Almost at the top of this year’s poll to find fans’ favourite Alfie Boe live song and new in at number 2 is Love Reign O’er Me from Classic Quadrophenia:

Nominated by Barbara Bell, this particular video is from the world premiere of CQ at the Royal Albert Hall in July 2015 but more recently, Alfie has been rocking the USA with it.  Judging from the interview with Alfie I had a couple of weeks ago (make sure you subscribe to see it), it will be part of Alfie’s life for some time to come and from the results of this poll, it seems that this will be nothing but a good thing for fans.

Love Reign O’er Me featured a lot on the Ball and Boe Together Tour last year as one of Alfie’s two solo songs – will he bring it back for 2017?  It’s not long until we get to find out!

The original was sung by Roger Daltrey but has been sung numerous times by other artists, one of which is Eddie Vedder, of Pearl Jam – Eddie Vedder appeared with Alfie in Chicago this year.

And so, we’re almost at number one – next week is the week we find out and the week the Together Again 2017 tour gets under way!

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In a special homecoming concert, Alfie Boe will play Fleetwood FC’s Highbury stadium on 2 June 2018.  The concert will be the largest ever seen in Fleetwood, which is of course the town where Alfie grew up.

 

Alfie is super excited to be playing in his home town as evidenced here:

Being Fleetwood born and bred and a fully fledged member of the Cod Army it’s an honour and a privilege to be performing back in my home town and at my team’s home ground. I hold Fleetwood close to my heart and I’m so happy to be coming back to entertain family and friends.

This will be Alfie’s second show in Fleetwood in the space of twelve months, as he performed a couple of songs when his blue plaque was unveiled at the Marine Hall where Alfie made his debut as a performer at the tender age of fourteen.  This honour was presented as part of the BBC Music Day celebrations in June this year and Alfie was also an BBC Music ambassador in 2017.

Despite a hectic work schedule and a home in America, Alfie always keeps Fleetwood and the Fylde Coast close to his heart and is a passionate supporter of the local hospice, Trinity and Brian House, becoming patron several years ago.  As such, £2 from each ticket sold will go to the hospice, considerably contributing towards their annual £5M+ running costs.  Head of Fundraising, Linzi Young, said:

This is quite incredible news for the Hospice. Alfie has been our patron for five years and has helped us launch various fundraising campaigns, has sent videos of support for events such as our annual Ball, and has also sent private messages to some of our patients and their families facing very difficult circumstances.  He is a man with a big heart, as well as a big voice. His global fan base is a window on the world for us; fans from across all continents get involved and send donations to Trinity in his name. We feel very privileged indeed to have the support of Alfie and his team.

Yet again fans can enjoy Alfie’s music whilst also supporting his charities – a win win for everyone!

Tickets go on sale Friday 24 November at 9am from Ticketmaster.  Check back here then for the direct link.

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With less than three weeks to go until Alfie Boe and Michael Ball start their Together Again 2017 tour, I’m on the hunt for concert reviewers.  Last year, Cecelia Powell, Samantha Davis, Heather Crosskey, Heather Moore, Carole Hunt, Roberta Kappus, Christine Firby and Barbara Wren wrote some wonderful reviews and I’m hoping that there will be some more guest reviewers out there this year.

If you would like to review a concert on the Together Again Tour, please fill in the form with a mini review of the album and I’ll notify the winners at the end of next week:

Click here to see some of the reviews from 2016.

Last week I gave you the opportunity to win a signed CD / DVD deluxe Together Again album and I asked you which Disney songs were included on the album.  Sixty of you knew that He Lives In You and Evermore were Disney songs, as well as Once Upon A December from Anastasia (although as Anastasia is a bonus track, I did take answers that just included Lion King and Beauty and the Beast).

I’m delighted to say that the random number generated belongs to Sue Ashton – well done Sue!

Also, the winner of the Elizabeth Marvelly album on which Alfie duetted on Stranger in Paradise is Vehbiye Yoncu – well done!

Sue and Vehbiye, please click here to send me your contact details.

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Three weeks left until the 2017 Together Tour starts and excitement is almost reaching fever pitch levels.  Cardiff at the end of this month sees the first tour date and it’s safe to say that fans can’t wait.

Before then, however, we have the last three songs in the Alfie Boe Best Live Song poll and number three is a song that has featured twice before, once at number one and last year at number two:

This was of course at Gary Barlow’s BBC New Year’s Eve show in 2013 and astonishingly in this digital age, was kept a complete secret until Alfie leapt onto the stage.  Since then, it has been one of Alfie’s most popular live songs, as seen by it’s consistent presence in the live song polls.  Why is this?  Well, my theory is that as well as being totally unexpected, Alfie is so clearly having a fabulous time – it’s a joyous performance and one that you can’t listen to without smiling and dancing.

The thing is, it’s not just Alfie fans that think this about Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now – science thinks it too.  In 2016, neuroscientists from the University of Missouri published data about what makes a song happy and as the answers were all about upbeat tempo, the song that was chosen as the happiest, in seventy per cent of choices, was Don’t Stop Me Now.  Let’s see the song with Adam Lambert and Queen:

Have you entered the competition to win a signed Together Again deluxe album?  Click here – entries close this Friday.

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Monday 13 November sees new musical Tiger Bay, open in Cardiff at the Wales Millennium Centre.  Set in the early 1900’s, the show tells the story of poverty and wealth in Cardiff’s Butetown through one young woman, played by Vicky Bebb.  Welsh musical star John Owen-Jones plays John Stuart, Third Marquess of Bute in a role written for him.

When I spoke to him earlier this year around the release of his compilation album, Bring Him Home, John said that to have a part written for him was “a long held dream”.  With Tiger Bay, John also had the opportunity to be involved in a new musical right from the beginning as the show initially premiered in Cape Town in March / April this year.  This  experience was different to other shows that John’s been it was “more like a long workshop with rewrites and changes” as opposed to slotting into a long running show.

One such long running show was Les Miserables, where he most recently took over from Alfie Boe on Broadway.  John enjoys a good relationship with Alfie and joked about Alfie and Ramin Karimloo (Jean Valjean before Alfie) that “they did what I originally did and then I went and showed them how it was supposed to be done.”  Click here for our Les Miz Broadway reviews to see if you agree!

Whilst on the topic of Alfie (John knowing Alfie and me writing this blog, talking about Alfie was inevitable) we talked about the infamous night at the Royal Albert Hall when Alfie pulled John up onto the stage to sing Bring Him Home.  Of that night, John said “I wished I hadn’t had two pints of lager but it was absolutely unplanned and terrifying but perhaps the beer was helpful.  I couldn’t believe Alfie had the balls to do that.”  That was my very first Alfie concert and because of that magical moment, one of the most memorable:

John, of course, also starred in another iconic long running show, Phantom of the Opera as well as a recent short revival of The Wild Party.  When asked, John’s dream roles include Sweeney Todd, George in the Park, Man of La Mancha, Into the Woods and Company.

Tiger Bay opens on 13 November – click here for tickets.

John’s latest album, Bring Him Home is available here:

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Alfie Boe and Michael Ball’s new album debuted at the top of the album charts in the first week of release and in case you haven’t got your copy yet (what are you waiting for???) or didn’t manage to get a signed copy, here at thoughtsofjustafan we have one to give away. It’s the deluxe version which includes the DVD of the first Ball and Boe ITV special (it’s region specific to the UK, unfortunately) and was signed by the boys at HMV Oxford Street.  To win, just answer the question:

Which Disney songs appear on Together Again?

Fill in the form to enter*

Here’s one of my favourite tracks from the album:

If you want to see some excited fans at the Oxford Street signing, click here!

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Alfie and Michael entered the UK album chart at number one! An amazing achievement for the pair and also for all of you for going out and buying it in your thousands – the most albums bought by one person (that I saw) was ten!  Anyone bought more than that?

Ball and Boe’s first album, Together, also re-entered the album chart at number 36 which is perfectly timed for this week’s Alfie Boe Best Live Song which comes from that album:

You’ll Never Walk Alone at Eastnor Castle was nominated by Pauline Merrick and was the encore performance for both the 2017 summer concerts and the 2016 Together tour.  The song was chosen in part as a tribute to the 96 victims of the Hillsborough disaster and the song was received incredibly emotionally when sung in Liverpool.  Alfie and Michael also performed this at the 2016 Festival of Remembrance.

Despite it’s undoubted footballing connotations in the UK, the song is of course originally from the 1945 musical, Carousel, which Alfie appeared in earlier this year.  However, Alfie’s character, Billy Bigelow doesn’t get to sing this song and it was a pleasure to hear Brenda Edwards’ Nettie sing it in the ENO production.

You’ll Never Walk Alone has been recorded many times but for us in the UK, the most famous version is that of Gerry and the Pacemakers from 1963:

Although it was the Together version that was nominated, I couldn’t resist including a video of Alfie singing this at the VE Day celebrations in 2015, as it was the first time he sang this for a long time:

Thank you again for supporting Alfie and Michael to the number one position – if you want to see an exclusive video from the boys then make sure you subscribe now!

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When it was announced that Alfie Boe and Michael Ball would attempt a world record for the most amount of album signings in 24 hours, it’s safe to say that fans were very excited.  Beginning in Blackpool before moving onto Manchester, Sheffield, Nottingham and finishing up in London’s Oxford Street, fans were busy sharing and tweeting #TogetherAgainToday as the duo went from city to city.  Fans from as far afield as USA, Japan and Australia were able to join in the fun as well as those lucky 610 fans who got their albums signed by Alfie and Michael.

To break the record, previously held by Westlife, Alfie and Michael had to be physically present to sign albums in five different locations, so when the boys arrived (on bikes!) at HMV Oxford Street just before 8pm, there was already a party atmosphere in place, also helped by the presence of Strictly Come Dancing stars, Neil and Katya Jones.  Fans who had queued for a long time (longest I found was three hours) all said it was worth it to get a few words with Alfie and Michael and to get their albums signed in person.

I was there with two fabulous friends (both of whom I met through Alfie), Linda and Cecelia, and together we spoke to several fans about the album and their experience of the signing (excuse the sound, it was really loud in there):

Many thanks to Ash, Abbie and Daga at Decca for editing the video to include Yvonne, Sue, Hayley, Vicky And Florence, Emily and Amy, Gina and Gaye, Tracey, Philip and Marilyn, Holly, Lesley, Joolz and Tienne and Georgie.  There were also contributions from Rachael, Donna, Tricia and Sarah:

It was wonderful to be among so many like minded fellow fans and to talk about Alfie and Michael Together Again and of course any opportunity to see Alfie is always welcome!

The consensus amongst fans, including those who didn’t want to be filmed, was that the most popular songs on the album are He Lives In You and The Rose although other songs with honourable mentions were The Prayer, Bring Me Sunshine, You’re The Voice, Kismet medley, New York, New York, West Side Story medley and You’ll Be Back.  In fact, there weren’t many songs that didn’t get a mention at all – next time, I’m not leaving until the entire track list gets a mention!

Now I don’t know about you, but I’m relishing the prospect of hearing You’re The Voice on the forthcoming tour – and if they don’t Bring Me Sunshine then I’ll darn well feel cheated!  I’d love to hear what you would all like to hear on the tour – leave a comment below!

Alfie and Michael are thrilled and so appreciative of all our efforts, so to see an exclusive message, ensure that you’re subscribed and then check your inbox!

Together Again is available now – so buy, buy, buy!

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Half way through our hunt to find our favourite live Alfie Boe song and we come to another new entry into the top ten although Forever Young has featured quite heavily in the annual Alfie Boe Best Recorded Song poll.  The live version from the US Memorial Day concert 2016 was nominated by Sheila Currie who also chose it amongst her six sensational songs.

The song was written by Bob Dylan, an Alfie favourite, for his son and the lyrics are just beautiful, working so well for remembrance events.  In recent years Alfie has indeed performed this song twice at US and UK remembrance concerts so we have to go back to 2013 to hear the version that appears on Alfie’s album Trust:

Just love Alfie’s intro to this song – however many times you hear this anecdote, it’s still great!

Trust is available here:

Alfie’s new album, Together Again, with Michael Ball has just been released and is available here:

If you want to win a signed copy – make sure you’re subscribed to this blog to be in with a chance!  You also get four Alfie photos to download!

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Two days to go until Alfie Boe and Michael Ball’s second album together, titled Together Again, is released and despite some tracks being released already, anticipation amongst fans is palpable.  Well, having listened several times now, I can unequivocally say that Together Again is a masterpiece and there are tracks that have been on constant replay since I first heard them.

A mix of well known favourites and newer songs, Together Again is that rare thing; the tricky second album that surpasses the giddy heights of the first.  Both Alfie and Michael give tour de force performances and the song choices reflect a much more harmonious blend of their voices.  Restrained when necessary, belting it out when the music requires, Alfie’s tenor and Michael’s baritone combine to showcase their contrasting styles perfectly, none better than on the opening track, a West Side Story medley.  Having been done to death you would think that there is nothing new the pair can add to Maria.  Wrong – Alfie and Michael sing this song as if their lives depended on it and, as a duet, manage to bring something new and refreshing to one of the most famous musical songs of all time.

Another famous and much recorded song to feature on the album is Stranger in Paradise, here mixed with This Is My Beloved, also from Kismet, the musical where Alfie and Michael first met and became friends.  Although the show was an unqualified disaster, at least according to these two, it seems that perhaps enough time has now passed to allow the pair to want to sing the music again.  For these reasons, this medley was one of the most hotly anticipated songs amongst fans (Alfie’s Stranger in Paradise was this week voted into our Best Live Song poll) and it doesn’t disappoint, particularly on This Is My Beloved, a song I wasn’t so familiar with.

Of the other tracks, highlights are The Prayer, Evermore and The RoseThe Prayer is just beautiful and is a treat for those who love to hear Alfie sing in Italian.  However, both Alfie and Michael excel and it seems to be a fitting song for the troubled times we currently live in.  Evermore is the newest song on the album, being from the live action Beauty and the Beast film released this year.  Dan Stevens sings it for the film and the soundtrack features Josh Groban – my only quibble with this album is that maybe the boys missed a trick not getting Groban to guest.  Perhaps a future collaboration might be on the cards?  Having said that, Evermore as a song could have been written for the pair, especially as it is quite reminiscent of the music of Les Mis.

The best song on the album, vocally is John Farnham’s You’re The Voice:

The duo performed this to great acclaim whilst on tour in Australia recently and I can’t wait to hear this live when the Together Again tour gets underway in a few weeks – it’s a song that needs the audience to really participate.  I can’t listen to this without singing along at the top of my voice, it’s going to be hairs on the back of your neck time in November / December.

Although You’re The Voice is fabulous, my favourite song and the one that sums up the appeal of Ball and Boe is Bring Me Sunshine.  You can hear the joy and happiness from both Alfie and Michael and again, this will be amazing live.  I’m sure Alfie and Michael will appear on Strictly Come Dancing this year and it would just make my year to see them sing Bring Me Sunshine with Susan Calman and Kevin Clifton accompanying.  For those of you who don’t watch Strictly, Susan and Kevin’s quickstep to this song was a joy to behold.

To sum up, this album is an out and out triumph and I can’t recommend it highly enough.  If you haven’t yet ordered your copy, get down to one of these HMV stores (click here) on Friday 27th to get a signed copy or click on the image below to order:

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