Sony Music had promised Ricky would be there from 6pm to 8pm and had guaranteed access for the first 200 in line.
A few super-dedicated souls were lining up at 6am.
Shepherding the fans was a military operation that went so smoothly Ricky had met the first 200 well before the first hour was up and security batch-fed more through.
“I just wanna thank Ricky for being an inspiration. My brother Adam is 16 and he’s gay and Ricky has been a real inspiration to him. I wanna tell Ricky.”Patrick Ashby, 18, of Liverpool
After buying something for him to sign – a Vida CD (just $10) or best-of CD ($15) or his book Me in which he talks about coming out – fans were armbanded (first 200 yellow, then blue) and corralled on their way to the security gate to the stage.
Then another security bloke took bulky bags and handed them to an usher who would return them on the way out, checked things to be signed, inspected gifts (letters, cards, even a bottle of wine) then motioned them up the steps and onto stage right where an officer took the CD covers, turned them the right way, borrowed the fan’s phone to record posterity’s photo and directed them into the Presence.
“Honestly, Ricky changed my life. I’m in uni now because of his book. I had a very rough time during my teens and I found his story very inspiring. Especially how he started his foundation.”Catherine Denigris, 35
Ricky was safely behind four desks – two deep at front, one each side – and he greeted every single person with an outstretched hand (and it was a long way to stretch) and a smile that could launch a thousand ships. Speeches, lists of questions irretrievably gone.
Time froze for 10 seconds.
Then each one floated off stage left, bags put back in their hands, steered through another gate, screams as it sunk in.
Smile. Handshake. “Hi!”. Camera flash. Sign. Smile. Handshake / knucklebump. ‘‘Bye!’’. Smile. 600 times. Not a beat missed.
“I took the day off from everything. No uni, no work, no internet, just to be here. His courage is admirable. The honest way he can just be himself. I was here at 8am.”Mina Gerges, 21, of Sylvania Waters
Fan video of Ricky at Westfield (3.12):
None of it would’ve worked had Martin not been so genuinely gracious and enthusiastic with every single person.
It’s this sort of performance which endears him to his public as much as the hot bon-bon shaking on stage and awesome Voice, as he glides from English to Spanish and back again, oozing charisma and sex as he dances with a Latin fever hot enough to melt any reserve, despite the fact that though recently single he’s not even in the market to the swooning women and girls adoring him . . .
It was just such a performance on The Voice recently, of his joyous World Cup anthem Vida, that showed beyond the shadow of a doubt that the young hopefuls on the show are not, and never will be, anywhere near his league. ■
(Scroll down for Ricky Martin links)
Ricky's Vida clip (3.24):
■ Ricky Martin 2015 tour dates
■ Ricky Martin tours iTunes app
■ Ricky Martin homepage
■ Ricky Martin foundation
■ Ricky Martin on AllMusic
■ Ricky Martin on Twitter
■ Ricky Martin on Facebook
■ Read Ian's other interviews:
Greta Scacchi for The Last Impresario: 'He's so famous you've never heard of him'
Carlotta for the ABC movie Carlotta: He did it her way
Review of The Laramie Project: Murdered gay student's story powerfully brought to life
Joel Creasey for Rock God: Joel's a star – Joan Rivers says so
Kiri Te Kanawa for 70th birthday tour: From Downton Abbey to our Opera House, Kiri is just one of the dames
Boy George for King of Everything: King George, the Boy grows up
Danny Trejo for Machete Kills: 'I got Gaga her movie role with Gloria and me!'
Review of Privates on Parade: Parading your Privates
Review of Twists and Turns cabaret: Matthew Mitcham drops his dacks
Simon Vowles for Queens of the Outback: A frock and a rock hit town!
Nick Atkins for A Boy & A Bean: Jack, the giant killer
Matthew Mitcham for Twists and Turns cabaret: Matthew – all singing, all talking, all dancing!
Debbie Reynolds for Behind the Candelabra: What a glorious feelin’, I’m workin’ again
Lily Tomlin for Web Therapy: Lily caught in Phoebe's web!
Todd McKenney for Grease: Todd’s got chills, they’re multiplyin’
Matthew Rhys for The Scapegoat: Seeing double – and the Walkers' wine was real!
Casey Donovan for Mama Cass tribute: Casey has found her own idol
Amanda Muggleton for The Book Club: A book club for those who'd rather laugh than read!
Rachel Griffiths for Magazine Wars: We owe a big debt to Ita and Dulcie
Simon Burke for Mrs Warren’s Profession: A timeless take on the oldest profession
Ellen's mum, Betty DeGeneres on marriage equality: Not supporting gay marriage is bullying
Amanda Muggleton for Torch Song Trilogy: Amanda returns to the spotlight
Matthew Mitcham for Twists and Turns book: He couldn't believe it would last – it didn't