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Michael’s Travel Diary

Tuesday, 04 Dec 2007

Location: Cowes etc., England

MapG’Day ya’ll,

Long time no hear! Figure I better fill you all in on the goings on of late. There are two reasons that I haven’t written in a while! Firstly, I have been flat out. Secondly, there hasn’t been a whole lot to write about… maybe because I have been so busy.

I guess the best place to start will be the Kanye West concert last week. Damn that was cool! Went down to Bournemouth with Gerard and Sue on the Sunday evening and had a cocktail at 1812 before the concert started. The guest acts were Consequence and then Common. That was a pretty cool surprise! I only wish that the version of Finding Forever, Common’s newest album I downloaded, wasn’t corrupt and that I had the chance to know the album… Not to worry.

Kanye started just after 9pm and rocked the show from the start. The crowd flipped out thinking that Stronger was going to be the opening song as the DJ span the track in the background of the opening of the montage, but when Kanye finally came out on stage, he opened up with ‘Good Morning’, the opening track of his newest album.

Kanye was backed by a 12 person band – 2 back up singers, 4 violins, DJ, 2 guitars, drummer, and a couple of people on keys. More than anything I was impressed with just how many songs he performed. He kept playing song after song, and all I could do was sit back and think of how many songs he still had left to play! When he let ‘Diamonds are Forever’ rip, the crowd went nuts, and then he followed that up with ‘Homecoming’, his ode to Chicago.

The line-up all around the theatre had the show having to finish at 11 pm. As 1030 approached, I sat there panicking that there were too many songs left to play and Kanye wouldn’t have time! In the last part of the show, Kanye managed to squeeze in Through The Wire, Jesus Walks, Touch The Sky, Gold Digger & Good Life. The Good Life track was awesome, lasting for at least twice as long as the albums track, well and truly kicking past the 11 pm mark.

At this stage there were two obvious tracks still to play. The UK's number 1 track Stronger, and the most emotional song that everyone was waiting for – Hey Mama. For those unaware, Kanye’s Mum had past away just a week earlier, and he had broken down on stage a couple days earlier in London singing the song we wrote for his Mum. When the first few notes of the song started, the entire crowd just hushed, lit up their lighters, cameras, phones etc. and let Kanye do his thing. No one in the crowd sang along, they all just listened, and enjoyed. Everyone could hear the strain in his voice, the emotion tugging at his heart strings, and his vocal chords. The second verse of the song kicked off and the band stopped, letting Kanye go acapella.

When the song finished he left the stage momentarily, letting the back-up singers take the next track which he dedicated to his mother (‘You’ve Got To Believe’ maybe) and then the opening bars of the Daft Punk version of Stronger rang out, and Kanye came storming back onto the stage to rip one loud song. Awesome way to finish the night, and the gig finally ended around quarter past 11, a full 2 hours of Kanye letting go on stage, a true greatest hits concert, ‘Workout Plan’ being the only track of note that he omitted.

I was surprised that he didn’t talk a lot during the show, most unlike the live album he released. The only things I can remember him saying was the dedication to his mother, and that he didn’t want the show to be referred to as the ‘best hip-hop show ever’, instead aiming to be the ‘best show ever, full stop’. Arrogant, and not quite justified, but he did have the best show in hip-hop on lock, so I guess you gotta aim for the next achievement.

As a footnote, I was under the impression from many sources, that Kanye was ridiculously arrogant. Maybe he has right to be? He is achieving more than anyone ever gave him credit to be able to do, and is doing it with some incredible flair. Anyway, Nat got to fly him the other night after one of his shows and said that he was far from arrogant, so that was pleasing news.

Not a lot to comment on from last week. Still putting in major OT, and work is under a bit of a re-structure at the moment, with our office joining the manufacturing side of the business (on a different site, but still in Cowes), and breaking away from the rest of the company which is based on the mainland. Suddenly, joint projects have a new urgency to get them completed by 1st of January when the change takes place, and that resulted in me spending Saturday and Sunday at work this weekend. Not much fun, but given that it bucket down with rain for most of the weekend, what can you do eh?

Movemeber finished up well on Friday, with the entire office coming to witness the final photo shot and enjoying the show. A few of the guys actually got ridiculously dressed up to come into work on the Friday, and I think everyone will agree that it was a great success. I have heard from 17 of the 22 people that took part at work, and so far we are at 1995 pounds raised for Prostate Cancer Research. Hopefully we can top 2500 pounds, which work will double; that would put us over the equivalent of AUD$10,000. Not bad for 22 blokes. So to everyone that sponsored me, thank-you, and if you haven’t and still want, just send me a message and I will let you know how. I think it will be even bigger next year, and a few of the blokes have already asked that Phil and I jump onto it again next year and organize it for everyone.

Last night I went and saw American Gangster at the cinemas. Pretty good, enjoyed it quite a bit actually. This week is a busy one again. Cari’s birthday tomorrow (and Dad’s, happy birthday big fella) and the work Christmas do on Friday. It is technically a lunch gig, starting at 2 pm, but people seem to just use it as an excuse to party longer.

So it appears as though that will be a long evening. Saturday we have the first big footy training session of the year, followed by the AGM, so that will definitely keep me busy most of the day. That evening, the Walkabout is running a special evening for the Ricky Hatton fight. It means the pub is licensed late, and the will be open till half an hour after the fight finishes. Given it starts at 3 am, it’s bound to be a late one. Sunday is the GZA concert at Koko’s in London. Still deciding if I will have the stamina to keep going until then? The following weekend is the big trip to Ljubljana in Slovenia.

As I said, not a lot to report, just been working and laying low for now. Hope you guys are all well, take care, and enjoy the lead up to Christmas.