Classic Quadrophenia

All posts tagged Classic Quadrophenia

Two years after the triumphant world premiere of Pete Townshend’s Classic Quadrophenia (CQ) Alfie Boe and Billy Idol return to join Townshend in a limited run of US dates (click here for tickets).  Kicking off at Tanglewood on 2 September, the show will play two nights (9 – 10 September) at the Metropolitan Opera House, New York before finishing at The Greek Theatre, LA on 16 September.  Keith Lockhart will conduct at Tanglewood with the Boston Pops Orchestra and this will be familiar to Alfie as he has previously worked with both, when he recorded with them for their 2005 Christmas album, Sleigh Ride.  The original CQ conductor, Robert Ziegler will conduct for the other performances.


Alfie says that he is “thrilled to be joining Classic Quadrophenia for a limited run of US shows” and I confidently predict that quite a lot of Alfie fans will be thrilled too!  Since CQ was announced as a project in late 2014, US fans have been extremely keen to see Alfie perform this music and I urge everyone with the slightest chance of seeing it to beg, steal or borrow but basically do whatever it takes to see Alfie in the role of Jimmy – I would love to see it again.  An added bonus is the presence of Billy Idol, who was a surprising highlight for me at the original show.

When I first interviewed Alfie about CQ, he had yet to perform the show and I asked him about the recording process.  Apparently, Alfie said, it took “a good few hours.  The sound is almost like a live recording of my vocals as it was really flowing, we were really in the groove”.  I asked Alfie how difficult it was to sing and although some parts are trickier than others, the most difficult for him was getting the emotional intensity right.  “It’s an emotional piece and you have to understand what you are singing and the emotional intent behind it and then you’re alright”.

The Who’s historic rock opera Quadrophenia was of course originally released as an extensive double album in 1973 and has stood the test of time as a conceptual work honouring the Mod movement. The album, later turned into a feature film and theatrical production, follows an angst-ridden young man in London who creates a new life for himself as a member of the Mods.  Talking about the classical incarnation, Pete Townshend says ““I’m thrilled to be bringing Classic Quadrophenia stateside through the month of September. Melding the contrasting sounds of Quadrophenia with a symphony has been a really unique and powerful way to reach a wide audience of classical and pop music lovers alike. I couldn’t be more excited to see it continue in the U.S.”

Tickets go on sale on 13 June – click here.


Saturday, September 2          Lenox, MA             Tanglewood

Saturday, September 9          New York, NY        Metropolitan Opera House

Sunday, September 10           New York, NY        Metropolitan Opera House

Saturday, September 16        Los Angeles, CA     The Greek Theatre

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Song number three is last year’s number one, Love Reign O’er Me from Classic Quadrophenia (CQ):

This song, perhaps more than any other from Classic Quadrophenia, shows off Alfie’s vocal strength and versatility.  The high notes are just majestic, there’s no other word for it, whilst the quieter moments have such warmth and restraint.  Anyone who has been lucky enough to see Alfie sing this live will attest to the power of his voice.  Hearing it at the premiere of Classic Quad at the Royal Albert Hall was one of the best musical experiences of my life.  Quite simply took my breath away.

The song was originally performed by Roger Daltrey but here is Pete Townshend at Symfunny 2 last month:

Anyone who gets the chance to hear Alfie sing CQ in its entirety should grab it with both hands – he is absolutely sublime in the role.  As and when those chances become available, I’ll be sure to let you know.

Classic Quadrophenia is available here:

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Welcome to Six Sensational Songs, a new occasional series of blog posts featuring fans talking about their favourite Alfie Boe songs and why they are our favourites.  As the title suggests, each post will feature just six songs – it might seem a herculean task to choose just six but you can do it!  Details of how to send in your six favourites will be given later so keep reading!

As today marks the first anniversary of thoughtsofjustafan becoming the Official Alfie Boe Fan Blog, I’ll start us off.

Keep Me In Your Heart:

None of you will be surprised that this is my first choice but this particular video is from the last date of the 2016 Together tour and was a really special night, so glad I was able to be there.  I’m always asked what it is about this song that I love – and yes, at lot of the appeal comes down to one line “like the buttons on your blouse”.  What can I say – I love this song and it helps that it’s from my favourite Alfie album, Trust.

You Are My Heart’s Delight:

This was the first song I ever heard Alfie sing live and I was lucky enough to be in the company of the fabulous Linda Wellington (whose birthday it is today!) on a blisteringly hot day in September.  Alfie’s autobiography had been released the previous week (I first met Linda at the book signing) and knowing that this song was so personal to Alfie made it even more special. This is just one of Alfie’s appearances at Proms in the Park and, we hope, there will be many more to come.

Love Reign O’Er Me:

Never having been a Who fan or a fan of rock opera, I was dubious about Alfie singing Classic Quadrophenia – or I was until I heard this song.  Spine tingling doesn’t even begin to describe how I feel about Alfie singing this or any part of Classic Quad.  The world premiere at the Royal Albert Hall in July 2015 was one of the best evenings of my life and I know that anyone who was there feels the same.

Suspicious Minds:

Alfie singing Elvis is frequently one of my most popular subjects and the day that we heard Suspicious Minds at Carfest South in 2013 still ranks in top five Alfie concerts.  The 45 minute set was absolutely perfect for the setting and Alfie had the crowd, not to mention Chris Evans, completely in the palm of his hand.


Jimi Hendrix’s Angel was a song I had never heard before Alfie’s Storyteller tour but as with nearly everything else that Alfie sings (there are exceptions, but not many), I fell in love with the song.  We haven’t heard this since Storyteller and maybe that’s right as it fitted in perfectly with that tour – but I do miss it.  If you’re reading this Alfie, please bring it back, just once!


It was a struggle to choose just six songs and you might have noticed that there are actually eight songs in the videos as some videos contain two songs (not cheating, I promise!).  I’ve chosen Alfie’s duet on Brindisi with Lesley Garrett as the chemistry between them makes the song.  And Alfie nearly missing his first note due to laughing is worth another look every time.  Not everyone likes opera Alfie but I would dearly love to hear him singing this live.  It’s not unthinkable – he’s given us Nessun Dorma, Recondita Armonia and La Donna e Mobile in recent years after all.

Now, I’m sure that you’ll all have your own choices so if you want to share them with us, please fill in the form below.  You’ll need to choose six songs, they can be live or recorded but if you want a particular video to accompany your choices, please mention it.  Please also tell us why you have chosen them.

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Last week I asked you a few questions about Alfie Boe in 2016 – how did you get on?  Remember, you’re playing for pride, not prizes!

Q:  With which product did Alfie make his TV commercial debut in 2016?

A: Fisherman’s Friend – the ad is now playing again on UK TV.

Q: At which football team’s ground did Alfie sing the National Anthem in 2016?

A: His home town of Fleetwood.

Q: How many dates were there on the 2016 Together tour?

A: 29 – Blackpool was the 29th, added during the first Blackpool date.

Q: Name Alfie’s three opera heroes from the Spring radio 2 show.

A: Enrico Caruso, Maria Callas and Mario Lanza.

Q: What was special about 12th November 2016?

A: Alfie was in two places at once – or, to be accurate, he was on TV at the Festival of Remembrance, recorded earlier that evening, and live at the London Palladium.

Q: Which actress and singer featured as a guest artist on Ball and Boe: One Night Only?

A: Maria Friedman, singing a brilliant Being Alive / Chitty Chitty Bang Bang mash up.

Q: Alfie will play which role in Carousel in 2017?

A: Billy Bigelow.

Q: Katherine Jenkins will play Julie Jordan; where will she sing with Alfie before that?

A: Dubai at the White Nights festival.

Q: Which song was voted the fans favourite in 2016?

A: Love Reign O’er Me:

Q: Which two songs featured in Alfie’s solo section of the Together tour?

A: Keep Me In Your Heart and Love Reign O’er Me (no prizes for guessing why I chose this video!):

Thanks to Linda W for sharing.

How did you all get on? Ten out of ten for everyone, right?

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Into the last week of the Alfie Boe Michael Ball Together tour 2016 and Hammersmith was last night’s destination.  Another full house was out in force, amongst them Sir Cameron Mackintosh who proved game for anything when picked upon to sing during Alfie’s singalong Keep Me In Your Heart, and actor Con O’Neill, star of the original Blood Brothers.

After seeing the show on three previous occasions I knew the set list and some of the set piece comedy moments, some of which have developed during the tour itself (Dec and Ant anyone?) but the highlight of the first half was the lady who modelled her newly bought fleece, ably assisted, or should I say forced (?) by Alfie.  This very enterprising fan then rushed to help Alfie back onto the stage – lucky her!  Further on, Alfie’s difficulty in getting onto his stool before What A Wonderful World was solved, not by Michael’s helping hand but by a helpful fan shouting out that she “can help you, Alfie” – needless to say, Alfie hopped up on that stool in no time at all!

In my previous reviews, my favourite songs (apart from Keep Me In Your Heart obviously) have been A Thousand Years, which according to Michael last night is in the “twilight zone” and Speak Softly Love.  Having heard both these songs again, they’re still my favourites although the swing section, particularly Alfie’s Kick in the Head is fast growing on me.

For Alfie’s solo section, the addition of film footage of the end of the Quadrophenia film as a backdrop considerably added to the power of Alfie’s Love Reign O’er Me, although I’m conflicted as to whether I liked it or not.  To me, it was a distraction – Alfie’s voice is powerful enough not to warrant it.  Having said that, I wasn’t sitting in the centre this time so perhaps if I had been, the film would have been right in front of me, thus creating even more drama.

Those of you who were at the Palladium on 12 November or read the review will be aware that Rick Astley joined Alfie and Michael on stage to sing Just Keep Singing – well, he was back in Hammersmith too!  They sang the same song which was amazing (the style suits Alfie to a tee, reminded me of his 2013 album, Trust) and then Rick presented Alfie and Michael with a pair of gold discs for Together.  They were completely bowled over by this and clearly not expecting anything of the sort.

Overall, another fabulous evening in the company of Messrs Ball and Boe – roll on the TV special this evening!

If you would like to send Alfie and Michael a message about the tour, to be given to them in a card next week, click here.

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We’ve reached the top!  Over the last ten weeks we have been counting down to this moment, finding out which song is the winner of the 2016 Best Alfie Boe Song poll.  Before we find out, let’s look at the 2 – 10 in reverse order:

10. Forever Young

9.   If You Go Away

8.   A Living Prayer

7.   It’s Over

6.   My Heart Is Yours

5.   First Time Ever I Saw Your Face

4.   Bring Him Home

3.   Trust

2.   Dimming of the Day

And so, the song at the top, a new entry to both the long list and the top ten is Love Reign O’er Me:

Thanks to Annie Lloyd for nominating this song – great to see it straight in at number 1!  This song, perhaps more than any other from Classic Quadrophenia, shows off Alfie’s vocal strength and versatility.  The high notes are just majestic, there’s no other word for it, whilst the quieter moments have such warmth and restraint.  Anyone who has been lucky enough to see Alfie sing this live will attest to the power of his voice.  Hearing it at the premiere of Classic Quad at the Royal Albert Hall last year was one of the best musical experiences of my life – and I don’t expect it to be bettered any time soon.  Quite simply took my breath away.  You can read more about that amazing evening here.

Thank you everyone for sharing your views on the top ten, it’s been a really enjoyable way (for me) to count down to the tour.  Guess what?  We’ve done it, we’ve arrived at the tour!  Hope to see lots of you at some of the concerts – come and say hi!

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… at the Royal Albert Hall in the world premiere of Pete Townshend’s Classic Quadrophenia.  Creating the role of Jimmy, Alfie was rarely off stage and winning over all the Who fans in the audience (thanks Linda W for sharing):

The evening itself was magical, beginning with a mass meet up of fellow Alfie fans and finishing with another stage door gathering, taking in a really fabulous performance in between.  Leaving aside Alfie’s flawless vocals, the most enjoyable part of the concert for me was the obvious chemistry between Alfie and Billy Idol – the two of them blew me away.  Interviewing Alfie a week or so later, I told him that I didn’t really know Billy’s music and he made me promise to get to know his music further; sorry, Alfie, I’ve not got there yet but I promise (really this time) to find out more.

As this phenomenal piece of music has only been produced in concert twice so far, I remain profoundly grateful that I was one of the lucky ones to be there for the premiere.

Classic Quadrophenia on DVD is available here:

classic quad dvd

and signed albums are also still available:

classic quad

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When Alfie met Sarah, according to his autobiography, he was making a cup of tea, so who better to back the start of Trinity Hospice’s annual Tea Party campaign?  Of course, Alfie Boe is the patron of the Fylde Coast’s hospice, which also encompasses the children’s hospice, Brian House and he is very supportive of the continuous fundraising efforts needed to keep services going each year.  Since Alfie became patron, Trinity has seen a marked increase in donations from outside the local area and their press officer, Shirley Morgan, says that “we couldn’t have a better patron; we really appreciate the global audience he brings and to top it all, he’s such a nice guy.”

Shirley also shared a little bit of fundraising trivia with me: when analysing their social media reach for 2015, the message with by far and away the most reach and engagement was the tweet in which two Classic Quadrophenia tickets were auctioned off.  A massive 17,000 people were reached by that one tweet!  The closest tweet reached 9,000 people so it perfectly demonstrates how much Alfie’s support means.

Annually, £5 million is needed to fund the hospice and in the last two years, over £30,000 has been raised by tea parties.  That’s a lot of tea and cakes! So what does that money provide in terms of services?  What difference do our individual donations actually make? Well, £10 provides art materials for someone to make a memory box for their loved ones, £150 runs Brian House for one hour, £500 provides eight bereavement sessions for a family and £1,500 means that a child can stay over the weekend, providing much needed respite care for both the child and the family.  All donations are another step closer to the overall target of £5 million.

So, how can you support Trinity’s Tea Party in 2016?  Hold a tea party and donate by clicking here.  Don’t forget to mention that you’re an Alfie Boe fan and it’s a tea party donation.

If you’d like to join in a virtual tea party, just click here to join the Official Alfie Boe Facebook Fan Group and details of the event will be posted shortly.  See you there!

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The question has long been asked of performers who have ‘made it’: How do you know when you have indeed made it?  Perhaps one answer would be ‘when you’ve got your own tribute act’.  And so we can safely say that Alfie Boe has made it as I had the pleasure of talking to his very own tribute act, David Marshall, a few weeks ago.

David is a professional singer of many years, mostly working in the corporate arena and on the entertainment circuit with a classical / musical theatre repertoire.  How he came to add the Alfie tribute to his act is remarkably similar to how Alfie first got started.  Remember the customer at TVR who told Alfie about the D’oyly Carte auditions?  Well, after a performance at the Belfry golf club a couple of years ago, a member of the audience asked David if he had ever considered becoming an Alfie Boe tribute act.  In fact, David had never considered this and didn’t really change his mind…at that point.  A year on, the same man again approached David and urged him to think about it again as there seemed to be a gap in the tribute act market.  At that point, as with Alfie at TVR, David realised that there was an opportunity there and so he did some research and found no other Alfie Boe tribute acts.  The idea was planted and having looked at Alfie’s back catalogue, David says that “I was already singing about 25 of Alfie’s songs so it wasn’t a stretch for me”.

This was in the middle of 2015 and since then David has been working on his voice to sound more like Alfie and has also spent many an hour watching clips of Alfie’s concerts on YouTube and of course, the concert DVDs.  Apparently it has been quite hard to get the right tone as David has a slightly higher tenor range than Alfie.  He is also quick to mention that die hard, super fans would “probably say that I haven’t got it quite right as yet – but I’m still working on it all the time.”  See for yourself:

The main tribute repertoire that David includes in the show includes the more classical, musical theatre end of Alfie’s back catalogue as the audiences that book David as Alfie Boe are more interested and even request, those songs.  Although there are some more modern songs included, there aren’t many as they don’t seem as popular with the audiences.  The exceptions are Classic Quadrophenia and Queen, which David included as he know Alfie loves Freddie Mercury and the music of Queen.  Happily for David, his own core audience is, broadly speaking, the same as Alfie’s and so he already has a natural audience for his new tribute act.

Alfie is apparently unaware of his new found ‘made it’ status with his own tribute act and so we don’t know what he thinks of it.  I guess he knows now – would love to know his view!

If you would like to book David Marshall as Alfie Boe visit Franklin James here.  Click here for more info on David himself.

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Yes it was, a very good year for thoughtsofjustafan and for Alfie Boe too.  If I asked Alfie, his 2015 highlights might include Classic Quadrophenia and Les Mis on Broadway but I’m sure meeting loads of adoring fans at various UK and US concerts would also be right up there with the best moments.

For me, 2015 has been a series of fabulous moments one after the other – I can’t possibly choose one as the best although the first three on the list would certainly be competing for the top spot!

  • Interviewing Alfie for Classic Quadrophenia.
  • Interviewing Alfie again for the first in the Club 24601 series.
  • Chatting to Alfie at Somerset House and hearing him tell me that he reads thoughtsofjustafan…if Nikki Lewis hadn’t been there, I wouldn’t have believed it!
  • Seeing my Classic Quad review from the Huffington Post quoted in a proper newspaper (the Guardian). The thank you from Alfie when I interviewed him shortly after was pretty special too. classic quad review
  • Addio Sogni di Gloria being voted the Best Alfie Boe Song (recorded) – last year’s favourite, Bring Him Home was number 4.
  • Taking my 9yo to Alive @Delapre for his first Alfie concert and hearing the stand out Alfie song from 2015, Run:

  • The Club 24601 series of interviews, beginning with Alfie and culminating with the current London JVJ, Peter Lockyer.
  • Interview with David Steadman, of the D’oyly Carte Opera Company and hearing about Alfie’s very first tour as a professional singer.
  • Finding out that the fan’s favourite Alfie Boe look is jeans, the tighter the better!  Alfie in a suit was a (very) close runner up.
  • Alfie in Les Miserables on Broadway – hearing the amazing reviews and happy fans was the next best thing to being there myself.

Thank you to everyone for reading and supporting thoughtsofjustafan – I really appreciate the time you take to comment on and share.  In February this year we passed 30,000 hits and thanks to all you wonderful readers, we have now more than tripled that number – woohoo!

Thank you too for all the wonderful compliments you have sent over the year, you are all very kind.

Of course, I can’t let 2015 pass without thanking some extra special people who have continued to support me and thoughtsofjustafan:

Thanks to Debbie Bannigan for giving me the best gift anyone can ever receive; belief and confidence that I can achieve whatever I want to.  Without your support, this blog would not exist.

Thanks to Linda Wellington for continually providing me with photos and videos and allowing me to use them.  Thank you also for all the laughs along the way this summer – and for ferrying us to Northampton!

Thanks to Carole Hunt for continuing to allow me to use her photo for the main blog banner.

Thanks to everyone who allows me to use their videos here – Nikki, Jayne, Annie in particular.

Thanks to Roberta Kappus and Carole Hunt for being fabulous reviewers this year – I hope to be able to call on you again lovely ladies!

Thanks to Sue Black, Linda Anstee and Marie Blair for being my top social media sharers this year – thanks for spreading the word!

Thanks to my top commenters in 2015 – Linda McCann, Sue Redfern and Carole Naden.  Love hearing from you!

Lastly, thank you to everyone who spoke to me at concerts this year and said they loved my blog – I love doing it!  Special thanks to the super posse of friends who, amongst others, made it extra special this year: Linda A and Linda W, Sally, Cecelia and Cassie (I’ll never forget your comments while waiting for the ladies at Hampton Court!), Paul and Pauline, Jan, Carole H, Sue, Pam and Tina, Nikki, Annie, Pauline H, Pat and Janet, Jayne, Deb and Flo.

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