completely John- resp. Barrowman-family-less, as in the interval a lot of private pictures were shown at the screen – also lots of pictures from the recent France/Spain vacation which hadn’t been shared before.
When the break was over, the stewards told us to go back to our places. After everyone sat, suddenly a lot of pictures were taken. I turned my head to look at the point of interest and could see a big group of people being led to their places – amongst them Eve Myles, Gareth-David-Lloyd, John’s parents, Scott and a lot more people I don’t know. At least ten or fiftheen people. It was like a parade ;) Does anyone have a picture of that?
To be continued in part 2 here: http://dieastra.livejournal.com/44670.html