Thursday, 13 August 2015

On Tour With Olly Murs: Part One

Olly Murs is legitimately one of my favourite artists, celebrities, and just people in general. Aside from his obvious talent and charm, he's very down to earth and always smiling. He's genuinely appreciative of his fans and is very aware that he wouldn't be able to tour Australia without their presence. As a fan, to have a celebrity appreciate you the way you appreciate them is a rare occurrence, and having that mutual respect and love from Olly was something really special. I can genuinely say the week we spent on tour with him has been one of the most rewarding trips I've done, and has made me so, sincerely happy. If there's anyone out there I'd want to be more like, it's him. They tell you not to meet your idols (which, trust me, I agree with to a certain extent) but Olly has always surpassed any expectation I had. 

When Olly announced his Never Been Better tour was coming to Australia, there was no question Emma and I would be attending the Melbourne show. Meeting Olly in Melbourne back in 2013 was what started our friendship, so we had a strong sentimental reason to make the trip. At the time of tour announcement, financially we could only afford the Melbourne and Sydney shows - Sydney being appealing as it was the show of the tour that included a 'dancefloor' (mosh) area rather than just all seats. We arrived in Melbourne the day before Olly, and with his hectic tour schedule, it was easy to predict his travel days. Expecting the airport to be a lost cause due to previous trips this year, we were sceptical but decided the effort was still worthwhile.

Olly had had quite the fan welcome at airports at previous states despite the lack of concert ticket sales, which we believe was the reason behind his tour manager being hesitant about allowing him to stop for photos. Olly and Mark, the tour manager, were first off the plane and before Olly could even be properly approached Mark said quite loudly "only walking and talking please," and off we went. There was around 10 of us walking with Olly through the terminal when he spotted a pick-and-mix confectionery stand - "Ooh sweets!" - And stopped excitedly. Actual child.

After paying up, Mark continued walking to baggage claim and the fans also, not noticing Olly had stopped to put his lollies into his backpack - this was our chance. I approached him trying to think of the perfect ice breaker and it just slipped out; "Do you know how many squats you're gonna have to do to burn those off?" he looked up confused. "Don't you like sweets?" he asked us, adjusting his back pack and beginning to walk again. "Look at us, clearly we like sweets. What kind of question is that?" we answered playfully. "Tomorrow's cheat day!" he said back, trying to defend his purchase and we continued to give him grief as he was clearly enjoying the back-and-forth. A few girls handed him tickets to sign and we gave him our present. "Ooh what is it?" he asked curiously, and Emma replied "it's something for you to wear." I could tell by the cheeky expression on his face exactly what he was thinking - "It's not dirty! It's not dirty!" I quickly added, as he opened the bag. "Aw I love it!" he said taking the koala beanie from the bag. "Thank you!" He put it on immediately and raised his phone to take a selfie. Emma and I jumped behind him to photobomb - "Oyy!" he exclaimed and we all laughed, and he stopped to take another one.

We followed him down to baggage claim, still chatting along the way. He jumped up onto the baggage travelator and walked along it like it were a balance beam, got down and turned to us - "Are you guys coming to the show tomorrow?" "Of course we are! We've been waiting ages for you to come back!" We took the opportunity to add we'd travelled to come see the show. "You're from Adelaide?" he asked me, "are you coming to the Adelaide show?" "No," I answered, "It's too expensive for us to get back before the Sydney show." He shook his head. "But you live there, that's your home! That makes no sense!" "Yes it does! It makes perfect sense!" we protested and he just replied "you're off your rails!" and went to collect his bags. He turned to check what Mark was doing and looked back to us and said we can quickly get photos. We did rushed selfies and stepped back allowing the other fans to get photos too. Just before we left. we asked if we could do a group one - "You're the reason we're friends" Emma explained. "Aw. that's so nice!" he said back with a smile and posed for one last photo against Mark's wishes. 

He then disappeared with a mob of crew and band members. Minutes later, he tweeted that he had arrived in Melbourne and posted his selfie with the hat! We were so overwhelmed we didn't notice the reply from his X Factor UK co-host Caroline Flack until later that night:

I hadn't had such an amazing fan experience like that in a long time, and it made both Emma and I so incredibly happy. We mutually agreed if we didn't see Olly outside of the concert venues for the trip we would still be happy just having the experience we did - But fortunately, that wasn't the case. 

Continue to Part Two

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