Finally, the doors were opened for us and we walked in.
To get to this point of time we had long travels to do. I had flown in to London Stansted airport from Spain early afternoon, my sister H had flown in from Sweden mid afternoon and we were picked up by our fellow Fry and friend L on her way from home to Birmingham. This was the first time we met L, although she had been my Home Fry Angel for a long time now. Not only would she get me and H to the Birmingham show, but she also made sure I wouldn't miss the VIP in London by getting me the ticket when I didn't have the funds at the time for ticket release. Without her none of this would be happening.
After she picked us up at the airport we had a 3 hour drive ahead of us to get to the show. We were guided on our way by Shawn, or maybe Sean, the GPS. Overall he did a great job, but he was also the reason why we ended up arriving late as he took us on a detour that wasted our time, and as we arrived at the venue he didn't lead us to the closest parking lot but sent us far away from the hall itself and still didn't show us anywhere to park. Eventually we ended up parking on the street and instead took to foot to get there. I was actually surprised, and so grateful, when we found out that we had only missed the first half of the first song. It was Cruise, by the way.
Anyway, back to entering the concert hall.
As I stepped in through the doors the first thing I saw was Austin with a huge smile on his face. And I mean a huge smile. That image hasn't left me ever since. While finding our seats I searched for all of them, one by one. They all had huge smiles on their faces. It was like they couldn't believe the reaction from the audience. It was breathtaking to finally have them so close. I just couldn't believe they were there, I was there. There were only a few meters in between us. I guess that might have been what they were thinking too. They were just as stunned by being there as we were that they were.
I was amazed by how incredibly good-looking they are in person, and I was amazed by the space they take up. They are tall, yes, but it is more than their physical size that take up space. They all have this individual glow around them, and together that glow adds up to more than the sum of the five of them - it multiplies. A lot. It's like a golden aura surrounds them, it's spreading from them, oozes through the air and embraces everyone that's in the same room as they are. It fills you up with feelings of love and joy and it makes you feel like it is the very best place to be in the whole world. It makes you happy, and I'm sure that if you have any problems or troubles in life they are all wiped away for as long as the show goes on - and maybe for a while after it has ended as well.
This didn't just happen when they were on stage performing, though, it was the same phenomenon happening in the signing line after the show.
The biggest, brightest and strongest of the individual auras was Chris', it was visible on stage, but when they were sitting at the signing table it was obvious, and I found myself wondering if that was always the case or if it was something that had been growing stronger with the release of Shine. Either way I loved it. It made me feel safe.
I can't tell you in what order they did the songs, or even which songs they performed (at least not all of them), but I can tell you that I loved every second of the show and it ended much too soon. I am so happy I had a second show already planned a few days later.
I had been warned that they sound better live than they do on their recordings, but I can honestly tell you that even if I didn't doubt that I had no idea how much better they would be, I really didn't have a clue. I was expecting a false note, or a slightly missed beat, here and there but even if there might have been one or two I didn't notice them. I was expecting perfect harmonies but what they delivered was not only perfection, but also more life, more emotion, and even better voices than on the recordings. I now find myself missing something when I listen to the album tracks, not because they are not great, but because the live versions are undeniably outstanding. I hope they will release a live album in the future, but even then it will never be even close to being the same thing.
One of the things I had been looking forward to most was the feeling of the bass in my butt. And boy did we feel it! Even with all the "warnings" there is just no way anyone can ever understand what that actually means until you experience it in real life. People has explained it going up through your feet and all through your body, or feeling it in their chest. Well, I say all of that but I could almost see the air vibrating around me, and I could definitely feel the air rumbling - almost to the point where I could touch it. I think the whole hall got quiet for that first split second when we felt it before bursting in to loud cheers and woooaas. I remember looking at my sister in utter disbelief and amazement. What the heck was that? It was just so much more than I could ever have made up even if I had tried to exaggerate it.
When it comes to all the voices they all just sound so much better in real life, however impossible it seems, and the one standing out the most to me was Rob's voice. How anyone can have such a sweet, smooth voice is something I will never understand, and he's such a big Guy that it hits you even stronger when he literally sound like an angel when he sings.
Austin was clearly very taken all through the show. He had a quirky little smile in the corner of his mouth the whole show, and when he sang "Bring Him Home" he got so emotional his voice even cracked up a bit which made it even more touching and fantastic, and then it was that last high and very long note of his - incredible - especially since it keeps getting more power the longer he holds it. Wow! Just wow! Chills all over my body and you could have heard a pin drop to the floor.
Chris' voice is so soft, clean and comforting. It makes me feel safe, and I am so happy he has his solo album so we get to hear it more. I think safe, soft and comforting are perfect words to describe Chris - his aura, his voice, his intelligence; everything about him breaths of those feelings. I bet he is the stability in the group.
Tim's voice is - well - freakish. So smooth, so low, so high - so everything. I knew that already, but it's kind of crazy to hear it in real life. How is it even possible to have such a range. When he did his solo part in Thinking Out Loud/Let's Get It On it's just unreal.
And then there's Adam; there's really nothing one can say to explain what he can do. All the songs he beat boxes in, all the live videos that can be found online are fantastic, but they are nowhere close to the reality. I can't even begin to tell you how high my expectations were on Adam's skills, and I can't even begin to tell you how far he exceeded those expectations. There simply is no way to understand it, not even when you have seen and heard it live. There are no words. It's just not possible to explain it. What you hear in the live videos of his solo - it's nothing compared to what it really is to hear him live. Take whatever grade you would give it and multiply it by ten - fifty - a hundred times, and then maybe you will come a little bit closer to reality. A reality that seems made up and surreal, but you know it is happening for real because you can see it and hear it, and you can feel it physically in your whole body. Yes, when Adam drops that bass you can feel it just as much as you can feel Tim's bass, but in a different vibration.
Finally, I'd like to say that I have not yet attended a Home Free show, simply because a Home Free show is not attended, it is felt. It is felt throughout your whole body, emotionally and physically, in so many different ways and so many different emotions and it leaves you wanting more of it. Over and over again. And then do it all over again. And again.
And still, somehow, there's so much more than just the shows. There's also the friendships formed. New friends you meet for the very first time that feels like you have known them for years. Strangers being there for one another through thick and thin, supporting each other, lifting each other up when needed long before any of us actually met. We are brought together online through the mutual love for this group of talented and charismatic men, but we grow to love, respect and appreciate each other for who we all are. But I will write more about that in an upcoming post.
I only took a few pics at the Birmingham show, the one above being one of them, and only a couple of videos where the sound was crappy, but there are plenty of them to find on YouTube if you want to experience the show with us.