Classic Quadrophenia in the USA came to a close on Saturday night at the Greek Theatre, LA. Luckily, our roving US reporter, Roberta Kappus was on hand to review for us.
As the saying goes “Alfie never disappoints” and he certainly didn’t at The Greek Theatre. He came bounding onto the stage to applause with the same enthusiasm and energy as his first night at Tanglewood and accelerated from there. From the beginning Alfie tried to encourage the audience to join in singing but this audience was a little more laid back as although some joined in, most were happy to enjoy Alfie’s singing. I hasten to add this was not indicative of any lack of appreciation of Alfie’s performance; there was more applause for Alfie throughout the show than at any other venue I attended. The Real Me, his opening song, was interrupted by applause three or four times. In addition to noteworthy shouts and applause there were scattered standing ovations at the ends of many songs. It seemed as though Alfie was reading the audience very well and the audience seemed happy with Alfie as applause and shouts of approval came throughout the show. The audience seemed especially appreciative of Alfie’s punctuation of songs with dramatic arm gestures along with all the legwork. Alfie’s exertions were in no way inhibited by the warmth on the stage. It was not a large stage and the orchestra seemed a bit cramped. Alfie wiped his brow numerous times, finished at least one water bottle which he tossed into the crowd and during the second half stripped off his jacket, tossing that aside.
Only professional cameras were prohibited and when Billy Idol made his entrance so many phones went up you could not even see the stage. Alfie and Billy played off each other very well in their duets, with both snarling. Pete was greeted with a standing ovation as has been the case since the beginning of the tour. His dancing with Alfie went up a level at The Greek with all the steps being very pronounced followed by several twirls. His guitar playing was once again masterful.
My take on Alfie as a performer is that he puts a lot of thought into his performance and keeps on thinking about it and adjusting throughout the run. It is one of the reasons that I can see the same show multiple times. It simply isn’t the same show even though the words and the songs are the same. With Classic Quad this was best exemplified in Love Reign O’er Me. Alfie fills this song with such physical and vocal intensity that there does not seem room for adjustment and yet he finds ways. At the Met he sank to his knees and leaned back on the final “Love” in the song. At The Greek Alfie walked out onto a darkened stage during the symphonic introduction, crouched down in the very front and centre of the stage, stayed there unmoving and then began singing from that position. After he had sung several bars he rose to a standing position and continued with what seemed like an added intensity to the final “Love”. The audience responded with thunderous applause and a standing ovation.
Thus ends five performances of Classic Quadrophenia in two weeks. From the first to the last Alfie gave totally outstanding performances. His singing was superb; the emotion he poured into song after song incredible; the power of his voice at each performance remarkable. Without a doubt Alfie owns this role.
Thank you once again to Roberta for a fabulous review, the next best thing to being there.
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