Michael Jackson London June 2002
Day 1 June 2002
The rest of 2001 passed in a blur. I took time out from work and moved back with my parents but I was not happy. I found myself spending more and more time with Flea, who was also not happy with her life in Ireland. We decided we needed a big change in our lives so in January 2002, with the help of Fleas friend, who was living there, we moved to Munich Germany.
Around April/ May, I can’t really remember when, I got a phone call from one of the UK fans, to tell me that Michael would be attending MJNI’S fan party. Flea and her friend had also got the news from other UK fans. Then we found out that Michael would be going to Exeter on a train and fans could get tickets. My memories of this time are a bit hazy. I remember Flea being on the phone and getting the Exeter train tickets for us. I remember spending hours after work in an internet café with Fleas friend searching the fan sites for information. I remember a UK fan ringing me to tell me they had got me a ticket for KILLER THRILLER. I remember going to a travel agents and booking a flight to London. Flea and her friend went to London a few days before me and booked a hotel near Michael’s hotel. My sister was living in London, so I planned to stay with her, to cut the costs.
Day 1 June 12
I arrive in London and head straight to Michael's hotel. Flea and her friend are already there so I made contact with them. Jenny was in London too and I found her outside the hotel.
This hotel, Renaissance Chancery Court, High Holborn was very different to The Lanesborough at Hyde Park corner. This time the fans were all outside on the main pavement, the hotel had big gates into their property and the fans were not allowed onto the hotel property. The barriers were either side of the main gate.
There were a lot of fans there, from all over Europe. I recognised many faces from New York.
Michael didn't go out during the day so we just spent the day sitting on the pavement outside the hotel. It was great to be back with the fans again, back in London.
As I was staying with my sister I couldn't stay out late. Jenny was staying with Flea and her friend nearby so they stayed late.
Day 2 June 13
The next morning I come back and find out that Michael had gone to Hamley’s the night before. It was total chaos when he left the hotel. When Michael was in the hotel the main gates were kept closed. The gates opened and the car was surrounded.
It was even worse when he came back to the hotel. The car went through the gates and was immediately closed. This meant that only the fans who were at the gate saw him, about 20 people, even though there was about 200 or more fans there. Fans at the gate were crushed while those at the back didn't even see him.
When I got to the hotel that morning, there was a definite atmosphere. Fans were not happy about what had happened the night before.
In the afternoon Michael went out. Suddenly the gates opened and the car came out. It was insane. One minute I was sitting talking to Jenny and the next it was pandemonium. We had no idea what was going on. We were not getting information from anyone. Jenny decided to stay at the hotel, so I took off with the other fans. There must have been at least 200 fans, probably more. We stopped traffic on a very busy road in central London. Hundreds of fans all crowded around 1 car, fans everywhere, running, screaming. I stayed on the edge of the crowd, on the pavement; I knew there was no way I would get anywhere Michael. Michael had the window down and was talking to fans who had managed to get to the car first.
I managed to keep up with the car, running with other fans on the pavement. I had no idea where he was going so I just wanted to stay with the car as long as I could. Eventually the traffic cleared and the lights changed and I couldn't run any further. I had no idea where Flea was, I had no idea where Michael was going, I had barely even seen him, just the briefest glimpse as the car went past me. Hot and out of breath I decided to go back to the hotel and find Jenny.
Back at the hotel, I saw Jenny sitting in the same spot. Bit by bit fans came back to the hotel as most people didn't know where he was going. After about an hour we started hearing that he was at HMV but by then it was too late to get there.
We decided to stay where we were, as we knew he would eventually come back to the hotel.
When Michael came back to the hotel, it was just the same as the night before. The car went into the hotel and the gates were closed. Only the fans at the front saw him. Jenny and I stayed at the back, out of the crush, but this meant that we did not see him.
The atmosphere that night was very tense. Fans were not happy that it seemed to be the same people all the time with Michael. There was defiantly a division in the fans, with some fans meeting Michael every time he left or entered the hotel, while many many fans could not even see him.
I didn't stay late this night as I had to get back to my sister’s house.
Day 3 June 14
This morning I got to the hotel early. It was a big day today, the event in Exeter and I knew that I would finally get to see Michael.
Suddenly the gates opened and the car went out. There were not that many fans at the hotel as everyone had to be at Paddington train station at 12.30pm.
Like the other times, fans surrounded the car, and I ran with the crowd as far as I could. Somehow I ended up beside some French fans who knew that Michael was going to The Houses of Parliament in Westminster. They hailed a cab and I found myself in a taxi with 3 French fans heading to Westminster!! Once we got there, there were about 50 fans, all trying to get into the building. Of course we knew that we wouldn't get in, but that’s not the point.
We knew Michael was there, so we were there too. I lost the French fans; everyone was just trying to figure out how to find Michael. In the end, I just gave up. I was watching the time and decided to just get to Paddington train station.
At Paddington, I found Flea and Jenny. It was crazy, all the fans were there but we didn't have our tickets. We had the confirmation emails which said to collect the event tickets from an Exeter Football Representative, but no one knew where this person would be. Michael wasn't there and we had no idea where we were supposed to go. Eventually we found the Exeter Football people, who were just standing beside the train. The fans all tried to get the tickets at once; it was madness, no proper organisation, just 2 people trying to deal with 200 crazy fans. We knew Michael was on his way and we just wanted to get the tickets NOW, before he arrived.
Tickets in hand, we went to the platform. The Exeter football people and the train station staff tried to get the fans on the train but as Michael wasn't there, no one would get on the train. There was no organization, it was total bedlam. Then Michael turned up and all hell broke loose. He had to walk up the platform to the special carriage at the top of the train. 200 fans, paparazzi and god knows how many randoms who just happened to be at Paddington station, all on a train platform. There was a few Police and Michael’s security team, but it was totally out of control.
It was getting scary, I thought I would get pushed onto the tracks, so I just went onto the train and walked up inside, watching all the chaos out on the platform. I couldn't even see Michael, just the crowd of people around him. I just gave up and found a seat. I knew Jenny would find me eventually.
Once Michael got on the train, all the fans got on the train and found seats and at last we were off. It was a special train just for the event. It was really surreal, knowing that Michael was on the train. We had to stop at a few train stations due to the normal trains stopping. We could see people at the stations looking at our train and we wondered what they would say if we told them that Michael Jackson was in the carriage at the front.
It was nice just to chill for a few hours and relax after the madness at Paddington. Uri Geller walked through the train, collecting gifts for Michael. And of course many fans tried to get to the front carriage to see Michael.
As we got nearer to Exeter, the atmosphere changed on the train. No one knew where the stadium was but we knew a bus would bring us there. Once the train stopped we all ran out and up to the top of the train. Of course we only wanted to see Michael!! The Exeter football people tried to get us onto the bus, but of course we all went to Michael’s car. They had no clue how to manage us, 200 crazy Michael Jackson fans. As Michael’s car went out of the station, our automatic reaction was to run after it but we were in an unfamiliar town so we had to get on the bus. Many fans were not happy, but there was nothing we could do. We wanted to follow Michael but we were taken to the stadium.
At the stadium, we were brought to our seats. Again we were not happy. Our seats were in the regular stadium seats, while the stage was in the centre of the pitch. We wanted to be at the stage, but we were told by stadium staff we had to stay in our seats. Michael would not even know we were there, he would not even see us.
When we got to our seats, there was a local radio DJ playing music to get the crowd going. Other than our section, the whole stadium was just local people on a day out. The DJ wasn't even playing Michael music, just current chart music. We were fuming. We were stuck in a stadium, nowhere near the stage, Michael was somewhere in the town and there was nothing we could do. The DJ was doing some crowd participation stuff. Our section was the only one who didn't take part. Michael wasn't there, he wasn't playing Michael music so we couldn't be bothered joining in. We just wanted to see Michael. The DJ made fun of us as we sat there in stony silence!!
After the DJ we then had to sit through a random show of singers and dancers, all who had some connection to Uri Geller.
Finally they announced that Michael was here. We were told that we had to stay in our seats!! Really, I don’t think so. Of course as soon as we spotted the car, our section ran onto the pitch. The stadium staff didn't know what to do!! It was crazy. All of us on the pitch, Michael enjoying the normality of the chaos and the local townspeople wondering what the hell was going on. Once Michael got to the stage, we were rounded up and made go back to our seats.
This was the first time on this trip I could see him properly. Of course our section was now the loudest and craziest. We had to make sure he knew it was us, even though we were so far away from him.
At the end of the event, when it was time for him to leave, we again invaded the pitch. Again we surrounded the car as it left the stadium. We were not allowed to follow the car but were told to go back to our seats and we were then escorted to the bus. We had no choice we had to get on the bus as we did not want to be stranded in Exeter.
At the train station, we arrived just as Michael did. Of course we did not go straight to the train like we were told to, we went to Michael’s car!! I think by now our chaperones from Exeter football had had enough of us and just let us do our own thing. As soon as Michael got on the train, we got on the train.
On the way back we were exhausted. It was such an amazing feeling though, to be on a train surrounded by fans, and knowing that Michael was on the same train.
About halfway back to London, the train stopped at a station. We were not expecting to stop so everyone wondered what was going on. A rumour went round that Michael had got off. Many fans wanted to get off the train too, but as we didn't know where we were or how to get back to London, most fans stayed on the train.
Once the train arrived in Paddington, we found out that the rumour was true; Michael had got off the train. Even though we were all very tired, it had been a long day, we all still went back to Michael’s hotel. We didn't know if he was coming back to London that night but we didn't want to miss seeing him if he did.
Back at the hotel, we found out that he had gone to Blenheim Castle. Some fans had got off the train and had met up with fans that were driving back to London and they had followed him.
When we heard this we decided to leave. We were exhausted and needed sleep and we knew that Michael would probably not be back until very late.
That night I stayed with Jenny at her hotel. We didn't know what time we would get back to London, so I had told my sister I would stay with Jenny that night.
Day 4 June 15
As Jenny’s hotel was near Michael’s hotel, we went there early in the morning. We were not expecting to see Michael, but we wanted to meet up with other fans.
After a while we started making our way to the Sony buildings on Great Marlbough Street. Fans were gathering there from 12 pm. Michael was not expected to be there, but all the fans wanted to make a statement to SONY about Invincible album. Fans had traveled from all over Europe and there must have been about 500 fans there, on the street outside the SONY building. There was a great atmosphere, fans chanting and singing, and some fans dancing. The demo was organised by UK fan club MJNI with the support of many European fan clubs like ANGEL and THE MAGICAL CHILD.
The plan was just to hang out at the demo for a while and then head over to Leicester Square at around 1.30 pm for Killer Thriller Party. The tickets said 2.00 pm.
At around 1 pm a rumour went round that Michael was coming to the demo. OMG really??? This we did not expect. We knew he was going to Killer Thriller, so we did not think that he would come to the demo too.
Some people were going to leave to go to Leicester Square but once word spread that Michael was on the way, the atmosphere changed and no one wanted to leave.
Suddenly at the far end of the street, we heard screaming and we saw a bus coming up the street. OMG, Michael on an open top bus!! It got really really crazy very quickly. Fans surrounded the bus, Michael was just there, outside the Sony building, with us, chanting SONY SUCKS!! Jenny and I decided to stay where we were. We were at the front of the barrier and we knew the bus had to drive past us. It was sooo insane, the screaming, the chanting, fans running everywhere.
Eventually the bus made it up the street to where we were. OMG!!! Michael was right in front of us, the bus stopped and he was just there, it was amazing, to be sooo close to him, and to be part of the something so crazy. The bus moved again and we got carried along with the crowd. Everyone just followed the bus along the street. I have never experienced anything like it. Michael was loving every minute of it. It got really insane when he made a dive over the side to get a banner. I was near the bus, and I just couldn't believe what he was doing.
Eventually the bus turned off the side street we were on and onto Oxford Street, the main shopping street in London. Well we just continued on after it. It was the most insane thing ever. Michael Jackson, on an open top bus, surrounded by about 500 screaming fans on Oxford Street on a Saturday afternoon!!! We ran up Oxford Street after the bus but we couldn't keep up. Somehow Jenny and I managed not to lose each other. I just remember seeing the bus disappear up the street, realizing that we were on Oxford Street, and thinking, omg, what the hell just happened!!
We had lost track of time and totally forgotten about getting to Leister Square! It was now nearly 2pm so we had to run down Tottenham Court Road. Some European fans had no idea how to get to the venue, so they followed us.
When we got to Leicester Square it was chaos. There was a huge queue all the way down the Square. It seemed that most fans had heard about Michael being at the demo and everyone had been there, instead of taking their seats at The Equinox. As a result, everyone from the demo was now queuing to get into the show.
2 pm came and went and we were still queuing. They couldn't start the show as half the audience was still not in the venue. It was total chaos. Jenny and I had to collect our tickets at the door as we were not from UK. It was very disorganised, and we just made it into the venue as the show started, 1 hour behind schedule. Some fans were not so lucky and were not let in as the show had started.
I must say though, we had great seats, row 9 on the ground floor , on the right side of the stage, thanks to one of the UK fans I knew who worked for MJNI.
Killer Thriller Fan party was just like the other fan parties MJNI had organised, except that Michael was there. He sat in the balcony on the same side of the stage as our section. . Unfortunately our seats were just a bit too near the stage to see him.
The show was a typical MJNI show. Robin Melzer was host, and the majority of the performers at performed at previous fan events.
List of performers
- Alex Burgos
- Scott Clarke
- Remy Chambers
- Miguel Deforo & MJ Prod
- Mikki Jay
- Bryton McClure
- Danny Oliver
- Russell Robinson
- Ryan Saklofski
- Jessica Towers
- Earnest Valentino
The last performer as always was a professional tribute artist. At previous shows it was Navi but for Killer Thriller it was Earnest Valentino. Michael watched ever performance. The atmosphere was amazing. I had been to other MJNI fan parties but this one was just on another level. The dancers and singers, knowing that Michael was watching them, had a new energy and precision to their performances.
At the end of the show, Michael came onstage. He was presented with flowers and then something unbelievable happened. I think he just originally meant to thank the performers and MJNI but then he just started speaking about SONY. We couldn't believe what he was saying. It was totally incredible that he felt comfortable enough to just talk to us like that.
It was a totally private event, there was no media there. The tickets were not even on sale to the general public, you had to be a member of MJNI to buy tickets.
At the end of the show Jenny and I had left our seats and were heading toward the front of the building when we heard screams coming from where we had just left. Yes THOSE screams, omg, Michael was still in the building!! We tried to get back into the main area but by the time we reached the stage, he had gone.
We knew that we would not get to see him at the hotel, so we went and got some food and took our time going back to the hotel.
Again I couldn’t stay late as I had to go back to my sister’s house.
Day 5 June 16
Today was a rest day, ie a day when Michael didn't do anything. It was nice to just sit and chill with all the fans after the madness of the last 2 days. I had brought my sleeping bag today as Jenny and I a few other fans decided to sleep out.
Sleeping outside Michael’s hotel is one of my most favorite things on Michael trips. This was a bit different to usual, we were actually just on the pavement, not on hotel grounds, but we were behind the barrier and there were about 10 of us. As well as me and Jenny, there were some Dutch fans and a Scottish fan.
As the evening turned into night, fans started leaving. After a few hours it was just us left at the barriers so we got ourselves ready for the night. We all had sleeping bags so we made our little area as comfortable as possible.
The weather that night was very warm, a typical early summer’s night in London. As the hours went by the traffic eased and the very busy Holborn Road became quiet. Little by little the chatter faded as we started to fall asleep.
At about 3 am, when we were all quiet and most were asleep, we heard someone calling us and lights shining on us. Who was this disturbing us, didn't they know we needed rest!!! OMG, its Hamid, Michael’s cameraman. Michael had heard fans were sleeping outside the hotel and he sent Hamid out to video us!! Really Michael, couldn't it wait until morning.
Half asleep, we all sat up and “talked” to Michael, explaining where we were from and what we were doing and lots of other random things. Well all except 1 girl, who wouldn't sit up and told Hamid she didn't want to be filmed as she had taken her makeup off, which of course he was recording. Those messages we taped to Michael must have been soo funny, a group of half-asleep girls at 3am.
Hamid eventually leaves and we try to go back asleep. It’s strange, I never feel afraid sleeping out, even though we are on a street in the middle of London. It’s like Michael protects us and keeps us safe.
Waking up as dawn breaks, hearing the birds and the early morning sounds of London is one of my favorite memories. Knowing that Michael is just in the building beside us is such an amazing way to wake up.
One by one we all wake up and start moving. We tidy up and put our sleeping bags away as other fans start to arrive.
Day 6 June 17
As the morning goes by, the heat starts to rise. There are a lot of fans around today. At about 2 pm the gates open. Michael is on the move. As on other days, its total chaos. Fans are everywhere, in the middle of the street surrounding the car. There is very little information about where Michael is going being shared among the fans.
I try to run with the car but as I don’t know where he is going, I lose him at the end of the street. I make my way back to the hotel and sit down beside Jenny. It’s really hot now, and I don’t feel so good. I tell Jenny I am going across the street to McDonalds for a while, out of the sun. I get a cold drink and just sit in McDonalds but I really don’t feel well. I feel dizzy and have a headache. Exhaustion, not eating or sleeping properly and all the craziness of being at the hotel have finally caught up with me.
I go back to the hotel and tell Jenny I have to go, I can’t stay at the hotel any longer today. She is surprised, as Michael hasn't come back yet, but she could see that I wasn't feeling well. I leave my sleeping bag with some fans who want to sleep out tonight. I tell them I will be back in the morning.
Luckily I knew my sister would be at her house and I just went straight there. She couldn't believe I was home so early. After talking to her for a while I fell into bed, totally exhausted.
Day 7 June 18
I arrive at hotel around 10 am and as I walk up the street I see hardly any fans and that the barriers have been moved. Michael had left about an hour before and I had missed him.
I find Jenny and collect my sleeping bag from the fans that had slept out. It had rained last night and they had got soaked.
As usual when Michael leaves, all the fans leave too. Suddenly being at the hotel feels totally different, like something is missing. There is a different feeling in the air, emptiness and silence.
Since the last time Michael was in London, in March 2001, things had changed a lot in the fan community. There was a lot more cliques and small groups, fans were not as friendly and were not sharing information as much. I didn't enjoy this trip as much as the previous times. We found out afterwards that some fans had booked rooms in the hotel. This meant that they were allowed on hotel property while the rest of us were not. It was the fans who were staying in the hotel who met Michael every time he left or came back, while those of us at the barrier could not even get to see him. It was the fans who were staying in the hotel who knew where Michael was going, i.e. to Harrods or to Hamley’s, while those of us outside the hotel, at the barriers did not know anything.
This caused a lot of hostility between the fans outside the hotel and the fans who were inside the hotel. Like the majority of fans, the only time on this trip that I actually saw Michael was at Exeter Football Stadium, the Sony demo and at Killer Thriller. Things just didn't go right for me on this trip, a combination of the heat, the fan situation and not being able to see Michael just made me very unhappy. I decided I would have one more go, that if I felt the same after the next trip, then I wouldn't travel any more to see Michael.