London July 2, 2005

When LIVE 8 was confirmed after so many rumours, I just knew that I had to attend! There were lots of rumours of Madonna performing, but nothing confirmed. But I just knew that she would be there, so I just had to go. But yeah, then there was lots of ticket stress because only if you were a UK or Ireland resident you were allowed to enter competitions to win tickets. My friends from England entered every competition they could to try and get tickets.

One day‘VIP hospitality packages’ were announced through Superbreak. With this you received a Golden Circle ticket (being in the front area of Hyde Park where the event would be) and a 4 or 5 star hotel for two nights. The cheapest option was 349GBP per person!! If you wanted to book this, you automatically had to book for two people, but this was just a tad too expensive for me (and I didn’t need a 5 star hotel) Our English and German friends did decide to book this.

Then when I tried to book for one person, the order came though and I got a confirmation e-mail stating that I had booked the Live 8 package. Obviously I was very happy! Until the next day when I got a call from Superbreak telling me that I really had to order for two people otherwise there was no Live 8 ticket included. I got a bit mad and told them they should not forward people on their site to Live 8 when you only clicked for one person. Also the confirmation e-mail stating I did have the Live 8 package, didn’t matter to them. I really had to book for two people. So again, no ticket for me, back to where I started.

One morning I received a text message from a very good friend telling me ‘I have two tickets for you! Not golden circle but at least you’re in!’ I was so surprised and so happy, I never expected this! We sent her a text back to thank her, and we were just so happy to finally have a confirmation of a real ticket. So now we just had to wait until the day was here.

July 1, 2005

We took the Eurostar from Brussels to London, the trip went quickly and around 11:30 in the morning we arrived in London. Since we were again staying in our favourite hotel in South Kensington, we found our way quickly. But we arrived too soon, so we had to wait in the lobby until we could check in. Some papers already reported on Live 8 with maps of the park, so I secretly tore those pages from the papers in the lobby from the hotel.

Of course after dumping our stuff we were off to Leicester Square and Oxford Street to do some shopping. Hyde Park was already very crowded, lots of people were trying to see if they could see an artist rehearse. But we didn’t see anyone special in particular. We then went to the Sanderson hotel where Mariah Carey (yes I love her!) was staying. We stayed for about two hours, but unfortunately didn’t see her. There were a couple of Mariah fans making fun of me because I was wearing a Madonna vest, well scrreeeuw them!

After eating at Burger King we met with two of our friends and were handed the Live 8 tickets!! I didn’t need to pay for it, which was of course too kind! Madonna apparently had been rehearsing that afternoon and that two of the Re-Invention World Tour dancers were present as well. We then went to a hotel where the band and dancers were probably staying, but we didn’t see them and the hotel staff couldn’t help us. Again we went to Hyde Park and had a short walk, there still were loads of people, but still didn’t see anything special. We said goodbye to our friends and then walked back to the Sanderson hotel. But we heard that Mariah wasn’t coming out because there was a big party going on in the lobby. So then we decided to pay a little visit to the Kaballah Centre. When we got there a couple of fans were waiting for Madonna, she was inside the centre and could come out any minute.

First we didn’t want to wait as we felt that the kaballah centre was a private thing, and didn’t really want to bother her. But when we spoke to Madonna’s driver, he told us that Madonna didn’t mind people waiting for her. As long as they didn’t shout and do crazy things. So we decided to hang around. After about 30 minutes suddenly the door opened and I thought I saw a small man wearing a cap that was too big exit the building. But when I took a better look I saw it was Madonna! I quickly grabbed my camera and took a photo of her, I truly didn’t recognize her, because the cap was kind of covering her face and it was so big. As many times as I see her, she keeps surprising me how tiny she actually is.

She wore white trousers and a red jacket and her hair was loose and curly. She walked right by us and we didn’t shout and kept our distance. Nobody shouted, nobody tried to touch her, everyone was silent with a little ‘Madonna!’ here and there. When she was in her car and the driver took his seat, they drove off. A minute later Guy Ritchie came out, grabbed his bike and took off as well. Well that certainly was an unexpected but very nice surprise. 


July 2, 2005

Today it was the day of Live 8! TV was already reporting on the event, but we first had something else to do. While our English and German friends were already queuing outside to get a front row spot, we got ourselves ready to go and see Donna De Lory. Donna was doing a yoga session in a yoga centre in London and would also sing a few songs. We were going to meet with a friend of ours who follows Donna as well.

Because of Live 8 it was a bit difficult to be going to where we had to be, lots of trains were delayed. But when we finally got there and greeted our friend, it was a long walk and search to find the yoga centre. But when we found it we were told to go up to the first floor where the centre was. When we entered the yoga centre we found out we were the only 3 fans there. Suddenly a door opened and Donna walked right in, she was very surprised to see us. She did recognize us from the Re-Invention World Tour last year and started to chat. She told us that they had been rehearsing for Live 8 for a week now and that she was very tired. She said that she thought they would be on stage at around 5 in the afternoon. Then she asked the people of the centre if it would be fine for us to attend her singing later on. They said that was OK. We then left so Donna could do her yoga class and we decided to take a stroll through the neighbourhood.

After 45 minutes we came back, knocked on the door and we were let in. All the people that had been practising yoga, were lying on the floor and Donna was in the middle singing and it was completely dark. She sang a few songs of her latest album and again her singing was incredible. After a few songs, the lights were turned on, and people went over to Donna to thank her and talk to her. So we just waited until they all had left and ate a banana while doing so. When it was our turn we chatted some more, had pictures signed and pictures taken. She told me she loved Amsterdam and would love to come and perform there. We then left so we could all get ourselves ready for Live 8. It had been very nice to see and speak to Donna again!

When we got back in our hotel we were soaked with sweat, we needed to rush as Live 8 was about to start and we were not there! We got our stuff and went to Hyde Park by foot, which turned out to be a mistake as we completely walked the wrong way. When we got inside the park, again we headed the wrong way. When we finally found the right route we just decided to follow the rest of the crowd, but then we were told by a cop that it was another 30-minute walk from that spot. We couldn’t believe it, we were beat and exhausted already, was Hyde Park really THAT big?

We missed U2 and Coldplay due to the long walk but could hear them playing. After a couple of ticket checks, we finally got to the field but couldn’t believe our eyes, the stage was waaaaaaaay in the back and the crowd was huge! We first tried to get to the front from the right side, but there was no way everyone was just stuck together like glue. So we just decided to walk back and sit and relax, thank God the weather was good, there were also lots of places to eat and buy merchandise. Elton John did his thing but we really couldn’t be bothered.

After a while we decided to get to the front of the left side of the field, and that worked. We managed to get all the way to the barriers which separated our crowd from the Golden Circle. So there was no other possible way of getting nearer to the stage than this, so we were very happy with that. Most of the time we just spent by sitting on the grass and listening to the performers. There was a great atmosphere, everyone was singing along and dancing. Snoop Dogg really got the crowd going and even we made an effort to stand up and enjoy his performance. Before I knew it Brad Pitt was on stage, and this was the first time that I was a bit starstruck ‘wow, was he really on stage here in London?’, so great to see him in person. I absolutely adored Bob Geldof’s performance and thought Annie Lennox was great too. Had tears in my eyes when the girl from Africa entered the stage, was such an amazing moment to share with the thousands of people.

But then out of nowhere Bob introduced Madonna!

Completely unexpected I asked if I could sit on Simon’s neck so I could at least see something. Oh there she was, she looked amazing and first thing I thought ‘ohhh that’s so ‘Ladies Home Journal’ about her look! So good to see her again. Madonna hugged the girl and loads of people around me became quite emotional. Then ‘Like A Prayer’ started and the crowd just ate it up, we loved it, sang everything along and clapped our hands until they hurt. ‘Ray Of Light’ was absolutely amazing, it rocked the place and Madonna’s scream was again so unexpected but so damn good, took balls to do that! Cloud (the dancer) was just amazing and the crowd loved his moves. ‘Music’ was just the ultimate song to perform, the people went wild. It was such a Re-Invention World Tour deja-vu and so great to relive it right here. When I took a look over my shoulder I saw literally thousands of hands in the air clapping along to ‘Music’. It felt so good to be there and share this moment with so many people. That moment Madonna’s ‘Music’ truly did make the people come together and join their passion with each other. I was so proud of Madonna, she truly was the hit of the day, everybody loved it! Before I knew it, the performance was over after a long outro of ‘Music’. Almost immediately lots of people around me started to walk away.

We bought some French Fries to eat, but also threw them away instantly as they were only half baked! From then on we watched most acts on screen from the back of the field. But still we had a great time.

Finally it was Mariah’s turn, I adored her performance and thought it was a typical Mariah performance. Only the people around me didn’t appreciate it at all and heard stuff like ‘oh shut your mouth love and move on’ and ‘oh gosh she still has some fans left’. I didn’t care I went nuts, sang everything along and just loved her. Also there was lots of giggling around me when Mariah asked for a sip of water. It was clear to me that the majority of the English crowd wasn’t too fond of her, unfortunately. But hey I enjoyed it.

When Mariah finished performing we decided to leave since we had a long walk ahead of us to the hotel. Sadly we missed Robbie Williams because of this, but hey we saw Madonna and Mariah and those were the ones we came for in the first place. Our long walk started, thank God it wasn’t too bad as loads of other people made their way home as well. We saw the beautifully lit Harrods and our hotel was just a couple of blocks down the road. So after walking about 30 minutes we just fell on our beds, we were exhausted! We then watched the rest of Live 8 on TV and went to sleep.


July 3, 2005

We couldn’t get up, our bodies ached too much, but we had to since we were leaving today. When we got our stuff together we made our way to the tabloids. As expected Madonna graced the cover of almost every single newspaper. They spoke of her as the greatest act of Live 8 and I certainly agreed. I bought a lot of newspapers, took out the Madonna bits and asked the seller to throw the rest in the bin. He gave me a funny look when I left the store.

Later on we met with our friends, took some pics, had some dinner and looked at my Live 8 souvenir book that I had bought yesterday. They told us that they were indeed front row at Live 8 but couldn’t pee all day, or eat or drink. I never would’ve managed that, so I admired them greatly! They shot some incredible pictures, but of course well deserved. We said our goodbyes and made our way to Waterloo Station. Here I found some more newspapers and then our 6-hour trip back to Amsterdam started.

When we arrived in the evening, I immediately browsed the internet to see if I had missed anything. We watched our shot footage, our pictures and listened to our recorded audio. Then we hit our beds and our Live 8 adventure was over. We were very grateful to have been part in such a historic event and it certainly was one of Madonna’s best live performances ever. She’s on top of the world and she totally deserves it!

Kimberly van Pinxteren