Phil Daniels

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Since I first heard Alfie Boe sing two Classic Quadrophenia (CQ) songs on his UK Winter Tour, I have been keenly anticipating hearing the whole album live on stage.  The album is tremendous, made more so by the live sounding vocals from Alfie.  Alfie’s set list on his current mini UK tour has included more and more CQ songs and so the anticipation leading up to the world premiere at the Royal Albert Hall last night has been building to explosive levels.

The announcement of a classical version of a much loved rock work is always going to cause some fans to scratch their heads and wonder why someone is messing with perfection.  CQ was no exception and many Who fans took to social media in their thousands to bemoan this project, despite not having heard a note.  As the album release date got nearer and the promotional schedule ramped up, those voices of dissent became less and less, dwindling to a trickle when the album was released and the full glory of Rachel Fuller’s orchestration was heard in its entirety for the first time.  After last night’s world premiere of the live staging, the rapturous audience reaction leads me to think that the Who fans were completely won over (at least those who were there).

The audience was mainly a mixture of Who fans and Alfie Boe fans – it was easy to spot the Who fans as they stood up en masse when Pete Townshend first came on to the stage – and right from the start, there was a buzz and energy between performers and audience.  Robert Ziegler conducted the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra with passion (even donning a parka for the finale) and the London Oriana Choir was wonderful but the night belonged to Alfie, being rarely off stage.  Hearing the songs on tour with a small band and a small orchestra is magnificent but in no way prepared me for hearing Alfie’s sublime voice in harmony with a full orchestra.  Just think of every superlative you’ve ever heard and you’ll be half way there.  Pete Townshend was great (better than I expected if I’m honest), Phil Daniels’s characterisation of the Dad role was brilliant but the biggest surprise for me was how good Billy Idol was.  I admit I’m not very aware of Billy’s music and if I admitted to concerns about the show beforehand, Billy Idol’s part concerned me most.  I needn’t have worried as his voice perfectly suited the material and blended superbly with Alfie.  Their shared moments on stage were amongst the highlights – they were obviously having the time of their lives.

When I reviewed the album a few weeks ago, I said that I loved all the songs, there wasn’t one that I wanted to skip.  Having seen the show live, I stand by that; the music flowed effortlessly and the vocal harmonies were joyful to hear but the star of the show, musically, comes right at the end.  Love Reign O’er Me has become a staple of Alfie’s live shows and amongst his fans this was the song that caused the most excitement.  He didn’t disappoint.  The power of the orchestra complemented exactly the powerhouse vocal performance Alfie gave, leading to the spine tingling  last note when the entire audience rose to its feet as one…and stayed there for a good five to ten minutes (forgive me on this point, I wasn’t looking at my watch!) with rapturous applause throughout.

Numerous curtain calls followed and an encore with all the singers again brought the house down.  Rachel Fuller also received a fabulous welcome when she came to the stage and although all the performers (orchestra excepted) went off stage it was plain that the audience were not ready to see them go and they all trooped out again, Billy Idol minus his shirt.

Pete Townshend is taking the show to Vienna, Cologne and Munich (click here for dates) plus another unconfirmed date and those who see the show there are in for a treat.  For those not so lucky, Sky Arts will be showing the performance tonight at 8pm – and anyone else needs to start praying for a DVD release at the end of the year when all the live dates are over.

Classic Quadrophenia is available here:

classic quad

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The much anticipated video for Classic Quadrophenia’s Love Reign O’er Me is finally here!

Great video from the Brighton beach front shoot a few weeks ago – it must have been perishing down there then!  And a nice touch to see Phil Daniels as he is now at the end of the video; if you don’t know by now, he’s playing Jimmy’s Dad this time around, having been Jimmy for the film.

We should also remember that this is Pete Townshend’s project and his name and that of The Who are all that are needed to sell this to the countless hordes that will buy the album, so I wouldn’t worry about Alfie Boe’s name not being visible.  Hopefully, those astounding vocals will ensure a whole new audience find out more about him post June 8th.

Classic Quadrophenia is now available for pre-order:

classic quad

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So, the promotion for Classic Quadrophenia has started…we saw Alfie on a scooter in Brighton a couple of weeks ago and now he’s been back in London buying a parka!

Alfie parka

Since Alfie’s been teasing us with Quadrophenia, I thought it was time we found out a bit more about the original – this is for fans for are not entirely familiar with The Who’s music which includes me, although I know a whole lot more than I did a week ago!  I have watched the movie, watched a live performance on youtube and listened to the original album a few times by now…and like most of the stuff Alfie has introduced me too, I like it!

Quadrophenia is the 6th studio album from The Who, composed entirely by Pete Townshend and was released in 1973 – a second rock opera, following Tommy.  A UK / US tour followed the release but was widely considered to be disastrous, being besieged by technical problems.  The non musical movie of Quadrophenia (the music formed the soundtrack only) was released in 1979 and featured Phil Daniels as Jimmy – he is to appear as Jimmy’s father in the Classic performance.  Other notable cast members included Sting, Toyah Willcox, Ray Winstone and Leslie Ash.

The album was re-mastered and re-released a couple of times after the initial release and the album as a live performance was revived in 1996 for an initial one off show in Hyde Park, London.  This was more a rock opera performance with cast members including Phil Daniels, Adrian Edmondson, Stephen Fry and (showing how times change) Gary Glitter.  The line up also included Zak Starkey (son of Ringo Starr) as the drummer; he has toured with them ever since.  This format was successful and a UK / US tour followed.

The surviving members of The Who, Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend, again resurrected Quadrophenia as a live performance in 2010 for a series of concerts for the Teenage Cancer Trust.  In this instance, they were joined by Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder and Kasabian’s Tom Meighan.  Phil Daniels featured in a TCT concert last November, here he is singing Bell Boy; the video also features Ricky Wilson of the Kaiser Chiefs:

Alfie and Sarah attended this concert too!

The most recent incarnation of Quadrophenia as a performance was the 2012/13 tour which had the feeling of a concert rather than a performance of a rock opera to it.  Keith Moon and Jon Entwistle both featured on video (Bell Boy and 5.15).  There are some youtube videos of this but they are of varying quality and not complete, probably due to copyright reasons.  I must admit that I was unaware of this recent touring history until this week and having now immersed myself in this music, I am even more keen to see the production of Classic Quadrophenia on 5 July.  It will be interesting to see and hear the orchestrated version featuring those sublime vocals – here is Alfie on his recent UK tour:

Thanks to Linda W for sharing.  Aside from Alfie as Jimmy, I’m also really interested to see Phil Daniels play the role of Jimmy’s father – nice to see some continuity in casting.  Twitter also mentioned that Alfie’s appearance on Sunday Night at the Palladium (ITV, 3 May) will feature Quadrophenia.

The album, from Deutsche Grammophon, will be released on 22 June so we’ll have plenty of time to familiarise ourselves with it before the concert!  I’m hoping for a DVD too!  The album is available to pre-order here:

classic quad

 

There are lots of videos of Alfie singing I’m One and Love Reign O’er Me from his recent UK tour – check out the thoughtsofjustafan Alfie Boe youtube page (there are some other artists featured on the Quadrophenia playlist too).

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This last week has seen a new Alfie Boe summer concert date released – Leeds Millennium Square on 24 July.  Regular readers will remember that this was hinted at for a while but it’s now been confirmed!  Tickets are on sale next Friday 13th March – hopefully not unlucky for those buying tickets!

Alfie also kept us amused while he was in London for Classic Quadrophenia promotional work – check out this photo with Phil Daniels.  Any guesses what he’s laughing at?

Alfie Phil Daniels

Classic Quadrophenia is available to pre-order:

classic quad

thanks for reading and sharing

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all your Alfie news straight to your inbox

plus 4 exclusive photos

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