Michael Jackson in London May 2000 Day One
Two weeks after returning home from Monaco, I found myself on a plane to London. This time I was on my own, none of the other YANA group members traveled with me.
I had been in contact with Flea and other fans I had met in Monaco. Through them I found out that tickets were still available for the event so before I came to London I managed to get a ticket. They had been there when Michael left but no one knew where he was staying before going to London. We knew he would be going to the event with Elizabeth Taylor so I decide to arrive in London the day before the event.
I was lucky that I had family in London so I didn't have to worry about finding a hotel. My family thought I was crazy, that I was coming to London and not doing anything else but being at Michael Jackson's hotel.
I went to The Dorchester Hotel as early as I could the day before the event. Walking up to the hotel from the tube station, my stomach was all over the place. Finally after all these years of seeing footage of fans outside this hotel, I was actually going to be part of it all.
As I walked up the road, I could see some fans gathered at the side of the hotel. Walking over to them, I recognized some from Monaco. There was only about 10 fans there. I started talking to them and learnt that Michael had not arrived yet. We sat on a blanket and got to know each other, sharing stories to pass the time. I was just so happy to be there, to be part of something I had for so long dreamed of doing.
As the hours went by, more and more fans arrived. Photographers started gathering at the front of the hotel. There was something in the air, very different to the morning time when we had been sitting around chatting.
OH MY GOODNESS MICHAEL ARRIVED
WOW I've never experienced anything like it. It was totally insane. Unlike at Monaco , there were no barriers and the cars were surrounded by fans. The noise, the screaming, people running everywhere, the camera flashes...
Everyone was pushing forward, to get to Michael, Something in me just felt it was wrong. I can't explain it, I so wanted to get close to him, but I just couldn't be part of all that mess. I stayed at the edge of the crowd, just taking it all in. Just being there, being part of it, knowing that he was actually there was enough for me.
As soon as he went into the building, everyone raced round the side of the hotel. Many fans had banners and flags, one girl had even traveled from America. Everyone was standing under the top balcony, waiting and watching. Suddenly about 30 minutes later, Michael appeared on the balcony, waving to all of us. The atmosphere was amazing, I was still in shock that I was actually there. He was only there for about 3 mins but it was far far more than I had expected.
As soon as things had calmed down, many fans decided it would be a good time to get something to eat. Even though I had traveled on my own, I suddenly found myself with lots of new friends, the fans I had spent the day chatting with and fans who I had seen in Monaco. It was soo nice to be welcomed and accepted, everyone was there just for Michael and it didn't matter that I was on my own.
We went down the road to get something to eat and we were away about an hour. As we walked back to the hotel, we could feel something in the air and we started running. As we turned the corner to the hotel entrance we saw all the fans around the cars at the front door.
Oh my goodness, could this day get any more crazy??
As there were so many around the cars, I ended up beside Flea and her friend at the front of the car, near the entrance to the road.
Again as soon as Michael was spotted walking through the hotel lobby, the screams, the noise, the cameras just as before. I was so glad I was at the edge of the crowd again. Michael got into the car and everyone was around it, banging on the windows and calling his name.
Suddenly Michael's bodyguard got out of the car and pushed his way through the crowd. Goodness where is he going, is he coming over here??
Somehow I don't know how it happened, but he came over to Flea and her friend and started making room through the crowd. As I was with them, I was brought through the crowd too. It all happened very quick and none of us had time to think about what was happening.
The bodyguards pushed through the crowd bringing us to the car. We had no time think or make sense of what was happening, but somehow thanks to the bodyguards, we found ourselves at the car door, with the bodyguards behind us holding the crowd back.
My heart was thumping but I just felt this overwhelming sense of calm, of peacefulness, that I had never felt before. I knew the fans were still screaming, that the cameras were flashing but it all just faded away.
I found myself at the car door, with Flea one side of me and her friend the other side. The car door slide back and Michael was there right in front of us. He was wearing a black jacket and a red mask, and these huge brown eyes just looked right in mine. Flea and her friend had gifts for him, he took these and put them on the car seat and shook our hands and just kept saying thank you, thank you. Flea and her friend spoke some words to him but I just stood there, looking at him, looking into his eyes.
Suddenly the car door slid closed, and we felt the weight of the crowd pushing us against the car. The bodyguards had got back into the car and they started driving out of the hotel grounds.
The huge crowd of fans moved with the cars, out into the traffic. We were just so stunned at what had just happened, we just stood there watching everything. It didn't feel real, had we just met Michael Jackson, we stood there in shock, trying to process everything in our heads, to remember every tiny detail.
We learnt later that he had gone shopping in Harrods but we just stayed at the hotel.
By now it was getting late, and as much as I wanted to stay to see him come back to the hotel, I had to leave. I was staying with my cousins and I didn't want to be back too late.
Talking to Flea and other fans I found out that many fans stay out all night at the hotel. They said that as there is always a group of fans it is safe as everyone stays together and that as it was May, that its not that cold. After having such an amazing day, I really did not want to leave but I had to, so I decided I would stay out the next night, as we would be going to the event and would be staying out late anyway.
Michael Jackson in London May 2000 Day Two
When I went back to my cousins house and told them about my day, they couldn't believe what had happened. They were a little shocked that I wanted to stay out the next night but there was nothing they could do.
The next morning I got to the hotel as early as I could. There was a lot more fans there as well as many photographers. The day was a little grayer, and in the early afternoon it started to rain. We took shelter in doorways of the building beside the hotel. I had an umbrella and coat and managed to keep dry but may fans were not so lucky and got very wet.
I couldn't bare to leave, to take shelter in a cafe, it didn't make sense to be out in the rain but I just felt so happy, being surrounded by all the fans, knowing that Michael was in the hotel.
When the time came to go to the event, it was still raining and I decided not to wait to see Michael leave but to go straight to venue, The Royal Albert Hall.
At the venue there were fans everywhere. I didn't wait around, I just went straight in.
My seat was on the floor section of the arena, at the back of a section. I had a really good view of the stage. I started talking to the people beside me. They didn't know Michael would be with Elizabeth and were amazed when I told them about the huge amount of fans who like me had tickets for the event.
As soon as everyone was in their seats the lights went down and Elizabeth was introduced. OH MY GOODNESS, there they were, in the royal box in the balcony. It was insane, so many Michael Jackson fans screaming.
Eventually things quietened down and the show began. It was so funny, every time there was break in the show, for scene changes etc, all you could hear was fans screaming for Michael.
I did watch the show, but every so often I would turn around and watch Michael and Elizabeth.
At the end of the show Elizabeth came on stage and gave a speech. Her passion for the AIDS charities shone through and was very inspiring. When Michael walked onstage with flowers for her the whole place went crazy. Many fans ran to the stage but I didn't. I knew that I could see him better from where I was.
Once the lights went up when the show ended I tried to get back to the hotel as quick as I could. Unfortunately I didn't make it back in time to see Michael and Elizabeth.
Most of the fans who had been at the show were at the hotel. There was such a great atmosphere. We were all at the side of the hotel, where we could see the lights in the rooms where Michael was. Thankfully it had stopped raining, which relived me a lot, as I was not looking forward to being out all night in the rain.
As the hours went by, fans starting drifting away. At about 1 am there was only about 20 or so fans, mainly UK and German. As we could still see lights on in Michael's rooms, we were singing and chanting and calling out messages to him. At one stage we all sang ELIZABETH I LOVE YOU as we knew Elizabeth was there too.
We had positioned ourselves under the balcony, and every so often we would look up there. Suddenly we saw a shadow on the balcony, OMG, it was Michael, coming out to see us. It was insane, he only stayed there a few minutes but I couldn't believe that he would come out to see us just like that.
That energized us, now we knew that he could hear us, so we kept singing and chanting and calling out messages to him.
Suddenly there was a plopping sound on the road in front of us. For a few seconds we didn't know what it was, then one of the fans saw something and raced over to it.
Oh My Goodness, it was a present from Michael!!!!
It was a small hotel tablecloth in a Harrods bag which Michael had written a message to us on. It had only just been written as we could smell the ink from the pen he had used.
Just as we were looking at this, another bag landed on the road, with another small hotel table cloth. This time many fans dived on it. I just stayed back, I was just too overwhelmed at what was happening, that Michael was sending down hand written messages to us.
Then two more came down, this time wrapped in fruit!! It seems he had run out of bags.
All four messages had the same theme, he loved us and thanked us for being there and it was time to sleep.
Unfortunately I didn't get any of the messages but I felt so lucky and blessed just to be there and experience something so special.
When we saw the messages, that he was telling us he was going to sleep, we decided to stop the singing and chanting and to try to get some sleep ourselves. By now it was around 3 am so we settled down in the doorway of the hotel, huddled together to keep warm.
I tried to rest but my mind was racing. I just couldn't believe everything that had happened in such a short time. The chatter of the fans slowly died down and eventually I did manage to get some rest.
Seeing the sun rise after spending the night outside Michael's hotel is something very special and one of my favorite memories.
As the night changed to morning, the fans slowly started waking up and the babble of chatter began again. Looking around I could see that we were a very small group, less than 20.
Suddenly we heard noises coming from the entrance to the hotel underground parking. It was only about 5.30 am, what was going on. When the shutters started moving and were opened, all traces of sleep quickly vanished and we all gathered at the side of the road beside the parking entrance.
At 6.00 am the cars drove out, Michael was leaving. When they saw that we were all there at the parking entrance, the cars slowed down. Then they turned into traffic and were gone. Some fans ran after the cars, some ran the other way to get the tube or a taxi to the airport, but I just stayed at the hotel.
It had only been 2 days but I was just overwhelmed by everything, I needed to just take it all in. Most of the fans had disappeared and I was on my own. I decided to go to the shops, get something to eat and the morning papers and come back to the hotel. Even though Michael had gone, I wasn't ready to leave the hotel yet.
There were no Facebook and Twitter or internet on phones back then, so many fans had no idea that Michael had left. From about 8 am fans started arriving at the hotel and when they found out that he was gone, many were upset that they had missed him.
The rest of the day I spent with fans, sharing our stories of what we had just experienced.
I learnt so much during those crazy 3 days and met so many fans and made a ton of new friends, many of whom I would share later trips with. I learnt how to behave around Michael, that if you are calm you stand a better chance of getting close to him. I learnt that he loved having fans at the hotel and all the gifts from fans. I grew in confidence, and for the first time had a group of people I could connect with.
This was my world now, and when I went home I became even more active online, joining as many fan sites as I could and keeping in contact with the fans I had met. By now I moved out of Dublin and couldn't go to as many YANA group meet ups. After this London trip I found myself connecting more with the fans I had met & the online fan communities more than the Irish YANA group fans who were not interested in travelling to see Michael. I did try to get to the meet ups but I found more and more that they were distancing themselves from me. Only one girl from the YANA group really understood how I was feeling and as a result we became travel buddies, going to London to the fan club events where we became friends with many of the UK fans.