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David Boreanaz European Tour - Brighton UK, Aug 29, 30 & 31 2003

By Carl

Monday 8 September 2003, by Webmaster

On a slightly chilly Saturday morning, with the promise of glorious weather to come, a gathering has begun in the countries queer capital, which sees some one thousand plus people queuing down the street, around the corner and up the hill, past at least three junctions, by eight thirty AM. All are waiting for one thing, for the doors of the Brighton Centre to open and allow them entry to the hallowed main hall where they will be honoured to bear witness to this, the second day of Mr. Brooding himself, David Boreanezs’, first convention appearance in the UK and, indeed, Europe (according to the organisers - whether this is EVER or merely this year is never covered.). Once inside the front doors, in the lobby, the fortunate ones - those who have pre-booked the opportunity for an autograph and photograph with Mr. Brooding (myself not being amongst them, having been hoping to meet Amber Benson. Alas this was not to be, as work commitments - and rumours of other problems relating to the organisers advertising of a possible future Amber event without fully consulting her causing a rift - precluded her attendance.), merely picked up their auto/photo tickets from a small table to one side. Written by Carl aka Phoenixheart - email theblondiebear@yahoo.co.uk

For the other guests, Nicholas Brendon, Kelly Donovan (Brendon’s twin brother), Kristine Sutherland and Mark Lutz (Groo from Angel), all the attendee’s had to indulge in the seemingly favourite event of all conventions - that of queuing. In fairness, the stewards handled the large numbers of people queuing up in the main lobby admirably and it only took me a little over ten or fifteen minutes to get tickets for individual combined photo/auto sessions with Kristine and Nicholas and less than 5 minutes on the Sunday to get one with Kelly. Congratulations must be extended to the organisers for pulling off this remarkable feat, especially here in the UK! Queues are our national sport!Written by Carl aka Phoenixheart - email theblondiebear@yahoo.co.uk

Once in the main hall, the first (and only truly major problem) of the weekend occurred. The seating layout resembled in no way the one previously released through the internet. All Gold ticket holders were seated on the main floor (well, in chairs, not on the actual floor!), with Silver, Bronze and Regular all placed together on the raised seating areas behind the Gold section. This immediately caused a lot of friction amongst the Bronze and Silver ticket holders, who had paid up to £20 more than their Regular counterparts, for what were now "first come, first serve" seats.

This in turn showed up a problem I have found at every convention I have attended, that of lack of communication to and between the event organisers/stewards. Upon complaining politely at the information desk, myself and a few others were assured that this seating arrangement would be maintained and were offered a downgrade to regular tickets and a reimbursement of the price difference. No sooner had this been done and we had returned to our seats, than the upper galleries were opened and all Bronze and Regular people shipped up there! Obviously we were more than a little annoyed. However, as Diane, my erstwhile companion in this endeavour, was packing a truly marvellous zoom lens for her camera - and my new mini-camera isn’t too shabby in the zoom department either - so we weren’t too worried, plus they were allowing attendee’s to approach the foot of the stage for the first five to ten minutes for flash-photography. With our zoom lens’, we were able to stand half way down the aisle, clear of other attendees’ and get some truly great (if they turn out!) pictures. All of this drama was resolved on the Sunday, where - with attendance a lot lower than on the Saturday - an un-named celebrity guest requested that all Bronze and Regular ticket holders be ’upgraded’ to silver, thus bringing the audience closer and making the talks and Q&A sessions far more friendly and personal feeling. So, Diane and myself view this as a win-win situation really! We saved money and got the same quality seats! Also, in many cases, the front rows of the Silver section provided much better views than those offered by the rearmost rows of the Gold section, as you were above the heads of other attendees.

The dealers room, was - as is usually the case at conventions, extremely popular, especially after David’s first, brief, stage appearance. About a dozen dealers were in attendance, offering a wide range of products and some good rates, often dropping their prices to meet a competitors (or merely *shelving* said product until the other guy had sold all his and then bringing it back out at the same higher price - but hey, that happens everywhere!). Also in attendance were Titan magazines, offering advance copies of the Angel magazine issue two (due out a week after the event), subscriptions and the latest issues of their current range.

The artist M. W. Morgan was also in attendance, selling prints of his entire range of work. With them all laid out, it was easily possible to see the advancements in his techniques from his earliest work to his current standards (and improved a lot, it has! I bought five prints myself, his latest works are that good!).

Many of the retailers also had a great deal of integrity, on one occasion I was looking at a limited edition Giles action figure pre-production sample (one of only 2500, unnumbered as far as I can tell), priced at £19.99. However, I spotted another on the same stall priced at £9.99. Upon pointing this out to the retailer I was informed that the former was the correct price. However, the retailer in question said that he would charge me the price on the item! So, through a stroke of luck and a truly gracious retailer, I saved £10! Truly, this weekend was proving blessed by the goddess! Written by Carl aka Phoenixheart - email theblondiebear@yahoo.co.uk

Moving on, the guests question and answers sessions. I will discuss both days discussions for each guest in one go, rather than writing one, then another, then returning to the first! (As readers may have surmised, I only attended the last two days of the event, so I’m afraid I cannot offer any information on the proceedings from Friday)

Okay, as I’m sure many of you are skimming the article just for this part, I will cover David Boreanez first. As expected, upon arriving on stage the female audience - and this being Brighton, a fair portion of the male audience - went absolutely wild (even Di, usually so reserved, was cheering! Okay, "yaying" quietly, but for her, that’s gushing. She’s gonna kill me if she reads this!), although I must say that in Chicago and London I saw (and heard) a much bigger reception for James Marsters. But that’s neither here nor there, the point is that the fans were truly over-joyed to see him finally. In turn, David seemed truly happy to be there. Witty, charming and with a marvellous sense of humour, he would indulge in mild banter and the occasional teasing with the attendee’s asking the questions. One of the highlights of Saturday came when, upon request by a fan for David to sing "Mandy", the DJ played a recording from the show of David singing! After hiding his face for a short while, he proceeded to perform a mock self hanging using his microphone cord! (Oddly, after this, all guests seemed to be using radio microphones!).Written by Carl aka Phoenixheart - email theblondiebear@yahoo.co.uk

Most movingly, when asked a question about what demon he would have liked to see/play, he went off a little and briefly discussed (and I DO mean briefly, it was merely a sentence or two) Glenn Quinn, saying that Doyle was fantastic and Glenn was a good friend and that he really didn’t want to discuss it any more than that. His little announcement truly moved every attendee (I believe) and not once over that day or the next, was a question asked about Doyle. In my case, this was out of respect for his wishes to not discuss the subject and I believe that almost everyone else thought the same way. It was a truly heart-warming statement that moved us all.

Also on the Saturday, he showed how big his heart (and hug) is, when a girl attending the convention on her sixteenth birthday (a friend of hers had already asked him a question and requested he wish her Happy Birthday, which he did, in the first Q&A session in the morning), bedecked in balloons and badges (pins to you yanks) approached the microphone to ask a question. Remembering the friend from earlier, he smiled broadly and proclaimed "Hey, it’s the birthday girl! Come on up here!" He patted the sofa beside himself, and a truly overjoyed sixteen year old girl (in tears no less) got to sit beside, be hugged and wished happy birthday by the man himself, before asking him her question face to face. Truly, I believe more than any present she will ever receive, David has made that day one she will always, always treasure and remember, even in old age. I wish my sixteenth had been so memorable! She really is a lucky, lucky girl! If by happenchance she reads this, for you will know who you are even if I don’t, Diane and myself wish you a belated Happy Birthday and are green with envy!

Later that day, two women on a Hen weekend asked him to congratulate the bride-to-be and again, he had them all on stage for a hug. The mans charm and generosity is seemingly endless!

On the second day, he again interacted with the audience in a charming manner, when a mother took her young daughter with her when going to ask a question, and he approached the child, who seemed quite upset (the speakers they had to queue past? I’m not sure). Her mother picked her up and said "Do you want to say hello to David?". In the way that children can do, the girl wailed "No." but was still adorable, yet he was not put out by this. He smiled and took it all graciously, commenting on children and how great they are.

But truly the highlight of Sunday was when, after being asked twice the previous day, David finally relented and sang a small excerpt from "Mandy". Also evident was his clear excitement and enthusiasm about the currently filming season five of Angel and the potential for conflict that certain new arrivals to the cast may bring (I’m avoiding saying too much as it was kinda heavy on the spoilers - although nothing we haven’t really heard before - and this is going out to many groups). He did divulge that Joss is going about the return of certain characters in a new and original way, which bodes well for the upcoming season.Written by Carl aka Phoenixheart - email theblondiebear@yahoo.co.uk

There are countless more moments that will have slipped my mind at the time I write this, and I’m sure many will leap into my mind as soon as I post it, but If I can convince her to, Diane will do a little piece herself later on in this article, so you won’t just have my opinion to go on!

For now, I will move on and tell you all about the antics and shenanigans that surrounded the other four guests - Nicholas Brendon, Kelly Donovan, Mark Lurtz and Kristine Sutherland - and their combined appearances on stage together. Mark is a truly gifted comedian - the man is a natural! He had the audience laughing themselves silly (although personally I think that George Hertzberg [Adam] is just a teeny bit funnier. And of course, Danny Strong and Tom Lenk, but that’s by the by.) throughout his appearances and was truly friendly and gracious, even stopping for un-official photos on his way out at the end of the day. For his second appearance on the second day, his entrance turned into a lap of honour, with him running on stage, off the other side, round the main hall, stopping for a quick drink off some lucky girl and finally back to the stage. And that’s BEFORE his "Ah-nuld" Shwarzenegger impression! Truly one of the weekends funniest moments, Nicholas’ SNOOPY DANCE non-withstanding.

Ah yes, the Xand-man himself, Mr. One-eye. Really, I can’t talk about Nicholas without also talking about Kelly, as they truly are a pair! They have a great camaraderie on stage together - and with the other guests - and the pair are truly entertaining and very funny. Nicholas’ Snoopy Dance is just wonderful (he will indulge the audience if asked politely, as I did - yes, I spoke to him! Swoon! Heart-a-flutter, etc.) and I hope the picture turns out! (As this is going to be posted through an internet café, I hope to scan and upload pictures when I get home) Highlights of Nicholas and Kelly include one moment where, with all guests asked what their most embarrassing moment, Kelly enthralled us with a rather limp baseball story. Later in the session, Nicholas revealed a far more entertaining tail of his brother, who when on holiday with his girlfriend, encountered a bus full of girls who promptly mistook him for his twin and started heckling him for autographs and photographs and stuff. He politely told them that he was, in actual fact, the Nicholas’ twin brother, but they just thought he was being a pretentious, stuck up celebrity and started hurling chips [fries to the Americans reading this] at him! Mark, rather incredulously, turned to Kelly and said "And you told us the baseball story! You were beat up by little girls with chips!" There followed a lengthy piece on words with different meanings each side of the pond, with Mark asking for the umpteenth time over the weekend "What’s a slapper?!" - to which one brazen young woman near the front, where I was queuing to ask the snoopy dance question, shouted "Me!" (For Americans who may not know, a ’slapper’ is an easy woman)

Kristine was just marvellous, offering some wonderful little anecdotes and her view, when asked by one of the stewards, of her appearance in "Conversations With Dead People". She said that she believes she was definitely The First, as the things said weren’t really things that Joyce would say and seemed far more like the discord-spreading lies of The First. Although less...intense in her humour than the three boys, she was still very amusing and has a wonderful sense of humour. She revealed how she entered acting to overcome some childhood fears. Written by Carl aka Phoenixheart - email theblondiebear@yahoo.co.uk

Again, as with David, there was a lot of good natured teasing and banter going on between these four and the attendees’ brave enough to ask a question. One highlight included a good five minutes of banter between the stars and one drama student; very amusing and very, very camp this boy was, greeting the stars in a manner that would make Graham Norton look positively butch. I believe he asked a question about breaking into acting and one of the stars responded that you have to get out there, to which the young man responded "I already am, darling." Of course, this began yet another round of very amusing banter. My only gripe is that the sessions weren’t longer! I queued up three or four times before I finally got to ask a question - and I never got to ask David what he thought of Spike’s seemingly constant state of undress and [SNIP for spoilers]. But what the heck, you can’t have anything and I got to see the Snoopy Dance twice - on Saturday and Sunday! So I’m a happy little bunny.

As seems to be the case with these events, the photograph/autograph sessions were depressingly impersonal, with one getting the impression of cattle being herded through the gates. But then again, when you have large numbers of people in attendance this often happens. But in my brief conversations (are five or six sentences actually a conversation?) with them, Nicholas, Kelly and Kristine were all fantastic and very, very friendly. I asked how Kristine was enjoying it in the UK and she said it was great, one of the few places you could get a good beer! (This being Brighton, it’s not hard, with some streets having twenty or more pubs and clubs on them!). I also passed on a message to Nicholas from a friend online (you know who you are) that she thought his beard was naff. But I assured him, I personally thought it suited him - and in a strange way, especially in person, it does. Kelly is a fantastic person, although not having met identical twins before (I have mates who are twins, but NOT identical) it was kind of strange talking to someone who my brain was saying "Hey, that’s Xander" but isn’t! And getting up from the table I tripped and only just stopped myself from going flat on my face! Oh, I would have died if that had happened!

The two evening parties that we attended had a much lower turnout than any other I’ve attended, mainly I believe, because the event was held in an exhibition centre and NOT a hotel. If you hold these events at a hotel, you get a lot of people staying there and attending the parties, simply through not much else to do. If however, it’s held in a place like this and people come in from the local area, they aren’t going to attend the main event, return home to change and freshen up, then come back. The Saturday evenings entertainment had a greater attendance than the Sunday’s (which we left at about 9.15pm), and the DJ did a good job of keeping all musical tastes satisfied, with Rock, Dance, R&B and trashy Pop played in equal doses. But Sundays party was easily the nadir of the whole weekend, with less than a hundred people in attendance. The main hall all but echoed, it was like a tomb. Just a shame there weren’t some tasty vampires waiting to devour us!

And with that, I think I shall sign off, saying only that, a few minor quibbles aside, it was a great weekend, if a little expensive, but still worth it for a wealth of great memories that will keep me and Di supplied with "hey, do you remember?" conversations for months to come!Written by Carl aka Phoenixheart - email theblondiebear@yahoo.co.uk

I’ve asked Di to add a small section about her meeting and photograph with David, so hopefully that follows this sentence....

Alas, it would seem the young woman is too shy to add anything to this little summary, but from her general excitement and enthusiasm on the day, I can only assume that she had a good time and that he was as warm and pleasant in person as he was on stage. Plus her pictures dead pretty too.

And on that note, I think I will sign off properly this time. From a train racing northwards on my way home, adios all.Written by Carl aka Phoenixheart - email theblondiebear@yahoo.co.uk