Stairway to Paradise at the Palladium with Alfie and Michael

Hot on the heels of my review of Saturday Night at the London Palladium is my first guest reviewer, Cecelia’s post about Sunday night which she has dubbed Stairway to Paradise!

What a weekend it has been, starting with the arrival of our favourite roving New Yorker Roberta on Friday, ending up by chance in the same row as our favourite blogger at the Palladium on Saturday, and then returning last night for another slice of Malfie magic.  Trust me, from Michael’s opening notes offstage in Somewhere to those last combined, oh-so-stirring notes of You’ll Never Walk Alone, you’re under the spell of two consummate performers.  So often, seeing performers live can be a disappointment as the vocals fail to equal the recording.  With Alfie and Michael. it’s the other way around.  These two were meant to be on stage.
I thought Saturday night was fabulous and half the fun was meeting up with so many friends from far and wide.  But do you know what?  Last night was even better.  The boys seemed somehow more relaxed and playful, maybe because they hadn’t had a mad motorcycle ride across town.  Michael is sublime and Alfie is, for me, the voice that reaches the part that other singers don’t even begin to reach.  Together, these two really are a divine double act.
Highlights: Definitely Alfie’s Love Reign O’er Me.  It gave me chills when I first heard it sung on the Serenata tour and I get a tingle every time those opening chords are played.  The pianist was superb and I adored the fact that Murray was there to accompny Alfie with those masterful guitar riffs.  Having spoken to Murray the night of Classic Quadrophenia’s premiere, I know he was blown away by the music and Alfie’s performance so I’m so glad he got to be a part of this tour.  Another highlight was the power of Michael’s Gethsemane.  I wasn’t expecting that and found it extraordinarily powerful and moving.   Yet another highlight was Alfie forgetting the words to For Once In My Life early on because he was buy waving to people and he lost it completely when Michael helped him mount his stool for the beautiful What A Wonderful World / Over the Rainbow blend – it’s been such a while since I’ve heard that childlike Alfie giggle ring out.  It brought back find memories.  Of course, he got it under control and more than did justice to the songs…eventually!  And yes, there was even one mad Alfie dash when he leapt from the stage and ran around the stalls.
I’ve got to say I’m a sucker for Alfie the rock star, which I missed a bit on this tour so That’s Alright Mama was an absolute joy.  The Bond medley too was extraordinary and I thought that whoever worked out the staging did a great job.  The cleverness of the back projection throughout was stunning and the lighting shooting out over the stage on the beat as the Bond medley began perfectly captured the mood and set the scene for those oh so powerful songs.  The real surprise for me was how much I adored the swing section, which allowed the personalities of these two great buddies to shine.  Alfie and Michael perfectly captured the spirit of a bygone age, and they had such fun doing so. I didn’t want Me and My Shadow to end. Loved the choreography. So I guess I’m a sucker for a bit of soft shoe, too.  And then there was the Les Mis medley.  No words.
I feel privileged to have been able to have shared such a magical night, to have climbed that Stairway to Paradise and been swept away by the Music of the Night.  If you’ve caught the tour already, you know what I’m talking about.  If you are yet to go, I have a feeling these shows will only get better.  And if you can’t attend, you’ve got a TV special to look forward to in December.  Having thoroughly mixed my metaphors, I can’t help wondering where the Alfie train will be taking us next.  All I can say is, wherever it stops I’ll look for you at the station – because I haven’t been disappointed since I got on board.
Fantastically evocative review Cecelia – thank you so much for being my first guest reviewer!
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