After the fantastic review of Alfie Boe’s Belfast shows earlier this week, my expectations of his show at the Hampton Court Festival were sky high. Luckily, along with the weather, he didn’t disappoint. The evening was glorious, the setting perfection and the company of fabulous friends made it an evening to remember. I suspect it will also be an evening to remember for the poor audience member who popped to the loo at the wrong moment and Alfie stopped the show for her!
And so to the show itself. Alfie was accompanied by the usual band line up of Murray Gould, Richard Causon, John Tonks and Dan McKinna who were joined by a new guitarist, Al in place of Matt White. Apologies to Al but I didn’t catch his surname so if anyone has it please let me know! Launching into A Marechiari and Mamma, the evening got off to a lively start before giving way to the gentler sounds of Parlami D’amore Mariu. The musical theatre section included a lot of references to Les Mis although the only song included was Bring Him Home. Alfie jested that he would in fact be singing I Dreamed A Dream but sadly / luckily (delete as appropriate) he stopped himself. Prior to that, we had Come What May and Being Alive.
It was around this time that Alfie said that he was now coming to the part of the concert that involved him taking his jacket off which he duly proceeded to do…unfortunately, this was the wrong part of the concert and Murray had to point out the order of the set list. Those in the front row were then able to get a close hand view of Alfie down on all fours as he peered at the set list – they may have recovered by now! Happily for me, the set list dictated that the next songs were from my favourite Alfie album (and favourite EVER), Trust. The title song was followed by Keep Me In Your Heart which had us all in fine voice and up out of our seats dancing. After listening to the song countless times, I can confirm that “the buttons on your blouse” still has the same effect on me. Here is Linda’s video of Trust and showcases the incredible musicianship of the band (with the biggest shout out reserved for Murray):
As you can see from this, Alfie was at his quick witted best with the audience, taking photos of the band and himself with a lady’s phone…before being beaten to the punchline by an even more quick witted audience member.
Before rounding off the evening with Mambo Italiano and Buona Sera from Serenata, Alfie gave us four songs from the newly released Classic Quadrophenia. Alfie is one of those rare singers who sound better live than on recording but as the sound of Alfie’s vocals on Quadrophenia sound as if they were recorded live (click here to see what Alfie said about the recording process) I was keen to hear these songs live. Two of them were already included on the Serenata tour but Sea and Sand and Drowned are new to his live repertoire. After hearing them live, I can safely say that the lucky ticket holders for the Royal Albert Hall on 5 July will be blown out of their seats by the production.
When the Serenata tour ended in December, I felt that I had seen and heard Alfie at his best. The repertoire, the range, his stage presence not to mention the voice were all far better than I had previously seen him. At Hampton Court last night, he again raised his game and was quite simply phenomenal – this was without a doubt the best. I’ve no doubt that when we revisit the Favourite Alfie Boe Tour poll in 2016 (it’s still open – click here) this mini UK tour will be head and shoulders above the rest.
After singing for almost two hours, Alfie’s encore was a song that he sang for the first time only a few weeks ago but has swiftly become a fan favourite, Snow Patrol’s Run. Thanks to Linda for sharing:
Classic Quadrophenia is available here:
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