Oh why oh why does time go so quick when you are having so much fun?
Yesterday we set off for Birmingham early as I wanted to have a relaxing day prior to attending the Boyzone concert in the evening.
We packed together in the morning and were ready to set off just after 10 am. We used Satnav to find our way through Birmingham to the hotel we were staying at a luxury I had decided to treat ourselves to rather than have a rush out from the arena and not know what time we would return home.
I was really apprehensive as this is the first concert we have ever been to in our lives. For comfort I had decided to use my wheelchair as I was unsure of what facilities there would be at the NIA. I needn't have worried.
When we arrived we followed the Disabled Access signs. We met a security guard and showed him our tickets. He told us where to go. We had to pass two barriers and then we would find our entrance. The first barrier sensed the wheelchair and opened for us as we approached. The second one there was a gap which was just wide enough for a wheelchair to get through. Having negotiated this we found our entrance. All the staff were friendly and welcoming. It was 6.15 pm and the staff were already busy. We directed to a lift to take us up to the wheelchair access in the arena. The lifts were staffed with assistants who were more than willing to help.
We met a lovely door supervisor who was concerned at where we had been positioned to sit for the concert. It was half way along and quite a way from the stage. The first act came on and he was amazing. I won't spoil the surprise as to who it was in case others are going to the Boyzone Tour anywhere else in the country.
In the interval the door supervisor came to us and said "you have five seconds to decide I can either move you 15 yards closer to the stage or you can go Side Stage". I asked what side stage was and he said immediately facing the stage sideways on. Without hesitation I chose side stage.
What an amazing experience. We could see the dancers getting ready to go on stage we could see the whole set up before it appeared to the rest of the audience.
During a brief break the Door Supervisor came to check to see if we were happy in our new position.
At the end of the show I went to thank him but couldn't find him. On our way out I felt a tap on my shoulder it was the very door supervisor I was looking for. He asked if we had enjoyed the show. Our grins said it all. We thanked all the staff and set off to contact a taxi firm recommended by the hotel and which we had obtained their business card prior to the show. This number was transferred to our mobile phone so we could contact them when we ready to leave rather than have to pay a waiting fee.
One thing to note is that there are wheelchairs situated at the NIA for anyone who has difficulty walking and the stewards will push these and assist people to their seats. When the show is over the process is repeated and the stewards will assist anyone who needs their help in whatever way.
We were really unsure of the vendors outside the NIA offering posters, t-shirts and other stuff on them. So ignored their calls and shouts. Just before the door supervisors came out they folded the pieces of cloth containing the items and packed them up and carried them off.
It reminded me of a scene in Rome when some street traders packed everything away in under five minutes when a police car arrived. Once the police disappeared these sellers reappeared. It gave me an eerie feeling.
I had no idea mobile phones and cameras were allowed into a concert but now we know that the NIA have no restrictions on these items especially as Boyzone had a competition on during their tour to enter via mobile phone and the lucky winner got to go on stage with them. We entered but weren't lucky enough to win.
Ronan and the others had their picture taken with the lucky family's camera Ronan ran down the stage and gave the camera to the girl's mother so the picture could be taken. They really made us all feel very welcome.
I had no idea how much stamina these singers needed to carry on doing their show. Now I have some idea and they really must keep fit. The choreography was spot on. The amount of practice to get props positioned in the right place at the right time to be thrown up on stage at the precise moment ready for the boys to catch was impeccable.
We loved every moment and were sad when it had finished. We headed back home this morning to Boyzone being played in the car. We had taken the cds with us so I could listen to them on the way to Birmingham.
It is an experience I will never ever forget so thanks to Ronan Keating for arranging this for us. We are both extremely grateful and know how lucky we are.
Best wishes to everyone.