Musicals

A summer evening – albeit a chilly evening – was spent in the grounds of Kenwood House, Hampstead Heath, London in the company of Alfie Boe and his fabulous band, not to mention fabulous friends in the form of Linda A, Linda W, Jayne, Cecelia, Roberta, Annie, Pauline, Jean and Claire.

Alfie’s set was almost the same as at Kelvingrove and Fleetwood, with a couple of differences and at least one new addition, to the encore.  Led Zeppelin’s Going To California was a new song, and Linda W was in seventh heaven (listen carefully and you can hear her gasps of delight at the beginning):

Alfie was, as usual, in fine voice and had all the energy you might expect from a performer at the top of his game and clearly having the time of his life.  I seem to write that sentence fairly often these days, but with every new concert, he just gets better and better and to me, it seems that he never takes his good fortune for granted, which unfolds as seemingly relentless energy on stage.  Just watching the energy on stage exhausts the audience, never mind Alfie himself!

Highlights were The Way You Look Tonight from his forthcoming album, Bring Him Home (very emotional this time), The Who section, particularly Pinball Wizard and the country section.  I love all those songs and having only discovered Wagon Wheel last year, via Alfie, I especially love the joy the band bring to that song.  The songs from Together and Together Again had the crowd singing along and of course we celebrated Ball and Boe’s double BRIT win too. However, the undoubted stand out song was Bring Me Sunshine; Alfie was joined on stage by the children of the Rays of Sunshine choir and they were magnificent:

They were all wonderful and I’m pleased to say that the audience were able to help bring joy and laughter into the lives of seriously ill children by giving to the collecting buckets available.  If anyone wasn’t able to give at the concert and would like to help, click here to donate.

I’m happy to say that I saw Alfie before the show and he obligingly signed some more competition bits so make sure you’re a subscriber to get first dibs on entries – coming soon!

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The success of Alfie Boe and Michael Ball continued last night as, on a star studded evening at the Classic BRIT Awards 2018, they won two (count em!) awards!  With a one hundred percent success rate, they won in each category they were nominated for:

 

 

and

 

As we know, Album of the Year was voted for by the public and it was clear that both Alfie and Michael were thrilled to win on this basis.  However, Group of the Year was decided by a BRIT award panel and I for one, felt so pleased that Alfie and Michael’s work was recognised by their industry peers.

It was an extra special night too, for Decca Records, for as well as the two Ball and Boe awards, they also won with Sheku Kanneh-Mason, Jess Gillam (Sound of Classical) and Renee Fleming, not to mention the lifetime recognition for Dame Vera Lynn.  Both Kanneh-Mason and Gillam joined Tokio Myers and Andrew Lloyd Webber in calling for greater recognition of the value that music education in schools brings to children’s lives, a subject that Alfie has also commented on in the past, through his work with Nordoff Robbins.

The musical performances throughout the evening were superb, with the stand outs being the opening West Side Story medley with Alfie and Michael, Katherine Jenkins’ Never Enough and Bryn Terfel’s two performances of If I Were A Rich Man and the Pearl Fishers duet with Andrea Bocelli.

Thank you to everyone who voted and shared the Classic FM voting site over the last few weeks – give yourselves a pat on the back because you did it!

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Last night saw the first concert of Alfie Boe’s summer concerts, in Kelvingrove Bandstand, Glasgow. Roving reporters Roberta Kappus and Annie Lloyd were there for thoughtsofjustafan:

Glasgow was simply everything anyone could have hoped for – two hours and fifteen minutes of Alfie’s musical talent, backed by an incredible band (there was no support act). There was no intermission and it was pure Alfie, covering what could be described as his greatest hits and more. It was musical heaven and as it was Alfie’s first UK solo performance since Leeds in 2015, to say it was well worth the wait would be an understatement.

Last night we were once again treated to Alfie’s amazing talent as he began with swing from his upcoming album. We then journeyed through Serenata, both Together albums and concerts, Trust and Classic Quadrophenia. He saved the best till last with a mix of country and rock and never before heard material from Alfie.  He was back on the guitar for Wagon Wheel, an amazing Glen Campbell medley and an Islands in the Stream duet with one of the female singers. Alfie has an amazing ability to sing a previously recorded song heard many times before and place his own mark on it. Once Alfie has sung it the song is never the same again.

The addition of Tommy after Quad was a fantastic surprise and a massive crowd pleaser; he really hit his stride from this point, loosening up and clearly enjoying playing the music he loves alongside fantastic musicians who out played any orchestra.

Yes he did sing Bring Him Home, to a standing ovation, but not before teasing the audience that he was going to sing from Les Mis, instead launching into You’ll Be Back from Hamilton, accompanied with stories of his time on Broadway.

A fantastic night that can only be even bigger and better in Fleetwood.

Another fabulous review from two star reporters – roll on Fleetwood!

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an exclusive interview and four exclusive photos

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The third song in our countdown is the first of the three new entries to this year’s poll.  From Ball and Boe’s second number one album, Together Again, the song in at number eight is He Lives In You:

Taken from the stage version of Disney’s The Lion King, and also opening the sequel, Simba’s Pride, He Lives In You was one of Alfie’s choices for Together Again.  Since his first child was born, Alfie has tended to choose at least one song per album for his children, so I’m wondering if this was the case for He Lives In You – I really should have asked him when I interviewed him last year!

He Lives In You was written by South African composer and musician Lebo M in conjunction with Mark Mancina and Jay Rifkin, originally for the album Rhythm of the Pride Lands, music inspired by the original Lion King movie.  The song then went on to appear in the stage version as They Live In You (first act), before returning as He Lives In You in the second act.

Together Again is available here:

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A few weeks ago, in response to fan photos of meet and greet opportunities with Alfie Boe, we looked at two stories in more depth.  In a second instalment, here are two more stories, from Cathy Rogers Sarabia (my birthday twin) and Julie Connolly.  Here is Cathy’s story:

I’ve met Alfie several times at stage doors and M&Gs, and he always shows up smiling, courteous, generous, and so funny! My first time was in London for his birthday party back in 2011, before Les Mis at The Queens Theatre and after we sang to him, he recommended we work on our singing. The last time was in NYC at The Metropolitan Opera House after Classic Quadrophenia, and when he flashed me that smile of recognition and waved to my daughter hiding in the back, my heart nearly melted. In between those two times were, I don’t know 10 or 11 more meetings, from Broadway theatres, to nightclubs, concert halls, Opera Houses, bookstores; and every time he amazes me with his kindness to fans and seeming shock and surprise that he is loved so much by so many people. I think my favourite picture with Alfie is from Frederick, Maryland back in 2013. It was a spontaneous decision to stay after that concert and sometimes no preparation is the best preparation!

 

The second story is from Julie in 2015:

My son shared a house with one of Alfie’s nephews. He took me back stage at Leeds Millennium Square. Alfie saw me, stood up and came straight over to talk to me. He was lovely, polite and friendly. I will never forget it!

 

What fabulous stories ladies – and equally fabulous photos too!

If you would like to see your own story featured here, fill in the form:

Please send an accompanying photo to admin@thoughtsofjustafan.com.

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Thank you for sending in your nominations for Alfie Boe’s Best Live Song 2018 – we have several new songs to add to the voting list! They are:

  • Wagon Wheel, nominated by Lesley Loftus, Sarah Buttifant, Lee Kelly, Lynda Dawe, Pip Pallett, Pat Davies, Linda Wellington, Pat Watterson, Wendy Lowe, Janet Hudson, Brenda Licence and Clare Shorter
  • You’re The Voice – Gill Jansingh
  • Tiny Dancer – Maureen Nolepa
  • He Lives In You – Debbie Hickmott
  • Keep Me In Your Heart – Lilian Evans and Alison Roseweir
  • The Prayer – Catherine Cheung and Kathryn Richards
  • A Thousand Years – Claire Shorter
  • Wham Medley – Pauline Young and Akiko Yonezawa

It’s now time to cast your vote – hurry, voting only lasts a couple of days this time!

Here are all the nominated songs to help you decide!

 

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Alfie Boe fans around the world are counting down to the summer concerts in the UK and something that’s become an annual event before a string of concerts is a poll to find out which of Alfie Boe’s live songs is the fan favourite.  Will any of the new songs we saw from Alfie on the Together Again tour make it into the top ten or will the out and out favourite of the last two years, Run, come out on top again?  Whatever happens, it’s up to you to nominate and vote, so let’s do it!

These are the songs already nominated from previous years:

 

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Earlier this year, we looked at the pleasures of meeting Alfie Boe and it was so much fun to see so many photos of Alfie’s lovely fans.  On the back of that, I asked you to send in your photos and experiences of meeting Alfie and you didn’t disappoint!

Starting us off are two ladies who shared photos with Alfie at a stage door and the Trust album signing in London.  Kate Griffin first ran into Alfie at the Les Mis stage door and this is what she says:

My very first meet with Alfie was quite by chance at the stage door when he appeared in Les Mis. My husband and I travelled to London to see the show and happened to be passing the back of the theatre prior to the show. As we walked by we spotted Alfie on the other side of the street as he dived in to a bar! We thought that was it and he was gone but he must have been looking for someone as he immediately came back out again and crossed the street toward us. I was so excited as I think you can see in my face! He was quite happy to spend a minute or two chatting and posing! I’ve been so lucky to since have had two official meet and greets and another stage door greet at Carousel as well as the HMV signing last year. So I am truly blessed and lucky to be able to say I’ve met him a few times and had that arm around my waist for photos and seen close in to those gorgeous brown eyes!

The second story is from Lesley Armstrong and her photo is from the Trust album signing:

Lesley Armstrong HMV 2013

Lesley says

I have had the opportunity to meet with Alfie on many occasions, and he never fails to bring me joy as it’s a reminder of how hard he has worked to get to where he is today in his profession. He is the best opera singer Britain has ever produced, and is so humble & wonderful to his fans. He puts you immediately at ease and the tongue tie you feel disappears and you break into a huge smile just being around him. I am feeling less tongue tied the more I meet him trying to relax and just take in those rare special moments with him that seem to pass so quickly so touchable to be prepared if you wan’t to ask that specific question or get that special photo of you both together. Alfie is the only man who could make me travel the world just to see him; even for just 5 minutes I would be there to support him. He’s our treasure and a wonderful entertainer.

Thank you Kate and Lesley – treasured memories indeed!

There are still meet and greet packages available for Alfie’s solo UK shows – click here for details.

If you would like to see your own photo and story here, then please fill in the form!

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Only a few days until March begins which means we’re moving closer to seeing Alfie Boe perform live, either in the US in May or back in the UK over the summer.  In the meantime, let’s take a look at Tricia Howard’s Six Sensational Songs.  Tricia, like all of us who have done it, says she found it “so hard to narrow it down to even six songs as I get chills just about every single time I hear his voice. I had to pull out all of my Alfie track lists to decide.”

Bring Him Home.  Tricia says  “I am pretty sure this is going to be on just about everyone’s list (and for great reason – it is “his song” after all). My first Alfie experience was him in the 25th Anniversary Concert of Les Mis playing Valjean  It was also my introduction to Les Mis in general and when he came out and sang that song…. my entire emotional psyche was shaken. His connection with the piece is so genuine – it’s one of the most unbelievable musical experiences I’ve ever had the pleasure of hearing. I’m an actress and opera singer as well, and his vocal control in this song is impeccable which just adds to it all.”

Again from Les Mis, Who Am I, chosen because the first time Tricia saw Alfie live was at the Imperial Theatre reprising the role of Valjean and she got front row centre orchestra seats.   Tricia says “when he sang this song onstage he was making eye contact with me the whole time and I was there mouthing every word with him. He truly is a gifted actor – it’s not all just about his voice, it’s everything.”

Brindisi from La Traviata, with Natasha Marsh.  Tricia chose this because “this makes my opera heart SOAR. When I am on the subway listening to this song I am so empowered to get through the day. I always pretend I’m Natasha Marsh getting to sing alongside him.”  I’m with you on that one, Tricia.  This was on BBC’s Children in Need but the song is actually from Natasha’s album, although it later appeared on Alfie’s You’ll Never Walk Alone.

Dr Jimmy from Classic Quad.  Tricia chose this because “I grew up listening to The Who and this was always a favourite of mine. What I really love about this entire album is this is the type of music that Alfie LOVES to perform. He talks about it in his autobiography (he actually mentions both Billy Idol and Michael Ball in the book which makes my heart happy that he got to perform with them both) and I think it’s so amazing that he is living out his dream. He has such a wide range of talent.”

Tell Me It’s Not True, Blood Brothers, chosen because this was the first song Tricia ever heard of Alfie’s outside of Les Mis and it really sunk in that he was my all time favourite artist.

Rosie, from Trust (to my knowledge, still the only time Alfie has sung this live) at the Royal Festival Hall.  Tricia speak for all of us I think when she says “it just astounds me how wide his ability is. Not many people can go from Puccini to Elvis to Lloyd Webber to Sinatra and absolutely KILL ALL OF THEM”.

Thank you so much Tricia for sharing your song choices with us – just one new addition to the list this time but the inclusion of Bring Him Home means that it is now the most popular choice, taking over from Love Reign O’er Me.

If you would like to share your Six Sensational Songs with us, please fill in the form:

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On a wet and windy February day, what better way to cheer ourselves up with a look at six more sensational songs from Alfie Boe; this time, it’s the choices of Deanna Lintern.

The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore from Storyteller.

Volare, from Serenata.

Luna Malinconia, also from Serenata and also from Newcastle.

Tell Me It’s Not True.

Buona Sera, from Serenata.

Mambo Italiano, again from Serenata – I think Deanna loves this album!

Yet again, these six songs showcase Alfie’s repertoire, with four of the six being brand new additions to the series.

If you want to share your favourite Alfie Boe songs with us, please fill in the form:

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exclusive review of second and third Japanese concerts

4 exclusive photos and a welcome message from Alfie

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