Ball and Boe’s Together Again Tour 2017 moved onto Scotland at the weekend, with the first show in Glasgow. Here is Pauline Hyland’s review:
Michael and Alfie performed to a full arena on a bitter cold evening and although the audience took a little while to totally warm up and relax and respond, but when they did they were very appreciative and vocal. The show is fast and furious, full of energy but offering a lovely mix of the slow and the fast song, a variety of tone, tempo and content. Covering 33/34 songs the concert covered a cornucopia of emotions, joyous, tear jerking, warmth, amusing, together with dance, repartee and comedy. Credit must go to – yes Michael and Alfie – but also the musicians, the fabulous orchestra, the very glamorous backing girls, the sound technicians and the lighting, projectionists and the creative minds that produced the background screen. Special mention must go to the production of this as each song was beautifully and symbolically portrayed on screen; a real work of art. The highlights for me are the big songs and of course the solos, but every minute Alfie is on the stage is a highlight for me. Does all that sound too good to be true? Well yes there were little mistakes, a few hiccups with sound but all in all an excellent show.
Into the first half and Michael asked Alfie “Are you going to do the plug? Christmas with Ball and Boe 29 December.” Response: “Oh I forgot we are being recorded so I can’t swear”. Two minutes later Alfie to Michael – “ You won’t let me say a bloody thing”. This leads to the scene with the stools, and Michael sending love to Alfie. “ I love this man for a thousand years.” Michael’s hand on Alfie’s leg, as they get to “one step closer”, Alfie’s stool moves. Candle lights on the screen herald the start of yet more banter from Michael – “we have shared everything over the last 18 months”, Alfie’s face is a picture, “in fact “Michael says “there is very little we haven’t shared.” Moment of audience participation, Alfie comment, “we shared a bus, take your hand off my hip”.
Into the second half, and more dialogue from Michael – “Alfie and I enjoyed dancing at the Royal Variety Show at the request of Miranda Hart.” No response from the audience so Alfie turns full face to the audience and says “MIRANDA HART” and only then does the audience respond. Alfie then tries to persuade the audience that he took the lead with the Bolshoi Ballet. Michael – “Will and Kate send their love “. After two minutes of banter Michael announces that the audience won’t need to see the dance (Manchester he did forget the moves and stood covered in confusion), I know the words he says but not the dance moves. Alfie “Ladies and Gentlemen I know the words and the dance moves. You want to see the dance?”. Yes of course we did. Bring Me Sunshine was perfectly performed with style and vigour, Michael taking a very low bow on completion, beads of sweat pouring from his brow.
Alfie’s solos spot was a highlight: Alfie entered and walked down stage, guitar in hand followed by “his band”, Murray et al. Alfie’s comment was “how to make an ass of yourself with a guitar”. After some tongue in cheek sarcastic comments about Michael, he said “ I love him to pieces – that’s support” He then talked about his Dad and the influence on his music and his Dad’s love of country music, finishing up with “playing guitar in opera didn’t work”. The sound man came on and fiddled at the back of Alfie who moved suggesting he’s had his bum pinched. His guitar connected, he said “now can I press play”. Wagon Wheel was played and sung beautifully by Alfie, a catchy country song with chorus opportunities for the audience. Alfie took a back seat during the middle of this quietly strumming along as each individual band member was given their bit of solo playing. Alfie made his intro to his next song a recognition of the work done by all the armed forces past and present and dedicated this performance to them. For Run he asked for torches on phones to be lit and the arena looked amazing. Part way through the song he jumped off the stage and made his way round the theatre. Sadly though the screen showed him singing no sound was coming from his mike. The backing group and the musicians was all that could be heard. This really was sad, in Manchester it worked brilliantly. Alfie left via the floor exit to really great response from the audience.
I have used words such as beautiful, amazing, fabulous, I was just totally lost for words – there just aren’t enough words in the dictionary to describe their performance. I and everyone in the audience both in Glasgow and Manchester just did not want this to end due to a truly professional performance of flawless, harmonious voices performed in a relaxed and easy atmosphere, the audience witnessing an obvious close and respectful partnership of friends. The love these two performers have for each other, for music and for their audience was evident from start to finish. I loved it, the freedom, the flow seamless (well almost) from one song to another, the mistakes, the banter, the mickey taking, the well rehearsed insults and responses – it was great. Such freedom and fluidity, no stuffiness or pretence doesn’t just happen, it comes from careful thought, planning, imagination, lots of hard work, team work and most importantly talent. Talent was on show in abundance. A brilliant, brilliant show and I am so sorry I didn’t book every performance.
Thanks so much for a lovely review Pauline.
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