...It’s Only Love at the Royal Albert Hall on the Storyteller tour.
I love Alfie Boe singing Elvis (and I know that lots of you feel the same) and I couldn’t help dancing around the kitchen whilst I was supposed to be writing this. Come on, I dare you not to feel like getting up and dancing when you hear this too!
I eventually stopped dancing for long enough to write this and as I watched once or twice, or maybe even more (!) I spotted some great friends in the audience including my lovely friend, Costa Linda who I am shortly seeing for lunch. It’s lovely Linda’s birthday on 11th April so Happy Birthday lovely!
I was privileged to attend this concert and even more privileged to meet some wonderful people who have become firm friends since I’ve been a fan of Alfie. Here are some of them at a very cold stage door (Linda W’s, aka jellytots Linda, photo, although she’s in it so think it was Pauline’s husband Paul who actually took it!).
The Two Linda’s are just two of the fabulous friends I’ve made in the last few years – click here to read their Alfie stories. It’s worth it just to find out how they got their nicknames! If you would like to feature in an Alfie’s Fan Family story, leave a comment!
Yes it was, a very good year for thoughtsofjustafan and for Alfie Boe too. If I asked Alfie, his 2015 highlights might include Classic Quadrophenia and Les Mis on Broadway but I’m sure meeting loads of adoring fans at various UK and US concerts would also be right up there with the best moments.
For me, 2015 has been a series of fabulous moments one after the other – I can’t possibly choose one as the best although the first three on the list would certainly be competing for the top spot!
Interviewing Alfie for Classic Quadrophenia.
Interviewing Alfie again for the first in the Club 24601 series.
Chatting to Alfie at Somerset House and hearing him tell me that he reads thoughtsofjustafan…if Nikki Lewis hadn’t been there, I wouldn’t have believed it!
Seeing my Classic Quad review from the Huffington Post quoted in a proper newspaper (the Guardian). The thank you from Alfie when I interviewed him shortly after was pretty special too.
Addio Sogni di Gloria being voted the Best Alfie Boe Song (recorded) – last year’s favourite, Bring Him Home was number 4.
Taking my 9yo to Alive @Delapre for his first Alfie concert and hearing the stand out Alfie song from 2015, Run:
The Club 24601 series of interviews, beginning with Alfie and culminating with the current London JVJ, Peter Lockyer.
Interview with David Steadman, of the D’oyly Carte Opera Company and hearing about Alfie’s very first tour as a professional singer.
Finding out that the fan’s favourite Alfie Boe look is jeans, the tighter the better! Alfie in a suit was a (very) close runner up.
Alfie in Les Miserables on Broadway – hearing the amazing reviews and happy fans was the next best thing to being there myself.
Thank you to everyone for reading and supporting thoughtsofjustafan – I really appreciate the time you take to comment on and share. In February this year we passed 30,000 hits and thanks to all you wonderful readers, we have now more than tripled that number – woohoo!
Thank you too for all the wonderful compliments you have sent over the year, you are all very kind.
Of course, I can’t let 2015 pass without thanking some extra special people who have continued to support me and thoughtsofjustafan:
Thanks to Debbie Bannigan for giving me the best gift anyone can ever receive; belief and confidence that I can achieve whatever I want to. Without your support, this blog would not exist.
Thanks to Linda Wellington for continually providing me with photos and videos and allowing me to use them. Thank you also for all the laughs along the way this summer – and for ferrying us to Northampton!
Thanks to Carole Hunt for continuing to allow me to use her photo for the main blog banner.
Thanks to everyone who allows me to use their videos here – Nikki, Jayne, Annie in particular.
Thanks to Roberta Kappus and Carole Hunt for being fabulous reviewers this year – I hope to be able to call on you again lovely ladies!
Thanks to Sue Black, Linda Anstee and Marie Blair for being my top social media sharers this year – thanks for spreading the word!
Thanks to my top commenters in 2015 – Linda McCann, Sue Redfern and Carole Naden. Love hearing from you!
Lastly, thank you to everyone who spoke to me at concerts this year and said they loved my blog – I love doing it! Special thanks to the super posse of friends who, amongst others, made it extra special this year: Linda A and Linda W, Sally, Cecelia and Cassie (I’ll never forget your comments while waiting for the ladies at Hampton Court!), Paul and Pauline, Jan, Carole H, Sue, Pam and Tina, Nikki, Annie, Pauline H, Pat and Janet, Jayne, Deb and Flo.
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!
What a fabulous show James Morgan and Juliette Pochin, aka known as Morgan Pochin, put on this week at Symfunny, proving music and comedy are a natural fit. Although it’s fair to say that Alfie Boe fans were looking forward to seeing him sing live the most (the entire front row was peopled with Alfie fans), the whole evening was a joy from start to finish.
Al Murray proved to be the perfect host for the evening; I had heard that he has a great reputation for quick fire repartee with the audience but had not anticipated being part of it! I suppose sitting on the front row of a comedy gig does lend itself to being picked on so I was relieved when Al picked on my lovely friend Linda (one of the famous Two Linda’s). However, my relief didn’t last long as she was asked who she brought with her which then led to me…cue several laughs about teachers (Linda) and school dinners (me). Still, poor Steve the banker came off far worse although he was a great sport.
Of the other comedy acts, Jason Manford and Armstrong and Miller were my favourites. The only thing I can possibly say about Armstrong and Miller’s act is that it was fiendishly funny but unmentionable in polite conversation! Suffice to say I will never look at train toilets in the same light ever again. Jason Manford was also very funny, even if he did call Alfie’s fans “relatively normal”. However, his best bit came when he sang Volare with Alfie Boe, successfully reducing Alfie to giggles several times which reminded Alfie fans of his days appearing with Alfie on his Bring Him Home tour in 2011 / 2012. Thanks to Linda W for sharing this video (and watch James Morgan when Alfie misses his entrance):
In total, Alfie sang four songs: Wheels of a Dream, which most of us thought we’d never hear live again so thanks Alfie, Mamma, Volare and Mambo Italiano. A week later and Mambo Italiano is still going round in my head – I don’t think Alfie will have any trouble at all selling huge numbers of his next album, Serenata. Seeing Alfie and James Morgan work together again on songs they had just recorded was also special.
Other musical highlights were Rebecca Ferguson’s acapella version of Amazing Grace and Juliette Pochin singing Carmen. It was a delight to hear Juliette and also to see her and James working together on what has been a highly personal and emotional project. James and Juliette conceived the idea for Symfunny after James was diagnosed with early onset Parkinson’s just over a year ago. After keeping it a secret for a while, they finally decided to use their talent and contacts in the entertainment world to raise some money and awareness for this disease. Just before the interval, the audience was shown a short video of another sufferer of early onset Parkinson’s, Shamsa, and her husband and daughter. Shamsa was only 28 when diagnosed and her bravery in showing us her life is amazing. James recorded an audience shout out to her and her husband, Sarfraz, so I hope it made them smile.
The evening was rounded off with Al Murray and Alfie leading us all in a rousing rendition of Always Look on the Bright Side of Life. The perfect musical end to a concert that began with James conducting Good Vibrations which shows that he at least has a sense of humour about his situation.
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Out of the ashes of the fated US tour, Alfie Boe rises again – at least for a few days to promote Trust (best ever album!) and his forthcoming appearance in Mr Selfridge. At this point in time, we all know that Alfie should be at the beginning of a sellout tour of the USA. Sadly, it was not to be and instead, the UK fans got to see him on the Alan Titchmarsh TV this week. Now, some US fans were a little put out about this but all is not lost as Alfie said he is flying back to America this weekend in order to promote the US release of Trust!
For those of you who don’t know the Alan Titchmarsh set up, it’s a daily, live TV show broadcast from the ITV studios in London. I applied for tickets, not really expecting I would get them and lo and behold, I got two tickets! Unfortunately, I knew straight away I wouldn’t be able to go as it clashed with work so Linda Wellington (she of the wonderful photos and videos, aka one of The Two Linda’s) went with my mum, Iris. The day and journey didn’t start too well as there was a tube strike and as usual, rain and big gusts of wind. However, they met up as planned and had a fabulous time, ending up in the front row. For those of you who know Linda, this is not unusual! Alfie was on the show the whole time which caused some hilarity involving beach balls and leaf blowers. My mum was particularly pleased that she caught one of Alfie’s balls!
The show closed with Alfie singing “God Give Me Strength” which is, I think, one of his favourites from the album as he always picks this if asked to choose (frequent occurrence on radio). Linda was thrilled to see guitarist Murray Gould – when I watched the show later, I was almost as thrilled to see Murray as Alfie!
Alfie also mentioned he may do more Neapolitan songs on the “Trust” tour later this year, so in anticipation, here is Alfie singing Chitarra Romana at the Royal Albert Hall in April 2013:
As ever, thanks for reading – I’ve been writing for 6 months now and you beautiful people have visited over 3,000 times. Thank you so much xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you’ll remember previous posts about the tremendous women I’ve met through following Alfie Boe, namely Margie in Australia and Roberta in NYC. This post is about two fantastic friends, The Two Linda’s, both of whom featured in my last post about the Classic Brit Awards – and yes, I’m still floating around after that evening!
If you’re a fan of Alfie Boe that has ever searched YouTube for videos, you’ll almost certainly have seen one of Linda’s lovely videos. We are extremely lucky that Alfie allows fans to film at his concerts and even luckier that such a talented camerawoman like Linda shares her videos with the wider world.
I first met Linda at the Bluewater book signing in September 2013 and was immediately welcomed with open arms as a fellow Alfie fan. We have since been to several events and met up and had a great time – the Two Linda’s even came to my 40th birthday bash in September. I interviewed Linda (sounds a bit grand for what was just a chat really!) at the Classic Brits and she told me that her introduction to Alfie came through her love for Il Divo – I know, I can’t understand the attraction either! Although Linda had been aware of Alfie for a while (Parkinson and the Matt Lucas kitchen videos where her chief thought was how much a clean shaven Alfie looked like Declan Donnelly!), she didn’t think he was that special until some of her Il Divo friends from America were coming over to London to see him in Les Miserables at the Queens Theatre. Linda went along and was absolutely hooked, eventually going to the show six times, including the legendary last performance. Since then, Linda has seen him at every available opportunity, including nearly all of the Storyteller shows. My son is a keen Jellytots Linda fan, and it was him who gave her that name in order to differentiate from the other Linda. Linda W is an avid consumer of jellytots!
Linda A is another very special friend who I first met over coffee when she and a friend came down to London to see the musical Rock of Ages. The meeting place gives you a inkling of how she came by her nickname of Costa Linda although we didn’t actually meet in Costa! My son, as well as being a fan of Linda W is also a fan of Linda A and as Linda W is called jellytots Linda, Linda A is now Costa Linda as we met her in over coffee. The actual conversation went something like this: “So are we meeting jellytots Linda or Costa Linda?”.
Although Linda and I had only tweeted and chatted online before, from that first meeting we just got on like the proverbial house on fire and have done ever since. We have since met up at non Alfie related events as well, although one such meet up resulted in our most unexpected Alfie moment. I met Linda at the stage door of the Queens Theatre where she had been to a matinee of Les Mis. We were chatting to a couple of other friends when Alfie suddenly appeared and just as quickly disappeared into the stage door – to say we were star struck is an understatement! We stood there yelling and waving but neither of us thought to ask him to sign anything or come out for a photo! This is Linda’s Alfie story:
How did I first get into Alfe?
The date…3 October 2010, I was so excited! It was the 25th anniversary performance of Les Miserables at The O2 Arena, London. I’d had my ticket for months and had been waiting with great anticipation…. My one disappointment, why hadn’t they chosen someone like John Owen Jones or Simon Bowman for the role of Jean Valjean? After all they had both played the part to some acclaim at The Queens Theatre. Instead a virtual unknown to me, a tenor called Alfie Boe had got the part in this prestigious performance so I would reserve my judgement! Well there I was in my seat at the O2 waiting for Les Mis to begin. The overture started up …I felt the excitement in the pit of my stomach… … The performance began, Jean Valjean stood before the microphone and began to sing …….WOW!!!! Alfie Boe, what a voice! As the show progressed I found myself totally mesmerised by this wonderful man…Valjean’s Soliloquy, Who Am I, and of course the superb Bring Him Home…it wasn’t just his voice that that held me spellbound, it was his whole persona.
From that moment on I was well and truly BOED! I left the O2 floating on cloud nine determined to find out everything I could about this wonderful man!!! I bought every CD I could get my hands on, looked up You Tube clips etc, I couldn’t get enough. Then it was announced he was to play JVJ at the Queens. I became a regular visitor and met Alfie here for the first time. He was so humble and sincere at the SD, always happy to chat have photographs taken and spend time with those waiting to see him. It was here he won the hearts of many of us! Then of course he announced his Bring Him Home Tour…………. I booked quite a few…….
Why do I go to so many concerts?
That’s easy to answer…. I’m a great believer that you can never have too much of a good thing! At my first Alfie concert at The Birmingham Symphony Hall in December I also did a meet and greet. Alfie was so kind and charming, he looked genuinely interested in what I had to say, his attention was mine….if only for a couple of minutes! It was also at this concert I got to ‘sing’ on stage with him, I did warn him that I had an awful voice, he found that out soon enough and said to me “You really can’t sing can you?” I just fell about laughing…ever since there are those that call me ‘Can’t Sing Linda’ …… Thanks for that Alfie!!!
I have an absolute ball at Alfie’s concerts, the set list may be similar or even the same but at every show there are those special moments and incidents that happen from venue to venue…you never know what to expect!! You may be in fits of laughter one minute because of what Alfie has said or done and the next minute you find tears streaming down your face listening to him singing some wonderful moving song. I know it sounds like a bit of a cliché but I become so alive at Alfie’s concerts, I find myself totally engrossed in the whole experience. I never want it to end. Another reason for going to so many shows is the time spent with so many of the wonderful friends I’ve met through Alfie……
Friends made through Alfie…..
To say my life has changed since discovering Alfie is no exaggeration. I have made so many wonderful friends through him. Most of them I first ‘spoke’ to through social media then got to meet so many at The Queens when Alfie was appearing in Les Mis and of course at concerts. Other fans from all around the world, Australia (the lovely Margie!) America, Japan…etc. There are so many, far too many to mention by name but they all mean a lot to me! I would never have got to meet these people if it hadn’t been for Alfie and like all of us there are a few special friendships, I hope they know who they are!!! I just have to mention Jane, we got on from the word go!!! Have done silly fangirling together, celebrated together, confided in each other…… Alfie thank you so much! You are one very special guy!!!
My Alfie Boe story, like the Two Linda’s and many others, starts with another performer entirely: for me, Michael Ball. I had been to see Michael in Sweeney Todd in London’s West End and was blown away by the show and Michael’s superb performance. I went three times in all and after the second occasion, went home and looked him up on YouTube which led me to the Les Miserables 25th anniversary concert and then onto the Four ValJeans’s Bring Him Home. As soon as I heard Alfie come in to the song at “You can take” I was completely smitten and poor Michael was soon forgotten! Sorry Michael xx
I then googled Alfie Boe and came to his fansite (now gone). I joined twitter and since then, it’s safe to say, my life has been completely different. I have made some amazing friends and spend a large proportion of my life fangirling about an amazing singer who also happens to be a really nice person. I bore my friends and family silly about him although some of them have given in and come to concerts with me or bought his albums. Resistance is futile!