London, New Year’s Eve – nothing will ever beat this

Fast forward a few months from that gig in Sydney. They’d released the tickets to the tour, and I’d bought quite a few of them (at 3am or so at night, you know, time zones…) I was set. I had my dates, my flights, my hotels. And then they released a little something else…

I had to act quick. Was I going to go, or not? It would be expensive. The ticket prize was higher than any of the other shows, not to mention flying to and from and finding a hotel in London on New Year’s Eve. But if I didn’t go, I knew that I’d never forgive myself for it. Said and done, and after a LOT of trouble in booking the damn tickets (let me tell you, never call Seetickets’ customer service. They had no idea what they were talking about) they were mine. I was going to go to London for the first time ever on New Year’s Eve to see the man I adore more than any other and Queen. In a church. In front of huge TV-Cameras. Did I mention I’m insane?

I flew home from Sydney right before Christmas. Sweden was cold, dark and miserable compared to the sun and beach in Australia. But, I was a week away from going to god-damn London. I’ve never wanted Christmas to be over so fast.

Brian was as excited as I was.

Brian May

Then the day was finally there. I got up at three to do my hair and make up, which is an interesting thing to do. (try stabbing your own eye with eyeliner at 3.10am and you’ll see what I mean)

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I got a family member to drive me to the airport (a 2.5h drive…) because trains, busses etc weren’t operating as usual, of course. I got to the airport well in time for my flight. Freaked out when it got delayed. This was the one and only time that I flew in on the same day as a gig, and I just wanted to get to the venue as quickly as I could possibly do it. Finally, fucking finally, the flight arrived in Stansted. Running through the airport to find the train to London, I managed to catch one a minute before it departed. I didn’t even look out the window during the 50min train ride, too busy tweeting and trying to find out if the queue was long. Who gives a shit about British country side when you’re on your way to see Queen anyway?

Got to London and navigated myself to my hotel. Despite having to sign documents, take copies of my passport etc I was in and out of that hotel in 5 min. I needed to get. to. the. venue.

Took the tube and got off at Westminister, which I’d seen was the closest tube stop to the venue. Got up to ground level and oh. Huh. So that’s where Big Ben is, I guess.

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Two pictures later, I was on the move again. As it was New Year’s Eve and they were preparing for the 100k people or so that would be packed in by the BB and river, they’d begun putting up big shields on the street right by the venue, the gorgeous Central Hall Westminister. Which meant that I couldn’t see the queue as I was walking up towards it. My heart was beating at a crazy pace, and I prepared myself for the, you know, at least 100 people that would be there already. The entire 2min walk to the venue I kept telling myself “it doesn’t matter, you’re here, you’re gonna see them so up close, it’s insane, it’s more than 2pm, of course there’s going to be lots of people, you know this already.”

Rounded the corner and holy shit. 20 people in queue. I’d arrived 2pm to the most exclusive gig on the tour, and I was number 20-something in queue. What?

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I couldn’t even grasp it. Not only was I going to see Queen and Adam again, I was most probably going to see them front fucking row. On national, live sent television. Fuck!?

Not my picture. Central Hall on the night of the gig.

Not my picture. Central Hall on the night of the gig.

The queue was cool. Lots of Queen fans that I’d later befriend many of them, or at least know how they are. I stood there talking to a few different people, listening to hard core Queen fans tell their stories from the day of Freddie, from conventions, from Hammersmith (especially Adam’s pant-split-situation was a hot topic, haha!) No one had any real bad words about Adam. Yes, there were a few “He’s no Freddie”, but they all agreed that he is a great singer and that he does do Queen justice. Thank you, Queenies!

It was cold. People walking past wondered why the hell a bunch of people were queuing outside a church on NYE. (We tried to look as non-religious as we could, but some were not convinced that we weren’t super Christian weirdos) As someone that was not a resident of the UK, I’d been instructed to pick up my ticket in the box office, to later be informed that they’d let us pick them up at 9pm. When the doors opened. Oh hell no. After hours of tormenting the poor guy in the reception that had no clue about anything, and kept trying to tell us that they were not the organizers, just the venue, the first 20-or so from abroad got to pick up our tickets at just before 8pm. Yeah, no way were we going to let people run past us just because we weren’t from the UK. Hah!

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Also, did I mention that it was like, really cold? (And hey, look at my fab outfit!!)

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Then the time finally came. 9pm. Big Ben started ringing and we were all just slowly shuffling closer and closer to the door. 9pm passed. Everyone wagged a bit from foot to foot, trying to get some warmth back into frozen limbs. 9.05pm. The doors suddenly opened! We all just went for it, pushing through that tiny little door. Right inside we were stopped, for what looked like a security check. Come on! Then all the sudden we were let up the first set of stairs, just to be stopped again. Are you kidding us!? Then finally, we were allowed to go. Two set of gorgeous marble stairs, and then a short sprint into the hall. Guess who motherfucking TRIPPED in the stairs? Yep, that’s right, moi. Fuuuck. 5 steps I was literally on all fours, scrambling to get up and just screaming in my head UP,UP,UP,UP,UP!!!!! Sprinted through those doors, scaring the shit out of the poor clerk standing there, and hitting the barricade hard. One big breath, I looked up, and holy-fucking-shit. Front row. Front fucking row.

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There was a massive camera rig in front of me, but the stage was right there. As you can see on the picture, there was also a small platform, and it was right in front of my face. Holy shit. Literally, I was in a church, holy shit.

And then, you know, we waited. We got in at 9.10pm and the show was set to start at 11.15pm. They had arranged for a comedian, who I sadly can’t remember the name of, to be there and tell us about all the important stuff and warm us up. When he first came out and started talking to us, he said that we’d be stuck in there after the gig because of the huge crowds leaving Westminister after midnight. He jokingly told us we were basically being held hostages, to which a girl yelled that she’d happily be held hostage by Roger any day, lol. You go girl.

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We were surprised to get a warm up act. Sadly he was more of a let down act than anything else. He told us that if his guitar sounded untuned, it was because it was magical. No dude, it’s because it’s untuned. Get off the stage. 40min of agony later, he did. Thank god.

Then mr. Comedian came back and talked to us. A few people got to tell where they were from (and we got a geography lesson in states of the US, or rather which was the furthest away from London). Ian that handles the Queen fanclub on twitter got called out and got some attention. We had a singing and clapping competition. Mr. Comedian then told us he’d never been so happy to be cheered at for leaving the stage.

From my spot at the front, right in front of the big camera, I could see when they started practising the intro (where the hosts walked into the venue as the show started) and my stomach flipped a bit. It was going to happen. Just minutes left.

And then somehow, it happened. All of the sudden, Brian, Roger, Neil, Spike and Rufus took the stage. And all of the sudden, Adam was just a few, tiny, ridicolous meters from my face.

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The gig itself was beyond anything I’ve ever done in my life thus far. Every thought of cameras, of live streams, of people seeing my face just lost my mind completely. I was focused on the men on stage. I was focusing on Adam that looked me in the eye when he sang a few lines. That saw me, for real, for the first time. That would come to remember me a few weeks later. I sang those songs like my life depended on it. Clapped along, danced, had the time of my fucking life. This was what my life was, at this very minute, and I was going to enjoy it like I’d never enjoyed a gig before.

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At midnight, they cut out for the fireworks. We all counted down, and then everyone got their phones out for that short 5 minute pause. I opened my twitter to over 800 new mentions. It took me about 2 seconds to realize that shit, live stream. Cameras. My face. Shit.

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I turned out to be heavily featured in a few songs, from more than one camera man. Here’s an example. I’m center of attention at least 4 times in this song, haha!

The gig continued. Adam looked me in the eye yet again, pointed at me at one point. I don’t think I breathed that well throughout it all. You can’t blame me.

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Then it was over, they walked off the stage after having blown mine, everyone there and the whole of UK’s minds. I still don’t really know how I made it out of that alive. It was 2015, and I’d just witnessed the most insane performance of my life. Adam had looked at me, actually paid a few seconds of attention, just on me. It felt surreal. I turned to the woman standing next to me and uttered “HOLY SHIT” which, in hindsight, felt pretty appropriate seeing the location. I met up with some friends and we all died a collective death over how skinny he is, how GORGEOUS he is up close and for real, and how nothing would ever beat this, ever. Dead, gone, RIP, nice knowing you.

Me and Mel after the gig

Me and Mel after the gig

After saying hello to a few Glamberts and Queenies I knew, I finally started walking towards my hotel. Due to the insane amount of people and closed tube-stops it would take me another two hours to get to said hotel, after which I proceeded to make their towels blood red with my new dyed hair, but it didn’t matter. What mattered was the amazing experience I’d just had. And it was just another two weeks until I’d be back in London to do it all over again.

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Best New Year’s Eve ever.

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