In at number eight in our quest to find your favourite Alfie Boe live song this year is a song that entered the chart in 2018 at number four and is from Together:
Alfie has been singing You’ll Never Walk Alone for a long time, and not just because he’s a Liverpool fan! This version in the glorious setting of St. George’s Chapel showcases Alfie’s classically trained voice superbly.
Despite it’s undoubted footballing connotations in the UK, the song is of course originally from the 1945 musical, Carousel, which Alfie appeared in 2017. However, Alfie’s character, Billy Bigelow doesn’t get to sing this song and it was a pleasure to hear Brenda Edwards’ Nettie sing it in the ENO production. Here is Alfie at the VE Day celebrations in 2015:
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Earlier this year, we looked at the pleasures of meeting Alfie Boe and it was so much fun to see so many photos of Alfie’s lovely fans. On the back of that, I asked you to send in your photos and experiences of meeting Alfie and you didn’t disappoint!
Starting us off are two ladies who shared photos with Alfie at a stage door and the Trust album signing in London. Kate Griffin first ran into Alfie at the Les Mis stage door and this is what she says:
My very first meet with Alfie was quite by chance at the stage door when he appeared in Les Mis. My husband and I travelled to London to see the show and happened to be passing the back of the theatre prior to the show. As we walked by we spotted Alfie on the other side of the street as he dived in to a bar! We thought that was it and he was gone but he must have been looking for someone as he immediately came back out again and crossed the street toward us. I was so excited as I think you can see in my face! He was quite happy to spend a minute or two chatting and posing! I’ve been so lucky to since have had two official meet and greets and another stage door greet at Carousel as well as the HMV signing last year. So I am truly blessed and lucky to be able to say I’ve met him a few times and had that arm around my waist for photos and seen close in to those gorgeous brown eyes!
The second story is from Lesley Armstrong and her photo is from the Trust album signing:
Lesley Armstrong HMV 2013
I have had the opportunity to meet with Alfie on many occasions, and he never fails to bring me joy as it’s a reminder of how hard he has worked to get to where he is today in his profession. He is the best opera singer Britain has ever produced, and is so humble & wonderful to his fans. He puts you immediately at ease and the tongue tie you feel disappears and you break into a huge smile just being around him. I am feeling less tongue tied the more I meet him trying to relax and just take in those rare special moments with him that seem to pass so quickly so touchable to be prepared if you wan’t to ask that specific question or get that special photo of you both together. Alfie is the only man who could make me travel the world just to see him; even for just 5 minutes I would be there to support him. He’s our treasure and a wonderful entertainer.
Thank you Kate and Lesley – treasured memories indeed!
There are still meet and greet packages available for Alfie’s solo UK shows – click here for details.
If you would like to see your own photo and story here, then please fill in the form!
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Merry Christmas everyone! It’s the time of year to look back at what’s happened and what’s been achieved and oh my goodness, if you thought 2016 was good for Alfie, then 2017 knocked it out of the park. What an awesome year he’s had!
Regular readers will know that I love to look back, so here are my 2017 highlights:
Publishing a best selling book on How to Create A Fan Blog
Alfie and Michael sing Wham!:
Seeing Alfie in Carousel – wasn’t he fabulous as Billy Bigelow?
A few stage door hugs with Alfie during the Carousel run:
The Trinity YouTubeathon in which we raised over £500 for one of Alfie’s charities
Alfie and Michael achieving a world record at HMV in October and meeting some fabulous fans too – click here to see the fan videos we made
Seeing so many fans in Australia and USA happy to see Alfie and Michael
Together Again reaching the number one chart position upon release – and now going Platinum!
Attending the ITV special, Ball and Boe: Back Together
Interviewing Alfie – if you haven’t yet seen part one, make sure you’re subscribed!
Thank you to each and everyone one of you who reads thoughtsofjustafan – your messages of support are very much appreciated. I’m thrilled to reveal that we recently sailed past the 250K hits…I’m looking forward to half a million!
There are some special people to thank who make this whole thing happen:
Debbie Bannigan for continuing to believe in me and more importantly, to show me how far I’ve come and how far I can still go. In the words of Michael Ball on this tour, “dream big and follow your dreams”; Debbie has shown me what can happen when you believe in yourself.
Carole Hunt for continuing to allow me the use of her photo for the site banner.
Linda Wellington for the use of her wonderful photos and videos.
Thank you to everyone who allows me to use their videos here.
Roberta Kappus, Cecelia Powell, Carole Hunt, Barbara Wren, Heather Crosskey, Heather Moore, Pauline Hyland, Claire Shorter, Kate Griffin for being such wonderful guest reviewers.
Linda Anstee, Linda Wellington, Carole Hunt, Karen Rogers, Pat Watterson, Cecelia Powell, Sue Redfern for being there – thanks for keeping me sane.
Linda Anstee, Ellen Rook and Rachael Hailey for being my top social media sharers.
Linda McCann, Sue Redfern and Cecelia Powell for being my top commenters.
Huge thanks to Emily and Andrea at Vector and to Ash and team at Decca – you’ve been amazing and a joy to work with.
Finally, it’s a massive thank you to Alfie for his unstinting support and generosity – without you, there would be no thoughtsofjustafan!
Alfie and Michael entered the UK album chart at number one! An amazing achievement for the pair and also for all of you for going out and buying it in your thousands – the most albums bought by one person (that I saw) was ten! Anyone bought more than that?
Ball and Boe’s first album, Together, also re-entered the album chart at number 36 which is perfectly timed for this week’s Alfie Boe Best Live Song which comes from that album:
You’ll Never Walk Alone at Eastnor Castle was nominated by Pauline Merrick and was the encore performance for both the 2017 summer concerts and the 2016 Together tour. The song was chosen in part as a tribute to the 96 victims of the Hillsborough disaster and the song was received incredibly emotionally when sung in Liverpool. Alfie and Michael also performed this at the 2016 Festival of Remembrance.
Despite it’s undoubted footballing connotations in the UK, the song is of course originally from the 1945 musical, Carousel, which Alfie appeared in earlier this year. However, Alfie’s character, Billy Bigelow doesn’t get to sing this song and it was a pleasure to hear Brenda Edwards’ Nettie sing it in the ENO production.
You’ll Never Walk Alone has been recorded many times but for us in the UK, the most famous version is that of Gerry and the Pacemakers from 1963:
Although it was the Together version that was nominated, I couldn’t resist including a video of Alfie singing this at the VE Day celebrations in 2015, as it was the first time he sang this for a long time:
Thank you again for supporting Alfie and Michael to the number one position – if you want to see an exclusive video from the boys then make sure you subscribe now!
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Will Barratt has been performing in London’s West End (Jersey Boys, Phantom, War of the Worlds, Producers) for a while now but he became someone to look out for amongst Alfie Boe fans when he understudied Alfie’s Billy Bigelow in ENO’s Carousel; he literally took over from Alfie half way through a show after Alfie came down with an ear infection. Two more shows the next day followed, both to rave reviews. I interviewed Will after the end of the five week run and although he was quick to point out he had no expectation of performing the role, in the event that he did, said that “it was good to get on for a couple of shows together, like a preview and opening night in two shows”. Additionally, Will said that although Alfie was sad to have to miss the show, he was “so pleased that I got on – he was dead happy for me”. If you want to hear Will singing the soliloquy, click here for a pre-show talk and performance at ENO (soliloquy starts at 23m).
As Will’s only role in the production was to understudy Billy, I was keen to find out about the creative process and rehearsal period; how much was he involved? It turns out that both Will and Molly Lynch, who understudied Katherine Jenkins as Julie, were as fully involved as Alfie and Katherine from day one. Whoever plays the part, the blocking and direction is the same, it’s the thought processes of the actor that differs. Will says that “Alfie, Katherine, Molly and I, we all got on, we worked through stuff together…Alfie was also going through the process of figuring out the role, he didn’t know what it was on day one either. We were all doing it together”.
Now, you might be wondering about the headline of this piece – Confessions of a Justified Sinner. This is the title of Will’s self penned debut album, released in 2015 and showcases his seemingly effortless talent for singing, playing multiple instruments and song writing. Of the songs themselves, Will says that “all the songs on this album contain bits of me, my life, history, wants and needs, aches and pains, ups and downs…they are my confessions”. He leaves it up to us as to whether he is a justified sinner or not!
Being self penned, this album is not what you might expect from a musical theatre performer – there are a few songs that wouldn’t be out of place in a musical but on the whole, the songs are a mix of upbeat, rockier, pop and jazz with a hint of Americana that really get you up and out of your seat. To me, a great song is one that you instantly sing along to or you can’t sit still to and both the opening track, Give Me Some Time and Demon, towards the end, had me up and dancing straight away. These two songs, together with Fearless (below), a beautiful ballad and the almost Buble-esque Never Thought, are my favourite songs. Interestingly, Give Me Some Time and Never Thought are songs originally written when Will was at school, just reworked and rearranged to give a more sophisticated sound.
Will’s fabulous voice handles all these styles with great versatility and is a joy to listen to.
Confessions of a Justified Sinner is available here:
For one night only, Alfie Boe and Michael Ball played to a US audience in New York City. Our NYC reporter, Roberta Kappus was on hand and kindly sent this review:
After a four and a half month hiatus from the Together tour, Alfie Boe joined Michael Ball last night for the only US performance of this UK sellout show. Alfie’s return to the stage was as though he had never left. It was a show and performance worthy of Broadway. The singing was priceless, the dancing precisely synchronised and the overall evening just amazing.
Alfie’s versatility and talent were on display throughout the show from the opening song of Somewhere to the closing song of New York, New York which was greatly appreciated by the New Yorkers in the audience and by the sound of the applause by many others. In between there was a full array of songs running from the classic Les Mis medley to Elvis Presley’s Suspicious Minds, a personal favourite, to Love Reign O’er Me, another favourite. Two more additions to the UK set list were Anthem and Luck Be A Lady Tonight. All were brilliant additions – if some songs were dropped I could not name them. Through the magic of Alfie’s voice I was just transported from one enthralling song to another during this incredible evening. There were numerous standing ovations, amongst them Anthem, Love Reign O’er Me, and the Les Mis medley.
Throughout the show Alfie was totally relaxed, very comfortable in his role as singer and entertainer and very much enjoying himself. Towards the beginning of Love Reign O’er Me there was a problem with the piano which Alfie noticed instantly. As technicians rushed onto the stage Alfie very comfortably went into several minutes of comedic ad libbing. Alfie was so successful in distracting the audience that several people around me thought it was part of the act. To me it was another example of Alfie’s assurance as an entertainer in capturing and holding the audience’s attention regardless of circumstances.
Anyone who had not previously seen this show would not have noticed that some of the comedic moments had been dropped. However the poor woman leaving for the ladies’ room was spotted and asked why she had not gone before the show by Alfie. Alfie’s trouble mounting the chair and Michael’s assistance in the first act was replaced by Alfie simply sliding off a stool. However Michael’s praise of Alfie had Alfie running back onto the stage to give Michael a big kiss on the cheek to much laughter.
The show took place just 24 hours after the Manchester attack and before the show began, a moment of silence was observed. Another sombre moment was acknowledged during the Bond medley when Sir Roger Moore’s (who passed away yesterday) photo was shown.
It was truly lovely to have Alfie in New York again. He more than lived up to the expectations I had from seeing Together in the UK. I was not alone as the audience showed its appreciation through numerous standing ovations. For me Alfie’s versatility as a singer, actor and entertainer was highlighted by the fact that I had just seen him ten days ago in English National Opera’s Carousel. I am still overwhelmed by the transition I witnessed from Billy Bigelow to Alfie Boe. What an evening to remember. Thank you, Alfie Boe and please come back.
Thank you Roberta for a truly wonderful review – New York, New York was the perfect song to end with.
Together is available here:
Click here to buy tickets for their Summer and Winter UK tour dates.
The ride on the ENO Carousel with Alfie Boe and Katherine Jenkins is over and despite the sadness that it’s over, I’m left with an overwhelmingly lovely bunch of memories from these five weeks; Alfie was on top form as Billy Bigelow, I’ve had some fantastic stage door experiences and best of all, I got to share it with fabulous friends. It also seems that Alfie thoroughly enjoyed the experience, judging from Instagram:
The role of Billy Bigelow will remain with me for the rest of my life. Thank you to all who helped me channel this complex character. I love bringing role to life but as a performer, we must remember “You’ll never be bigger than the show you’re in.” And my favourite line in the show is “Don’t be scared of people who don’t like you, just try liking them!” Love to you all.
Great choice of favourite line Alfie – perfectly demonstrates the overall theme of Carousel, redemption. Thinking back over the shows I’ve seen, I think it is the story of redemption that will stay with me as much as the nuanced performance that Alfie gave, especially the further the run went on. Alfie’s vocals were of course immaculate, that was never in doubt, but to see the subtle changes in his performance was something special and showed he really understood the flawed character he was portraying. I’m really hoping that this is not the last time we see Alfie in a musical or even, a return to an operatic role.
Now, the competition winners! To celebrate both Carousel and thoughtsofjustafan’s third birthday, I’ve got five signed Carousel programmes to give away and the five lucky winners who knew that Alfie recorded Barcelona with Katherine in 2014 are:
Congratulations – send me your address details and I’ll get them sent out. Here are Alfie and Katherine singing Barcelona in Edinburgh:
I’ll finish with one of my favourite moments from these five weeks – forgive the indulgence!