Alfie has just begun a hectic schedule of events with two nights at the Boston Pops – and regular guest reviewer, Roberta Kappus was there for us.  Here is what happened on Tuesday:

How can you not be totally entranced by a man who gives his all to every performance, whether it be for five minutes or two hours? Rock the Pops may have been a Boston Pops production but there is no doubt that the star was Alfie Boe.  Alfie rocked Boston brilliantly, totally deserving Keith Lockhart’s praise as “the most absurdly versatile musician I’ve ever met.”  We all knew that about Alfie but it was nice of Lockhart to acknowledge it.

The opening featured some Pete Townshend songs, starting with Baba O’Riley.  Appropriately Alfie’s next two songs were from Classic Quadrophenia which Alfie and Lockhart had performed at Tanglewood.  Perhaps to show the significance of Quad Alfie wore the same outfit as he had during that tour including the pin on the jacket.  His songs were 5:15 which was amazing and Love Reign O’er Me, performed with an intensity that only Alfie can achieve. Then a switch to The Rolling Stones and You Can’t Always Get What You Want and Sympathy for the Devil. Hauntingly beautiful and indicative of Alfie’s versatility was Nights In White Satin done as an instrumental with Alfie offstage over voicing it.  As usual, intermission came much too soon. The whole show went way too fast as is usually the case with Alfie’s performances.

The second half featured Led Zeppelin’s Goin’ To California, Who Wants To Live Forever (stunningly beautiful), We Are the Champions and the encore Sweet Home Alabama. With both We Are the Champions and Sweet Home, Alfie vigorously signalled to the audience to join him in singing and to get out of their seats; they did both. Standing ovations followed.

The Symphony Hall is a rather intimate venue and Alfie showed his ability to adapt to any environment.  He did not have the full stage for his performance but only the section that would comprise the very centre stage.  Alfie made full use of this area, bounding from one side to the other and constantly going to the edge of the stage and waving to familiar faces in the audience. There is no doubt that Alfie loves performing and certainly enjoys his audience. He includes them whenever possible and shows it throughout every performance.

Thank you Alfie Boe for an evening that only could have come from you.

Fabulous review Roberta – thank you!

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Three weeks until Alfie Boe’s Homecoming concert at Fleetwood (anyone excited yet?) and we’re at number three in the quest to find Alfie’s best live song 2018.  This song is another new entry to the chart and is the first song to feature that Alfie has not yet recorded and appeared in his solo set on the Together Again tour:

It is of course, Wagon Wheel and for me, was a highlight of the show.  Judging by the results of this poll, it was a highlight for many fans – let’s hope it doesn’t join the ranks of songs Alfie never records!

Wagon Wheel is a song from a US country band, The Old Crow Medicine Show and is actually a hybrid of a chorus and melody from Bob Dylan (he really does get around) and verses from Ketch Secor of OId Crow.  Here is the original:

Old Crow Medicine Show have just released a new album and are currently touring the US – they may just feature in a future post on exploring new music!

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One Vision at the Team GB celebration at the Royal Albert Hall – rock Alfie is well and truly to the fore: (Alfie starts at 2m55)

Alfie recorded this with Kimberley Walsh as the official song for Team GB and the 2012 Olympics, here’s what they had to say about the song:

One Vision was of course originally written and recorded by Queen and as we’ve subsequently learnt, Freddie Mercury was a big influence on Alfie’s life and music.  Click here for Alfie’s Freddie Documentary.

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From last week’s new entry into the top ten Alfie Boe Live Songs 2018, we now have a song in it’s second year of the chart but one that has made a huge impact on both singer and audience.  Love Reign O’er Me jumped into second place in 2017 after first jumping into our lives at the world premiere of Classic Quadrophenia in 2015:

Since then, the song has rarely been missing from Alfie’s live repertoire and never fails to thrill audiences; his voice is perfected matched to the notes and and the emotional intensity required.  The vast majority of Who fans have been won over by Alfie’s interpretation of Love Reign and it’s always a pleasure to see new fans find and appreciate Alfie.  Here is the original, at Live Aid:

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Fantastic news for Alfie Boe and Michael Ball – on top of chart topping success with Together Again, they have now been nominated for Group of the Year and Album of the Year at the Classic BRITs which take place in June.

Although Group of the Year is decided by a panel, the voting public get to choose who wins album of the year! So, to ensure the best men win, click here to register your votes for Alfie and Michael.

Alfie has of course been nominated for the Classic BRITS before, with Onward – he didn’t win (that was Sting) so wouldn’t it be fabulous if he and Michael won this time?

Happy voting!

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Yes, it’s four years since thoughtsofjustafan began and it’s been another crazy, wonderful year with all of you and Alfie (and Michael).

One of my highlights from this past year is one of my favourite live songs too:

My other highlights from this year are

Interviewing Alfie in November

The Together Again tour and album

Ball and Boe TV show recording

Alfie’s new song, Wagon Wheel:

Seeing the joy brought to fans in USA, Australia and Japan with Alfie / Alfie and Michael’s shows

Interviewing Alfie’s Carousel understudy, Will Barratt – one of my favourite interviews and albums

Interviewing John Owen-Jones – just lovely, even if he did spell my name wrong on the album he signed for me!

It’s been an absolute pleasure meeting so many readers and fellow Alfie fans who took the time in the last year to come and tell me how much you enjoy thoughtsofjustafan. Thank you, the support is much appreciated.

As always, there’s a few people I’d like to thank:
Linda A, Linda W, Cecelia, Margie, Carole, Sue, Pat, Jan, Roberta, Annie and Sally – thanks for being fantastic friends and always having my back

Roberta, Linda, Cecelia, Annie and Margie for standing outside numerous stage doors to get competition prizes signed for me!

Linda W – thanks for the amazing photos and videos

Deb – thanks for believing in me

Andrea and Emily at Vector – couldn’t do it without you, thanks for everything

Alfie – thank you for the inspiration and the continued support – it’s a pleasure and privilege to look after your fans!

Halfway through the countdown to find your favourite Alfie Boe Best Live Song 2018 and we arrive at a song that many fans described as their favourite track from Ball and Boe’s Together Again album:

The song was written by David Foster and Carole Bayer Sager, with Alberto Testa and Tony Renis for the 1998 film Quest for Camelot and was originally two solo tracks; English for Celine Dion and Italian for Andrea Bocelli.  The song was then released as a duet by Dion and Bocelli and that is the version that is most well known.

Both Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli have sung this many times with other people and it has also featured in the repertoires of many other singers and festivals.

Composer Foster had said that is is “a song that I just never get tired of playing, I never get tired of hearing it, and I never get tired of people telling me that they enjoy it. And it seems to mean a lot—it means a lot of different things to a lot of people. So it’s a powerful piece of music. I think it came through me, and I think Carole’s lyric is beautiful. And it’s very meaningful to me that when all is said and done, there is a piece of music like that, that will undoubtedly outlive me. It was a moment—that song was a moment for sure.”

The Prayer was was one of my standout songs of Together Again – it’s beautiful and is a treat for those who love to hear Alfie sing in Italian.  Both Alfie and Michael excel here and it seems to be a fitting song for the troubled times we currently live in.

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As we know, Alfie is a long standing patron of Blackpool’s Trinity Hospice and Brian House, the children’s hospice located on the same site.  Alfie has spearheaded a number of fundraising initiatives for the hospice over the years and the latest is Pay For A Day, highlighting the daily running costs.

Alfie says

Brian House is a lifeline for many families in our community – it is a privilege to support such vital work for these children. I was born in Blackpool and grew up in Fleetwood. I know how important the sense of community is to everyone in our part of the world – and how our coastal location makes it so important to have good, strong resources for local people to call upon.  That’s why I’m so proud to be a Patron of Brian House, part of Trinity Hospice. They’re right at the heart of the Fylde coast community, delivering the very best care to life-limited children whose families are going through unimaginably hard times.

In an attempt to do my part, I’m thrilled that a donation from every ticket sold for my ‘homecoming’ concert in Fleetwood this summer will go to our local hospice – enough to pay for a whole day at Brian House, and much more.

It’s hard to imagine the rollercoaster of emotion that the family of a life-limited child must experience and I urge the community to get behind Brian House in order to help them provide the type of care we would all hope for.  Pay for a Day is a brilliant idea. It doesn’t matter how you give or raise the money, whether it’s something you do on your own, or a way for you and your family to come together and achieve something amazing. If you Pay for a Day, you’ll be funding expert care for kids living just up the road from you!

Please, join me in supporting Brian House. I know it’s a place full of happiness, music and laughter, as staff work hard to ensure the most fragile youngsters in the Fylde coast area can make the most of every day.

Alfie mentions here that a donation from each ticket sold for his Fleetwood concert on 2 June will go to the hospice so if you haven’t yet bought a ticket or have and want to encourage everyone else to go, click here for tickets.  Hopefully it will be good weather, but if not, the one thing I can guarantee is a fabulous performance from Alfie.

Fans will be doing our bit over the summer –  last year, we held a two day YouTube marathon and raised over £500! We had so much fun, we’re going to do it all over again! Watch this space for the date to be announced! If you would like to donate before then, click here.

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The countdown to the summer concerts continues and we are now at number six.  So far, so good but this week there’s a difference: two songs tied for sixth!  The first is a song that has featured in all the previous Best Live Song polls and was first seen in 2012 on Alfie’s Bring Him Home tour:

The song was written by Albert Brumley, a musician and singer born in Oklahoma in 1905. After studying at the Hartford Musical Institute, Arkansas, Brumley toured with the Hartford Quartet and went on to write / copyright an astonishing 800 songs. The most famous of these is I’ll Fly Away from 1932. In 1970 he was inducted into the Country Song Writer’s Hall of Fame and his songs have been covered by amongst others, Bob Dylan.

The second song is a new entry and featured on Ball and Boe’s 2016 chart topper, Together (46 seconds in is the best bit of this video):

The song is of course A Thousand Years, one of my favourite songs from both the Together tours and album.  Written for the soundtrack of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 1, the song was written by Christina Perri and David Hodges and recorded by Perri.  Released in 2011, the song has charted three times, eventually reaching number 13.

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This is now my fourth instalment of my 2018 resolution to listen to different types of music and for this month, I’m taking inspiration from Alfie again.  In a recent Instagram chat from Hong Kong, Alfie was listening to Chris Cornell, former lead singer with Soundgarden and Audioslave and I thought this would make an excellent choice for April.

Cornell sadly passed away in 2017 but was one of the leading lights of the grunge movement that came out of Seattle in the late eighties / early nineties and the early music of Soundgarden certainly reflects that, as well as the heavy metal and rock roots that are present throughout Cornell’s music.  Before I began listening to Soundgarden for this piece, I have to say that I wasn’t altogether aware of much of the band’s music…or rather, I was aware of the general sound (like Alfie, this music was a big part of my later teenage years) but not of Soundgarden in particular.  I definitely couldn’t have named any Seattle based bands other than Nirvana and Pearl Jam, and my only knowledge of Cornell was You Know My Name, the theme for 007’s Casino Royale.

I began by listening to 1988’s Ultramega OK and the sound instantly transported me back to my student clubbing days – guitar riffs, raw, powerful vocals and the driving rhythm that makes you dance.  Cornell’s vocals remind me of Robert Plant at times but he really comes into his own on the blues tinged Smokestack Lightning:

Moving onto 1994’s Superunknown, the music and lyrics become much darker and touched by feelings about depression and are quite bleak.  The album allows Cornell’s vocals to shine through much more (he has regularly been voted best rock vocalist by peers and fans alike) and as a whole, hangs together than previous albums.  Black Hole Sun and Fell on Black Days are great tracks, along with Day I Tried to Live.

Before coming back to Soundgarden, Cornell formed Audioslave with members of Rage Against the Machine and their self titled album first album was released in 2002.  When listening, I felt that this album was much more cohesive as a sound, with my favourite tracks being Like A Stone, I Am The Highway and Be Yourself.  Although I can appreciate Cornell’s music and voice through his collaborations with others, it’s his solo work that really shows his talent.  In particular, I liked Nearly Forgot My Broken Heart and The Promise:

I can hear Alfie singing many of these songs, as he definitely has the voice for rock (looking forward to finding out about Boston Pops) but it would be even lovelier to hear his take on these two solo songs.

Cornell’s solo album Higher Truth and others are available here:

If you would like to recommend any music to aid my 2018 resolution of listening to more music, fill in the form!

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