Tag Archives: John Tonks

Alfie Boe – Alive @ Delapre

This summer of 2015 has meant a short season of Alfie Boe concerts encompassing a range of different Alfie shows from the delights of Alfie and the band to Proms concerts whilst taking in headline musical theatre shows.  Not forgetting the world premiere of Classic Quadrophenia of course.

The penultimate show of this mini UK tour (the last show is this Friday in Leeds) was the last night of the Northampton festival, Alive @ Delapre and my last concert for, well, I don’t know at the moment.  Hopefully, more UK concerts will be announced for 2016 but we don’t know as yet.  I was not planning to attend this concert until very recently and was perfectly happy to end on the high of Classic Quad at the Royal Albert Hall but lovely Linda W, she of the fabulous Alfie Boe gallery photos, had other ideas which is how I came to be in Northampton with my nine year old son.  This was to be his first concert ever, not just his first Alfie concert and I’m hoping it will be the first of many although I’m not altogether sure if he will come to many more Alfie shows!  Having said that, he did enjoy the experience, mainly having so much attention lavished on him by the wonderful Sue, Jan, Carole, Pauline and Paul, Jayne, Jane, Kate, Michelle, Nikki, Pauline and Mike and of course lovely Linda.  I’ll tell you his favourite concert moments later.

And so to the review itself; Alfie was in fine form wearing an outfit that caused one or two ladies in the crowd to feel a bit hot under the collar (black jeans with waistcoat and white shirt to start followed by black tshirt later in the show).  The show started with Serenata songs, accompanied again by the superb NSO (National Symphony Orchestra) and the band. This gave way to the musical theatre section which was slightly shorter than some previous concerts at just Bring Him Home and Come What May, this last a duet with soprano Annette Wardell who then took us into the interval with a selection of arias.  Ms. Wardell returned later with a breathtaking rendition of Somewhere Over the Rainbow which was the highlight of her set.

As the summer has progressed, so we have heard more and more songs from Quadrophenia – this was different only that we heard the full overture as well as several songs.  Love Reign O’er Me was the highlight of that particular group of songs, thanks to Jayne for sharing:

As you can see, Alfie had been very energetic immediately prior to this and took a breather at the beginning!

Matt White was back on guitar (I believe he was also with the band at Llangollen) and he, along with Dan McKinna, John Tonks, Richard Causon and Murray Gould were magnificent throughout, especially on Trust’s Keep Me In Your Heart and the encore of Suspicious Minds and Run.  These last two, along with the flag waving extravaganza of Pomp and Circumstance, Jerusalem, Rule Britannia and Land of Hope and Glory were my son’s favourites.  A note to all festival organisers everywhere that include these patriotic songs – please please please show the words on a screen as we don’t all know the words!  Yesterday, Alfie was sufficiently unimpressed with our singing of Land and Hope and Glory that he demanded we do it again – not sure we were any better the second time Alfie!

Inevitably, the evening came to a close and we had to go home.  For most of those there it was the last time we would see Alfie and other fans we have come to regard as lifelong friends for a good long while and it was a bittersweet moment.  For those who are going to Leeds and/or the European dates for Classic Quadrophenia and of course Les Mis on Broadway, wishing you the best of times and don’t forget to tell us all about it – we will be with you in spirit.  For those who aren’t jetting off to New York or Europe, don’t fret, thoughtsofjustafan will still be here with all your Alfie Boe news and reviews so keep up to date by entering your email to the right – go on, do it now!  There’s some exciting goodies to be won in the Autumn!

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Alfie Boe Delivers a Superb Seaside Prom

A beautiful sunny day, not a hint of rain, just a slight breeze and the lovely seaside setting of Scarborough combined to make a fabulous evening out at the Scarborough Proms.  Not to mention the fabulous company of amazing friends…once we all found each other.  All I can say is don’t mention the trains!

This trip to Scarborough was a birthday treat for the lovely Linda W who so kindly shares her videos and photos with us when she can and although we weren’t entirely sure where we were sitting, we were absolutely certain we weren’t at the back.  Suffice to say when we climbed the seemingly endless steps we were in the very back row!  However, this turned out to be a blessing in disguise as it meant we could dance about to our heart’s content without getting in anyone’s way whilst also having a fabulous view – lesson learnt that being at the back can sometimes be a good thing, depending on the venue.  There’s a lake in between the stage and the seating area at this venue so being at the front doesn’t necessarily mean being closer to the performers either.

Being a Prom concert, and Armed Forces Day to boot, the evening had a different feel and set list to other shows in this mini UK tour, starting off with some beautiful harmonies from the Military Wives Choir of York.  The National Symphony Orchestra then performed a medley of Les Mis songs before Alfie first appeared to sing Bring Him Home, the first time I can remember hearing this staple at the beginning of a concert.  As usual, it went down a storm.  The musical theatre section then went into Come What May with Alfie duetting with London based American soprano, Angel Blue.  Alfie probably thought he was suffering deja vu from Swansea when Angel first started singing as her microphone failed!  Angel performed several songs throughout the evening including Mio Babbino Caro and Summertime before returning for the finale of  Jerusalem, Rule Britannia and Land of Hope and Glory.  She was absolutely superb with her acting fully complimenting her voice.

The repertoire that Alfie has been singing most recently was curtailed slightly due to this being a Prom concert but he still fitted in Mambo Italiano, Keep Me In Your Heart (which featured a men vs. women singing match – women won due to overwhelming numbers!), Volare (or oh Scarborough) Marechiari, Run and of course Quadrophenia.  The orchestra was bigger for this concert and they contributed magnificently to the epic sound needed for Classic Quadrophenia.  Alfie’s last note on Love Reign O’er Me was spectacular – it will be a long week until the world premiere of this next Sunday.

The evening was rounded off by the traditional Prom sound of Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance with Alfie, Angel Blue and the Military Wives Choir singing Jerusalem, Land of Hope and Glory and Rule Britannia – all accompanied by ferocious flag waving and singing.  My first Alfie concert was Last Night of the Proms in Hyde Park in 2012 and I was there with lovely Linda W so it was doubly nice to be there with her again,  Here is her video of Jerusalem:

Lovely weekend with amazing friends The Two Linda’s, Jan, Carole, Pat, Janet, Paul and Janet, Nikki, Marie, Annie and Pauline.  We also discovered that every single person staying in our (small hotel) was there for the concert and we made some new Alfie friends in the bar afterwards – hello Roger and Barbara and the two from Leeds whose names I don’t know, sorry!

Speaking of names I don’t know – lovely Carole has told me the new guitarist is Al Cherry – and we have seen him before as he was with Emilia Mitiku on the Storyteller tour! No need to keep calling him “the other one” out of Murray Gould, Richard Causon, John Tonks and Dan McKinna!

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Storming End to Alfie Boe’s 2014 Tour

So, to paraphrase the opening song of the Storyteller tour, It’s Over for Alfie Boe’s 2014 UK tour.  Just writing that first sentence has taken me most of the day – sad the tour has finished but feeling incredibly thankful that I was able to see five concerts.  Additionally, thanks to the incredible generosity of my lovely friend Linda I was able to get a photo and a hug with the man himself…I just about managed to keep upright!  More about that in a later post!

Anyone who is an Alfie fan will be aware that for him to headline at London’s O2 arena is a very special moment in his career.  As he acknowledged on Friday night, the last time he set foot on that stage was as Jean ValJean at the Les Mis 25th anniversary concert and of course it turned out to be a career changing role.  A considerable number of Alfie Boe fans know him through the Les Mis connection and THAT Bring Him Home moment in particular so although that song always brings the house down wherever Alfie sings it, his rendition on Friday was even more powerful and emotionally charged for audience and Alfie alike.  Here is where I can let you into a secret: I am actually a little bit over Bring Him Home these days.  Sacrilege I know but I’ve heard it plenty and it’s not my favourite Alfie song.  However, on Friday I was completely bowled over by the emotional intensity in Alfie’s performance – and so was the rest of the audience.

The set list had changed again from the last show I saw (Manchester), largely due to Alfie’s throat infection which sadly meant the postponement of Brighton, but I was thrilled that he still sang Nessun Dorma and the two Quadrophenia songs.  Never heard them before but they are fast becoming firm favourites, and I’m really excited for the album and show next year.  One or two of us were worried about Alfie’s voice but we really needn’t have been; he was in fine fettle.  This was one hell of a performance and a resounding success – lots of tweets saying people had taken family members as a treat but been totally blown away and ended up fans themselves.

And so to the end of the tour, Cardiff.  The evening started emotionally for me as Sol3 Mio (who trained in Wales) sang an impromptu Calon Lan which had me in tears…my Dad used to sing it to me when I was a child.  Although their on stage banter could do with changing up a little before their 2015 UK tour, their performances have been outstanding and many Alfie fans have become Sol3  Mio fans too.  The lucky Cardiff audience even got to see and hear them perform Volare with Alfie too – although only after a considerable wait while they were tracked down from somewhere around the venue!

Cardiff audiences are always great and this was no exception; however, even though Alfie invited us to stand up and dance, not many did and this led to some awkward moments for those of us who did want to dance.  Concert etiquette is something I’ll definitely come back to at a later date – there are wildly opposing views on this!

The main change to the set list in Cardiff was the inclusion of Glory Glory Hallelujah from the Trust album – that really got the audience up and dancing.  Alfie looked so happy during that song and the jumping bean dancing was well and truly unleashed!  Apparently his nieces called it Dad dancing but we all loved it.  The revelation for me on this tour was hearing Danny Boy.  It is not one of my favourite songs, in fact I could easily say I can’t stand it…until I heard Alfie sing it.  I have always said that Alfie could sing the phone book to me and I’d be happy but this is the first time that he has transformed a song I hate into one I love – albeit only when he sings it LOL.  Danny Boy will be one of my tour highlights – I’d love to hear your tour highlights so please leave a comment.  Thanks Linda for sharing the video:

Once again, Alfie gave us a fantastic show – every single person I have spoken to about it had only praise, not one single negative comment.  In my experience, that is rare – such a shame there is no official DVD.  The musicians in Boe’s Band, Murray Gould, Matt White, John Tonks, Richard Causon and Dan McKinna were incredible and more about them in a later post but outstanding.

Lastly, as with all Alfie Boe concerts / tours etc, it is not only Alfie but the friends we meet up with and make along the way.  So, in no particular order (and apologies if I miss anyone, please let me know!) huge thanks to Linda W, Linda A, Janet, Nikki, Katie, Sally, Pat and Janet, Jan and Brad, Carole, Shelley, Sue, Pauline, Chelley, Cecelia and Cassie, Annie, Marcia, Tienne, Sonia, Marie, Geri, Linda E, Carole and Eric, Nancy and Marj, Andrea, Sally, Lea Ann, Roberta, Ellen, Emma, Nicola, Claire, Tracie, Margie, Gill and Malc, Karen and Richard, Gloria and Joan for making this tour so memorable and happy.  Some of you were there only in my heart, some of you I’ve known for a while and are fabulous friends and some of you I met for the first time on this tour but you all played your part xxxxx

UK fans need not despair though as new 2015 dates are being added all the time – Hampton Court Festival has just been announced today.

Serenata is available here:


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