Yet another amazing weekend has gone by in my itinerary of awesome concerts and theatre trips: A Second Night with the Phantom, this time in Birmingham. Now, I can guess what the reaction to this may be: ‘Two concerts of his within two weeks of each other? My god, she’s obsessed!’ All I will say to that is: Yes, I probably am. However, it doesn’t bother me in the slightest: I defy anyone who hasn’t heard the wonderful Ramin Karimloo’s voice to not fall in love with it 😀
We had a great time wandering round Birmingham. I have been there once before a couple years ago, but didn’t have time to wander round the city before the convention I was going to by the time we arrived. It’s a city full of character and presence because of how huge they seem to like making all their buildings. We got lost a few times and some of the terrain was a bit rough on me in my wheelchair, but t’was all in good fun! As showtime drew nearer, we went for a meal and wandered into the ICC, home of the Symphony hall. I have been to numerous concert venues in my time (jeez this makes me sound very old) but I must say it is probably the most beautiful space I’ve ever experienced. It seats 2,262 people, is home to the largest working Symphonic Organ in the UK, and its interior is modelled on venues in Vienna and Amsterdam (cheers Wikipedia! :D)
Anyway, enough prattle… let’s talk about the show itself! As you probably gathered from my blog about his bristol concert, Ramin blew me away that time, as he did yet again. The set was the same as last time, a lovely mix of show tunes and songs from Ramin’s upcoming album, with the addition of a favourite song of mine: The Impossible Dream! There was a change seemingly in Ramin himself: to me he definitely seemed more confident and self-assured in his performance – there was even more playful banter with the crowd for one thing. One such example was the moment where he asked the fans up in the chorus seats (behind the stage, thereby Ramin had his back to them for most of the gig) ‘Did you want to sit up there? Can you hear it?’ before addressing the whole hall: ‘Only true musical fans would sit in those seats’! Queue loads of applause and laughter 😀
Ramin’s confidence seemed to charge us with energy, and this time he stayed onstage for the whole of Do You Hear the People Sing? which I think helped hugely as more people responded to his suggestion to sing along! As before, he sung the first verse in French and made a joke about the time he was invited to sing in Les Mis to celebrate the centennial of the Entente Cordiale: ‘Hey, you’re Canadian, you must speak French!’
Of course, no concert of Ramin’s would be complete without a lovable mistake. Last time it was missed lyrics, this time it was a forgotten exit: he must have been enjoying the overture to Love Never Dies so much, one minute he was stood alongside Celia Graham and the next: ‘Oh! I’m supposed to be off! (starts running offstage), ‘but that was PERFECT!’
As ever, the concert drew to a close after the infamous selection of Phantom/LND tunes to thunderous applause and a standing ovation.
The fun didn’t end there: I finally managed to meet the man himself! He is an utter joy, so kind, gracious and funny. We had a lot of fun!
Mum and I felt so sorry for him being so tired but he was a trooper and we love him for his kindness and time he gave everyone afterwards- he was so lovely and I really enjoyed talking with him, He must have been shattered but he stayed and talked with every single person that waited and at length too which was lovely.I wanted to hug him after he sounded so sheepish when he first saw me: ‘Oh, you’ve been waiting ages!’ I just said: For you, I don’t mind 🙂 He beamed. Very sweet opening gambit to our conversation!
I had moved next to him at this point, and he flopped down on his knees so he was more level with me which was so considerate of him, and not ONCE during the whole time did he complain that he was in pain for the whole time we spoke. In fact, he later remarked to me laughing: ‘you know, its actually very comfortable down here!’ He also made a joke when he leaned in closer to me, I had told him to watch himself as he was leaning dangerously close to the joystick on my chair and ran the risk of running himself over, and he laughed good naturedly and said: ‘Wouldn’t want you to be going for a spin, would we?’
He continued: ‘You enjoyed it then?’
‘Oh yes, very much so! You were fantastic in Bristol too’
He smiled again, ‘Oh you’ve been tweeting me by the way, haven’t you? I’m sorry I didn’t reply to the one you sent earlier tonight!’
This time, it was my turn to grin: ‘Indeed I have, thanks for the replies! Oh, don’t worry about it ;)’
We then moved on to Les Mis. I think his charm (and good looks )rubbed off on my mum, she pratically assured me a third set of LM tickets when we spoke about him being in it; I said to him I was hoping to get tickets for christmas and all he had to say to me was: ‘you think that’s gonna happen?’ with a gorgeous smile then nod behind me to mum! I asked him if he’d managed to finish the book: ‘it’s a marathon isn’t it?’ and he shook his head: ‘No, not yet… but it’s proving helpful!’
We were chatting so much I forgot about my program that I was clutching until he reached for it, asking if I wanted it signed. I handed it over, sheepish ‘Yes please’ ahoy!
Before he jumped to his feet as I thanked him again and promised to see him sometime in the new year. ‘You’re very welcome, see you then darling! Have a good christmas, god bless :)’
I can’t sing his praises enough, here’s the other lovely pic we had.LOVE the fact he smiled so much during our meeting… as did I for AGES after!