A reader commented recently that it would be nice to hear from some fellow Alfie fans about their own “Alfie Journeys” – the how, when, why they love Alfie. So this is the first in an occasional series of interviews from fellow fans and women I can truly say are friends.
The first two who agreed are Margie from Australia and Roberta from New York, both of whom I met for the first time at the Royal Albert Hall in April 2013. So, in Margie’s own words:
I have loved Les Miserables since forever so when I found out that Australia’s favourite son, Hugh Jackman, was going to play Jean Valjean I was overjoyed (sorry Alfie). I was cruising the internet one day looking for Les Mis information, and avoiding sundry online duties like paying bills and completing study assignments, when all of a sudden this face appeared on my screen singing “Bring Him Home” like an angel. I watched fascinated as I saw the O2 arena erupt into wild applause and give this entertainer a 4 minute standing ovation. I immediately went over to Amazon and ordered the DVD, then scoured all channels for information about this wonderful singer. Onto the official fansite, signed up to the forums, ordered all the CDs and DVDs I could find, found the Facebook, Twitter and many Youtube clips and officially became an Alfie superfan.
A tour of the UK was announced on the fansite. Such excitement. I wanted to join in and I was sorely tempted to buy a ticket. When the announcement came that he would be performing at the Royal Albert Hall, that was it, I decided I was going and bought tickets. Two tickets for one concert quickly became two VIP packages for another concert, then I thought, well, if I’m going all that way, I might as well see another couple of shows. I’d always wanted to visit Brighton and Cardiff, so they were put on my travel agenda as well. Hubby and I planned a tour of the UK, focussing on places we had always wanted to visit but hadn’t had the opportunity on previous trips. Oxford, Wales and the Peaks district were priorities on our intinerary.
The rest of my year was taken up with moving house, packing and unpacking, finding houses to rent, finding a home, and settling my family into a new location. The one constant was the friendships I had made on my Alfie-trek. The fantastically generous people who follow Alfie offered to get items signed for me (such as his new book and CD, Storyteller) and nothing was ever too much trouble. Over the course of the year, plans were formed to meet up at the concerts.
What is it like to meet friends face to face whom you have only met before online? Well, it just seemed so natural. There were Sally, Annie, Sue, Kathy, Jane and all the others, right there. I felt very comfortable meeting them, as if we had known one another for years. I loved it.
Several friends had made it their mission to ensure I met Alfie at the stage door. I was so touched. I will never forget the trip my hubby and I made from Australia to the UK in 2013; so many fantastic memories.
I’ve chosen a video from the first concert at which I met Margie and Roberta, Royal Albert Hall, 8 April 2013 – all who were there will never forget this rendition of Bring Him Home! Thanks once again to Linda Wellington for sharing x
And now for Roberta:
How did I get into Alfie: Like many Americans my introduction to Alfie came through PBS’s broadcast of the 25th Anniversary of Les Mis in March 2011. I am a big fan of Les Mis and had seen it three times on Broadway. I was looking forward to the PBS broadcast but was totally unprepared for what I saw. From the beginning I was mesmerized by Alfie’s performance. I have the 10th Anniversary production of Les Mis with Colm Wilkinson but this totally surpassed it. When it was over the one thought remaining with me was that this is the way Jean Valjean should always have been played. It was a combination of the voice and the emotion that Alfie put into the role that made it so remarkable. Then, like a lot of other people, I went to my computer and typed in Alfie Boe.
Flying to the UK to see Les Mis. Having fallen in love with Alfie’s portrayal of Jean Valjean while watching it on a not very good tv made flying to the UK to see Alfie perform it live a forgone conclusion once it was announced that Alfie would be playing the role at Queen;s.Theatre. I had purchased tickets for two performances before leaving the US but would be in London for five days. I saw Alfie my first night in London and then went back the next day and bought tickets for all of Alfie’s remaining performances exceptt for the day I was going to Paris.. Unfortunately Alfie injured his knee and I only did see him in two performances. A lot of people from the US were coming over at that time. I met KathyC and Sherrie and her sister. I was also lucky enough to meet Sally, Jan and Brad. Jan and Brad came to New York the following October to see Alfie there and we met up again.
By the time tickets went on sale for Storyteller I would listen to anything Alfie sang even opera. (My apologies to the opera fans.) Actually. I think they went on sale before Storyteller was released. In any event. the US tour had not been announced and it seemed that to hear Alfie again I would have to go to the UK. I was also aware of the fact that performing at RAH would be a significant event in Alfie’s career and I wanted to be there. I purchased the tickets for both nights when they first went on sale. Later, when Blackpool tickets were offered it only made sense to purchase those as well since I would already be in London. Those four performances were just incredible and I was so glad I was there. It was also great to see Sally, Jan and Brad again and to meet all the wonderful people that I met. I am not even going to try to name everyone I met because I know I will leave someone out.
Following Alfie over the past two and a half years has turned out to be a wonderful experience whether it be seeing Alfie at the SD and having HIM thank me for coming or seeing him at a M&G and having your picture taken. A large part of that experience has been the people I have met and the friends I have made both on and off the Forum. I have never been interested enough in another performer to look at his/her fan site so I do not know if the Forum is unique but the people on it certainly are. There is a tremendous amount of giving and trust here. There are people who have invited complete strangers to stay overnight so a concert could be seen. I have purchased tickets for people I have never met trusting them to pay me. They in turn have paid me for a ticket they will not see until next year trusting me to turn the ticket over to them. Jane who only knew me through the Forum offered and purchased roundtrip train tickets for me to Blackpool in January trusting me to show up for the concert in April. There are so many examples but I thought I would use the title of Alfie;s upcoming cd to portray a significant aspect of the friendships that have been formed through Alfie.
I have made so many lovely friends through Alfie’s music and it was great to have Margie and Roberta share their experiences with me. Please feel free to leave a comment if you would like to share your own Alfie experiences x