Friday, 12 November 2010

UK Tour - Part One

I need sleep. I've not had much of the stuff over the last week, but it was all with good reason. I have had one of the greatest weeks of my life so far. This month, November 2010, is the month of my long awaited tour of the United Kingdom. No, I haven't become famous from writing this blog, I simply happened to book tickets to all sorts of different events that are happening all around the country. The term 'UK tour' may be a little deceiving as I'm only seeing events in England, but I personally think it sounds much cooler than 'England tour'.

Anyways, my tour kicked off this week with a bang, as I travelled with a couple of guys up to Manchester to see the television spectacular that is WWE Monday Night Raw be filmed for worldwide transmission. Sam had hired a rental car for the trip, a brand new 60 reg VW Golf. It only had seven miles on the clock when we picked it up, I think it had over six hundred by the time we gave it back. The drive was long, but not nearly as bad as we had expected, despite the weather's attempts to deter us. We turned up the CD player and had us a good old sing-along, which got us there in seemingly no time. We didn't get to see much of Manchester, in fact, all we saw was the carpark, the arena, and the train station attached to arena. It didn't matter though, we weren't up there to see the sights, we were there to see some wrestling. We all got to see our favourites, and from some pretty good seats. I won't go into huge detail about the event here, as I did that already during this week's Positively Raw column. If I had to choose one highlight from the show that I could watch over and over again, it would be this comedy skit that was absolutely hilarious live: Santino's Tea Party!

After the show Sam drove us back the 250 miles to Kent. Sam did all the driving for me and Andy (partly because he was the only one allowed to drive the rental car) and for that I'd like to say thanks. We stopped at a service station at about midnight for a snack before travelling the rest of the way back. Unfortunately, once we reached the M25, the home stretch so to speak, we were met with road works and a sign telling us that the east side stretch of the motorway was closed. We had to got the long way round annoyingly, and I fell asleep for about half an hour. I awoke to find that Sam had nearly driven the full stretch of M25, and we were soon home. I got home at about 3:30am and was happy to be able to go straight to bed.

The next day was a WWE Raw house show (non-televised show) at London's O2 Arena. Stacey and Jason joined us for this one, and I travelled up with them, meeting Sam and Andy at the arena. Now, almost every time that I go to the O2, I seem to end up having a drink or two in a bar there called Thai Silk. This was where we all met up on Tuesday evening, and with time pressing on before the start of the show, we wound up eating in there for the first time. The food was good value, and tasted great, even if my chilli-beef did burn my tongue like hell. We then took our seats, which were up in the top tier, but the front row. Sam, who has a bad fear of heights wasn't loving the view when edging his way towards his seat, but admitted it was great when seated. This show was a lot of fun, in that when they don't have to play up to the TV cameras, the wrestlers go out there and put on a really fun show for the audience in attendance. Our main event was a great, hard-fought battle between golden boy John Cena, and my current favourite The Miz. Sadly The Miz lost, but he sure did dominate the match. Jason found it funny to hum Cena's theme music after the show, much to my chagrin.

Probably the highlight of this show though, was a triple threat match for the United States Championship, as reigning champion Daniel Bryan defeated R-Truth and Englishman William Regal. Daniel Bryan won the match, and was booed by the crowd who were in favour of the home-country hero. Regal soon grabbed a microphone and announced that after 27 years of wrestling, that he was probably getting too old for it all, and that this tour may well have been his last. If that remains the case, then it truly was an honour to see Regal's last matches in England. William Regal is a legend of the 'sport', having wrestled in England during British Wrestling's heyday, and wrestling for America's biggest companies. I've already found his speech on Youtube, watch it if you're at all interested:

After two events in two nights, I was feeling tired enough already, but that wasn't the end. On Wednesday night, I decided to make it three in a row, as I had tickets to see one of my most favourite bands of all time, Linkin Park with Stacey, Tam, and Andrew. I had seen Linkin Park once before, nearly three years ago now back in January 2008. They had put on a good show then, and they put on another fantastic show now. Rather than playing mostly new stuff, Linkin Park know how to strike a good balance, so that each of their albums gets a fair representation, resulting in a concert full of all different sounds. From the heavy, to beautiful acoustics.

Linkin Park perform 'One Step Closer' live at the O2 Arena

We were sitting very far back, and up high, but Linkin Park's live performance is so strong (sounding just as they do in their recordings) that everyone in the arena couldn't help but get into it.

All in all, it was a great few days. Thinking back to when I was twelve, the two most important things to me at the time were WWE (then known as WWF, before that Panda organisation sued) and Linkin Park. These three days would have been the most exciting imaginable to me then, and to be honest, I really did have a brilliant time that will be hard to top. The excitement for this month doesn't end here though, as this Sunday I'm going to see Sean Lock's new stand-up tour, and then on the 29th, I'm going to see 30 Seconds to Mars in Brighton. The November UK tour is rolling on baby!

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