What a twelve months it’s been for Alfie Boe and Michael Ball – as if a second number one album wasn’t enough, they have now performed sell out concerts in four countries, with the three Japanese concerts taking place this last weekend at the Orb Theatre, Tokyo. Fans jetted in from multiple continents (Cecelia, Annie and Margie amongst them) to join Ayano, Mitsuho, Akiko and many other Japanese fans. Roberta was also there and this is her review.
On Saturday night, two amazing performers, Alfie Boe and Michael Ball, stepped out onto the stage at a sold out Orb Theatre and conquered another audience, in another city, in another country, on another continent. Alfie and Michael loved the audience and the audience loved them from the first song to the last note in the Wham medley. To many in the audience this was a dream come true – Alfie and Michael singing in their country – and to others it was a completely new experience. The camaraderie between the two was so infectious that it easily carried over to the audience. Not only did you leave the show humming or singing a song you had just heard you felt good doing so due in large part to the affection flowing back and forth between Michael and Alfie and between them and the audience. To be a part of this event was an amazing honour and one to be treasured. The audience itself was much more diverse than in the UK, tending towards a younger age range with quite a few single men. At the stage door it was interesting to see young men among others asking Alfie to sign their programs or pose for a picture. The UK, US, Germany, Korea, China and Australia were all represented by fans who flew in for the concerts proving that music transcends any language barriers there may be.
Alfie and Michael came onto the stage with an amazing exuberance going from Somewhere to Tonight as they bounded and spun across the stage. Right from the start they were encouraging the audience to clap along with the music and the audience was happy to comply throughout. To say that Alfie and Michael were pleased with the audience response is probably an understatement. Due to the fact that the two albums had just been released in Japan the set list was primarily a mixture of songs from both. However, Run and Keep Me In Your Heart seemed to be the highlights. Being a bit of a risk taker Alfie had no problem asking the audience with the aid of the translation skills of one of the backup singers (all three local singers were excellent) to sing along with him. While the first pass at the chorus was a bit timid by the time Alfie had a lucky gentleman on stage to repeat the chorus everyone was applauding and laughing and singing loudly.
Going into Run, Alfie made his now famous leap off the stage to the audience’s surprise and amazement. It did not take anyone very long to realise what a bonus they had received. People were reaching out to touch Alfie and stepping in the aisles to hug him as he completed his circuit. Since phones are not allowed there were very few phones lit but some had glow sticks which were waved throughout the song. Another popular song was New York, New York as Michael substituted Tokyo, Tokyo for New York. The reaction was as expected. A personal favourite was You’ll Be Back. Alfie and Michael took this up a notch, actually acting the lines out with forceful hand gestures and facial expressions. It was not a song well known to the audience but with all the acting it was well received. The audience even sang along on the da, da, da lines.
The Wham songs were as well received as in the UK; instead of the pudding hat Alfie wore a baseball cap with “I ♥️ Japan” on it. and wore it through the whole song. Alfie forgot to toss Michael his tee shirt and so while Alfie was bouncing across the front of the stage Michael was going through Alfie’s parka looking for the shirt. Once again we had audience participation in addition to the clapping and dancing and Japan’s Alfie’s Arrows sitting in the front row put on their Choose Life tee shirts. It was a wonderful addition to a great medley.
The orchestra was reduced in number but this had no apparent effect on the sound – the music was as full as ever. Among the five of us who had experienced a collective seventeen performances in the UK, all agreed that Tokyo surpassed those shows.
Wow – what a fab review and as there were some differences between the first and second shows, we have another review still to come! Thank you so much Roberta x
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