Matt White

All posts tagged Matt White

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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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:

serenata

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Alfie Boe’s latest album, Trust, hit UK stores in November 2013 and quickly went gold. For US fans, their chance to own Trust comes towards the end of April when Capitol releases the album in America.
So, what do I think of the album? Having listened to Trust a lot since the release date, I can honestly say that I think this is Alfie’s best album to date. Long term fans will know that Alfie has been heading in this musical direction for a while now. The last three tracks of the previous album, Storyteller, are imbued with a blues, country and gospel sound that leads straight into Trust, particularly the glorious Glory, Glory Hallelujah and Rosie. My favourite songs are Keep Me In Your Heart and Glory Glory although there is a special place in my heart for Trust, the first song on any album to written especially for Alfie. Fans have long voiced the opinion that original material would be wonderful and it is definitely worth the wait.
There are a few songs on the album that are completely new to me but I love having my musical knowledge challenged and broadened by Alfie and have enjoying getting to know Forever Young and God Give Me Strength. Dimming of the Day is beautifully sung by Shawn Colvin, an artist I am enjoying getting to know but I have to confess a sneaking wish for the lovely tones of Emilia Mitiku, who sang with Alfie on his 2013 tour.
To give you a taste of the tracks, the video below was taken by Linda Wellington at the Huwawei Winter Concert at the Royal Festival Hall on 1 December 2013:

Since I first heard the first snippets from Alfie Boe’s latest album “Trust” two tracks stood out for me: Rosie and Glory, Glory. I defy anyone to sit still and not dance to Glory, Glory, in particular.  From talking to other fans, it was obvious that I was not alone in the opinion that those were the two tracks we wanted to hear live, above all others.  Well, it seems that good things happen to those who wait (in this case, we didn’t have to wait very long) as Alfie treated us to Rosie and Glory, Glory.  Playing the entire second act, Alfie and his extremely talented band (Murray Gould, Matt White, Richard Causon et al) burst into Rosie first off before moving easily into the album title song.  Rosie was everything we had hoped it would be, a fabulously foot tapping gospel infused number.  On this evidence, Rosie will remain a favourite for the live shows for some time.

Since I first heard the first snippets from Alfie Boe’s latest album Trust two tracks stood out for me: Rosie and Glory, Glory.  Upon hearing the full length versions for the first time when Trust was released in November, those two songs quickly became my favourites.  I defy anyone to sit still and not dance to Glory, Glory, in particular.  From talking to other fans, it was obvious that I was not alone in the opinion that those were the two tracks we wanted to hear live, above all others.  Well, it seems that good things happen to those who wait (in this case, we didn’t have to wait very long) as Alfie treated us to Rosie and Glory, Glory at the Huawei Winter Concert on 1 December.  Playing the entire second act, Alfie and his extremely talented band (Murray Gould, Matt White, Richard Causon et al) burst into Rosie first off before moving easily into the album title song.  Rosie was everything we had hoped it would be, a fabulously foot tapping gospel infused number.  On this evidence, Rosie will remain a favourite for the live shows for some time.  Once again, thank you to the lovely Linda Wellington for sharing the video

Glory, Glory rounded off the evening, before an encore of Forever Young, and in typical Alfie style, half the audience ended up dancing on the stage!  This really was glorious and we should all say Hallelujah for its inclusion on the album – absolutely loved it.  Another live show favourite for sure.

Other songs from the evening included Trust, Wayfaring Stranger, If You Go Away and Keep Me In Your Heart, all beautifully sung but the highlight for me (Rosie and Glory, Glory notwithstanding) was Dimming of the Day with Laura Wright.  Finishing off the first half in style, Alfie and Laura’s voices blended wonderfully to showcase this lovely song we first heard on the Storyteller tour earlier this year.  Laura performed throughout the first half with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Tiffin Boys Choir and was at times, breath taking.

 

Thank you for reading and Merry Christmas!

Alfie Boe’s latest album, Trust, hit stores on Monday 11th November and is currently gracing the number 11 spot in the charts as we speak, having gone straight into the top 10 in the first week. Of course, lots of those sales were in pre-orders. Some fans even have more than one copy already (don’t tell anyone, but I picked up my third copy at the HMV Oxford Street CD signing)!
So, what do I think of the album? Having listened pretty much non stop to Trust since the release date, I can honestly say that I think this is Alfie’s best album to date. Long term fans will know that Alfie has been heading in this musical direction for a while now. The last three tracks of the previous album, Storyteller, are imbued with a blues, country and gospel sound that leads straight into Trust, particularly the glorious Glory, Glory Hallelujah and Rosie. So far, my favourite songs are Keep Me In Your Heart and Glory Glory although there is a special place in my heart for Trust, the first song on any album to written especially for Alfie. Fans have long voiced the opinion that original material would be wonderful and it is definitely worth the wait.
There are a few songs on the album that are completely new to me but I love having my musical knowledge challenged and broadened by Alfie and am enjoying getting to know Forever Young and God Give Me Strength. Dimming of the Day is beautifully sung by Shawn Colvin, an artist I am enjoying getting to know but I have to confess a sneaking wish for the lovely tones of Emilia Mitiku.

We are blessed with Alfie appearances on TV and radio at the moment and one of the most wonderful things about this is the opportunity to spend time with the lovely friends I’ve made – you know who you are! One friend in particular has a very soft spot for Murray Gould so this video was included especially for lovely Linda (one half of The two Linda’s) – enjoy!