Thursday, 13 August 2015

On Tour With Olly Murs: Part Two

After meeting Olly at the airport, Emma and I were so happy with the experience we didn't make any immediate plans to find him again. Instead, the following day, we did a bit of shopping and sight-seeing. It wasn't until the opportunity presented itself that we thought we'd give it another shot. We were outside Melbourne CBD at my favourite patisserie when we found which hotel Olly was staying at. We were within 10 minutes from said hotel so we decided to swing by.

On arrival, it was obvious we had the right place when we spotted a few familiar fans lurking outside the front entrance. We hadn't been there too long before Olly's band members were seen leaving for the venue (as it was concert night). Tour manager Mark was flagged down by a few fans and asked to pass along a gift to Olly, in which he replied they could give them to him themselves. Not long later, a black van arrived and Olly came outside, almost immediately noticing Emma and I giving us a smirk. We let the other fans who had been at the hotel longer get photos and speak with him first, and although he was on a schedule he still took his time to make sure everyone had a photo. He approached us last and I couldn't help but ask; "how was cheat day?" he smiled and told us it had been great. We jumped in for photos and hugs before handing him a stack of our combined Olly collection for him to sign, which he did happily.

As he was signing, we couldn't help but overhear some of the 'fans' who had just had photos asking Mark if they could have tickets for tonight's show - and we couldn't believe our ears! It's one thing to be asking for free tickets to a show you should already have tickets too if you are as bigger 'fan' as you claim to be, but to ask while the artist is standing just metres away? We were both offended and upset for Olly, who we'd noticed had been making a point of asking who was attending the show (and so far, we had only been around to hear a very occasional yes). Mark organised to have free tickets at the door for those who asked, but they honestly had no excuse not to already have tickets - prices had been halved just days before.

We had close seats at the concert and within the first few songs, Olly had spotted us and made a point of coming back to our section and pointing and smiling throughout the show. At one point, Olly was attempting terrible slang and asking for permission to refer to the crowd as 'Melbs' which I shook my head at, and he singled me out - "she's saying no! Someone over here is saying no!" Oops.

The following day, Olly was due to fly out for a show in Adelaide so we flew to Sydney in the morning. The next time we saw Olly was the day after when he arrived in Sydney - and something was wrong. We were aware Olly had been serial stalked in Adelaide, with certain 'fans' following him everywhere and accumulating up to 5 photos with him in different locations in the span of 22 hours - clearly taking advantage of his good nature. When landing in Sydney, he was greeted with a mob at his gate and had cameras shoved into his face from every direction. Despite the smile he put on in photos, he was not happy. I had never seen Olly unhappy until that day, so after helping our friend Sarah get a photo (as she'd never met Olly before) we stood right back and didn't contribute to the madness. Paparazzi would get photos with Olly and then take their candid photos to sell, it was disgusting, and I'd never been so ashamed to be from Adelaide and even Australia.

After that incident, we were worried to see Olly again as it was clear his privacy and kind-heartedness was being ignored by everyone else. All three of us were affected and got really upset about what we 'd witnessed and decided against trying to see him before the show (that we had meet and greet tickets for anyway).

The meet and greet was quite rushed. Everyone had just seconds to get a photo with Olly before the next person was next to him doing the same. We'd heard from fans in other states they'd had a few minutes with Olly each, which must have been exaggeration. I was first from our group; "Hi again!" I said, and he smiled "nice to see you again! How are you?" and gave me a hug and kiss. I asked about the Adelaide show and if he liked it there, and he told me he loved it and was really excited for the show tonight. In the middle of our conversation the photographer jumped in "3-2-1!" and took the photo... Needless to say, my photo didn't turn out the best. After Emma and Sarah had their solo pics we asked to do a group photo with Olly - with our signature 'squad' pose. "What's a squad?" Olly asked and we laughed and explained it was like a gangster-style group photo. He got really into it and the photo turned even better than we'd imagined! "See you next time!" he said on our way out.

We were lucky enough to be standing against the barricade for the concert, and once again got lots of attention from Olly. It was the perfect way to end an unforgettable trip. We'd built such a beautiful relationship with Olly from day one and received just as much love from him as we gave. Even as I type this I can't wipe the smile from my face; I can't emphasise just how seldom celebrities treat their fans the way he treated us. He deserves more respect than he got from certain 'fans', but their selfishness didn't spoil it for the real fans thankfully. I just hope the disappointing ticket sales won't defer his management from allowing him to come back and tour again, as it's obvious he loves being here as much as we love having him here. Thank you to everyone involved for such a truly incredible trip.

I'll be posting concert reviews and more fan experiences in the next few days. Thanks for reading!
- Nikki.

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