Having arrived at my seat at the arena just five minutes before Whitney took the stage and then told by her fanclub photographer to stay after the show was over, I guess I knew what was going to happen tonight, but didn't allow myself to assume anything. I knew that the Platinum Club fans who had taken packages from the US and Spain were going to meet Whitney tonight - Klaus-Peter was one of the fans and some of the other ladies whom we'd met a few times already from Manchester last year and again earlier in the week were already looking forward to the after show meeting.
After the show (a review of tonight's show can be found here) my friend Matt and I waited and once the Arena had emptied and all that remained were the Platinum Club fans and the stage crew who were already dismantling it for transportation to Paris, we were handed VIP stickers and asked to follow along with the other fans.
We found ourselves in a small, darkened room at the side of the Arena (no windows, no air conditioning). Lynne, Whitney's PR lady introduced herself to me having established who I was. She was very pleasant. The room was getting quite warm and she managed to bring some water and cans of drink which did help.
The fans were split into three sections, the two sets of Platinum Club fans and then finally the Capital Radio winners and Matt and I (just the four of us). The other groups were in the region of 10 fans. All very nice, and meeting them this week has been quite a highlight in itself. It makes you appreciate just how universal Whitney's appeal is.
A brief chat with Alan (Mr. Director of Security) and Tim followed and then soon after that Whitney walked into the room in a dark shirt and pants (it could have been jeans but my memory serves different parts of the evening). She's obviously freshened up before meeting with us. The room applauded and she thanked us all. She then met with one group of fans, there was the opportunity to speak to Whitney and it didn't feel like a "ship 'em in ship 'em out" event. The second group was larger so they had their photos taken in two parts.
Whitney then came over to our group. She was introduced to the couple who had won the opportunity to meet Whitney on Capital Radio's "Whitney Houston Winning Weekend" last week. It was now my turn. Whitney reached out and took my hand to shake it. Lynne introduced me to Whitney, told her my name and that I had the website, she stated it was 'A very good website' (which made me feel very proud of my work here) and through all this time, Whitney continued to shake my hand, several gentle squeezes each time she took in another statement about my work. She was very polite, interested, said hello, and "how nice" about the website concept. The handshake seemed like forever and trust me, you're never quite sure whether to take back your hand or have it given back. I chose the latter, naturally. Whitney then met Matt, they shook hands. All very cool.
Whitney turned, stood close beside me for our photo which was taken twice (as were the other groups).
Whitney then thanked the room once again before leaving to applause.
I do count myself honoured to have met Whitney twice inside a year, I understand why it has happened and I am appreciative of the recognition for the work that has gone in to making this website what it is. It remains a labour of love.
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