Thursday, 4 June 2015

Tasks, Take That and Tribute Acts...

Last weekend I went to see some of my faves up north and once again it was full of random things but fun nonetheless!

On Friday we travelled to Manchester as we were going to see Take That again on the Saturday. When we got to Manchester we dropped our luggage off at our hotel and went for a nosy around the Arndale shopping centre. Whilst looking round the shops, we walked past a discount shop which appeared to be selling junk and I jokingly said to mum "gosh that looks a stall they'd have on The Apprentice!". As the words came out of my mouth, I saw Karren Brady stood by the door and I genuinely had a fangirl moment! I wish I was joking but the excitement was so real. I've been a major fangirl for The Apprentice for years (mind that time I wanted to apply for the Junior version but was six months too old but I'm definitely not good enough for the normal version haha). I kind of just gawped at Karren, she's such an inspirational woman!!

'Discount Haven', spot Karren analysing by the door!

We went to stand round the corner to watch what was going on, I only then noticed the film crew etc which confirmed that they were indeed filming for the show. Obviously we had to go in to the shop and have a closer look.....we walked past again and noticed some headphones in the window so we went in and this lovely guy sold us a pair as well as a portable charger at a discount. I think his name was Sam but I'm not 100%, however he will definitely get my support on the show!

We went to look for the other team's shop too (I wanted to see Claude but no luck) however I wasn't very impressed - half of the team were dragging passers by into the shop, the other half couldn't care less! I'm so looking forward to The Apprentice returning soon though, especially now that we've sort of been a part of one of their tasks!

On Saturday we got up early to go and queue for Take That. Despite having pit tickets, which is the area at the front, we still wanted to try and get barrier so started queuing at around 9:15am. Despite some initial queuing issues with lists/confused security etc, I was 28th in the right pit queue. We had a very pleasant queuing experience - can't complain at being sheltered indoors with a Maccies at hand for food and toilet stops right?!

standard gig selfie

At 5:45 as promised, we were moved inside the arena in what was the most organised walk to the pit I've ever seen, no running or anything! Unfortunately the front barrier was full by the time we made it down but I turned around and saw that the B stage was still empty so we ran over and I got the spot next to the red carpet. We got chatting to the security who were super lovely and this passed the time until the support act came on.

B stage view

This time, Ella Henderson was back and to be honest she was brilliant. I wasn't a fan of hers on the X Factor, however when she released her debut single Ghost I started to appreciate her music.  She sang several songs from her album Chapter One which went down well with the crowd.  Aside from Ghost, which initiated a mass crowd sing-a-long, my favourite song of hers was Mirror Man.

Ella Henderson
Just before Take That came on, we noticed a few people being taken in to sit around the inner bit of the B stage.  We knew that some of Take That's family members were in the crowd that night and after some hush-hushing amongst us, we realised one of Howard's daughters Lola was the mystery girl in front of us.  To be honest, she was the spitting image of Howard!

Finally it was time for Take That to come on.  Once again, it was a phenomenal show.  This time we had a clearer view of the main stage as there were less tall people in front of me, and as we were barrier for the B stage, we were quite close to them when they performed certain songs.  It's amazing what you can miss when you see a such a big production for the first time - for example, during These Days some of the dancers pop their heads through the B stage, we completely missed that the first time!!

During Portrait, someone brought Daisy (one of Gary's daughters) into the B stage area and he made such a fuss of her as he flew over us in the car.  He spotted her straight away and my heart just melted!  Howard gave Lola plenty of attention too, it was so cute.  Soon after, Daisy was taken back into the back of the crowd and we saw that she was with Dawn, Gary's wife, which was odd to see as in previous years she's actually been one of the dancers on stage!

As I mentioned earlier, I was also stood on the red carpet and during Relight My Fire I was fortunate enough to hold Gary's hand again twice! I tried to film it but failed miserably but here's a screencap of when he was coming towards us!

Take That never fail to put on a wonderful spectacle and once we got back to the hotel we started chatting to two ladies down in the bar about how amazing the show was. They'd bought VIP seats and had seen Take That numerous times like we have. However, an ignorant and drunk couple thought it was a good idea to start slagging us all off (despite having been at the concert themselves) but I shall save that episode for another blog post...!

The next day we got up early to travel to Barrow-in-Furness to see Thomps in his first presenting role. The gig was called Kidfest, a family festival which mainly constituted of tribute acts as well as headliners Luke Friend and Paul Akister. 

We arrived late and the first person we saw was Thomps. He'd already been up on stage a few times presenting and he broke the news to me that I'd missed Steven Hall performing. I'm genuinely still gutted about that haha, he was the old man from Britain's Got Talent who used to dance and I really wanted to see him!!

Thomps presenting
The first few acts we actually saw were tribute acts of Rita Ora and Meghan Trainor. I've sat through some odd things in my time just to support a fave, but this was one of those better events if I'm honest. Whilst most of the tribute acts weren't very realistic, they were still enjoyable as they sang songs that were familiar to everyone.

Meghan in Barrow ;)

One of my highlights was "One and Only Direction" despite not sounding or looking much at all like 1D. I met 'Niall', 'Harry' and 'Zayn' (yes, he is still a member in tribute land!) as they were probably the most life-like, that's if you squint a bit and use a lot of imagination!! What threw me was that 'Niall' was called Liam in real life and they were from Scotland so shattered any illusion as soon as they spoke haha. Then again I can't complain as it's the closest I'll ever get to meeting the real deal!

One and Only Direction

Luke Friend and Paul Akister were the headliners and both were brilliant. Luke really got the crowd going and singing along with his covers as well as his debut single Hole in My Heart. Paul was also fantastic with his soulful voice - his covers of Nick Jonas' Jealous and James Bay's Hold Back The River were superb.

Luke Friend
Paul Akister

In between acts, Thomps was doing his presenting thing and it was nice to see him so happy on stage. Thomps being Thomps, he managed to lower the tone on several occasions, for example when there was a big dinosaur in the crowd for the kids to look at, he goes "I think a lot of nappies needed changing after that, mine included", typical Thomps banter ha. He also had to put his boyband dancing skills to the test, doing the cha cha slide, macarena and conga on stage with some of the acts. I think he has a natural flair for presenting because he's so cheeky and upbeat.

favourite person!!!

Overall it was another fun filled weekend and well worth the travelling up north! This weekend in going to Capital's Summertime Ball so expect a blog about that for sure (I also have half a dozen on the go which I will get around to posting lol).

Hwyl am y tro ✌️