Can you believe the Together Again 2017 tour is almost over? Just three dates left – whatever will we do then? Luckily for us, Alfie Boe and Michael Ball are have plenty of TV and radio appearances to keep us going over Christmas. In the meantime, let’s enjoy Barbara Wren’s review from Leeds.
Leaving the First Direct Arena in Leeds I was absolutely overwhelmed, the atmosphere and warmth was wonderful and despite the freezing cold Yorkshire night outside, the love and friendliness stayed with me, and are my overriding memory. Driving home I started to reflect on the concert and wondered whatever was I going to write. So much has been written so brilliantly about the set list and music in the concerts to date, by some fabulous reviewers and I felt lost for words on how I could follow without simply repeating. The guys are so professional and well rehearsed that we all get the very best they can give at every concert.
That said, there was something really special about this concert at Leeds and it very quickly become clear that so many other people felt Leeds was something special. I chatted with many fans who had been at Manchester on Thursday evening and also other concerts who felt Leeds had surpassed expectation in every way. It didn’t take a genius to work out it was the intense atmosphere, warmth, love and friendliness which built with every song, and the sincerity and depth of Alfie and Michael’s friendship, which as always was palpable to make Leeds extra special. Comically endorsed by Alfie calling Michael a bastard on a couple of occasions when he was teased by Michael who dropped the unexpected on him despite the brilliant well rehearsed comedic sketches. (Love Alfie’s giggle).
Using the opportunity in their solo slots both Alfie and Michael expressed personally and so sincerely, their thanks and appreciation to the audience. Also very poignantly, the lyrics of some of the songs on the set list related to some of the dreadful things that have happened in the country this year, the effects on families and the work of our services and armed forces. First Michael’s powerful and emotional delivery of The Impossible Dream which received the wonderful and so deserved ovation followed by Run which of course is one of the special songs Alfie dedicates to express his appreciation of our Armed Forces and Servicemen that keep us safe. This is where I am lost for words. The emotion in Leeds was palpable, the power and delivery was incredible and with tears in my eyes I glanced round to see I was by no means on my own. Leaving the stage to sing and walk amongst the audience, Alfie took the whole experience to a new level; his own wonderful way of saying I am with you and I care. For me personally it meant so much. The lights from phones across the auditorium were spectacular and created the perfect atmosphere and backdrop to some wonderful moments for many fans. I do hope this again this is a tour highlight for Alfie. It is true that a picture says a thousand words. No more so than in Linda Wellington’s fabulous video. Thank you so much Linda.
I think it is also worth noting that the design of Leeds arena is fantastic for this as the seating through all the levels is a wide fan shape semi circle meaning that no one is so far back and therefore feel nearer and involved, never more so than in Bring me Sunshine. Forgive me but watching Strictly tonight I don’t think their dancing would score 10’s, but for the audience at Leeds they were Ginger and Fred. True fabulous traditional entertainment. Morecambe and Wise would be delighted.
It is not possible to end without saying that the diversity of genre and harmony were brilliantly complemented by the fabulous musicians from the London Symphony Orchestra, the backing singers and the creation of stunning inspirational back drops which were wonderfully arranged and harmonised in every sense of the word. The whole production team deserve exceptional praise.
Turning to Love Changes Everything – yes it does. There is nothing better than fun, laughter and entertainment to demonstrate love and friendship, which we got in spades. This duo are for ALWAYS. “Together for ever “as the saying goes. We all like and admire their individual work and long may it continue but the value of them TOGETHER is a partnership based on mutual appreciation which is unique and fingers crossed will be around for a long time to come. Alfie has done some diverse and stunning work over the last year on his own as well as the Together recordings and concerts and I have never seen Alfie look so well and happy as when the Together concerts began last year. I also now listen to Michael most Sunday mornings interspersed with his musical theatre work in which I now take much more interest, so win win all round.
I end at the beginning: You’ll Be Back, please don’t Tell Me It’s Not True, we’ll follow you for A Thousand Years, please Don’t Stop The Beat and Run with the Wagon Wheel, answer our Prayer and we’ll send you Roses in appreciation of the difference you make to all of our lives. Thank you for the power, passion and integrity you bring to every performance.
Wow, what a fabulous review and I think you sentiments at the end go for all of us – thanks Barbara.
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