A blanket of joy over 15.000 people

Last night my friend, my sister, her girlfriend and I went to Amsterdam to see Hugh Jackman on stage in his show The Man, The Music, The Show.

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I knew what to expect from YouTube films I had seen from some years ago of Hugh doing such a show in Australia but what I wasn’t quite prepared for was the blanket of love and joy that one man was able to spread out over an audience of 15.000 people. It helps if you like the musical numbers he performs but I imagine that even if you don’t like the music, the joy just emanates anyway and is irresistible. Hugh Jackman really loves doing this.

The show opened with images of iconic Hugh Jackman film moments set to the opening beat of the song The Greatest Show, followed by a full on energetic performance of that song and the following song Come Alive by Hugh and his crew. I tried to take pictures with my phone but the quality isn’t great (some of these are snapshots from videos I took that aren’t great quality either, you can click on the pictures to enlarge them).

He proceeded to welcome the audience, telling us in one Dutch sentence that he couldn’t speak Dutch. He tried to pronounce Dutch town names in song, very quickly, which cemented the connection to his audience. He looked at an audience member and commiserated with him being there as there would be no Wolverine in this (“it’ll be a long 2 hours for you”). He was present, knows where he’s at, acknowledges what’s happening around him and engages the audience with humour. He then started to tell stories of his youth and the beginning of his careeer. He sang the Gaston song from Beauty and the Beast, which had been his first musical role. The joy with which he performs this is just infectious.

Someone filmed it and put it on YouTube…

He spoke so lovingly about his wife Deb and his kids, it was heartwarming and there were ‘aw’s coming from the audience. He sang a song that that had been sung at their wedding (The Way You Look Tonight). In the pictures I took Hugh is mostly a blob of light but luckily that was not how we actually saw him when he performed. It’s just tough getting good pictures with all the effects lighting, but it does give you a sense of the atmosphere.

Pictures taken off the screen were better…

Before the intermission there was a Les Miserables section with a medley of Valjean’s Soliloquy / I Dreamed a Dream / One Day More. Especially in the soliloquy Hugh showed that he was not just singing a song, he was also acting the role and became Jean Valjean for a little bit, which made the performance extra powerful. The man was giving everything.

After the intermission he became Peter Allen, The Boy From Oz, a role that had earned him a Tony Award.

That was a really fun segment where he went into the audience and picked up a guy to dance with him on stage. The guy’s girlfriend was asked up as well, Hugh couldn’t pronounce her name ‘Maartje’ but he did kiss her “94” times on her cheeks as that is how Dutch people greet each other (“when you meet someone in Holland it’s like you’re married!”). Hugh referenced one of the moments during this segment on Twitter last night:

The segment ended with a spectacular show with among others the song I Go To Rio

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He then sat down to sing the Peter Allen ballad Tenterfield Saddler beautifully…

… and that was followed by an absolutely captivating performance of A Million Dreams (another song from The Greatest Showman). A dancer performed the song in sign language and dance, Hugh joined in beautifully and at the end (not filmed anywhere that I could see) Hugh received a standing ovation. I couldn’t film the standing ovation myself because I was clapping my heart out but I did film the performance (and film doesn’t quite do it justice, it felt more special live).

Hugh received his standing ovation after the song graciously, he looked a little emotional during it, you could see him savouring the moment. (MTA that I have now indeed found a clip of Hugh receiving his standing ovation and being somewhat emotional HERE).

There then came a Broadway segment (with Singin’ in the Rain for instance)…

… and a beautiful sequence with an Aboriginal group of singers that ended in a lovely rendition of Somewhere Over the Rainbow.

There was a tap dance and drums sequence and at the end of that Hugh did do a Wolverine growl, to the delight of the crowd. I didn’t get a good shot, this is the best I have, where he used his drumming sticks for the claws. The body language totally says Wolverine!

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He did From Now On, my fave song from The Greatest Showman, and everyone was up on their feet for that.

The final song was a Peter Allen song called Once Before I Go. This last song became a little special as it contained a brief second or two of my ‘personal’ Hugh-encounter! By this time the audience (including my friend and I) had been swaying along to several songs with the phone lights on, this song was no exception. I heard later that my sister and her girlfriend, who were sitting elsewhere, had joined in with the lights as well.

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Anyway, my friend and I said to each other that when Hugh turned our way again, we’d stop the soft rhythmic swaying of our phones and we’d just wave our lights madly at him to say ‘hi’. We did just that and, lo and behold, he registered us and he waved right back at us! I found a video of this exact moment on YouTube, filmed by someone who must have been sitting not too far off from where we were sitting. At 1:28 – 1:30 minutes into the video you can see Hugh registering something, he gives a little smirk and then he waves right at us, in the same rhythm as we are waving our phone lights at him.

There was no way he could have really seen us, but he had seen our lights and he had answered our greeting with a greeting of his own. That’s awesome, right? Yeah, had to screen cap that… this is Hugh saying hello to my friend and me!

The only down side to this concert was that after this song, Hugh was immediately gone, the big lights went up and it was all over. But what a glorious evening we had had!

So, yeah, I did have to buy a tour book as a keepsake. The merch prices are always a little steep, but I just couldn’t resist it…

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If there is one thing to admire about Hugh Jackman it is that he knows how to live in the moment. He is very present and focused, reacts to what happens around him, he is joyful and exudes pleasure in what he does. He has a huge heart that he is able to openly share with thousands of people at a time and because of that everyone opens their hearts to him in return. He has done and will be doing this show many, many times with the same stories and jokes and songs and yet it feels fresh and new, as if he is performing it the first time in full just for you. It is amazing that you are in a stadium with 15.000 other people and yet somehow the man seems to be speaking to you. He can spread love and joy and make you feel special and that makes Hugh Jackman a special kind of man.


MTA – I have now also compiled a playlist of the evening:

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Fangirling again

I have a little more time again to fangirl now. Yay! ๐Ÿ™‚

Saw this yesterday on my Instagram feed and it made me smile very widely.

Pierce Brosnan (whom I once briefly met) and Hugh Jackman (whom I will see live on stage in Amsterdam in May) bumping into each other in an airport lounge! Kinda funny too, as Amanda Seyfried (in the middle) played Pierce’s (probably) daughter in Mamma Mia and played Hugh’s adopted daughter in Les Miserables. Hugh says “Our daughter” underneath the same picture he posted to his Instagram. Awww. ๐Ÿ™‚

Another picture I’ve been taking some extra time now to fangirl over, is Richard’s picture on top of another mountain from a few days ago…

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Dare I say, with even only a little bit of his face visible, he looks happy and relaxed? I wonder which mountain this is? Does he always go back to the same spots or does he pick something new every time? I hope he’s had/is having fun and I am still wondering what that exciting role he talked about a little while back will be… I’m done with Berlin Station, I quit watching after season 3 episode 2, so I’m really hoping for something new from him. By the way, Hugh was also on top of a mountain a few days ago. Spot the differences…

Moving on to fangirling over True Love in TV Series. The second half of Suits season 8 will air from next week. Will Donna and Harvey ever get together? Doesn’t look like it in season 8b, as Donna gets a new boyfriend…

I’m so done with this will they/won’t they situation, the Donna and Harvey (im)possibility has already been milked for what it’s worth, it’s obvious to me they finally SHOULD! On a side note, Louis looks on fine and funny form for season 8b…

And finally, Silent Witness is apparently still going strong on the BBC. I used to love watching the show, not only for the cases but also for the team dynamic of pathologists Nikki, Harry and Leo. Harry disappeared at the end of season 15 but when they killed off Leo at the end of season 16, I officially couldn’t watch anymore. They are up to season 22 now, I have caught bits of episodes here and there in recent years but it just doesn’t have the same magic for me anymore. And now, in a glimpse I saw last night (or was it the night before?) on the BBC, it looks like Nikki could be pregnant? How can she be pregnant and Harry not be the father? Yes, I still mourn the demise of that almost relationship. It seems she did have a love interest last season…

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Now I guess I need to watch those episodes and the next episode to see what’s what, because I am curious. I hope I can bear it… ๐Ÿ˜Š

Evocative images

OK, I admit it, I have the ‘Daily Mail online’ as an app on my phone, just for the entertainment section. Their writing is awful – not just the kind of language they use is ridiculous, but they make a lot of spelling mistakes as well. Being quick (and often repetitive as they add on to a story as time progresses) and judgmental is more important to them than being thorough and accurate. I also hate their emphasis on women’s bodies (not in a good way) and their tone is far too sensational. However, I do go there for the pictures because they really do have a lot of them. Recently, when Mr Esther was in hospital, it was an acceptable way to spend a little time without having to think too much. I scroll past all the TV reality shows items / Kardashian stuff / scantily dressed ‘celebrities’ / Mr living barbie doll Ken bullshit, but I do check out the pictures of actors I like at premieres or other events or out and about. There is, for instance, a regular dose of Hugh Jackman in NYC that flashes by on my screen (I swear, that man is photographed almost daily, if not on the ‘Daily Mail’ app, I see it through other sources on Twitter!)…

So, naturally, while looking at the ‘Daily Mail’ (I wouldn’t call it reading), I come across a lot of Meghan and Harry stuff as well. My goodness, they are obsessed with the British royal family and some of the headlines make me skip right along, but they are quick with getting images out. So, it’s not surprising that in recent days they have been posting a lot of Harry and Meghan in Australia pictures and as I was going through some pictures a few days ago, this one caught my eye…

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I think it’s just the most adorable picture! And there were more evocative Harry and Meghan with umbrellas in the rain pictures…

The couple is very tactile…

… and I’ve gotta say I was also relieved to see Meghan occasionally change out of her scary high heels into flats for a bit…

… and then this morning I was greeted by these images. I just adore the look of that maxi dress (and the protective gesture of Meghan on her baby-belly)…

They were typically tactile seated on the beach…

… and I come to the conclusion that, even after their beautiful wedding, I still seem to have a soft spot for these two. I can’t imagine the pressure they must be under to always seem nice and smile and look loving and deal with all the scrutiny and attention they get. I wouldn’t say I follow everything they do but I do say that when I come across images of them (mostly via that app), I too am charmed by the warmth they exude and these evocative images only add to the charm. I like looking at them and I really, really hope that outside of this public life, they can also hold on to the warmth and love in private, without intrusion.

Aussie Aussie Aussie!

Aussie – as in an endearment for an Australian. ๐Ÿ™‚ There has been some great Aussie entertainment news this past week!


Last week two of my favourite Aussies were posing together: Simon Baker of The Mentalist fame and Hugh Jackman. Simon has made a movie called Breath and Hugh Jackman and his wife Deborra-lee Furness were helping Simon promote his movie in New York City! As shared on Hugh’s instagram account…

… as well as on Simon’s instagram account. Apparently Jackman hosted the screening!

Here a few more pictures from that same event (click to enlarge)…

Breath is an Australian movie set in the 1970s. It’s a coming of age story about two teenage boys who befriend an older surfer (Simon Baker) and he challenges them to take risks. Here’s a trailer…

Simon Baker not only stars in this, he also directed, produced and co-wrote this movie and, as an accomplished surfer himself, he also surfs in it. I’m not sure how wide the release will be but the first reviews I have seen sound promising!


In other Aussie news: the Australian Miss Fisher Murder Mysteries film is a go! Crowdfunding (and yes, I also am a backer) helped make this possible. ๐Ÿ™‚ All the main actors will be back and filming will start in October in Morocco and in Australia (Melbourne). The new movie is called Miss Fisher & the Crypt of Tears

You can read the full press release here. From the press release…

“The film opens with the Honourable Miss Phryne Fisher rescuing Shirin Abbas, a young Bedouin woman, who has been thrown into jail in British Mandated Palestine, for making trouble at a time of colonial unrest. After a perilous escape from Jerusalem, she rejoins Shirin as a fellow guest in the home of Lord and Lady Lofthouse, for the London โ€˜seasonโ€™ and she pledges to help her right a wrong and discover the truth about the Crypt of Tears – an ancient crypt rumoured to lie somewhere beneath the rolling sands of the Negev Desert.

Fiona Eagger said: โ€œMiss Fisher & the Crypt of Tears will have the witty intrigue of Indiana Jones, the opulent style of a Merchant Ivory Production, and the feminist fun of Thelma and Louise.”

It’ll be a while before we’ll actually see it but already I am getting excited for this!


Also, a bit of Aussie fun: Chris Hemsworth, Australian actor of Thor fame, posted this funny little video of him signing photographs of himself the other day.

I can so imagine that it must feel like a workout if you have to sign so very many!


And in final Aussie news – nominations for Australia’s biggest TV awards, the Logies, have just been announced. The Aussie show A Place to Call Home, that I love so much, has been nominated for ‘Most Outstanding Drama Series’!

They won the award last year and I wouldn’t mind them winning it again this year! Jenni Baird has again been nominated for ‘Most Outstanding Supporting Actress’ for her role as Regina…

… and by George, would I absolutely love to see her win! She has been the most dubious, chilling and layered character on the show, she was robbed for not winning last year. I hope she gets it this year, fingers crossed!


Yes, I love me some good Aussie news!

TDH in the past few days

Luckily not everything has been doom and gloom of late – to cheer me up from depressing world news there have been some Tall Dark Handsome people to really enjoy looking at!

Starting off with Richard Armitage and a second short video interview about the Wolverine podcast (I mentioned the first one on blog here). I still haven’t listened to Wolverine because of reasons, but the behind the scenes still looks good.

In the other post, I put many images of Richard talking with his hands, which is fascinating to look at, here are a few more screencaps I made from this second interview. He doesn’t only talk with hands, he talks with fists as well!

RA Wolverine Podcast 4-5-2018 (3)And he’s expressive when moving around (click on images to enlarge)…

The most evocative shot that I really fell for was this following one of him. In the first video we’d seen a close-up of him on the floor. This time we get the full body shot of him sitting on the floor, with legs pulled up, one crossed over the other. The other guy on the couch is watching him be the picture of focus and concentration, with Richard lost in his Wolverine world on the tablet; I just love that…

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Here, a closer look…

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I really like those boots too!

Moving from one tall, dark, handsome man to the next: Colin Firth and his wife Livia were at the recent Met Gala. They are embroiled in a legal battle with Livia’s ex-lover right now but they have been forming a united front lately and are going everywhere together, including the gala. They looked very handsome and very elegant!

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I especially loved this profile shot of them, with Colin’s hand resting lightly on his wife’s back!

colin-firth-livia-firth-met-gala-2018-02I really hope they get through this difficult time well together…

Speaking of the Met Gala, I have seen pictures here and there of people all dressed up in the Catholic theme of the gala. I don’t intend to show all those images here, except for the dress of one person, that really struck me. Zendaya, who did such an awesome job in the part of Anne Wheeler in The Greatest Showman, came looking like Joan of Arc. I found it a stunning look!

She certainly looked tall dark and handsome and gorgeous and should there be a new Joan of Arc movie in the works somewhere, I recommend they look to Zendaya for the title role!

Speaking of tall dark handsome and The Greatest Showman: on his instagram Hugh Jackman posted a lovely pic of him and his wife Deb all dressed up, ready to go to the Met Gala…

Hugh Jackman & Deb Instagram

He’s also been promoting his ethical coffee company called ‘Laughing Man‘.

Yes, Hugh Jackman makes me smile!

And finally, nothing to do with the Met Gala, but all to do with tall dark and handsome and making me smile: Pierce Brosnan who shared some lovely images on his instagram in the past few days. First, he shared a picture of himself with full beard for a role he has been playing. The man ages so beautifully, he’s become even more interesting to look at over the past decade or so! Anyway, I find him drop dead gorgeous here…

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… and then he shared a picture of himself with his paintings. I have seen paintings of his in the past before and I really like his colourful style! He’s pretty good at it. He has painted since 1987 since his first wife started fighting ovarian cancer (she died a few years later). The painting has apparently been very therapeutic for him and he still loves doing it…

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Apparently he is running out of storage space for his paintings…

If he needs space, I wouldn’t mind a Pierce Brosnan painting donation for my living room! Interesting to look at and the colours can lift my spirits… ๐Ÿ™‚