The Long Wait:
Flashback to Saturday 1st January 1983, when I was 15 years old and went to see my first concert ever. The Kids From Fame at the NEC Arena in Birmingham for a matinée performance. It was unbelievable to be in the same room as Debbie Allen, Lori Singer, Erica Gimpel, Lee Curreri, Carlo Imperato and of course the wonderful Gene Anthony Ray.
4 Months later the cast were back were back in Birmingham only this time it was a mid week evening performance and I wasn't allowed to go. Never mind it was pretty much the same show and they were so popular surely they'd be back again? Wouldn't they?
This hope was raised further when the Official Fame Magazine talked about a campaign for a Summer 1983 tour. Sadly that didn't happen but all was not lost. However by the end of 1983 it was clear that Fame had lost so much of it's popularity that another U.K. tour seemed pretty unlikely.
Two years later Fame was cancelled in the U.K. and that unlikely suddenly turned into an impossible. I've seen Janet Jackson in concert many times but Janet had severed all her links to the show. I'd met Valerie Landsburg but never seen her perform live.
Flash forward to 2011, Nia Peeples, Jesse Borrego, Cynthia Gibb and Erica Gimpel were doing a concert in Italy. Nia, Jesse and Cynthia had already done a couple of small shows in Italy and I'd become friends with some of the Italian people organising it . My excitement began to mount but when the date was announced I'd already got family plans booked and paid for. It seemed my Fame dream wouldn't come true after all.
However my Italian friends kept me informed as they made plans for a bigger and better concert. Each time we spoke the list of cast members taking part had grown but progress was slow. Initially the concert was pencilled in for the end of 2014. Carlo's wife even posted on Facebook that he'd be in Italy later that year but the end of the year came and went and there was no Fame concert.
Next I heard it was supposed to be in March 2015 but as the year started and we got closer to the date again it became clear that it wasn't going to happen. Then they started to talk about December. By coincidence I had the weekend off from work and I decided I'd keep that weekend free just in case it really happened this time.
Months went by and still nothing was definite. Yes I knew that far in advance but I wasn't allowed to share the information because nothing was actually in place!
Finally in September 2015 I was able to share the plans that there was to be a concert but it was half way through October before there was anything official. Suddenly 7 cast members were involved and it became clear I couldn't miss this event.
I booked flights and a hotel without even having a ticket. I hadn't been abroad in over 10 years and had never been to Italy before. There were no flights from my local airports and no flights to the place where the concert was taking place, so we were going to have to do quite a bit of travelling to get there. This was all very exciting but at the same time very daunting and getting expensive. I was totally out of my comfort zone but knew I had to be there.
The tickets finally went on sale in October but as it was a charity event they couldn't have online sales. The only way to purchase them was to make a bank transfer and email a copy of the receipt. I soon discovered that the information given was for Italian transfers and things were a little different from the U.K. Stress levels increased but eventually it got sorted.
The weeks before the concert became very exciting as I chatted with friends about what might happen. There had been talk of an after show party but there were no details. Would I finally get to meet the cast as well as seeing them perform? Or was I asking too much?.
As we got nearer and nearer to December 5th I worried about getting ill or bad weather preventing me from travelling. I just felt something was going to happen to prevent me from realising this dream.
Then a month before the concert my Father in law died. Suddenly my focus was elsewhere. Going to a Fame concert seemed so trivial in comparison to what my partner and family were going through. The funeral was initially scheduled to coincide with the concert. I couldn't ask for it to be postponed the funeral was more important. I wasn't even sure if I should go to the concert anyway.
However the funeral was rescheduled and I knew missing the concert wouldn't bring my father in law back.
Soon the day arrived for us to travel to London. We spent the day before travelling on to Italy in the U.K's capital. Again something I hadn't done in over 10 years. I felt sick with nerves and excitement and also a little guilty of doing something special while my family was grieving but there was no turning back now!