Can you imagine being surrounded by over enthusiastic Osmond fans (largely middle aged women) year in, year out, as the only token heterosexual male? Only Debbie could do that to me and get away with it…
Thank goodness I was only dragged along to see one concert by Mr Cassidy. This was on May 6th 2004 at Hammersmith Apollo, when much to my amusement he was nearly booed off stage for refusing to let the audience sing along to “I Think I Love You“. Ironically this was Debbie’s first Partridge Family record she’d ordered from America way back in February 1971 which took 6 weeks to arrive in the local record shop in the arcade in Merthyr called “Jones”.
The first live Donny concert Debbie saw in March 2003 was also at the Hammersmith Apollo where she took along Emma for company. Fortunately I escaped on this occasion after dropping them off at the venue and then taking Alex and James for a local Indian curry just around the corner! 🙂
Debbie had earlier joined donny.com in January 2003 and made many friends online who we met at “Osmania” at the Crown Plaza Heathrow hotel in October 2004, the annual Osmond fan club weekend get together.
We went to Oceana nightclub in Kingston for a 1970’s style disco on the Friday night together by double decker bus which was great fun. I remember there was a “Saturday Night Fever” dance floor, fortunately all photographic records are hidden/lost to the public! On the Saturday night there was a full repertoire of Osmond songs played with Tony Prince DJ hosting and Alan Osmond phoning in live to talk to the ecstatic fans.
My luck wasn’t to hold however, for “my” birthday Debbie got free tickets on the 20th November 2003 for us to go to Teddington studios to see Donny being interviewed on “Des and Mel‘s” live lunchtime TV show, which I have to say was great fun to watch.
Debbie followed this up in June 2004 by getting free tickets to see Donny and other artists including Elaine Page and Barbara Dixon, Ronan Keating and Lemar record “Love Songs” at the BBC television centre in White City.
Alex had just finished his second year at Royal Holloway and drove Debbie to Heathrow bus terminal to pick up her friend Maureen from the fan club and then travelled to Debz’s house in Thames Ditton who then drove to Surbiton train station and onto White City.
I fortunately was in Geneva returning from the Gartner Public Sector Proven Practice Exchange (PPX) which I used to organise each year. Khal (see yesterday’s blog) attended as a client speaker!
Debbie was right at the end of one aisle in the recording studio and the artists were singing centre stage, Donny however came off stage after being interviewed by Tess Daly and unwisely headed in her direction when she took full advantage by giving him a huge hug, kiss on the cheek and a few quick words exchanged.
Apparently he was really nice although shortly afterwards she was so shocked at her moment with her teen idol she burst into tears! Debbie got home half past nine at night but I was so exhausted I was in bed already half asleep while she was buzzing!
The only record we have of this is an old video tape recording of the programme when broadcast 18th September 2004 at 9.10pm and Debbie can be seen “stalking” Donny in the audience.
The next concert we went to together was in Cardiff Castle in 10th July 2004, I remember half way through the concert it began to pour down (well we were in Wales) and as we were near the front I could plainly see Donny smiling at our bedraggled appearance.
You can see the set in the pictures below and I have to admit I really enjoyed his performance, especially when he sang “Any Dream Will Do” from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dream Coat.
We first saw Merrill Osmond live in concert with his “Black Bear” band at the Hexagon theatre in Reading on Monday 23rd February 2004.
Debbie, Emma and I next met him on the 14th March 2004 at Terminal One, Heathrow just as he was leaving for his flight back to the US. We’d left 85 Foxwood around 6.30am and I have the look of a “lost man” don’t I?
After the airport encounter with Merrill our next dose of the Osmonds was a trip on the 11th September 2004 to Winter Gardens Blackpool Opera House where Jimmy Osmond was in the show “Boogie Nights“. We travelled up with Debbie, Emma and her friend Jennifer and we had front row tickets slap bang in the middle.
Guess what, as I suspected would happen Jimmy picked on “delectable Debbie” by taking her hand to stand up and sing along with him that favourite tune of his “Long Haired Lover from Liverpool“. She held the microphone and did a short solo with his arm around her, not that I’m the jealous type, but I was a little concerned that maybe Mormons can take more than one wife! Thank goodness she knew the words in front of nearly 3000 people and Shane Ritchie the producer was in the audience too!
The hotel we stayed in had adjoining rooms and was a little run down to be honest as unfortunately was Blackpool which seemed to be full of hen parties, but despite this we had a great time.
Thursday 16th March 2006 was the next time we saw the Osmonds (Jimmy, Merrill, Wayne and Jay) at the Hammersmith Apollo the night before we moved to our current house in Thorpe.
Next was the 50th anniversary reunion tour on the 23rd May 2008 in Sheffield Hallam Arena which was a very special concert as they were all there, Donny, Marie, Alan, Wayne, Merrill, Jay and Jimmy! It was a memorable concert in so many ways as Debbie had to drive back the whole way home the next day as I suffered an embarrassing bout of food poisoning while driving the car after breakfast at the nearby hotel.
She exacted a terrible revenge (only joking) when I decided to thank her for overcoming her fear of driving by booking the same all Osmond concert on the 1st June 2008 in the London O2 Arena inside the Millennium Dome. We got there so early that we decided to go and watch the new “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” film just to balance the books a little…
The last opportunity (to date as Debbie has just pointed out) was when I bought her 2012 Christmas present of tickets to see Donny & Marie in their Vegas show at the O2. I hid them inside a copy of the 1978 Osmond family Christmas DVD which she already owned, so she was initially very disappointed, until she looked inside and found them & then jumped around the room in joy!
Alas on the morning of the concert a huge snow storm started and got considerably worse as the day progressed. Most unfortunately the Range`Rovers had both been recently scrapped and all we had vehicle wise was James’ old Fiesta and we decided it was too much of a risk to take and so we missed their show. 😦
Funnily enough about a week ago we were packing a box of papers and came across the unused tickets and we looked at each other and decided to keep them as a reminder that you should “never say never again”! 🙂