The Sun Always Shines on TV on Chris Evans’ BBC Radio 2 breakfast show:

That final note – wow! He then went on to perform Queen’s Radio GaGa – much to the delight of Take That’s Gary Barlow, who even joined in on backing vocals:

We know how much Alfie loves the music of Queen and Freddie Mercury but I loved hearing him sing such an iconic eighties tune as The Sun Always Shines on TV – I’m sure I’m not the only one who has a soft spot for A-ha and Morten Harket!

thanks for reading – please share

if you like what you see, why not subscribe?

all your Alfie news straight to your inbox

plus 4 exclusive photos and a welcome message from Alfie

xx

Alfie Boe is Jean Val Jean, a quote from a previous feature and interview (2015, no less!) as part of the 30th anniversary celebrations of Les Miserables, Club 24601 (forever indebted to Peter Lockyer for that title).  I was lucky enough to see the all star Les Mis concert at the Gielgud theatre this week and, although my last blog for Alfie and thoughtsofjustafan was five months ago, my reaction was so strong that I simply had to review the show.

Seven years ago, I discovered the voice of Alfie Boe through, like a lot of fans, the 25th anniversary concert of Les Mis which was sadly far too late to see him in the role of Jean Val Jean (JVJ). Roll forward to 2015 and the next part of his journey in Les Mis was on Broadway and I wasn’t able to attend.  Convinced that my chance had gone and seeing Alfie as JVJ would be filed under ‘what ifs’, you can imagine how thrilled I was to know that Alfie would again reprise the role that catapulted him to fame, and this time in London.  Seven years waiting…and it was everything I expected and a whole lot more.

From the moment that Alfie first appears, he commands the stage; you feel the mixture of anger and fear from the off.  The voice was never in doubt and is as rich as you would expect but Alfie’s characterisation takes his vocal performance to a whole new level.  In the Club 24601 interview, Alfie singled out the soliloquy as his favourite song to sing because “It’s a real embracing of emotion, expressing the emotion to the audience.  I put a lot into those moments, anxiety, fear, passion to reach an understanding of who he is as a character, so I really like that moment in particular.” This is the moment when you first see the possibility of redemption in JVJ and Alfie’s acting skills come to the fore and he transforms from the angry parolee weighed down by life into someone moving onto a new life.

Alfie’s vocal skills aside, I felt that from the beginning to the end, Alfie inhabited the role of JVJ.  We watch as his demeanour changes from world weary prisoner and parolee to upstanding member of society before discovering love through parenting Cosette and the descent once more into pain and loss. Throughout the show we see that fear never leaves the character, underlying everything is the fear that he will be found and he will lose Cosette. The physical change in Alfie from the barricade toughness to the loss of the only thing he ever loved is heartrending to witness.  In that one scene he is defeated and reverts to the JVJ we met in scene one; his whole body becomes that of an old man with nothing and no one to live for.

Another song that Alfie referenced as being one he enjoyed singing was the epilogue, where again, JVJ is moving towards redemption, at least in his own mind, this time in death and the glory of life everlasting.  This poignant scene was played to perfection, with Alfie  portraying the swirl of emotions from peace, expectation of being lifted to glory and the palpable relief when Cosette returns to him one last time.  Audible tears were heard throughout the theatre.  The only other stage role I’ve seen Alfie in was Billy Bigelow in Carousel and he was most convincing in that character’s move towards redemption; perhaps the exploration of redemption is the hook that keeps Alfie returning to the role.

Michael Ball as Javert is outstanding.  He plays the part extremely well and, for me, is the best portrayal of Javert’s inner conflict over JVJ’s redemption I’ve ever seen.  Javert’s anguish is awful to watch and rightly causes the audience to genuinely mourn his death through suicide.  Carrie Hope-Fletcher and Rob Houchen were splendid and of course Matt Lucas and Katy Secombe as the Thenardiers were brilliant.  Matt’s voice was always wonderful but it’s gained an extra depth since he first took the role whilst his partnership with Katy is sublime – these roles are made for them.

However, of the rest of the cast, the actors that most impressed me were Bradley Jaden as Enjolras and Shan Ako as Eponine.  Eponine has always been my favourite character (she has two of my favourite songs) and Shan brought just the right touch of bravado and vulnerability to the role whilst also possessing a really lovely voice.  Bradley not only looks the part of Enjolras but has a wonderfully rich voice that should hopefully see him become much more well known in the world of theatre.

Photo: Seamus Ryan

Overall, the show more than surpassed my expectations and I’m hard pressed to think how it could be bettered; this is one of those rare moments in theatre which is perfect.  Everyone is magnificent, from the lighting becoming part of the set, to the orchestra and emsemble cast.  Do whatever you have to do to see this show – it’s the best I’ve ever seen.

thanks for reading – please share!

xxxx

Tell me it’s not true, my final blog post is here. After five years, I’m leaving the wonderful world of Alfie Boe fans to move onto pastures new. I’m both hugely excited and sad but as time goes by, I know that we’ll definitely meet again.

It has been my honour and privilege to shine a light on the music of Alfie Boe over the years and what once seemed the impossible dream of writing and publishing, is now my whole new career. Finally, I’ve found the real me and, friends, this is the life for me! Alfie has brought such sunshine into my life, through his music and his fans and I hope that I’ve been able to bring just a little bit of that sunshine into your lives too.

I have so many wonderful memories, from stage doors (even when Alfie doesn’t appear, there’s always great camaraderie amongst fans) to memorable train journeys to Cardiff with a group of fellow fans – here are just a few of the highlights:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I have so many people to thank for supporting me over the years, too many to mention individually but here are just some:

Debbie Bannigan – thank you for teaching me how to walk and then run and to learn to trust my instincts

My Boe Buddies – Linda Anstee, Linda Wellington, Pat Watterson, Cecelia Powell, Sue Redfern, Karen Rogers and Carole Hunt – for sharing some enchanted evenings. I know I’ll never walk alone with you behind me.

Penny, Emily, Andrea and Anis at Vector, Becky and Shirley at Trinity, Julie Whelan at Nordoff Robbins, Sarah at Rays of Sunshine – thank you for everything.

Everyone who has reviewed for thoughtsofjustafan (especially Roberta), everyone who has sent in ideas and content, everyone who has commented and above all, thank you to those who have sent such lovely messages over the last five years. I’ll hold you all close to my heart for evermore.

I’ll leave the last word to Alfie and hope to see you all at events in future. We’ll never be rank strangers, our next meetings will be just as if we never said goodbye.

Alfie

Thanks for all the support, you have enabled me to change careers and brought a whole new group of friends into my life. Come what may, looking after you and your fans has been a wonderful experience – my heart will always be yours.

Queen’s Who Wants To Live Forever – a brand new song to the chart and straight into number one!

Written by Queen guitarist Brian May for the film, Highlander, the song featured on the band’s album, A Kind of Magic. Here is the original:

The final top ten for the final poll is:

A Thousand Years

Wagon Wheel

You’ll Never Walk Alone

In My Daughter’s Eyes

Keep Me In Your Heart

Love Reign O’er Me

We Are The Champions

Barcelona

Run

Who Wants to Live Forever?

thanks for voting over the years – I’ve loved every single one!

xx

Caroline Ward’s selection of songs features yet another couple of new entrants to the Six Sensational Songs list! It’s also the only selection that has nearly all Michael and Alfie songs.

Love Changes Everything is of course Michael Ball’s signature song but Alfie sang it, for one night only, at the celebration concert for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s birthday in 2018.

Incurably Romantic from Alfie and Michael’s first tour Together.

A Wonderful World / Over the Rainbow

You’ll Be Back, at Carfest South 2018.

Wham Medley.

Bring Me Sunshine – with Rays of Sunshine choir.

thanks for reading – please share

xx

Just two weeks left in our last ever thoughtsofjustafan poll to find Alfie’s best ever live song! The song in at number two is the number one song from the last couple of years:

Run, originally from Snow Patrol, has been voted off the top – the first time since it entered the chart at number one. It’s been voted for so many times and picked as a sensational song even more, that’s it’s tricky to find a video we haven’t used!

Here is the original:

Stay tuned for the song in at number one next week!

thanks for reading – please share

xx

Jeanette Halton says that “‘I’ve loved listening to Alfie for many years and really love his passion for all genres of music and his ability to sing everything from The Who to La Boheme.” Hear, hear Jeanette – these are your choices.

Buona Sera, from Serenata, chosen by Jeanette as it reminds of a happy holiday on the Amalfi coast.

Keep Me In Your Heart – Jeanette loves the audience participation!

Love Reign O’er Me

Wagon Wheel – Jeanette loves to see Alfie playing guitar.

The Wham Medley – Jeanette says “eight mins of just pure joy and happiness, who can’t love the 80’s classics”. And so say all of us!

Sing, Sing, Sing which Jeanette fell in love with after hearing it at Llangollen.

thanks for reading – please share

xx

Like most of us, Sarah has found it difficult to choose just six sensational songs! This is what she says: “Since I discovered Alfie he has brought such variety of music into my life. He sings such a wide range as well that picking six is so difficult. Alfie literally has a song to suit every mood. Having said that based on my current mood these are my top six most listened to songs at the moment.

Love Reign O’er Me – Sarah says “I don’t think any explanation is needed really as to why this is my absolute favourite. I love ‘rock’ Alfie and when I heard him sing this live earlier this year that was a dream come true. His voice was made to perform that song.”

Run – “This is such a beautiful song and the emotion he puts into it every time gets me. I love seeing this performed live. I feel this song is one where Alfie is in his element.”

Wagon Wheel – “I must confess country is not my usual genre but I love this song. Played live with the excellent musicians in the band, this one is hard to beat.”

That’s Alright Mama – a song that Alfie previously sang during his 2012 – 13 shows. Sarah says “I heard Alfie sing this the first time I saw him live. Those swivelling hips of his are a thing of beauty”. Restrain yourselves at 29 seconds into the video!

Glory, Glory, Hallelujah, from the opening night of Alfie’s 2014 tour.
“This song makes me want to jump up and sing and dance. As always Alfie’s version is amazing.”

Hamilton‘s You’ll Be Back. “I think this song is perfect for Alfie and Michael. I loved it from the first time I heard it and it holds fond memories for me from being in the audience at last years TV special.”

thanks for reading – please share

xx

Only three songs left in this year’s chart to find your favourite Alfie Boe Live Song and we have the second song in a row to feature a Freddie Mercury song:

Barcelona, with Laura Wright, was performed at the Freddie for a Day party in 2013 and has been a firm fan favourite ever since. Alfie went on to record this with Katherine Jenkins but has not performed it live for a while. The first best live song poll featured this version, fell out of favour with voters and returned to the chart in 2018 at number nine. It’s obviously more popular now!

Barcelona was originally written by Freddie Mercury and Mike Moran and recorded by Mercury and the Spanish soprano, Montserrat Caballe in 1987.

thanks for reading – please share

if you like what you see, why not subscribe?


all your Alfie news straight to your inbox

plus 4 exclusive photos and welcome message from Alfie

xx

Susan Black is a long time fan from Eastern England and these are her Six Sensational Songs.

Nessun Dorma, from Matt Lucas’ kitchen – Susan heard Alfie sing this and has never been the same since!

Run, at Hampton Court Palace, 2017.

Je Crois Entendre Encore at Thetford – apparently, according to Sue, you could “hear a pin drop”.

Bring Him Home – as if you didn’t know!

Dimming of the Day at the Royal Albert Hall with the lovely Emilia Mitiku.

My all time favourite!

thanks for reading – please share

xx