Another one for those who like the fresh faced Alfie as opposed to those who prefer the beard – no guesses which camp I’m in!
In 2006, Alfie was promoting his debut album, Classic FM Presents and the music choice reflects that, starting with Jerusalem and ending with the classical crowd pleaser, Nessun Dorma. Alas, at that time, despite being well known locally, Alfie wasn’t well known enough to actually turn on the famous illuminations; I bet they’d love to have him do it now though! Next year Alfie?
As Lorraine Kelly says, amazing to hear such passion in such a fantastic voice – and early in the morning too! Alfie was of course promoting his debut album, Classic FM Presents, an album that he doesn’t seem to be keen on, judging by his autobiography but is one that I listen to often. I still think of myself as incredibly lucky to have heard Alfie sing Nessun Dorma on the Serenata tour two years ago – you could have a pin drop in all the arenas in which Alfie appeared.
Apart from the voice, the other things I love about this video are Alfie’s attire – an early indication that operatic arias and suits are not inextricably linked in Alfie’s mind – and how much he looks like Declan Donnelly throughout. It seems to me that the likeness grows during the singing but of course that could just be me projecting…I pretty sure I’m not telling you anything new when I say I think Dec is cute too. Check out Alf and Dec if you don’t believe me.
It was with an intense feeling of anticipation that I embarked on the journey to Newcastle to see the first show of Alfie Boe’s UK Tour…and it’s safe to say that I was not disappointed! Straight off, I’m going to say that although Sol3 Mio were great, I’m not going to mention them any further here – look out for further blogs.
Alfie, together with his band, started out with stripped down songs from Serenata – the way that Alfie has always wanted to play them. SerenataCeleste was majestic and My Heart is Yours felt hugely emotional for both audience and Alfie. Seamlessly moving into songs from LaPassione (Parlami D’Amore Mariu), there was an audible sigh of anticipation from the audience when Alfie announced Caruso. This turned out to be a humdinger of a number, especially when Alfie’s voice rose to a crescendo and the backdrop curtain fell to reveal the orchestra. Very effective.
Musical theatre featured heavily on Alfie’s first two Decca albums and he returned to this repertoire last night. Come What May, Wheels of aDream and Being Alive were powerhouse performances and made an excellent intro to the Les Mis section and an outstanding rendition of Bring Him Home. A standing ovation duly followed. Leading into this, Richard Causon played a very effective Do You Hear the People Sing on accordion and got a fair portion of the audience singing along; this could have been encouraged more and perhaps will be in a bigger audience.
One of the most talked about parts of this tour was whether or not Alfie would sing any operatic arias – if you are a fan of his early albums you will be thrilled to find out that accompanied just by Richard Causon on piano, Alfie sang a medley of Recondita Armonia and Nessun Dorma which was simply outstanding. Goosebumps time. However, as wonderful as the sound was, the applause was slightly more muted than perhaps could have been expected due to the fact that we weren’t actually sure when Alfie had finished singing! Recondita Armonia went straight into Nessun Dorma and so were half expecting that a third aria would follow. A few of us were on the verge of standing up to applaud but weren’t sure and then of course the moment had gone. Thanks Linda for sharing this:
At this point, I should probably mention that although Alfie’s stage patter was still there, there was much less talk as there was a whole lot of singing!
After a short break (at this point, it was most noticeable that it was the first show as there were a couple of lengthy pauses for set movements) Alfie and the band returned to the stage for Trust and Storyteller songs. Bridge Over Troubled Water gave way to Trust and Keep Me in YourHeart...I confess to being a little hot and bothered over the “buttons on your blouse” moment… We then returned to where we started with more Serenata. Chitarra Romana started us off and we then enjoyed Luna Malinconia, Mamma,Volare, Mambo Italiano and Buona Sera where the main performance ended. We were encouraged to dance during this last part (only where our seats were) and Alfie had us all blowing kisses to him during Buona Sera, and yes, he did reciprocate.
The encore brought an acapella version of Danny Boy which showcased Alfie’s superb vocal abilities (and I don’t normally like this song) but I loved it last night. The final song of the night was a fabulous Glory Glory Hallelujah from Trust – and Alfie sent us off in style.
Overall, all the fans I spoke to thought the show was absolutely amazing, Alfie at his best, something for everyone and quite possibly his best ever concert. Writing this now, I am reliving it all over again and I definitely agree – Alfie was simply out of this world. Having said that, it will be interesting to see how the show goes in Leeds on Friday when the teething difficulties with the staging etc. have been ironed out.
If you don’t have tickets, go and get them now – you won’t be disappointed!
I can’t believe you don’t have Serenata yet but if not, click on the image to order: