My third concert review of the Together tour with Alfie Boe and Michael Ball and for me, the outstanding moment of the night, amongst many outstanding moments was Alfie’s Love Reign O’er Me from Classic Quadrophenia. Majestic, powerful, vocally astonishing, touching, moving, emotional – there just aren’t enough superlatives and adjectives to describe how Alfie sang this song last night. I’ve now heard Alfie sing this a number of times and each time I find something more to love about the performance. This time, I even found myself with a few tears by the end of the song. Judging by the audience response, this powerhouse performance was hugely appreciated by everyone else in the arena. Take a look at Alfie’s photo from Twitter:
As for the rest of the concert, there was only one thing I didn’t like…it was over too soon! The music and the onstage antics and banter of Alfie and Michael swept me along that I couldn’t believe it when they came to the end of the first half and said “see you in a bit”. In this first half, Speak Softly Love was another emotional song for me (the first lot of tears – previously, I hadn’t cried at all on this tour!) but the song that got the best reaction from the audience was a gorgeous rendition of Tell Me It’s Not True (thanks Linda W for sharing):
As you can see from this video, Alfie’s had a bit of a hair cut this week and, dare I say it, I’m not all that keen (sorry, Alfie). You may all have different thoughts?
One of the joys of seeing more than one concert on a tour is comparing songs and performances along the way. This is particularly applicable to this tour where the set list seems to be the same for each concert – for newer Alfie fans, previous concerts have had more flexibility in this regard, even though there is a basic set list. Although I’ve seen Michael in concert before, it’s only been one concert on a tour so I have no means of knowing if he sticks rigidly to the same set list for the whole tour. Thinking about the Together tour, the concert seems smoother and slicker each time I see it (which is lovely but sometimes those moments where it all goes wrong make it all the more special) but this has the unexpected advantage that I pay more attention to the different nuances in performance. The beginning of the second half seemed much more relaxed to me, even more so than the Palladium; Alfie and Michael have slipped into an easy working and performing relationship that enables them to adapt and ad lib without upsetting the overall performance level. Jokes and other improvised moments enhance the balance of the duets without ever letting the audience feel that the wheels might come off at any minute.
In my previous two reviews, I’ve necessarily concentrated on Alfie’s performance (not surprisingly you might say) but now I feel compelled to write something about Michael’s solo spot in the show. His opening number is Gethsemane from Jesus Christ Superstar and after giving us a rather sweet story of his introduction to the musical, he launches into a superbly acted and sung performance that got better as the song went on. In previous shows I felt that there were a few too many overly theatrical flourishes (yes, I know it’s a musical theatre song and he’s a musical theatre star) and indeed the opening bars of the song in Leeds went the same way. But then, something magical happened and Michael gave us a fantastic interpretation of the turmoil of the song that made me totally believe in the character and not just Michael Ball singing a song. A deserved standing ovation duly followed, with another for Love Changes Everything hot on it’s heels. Bravo Michael.
I have two more opportunities to see the fabulous duo of Ball and Boe do their thing but they’re a while away now so I’m already having withdrawal symptoms. See you in Hammersmith and Manchester, boys!
Together is available here:
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