Classic Quadrophenia

All posts tagged Classic Quadrophenia

Hot on the heels of Scarborough, Alfie Boe took his short summer tour to Llangollen, opening the annual Eistedfodd.  Roberta Kappus and Annie Lloyd were there for us.

In brief, Llangollen was brilliant! It was the fifth and final summer concert and Alfie saved the best for last. We had songs from Alfie’s new album, songs from La Passione and Serenata, songs from Classic Quad, songs from the Together albums and a lot of cheering when England beat Colombia plus a few bars from We’re Coming Home.  Following the win Alfie was so elated he pronounced Llangollen the best gig ever and more than enthusiastically went into his next song, You’re The Voice, which had been interrupted by the win. Showing his ability to follow football while delivering a masterful performance Alfie did not miss one word or note,  turning on a stage monitor showing the game and then with no hesitation going right into Swing.

The set list was a partial departure from the previous four shows. Taking the audience and the ambience of the festival into consideration he enthralled all with Bring Him Home followed by seven Italian songs, primarily from La Passione and Serenata: A Vuchella featuring Pete on guitar, Parlami D’amore Mariu, Mamma, Chitarra Romana, Volare with the usual very long note, Mambo Italiano and Buona Sera. The audience was up and dancing, clapping to the music and singing along especially with Volare and Mambo Italiano. During this segment Alfie stated that he had found new ways to sing some of the songs and if we send back our old cds he would re-record them for us. Of course he got a laugh.

The second half began with the usual audience involvement in Keep Me in Your Heart. Sir Terry Waite, seated in the centre of the front row was given the honour of being singled out as the male soloist, a role he graciously accepted to cheers from all.  Tom Petty’s Wild Flowers, first sung at Scarborough remained on the list as did many of the familiar songs.  I’m One took the place of The Real Me. The show ended with a very powerful Love Reign O’er Me which received and deserved a standing ovation.  Alfie quickly followed this up by returning for the encore and asking if we wanted another Who song. The approval was thunderous with people shouting out various Who songs. Alfie went with Baba O’Riley which was greeted with massive approval. The final song was, of course, Run.

The band was outstanding. They very smoothly transitioned from New Orleans jazz as Alfie calls it to the soothing rhythms of the Italian songs to the country music to the Who. They were just brilliant. Throughout it all the audience was in complete approval of everything sung. It is interesting to note that given Llangollen’s reputation, Bring Him Home received a partial standing ovation while all were on their feet to applaud Love Reign O’er Me. There is no doubt that the audience adored Alfie right from the beginning and were with him all the way through. Alfie was obviously having a great time despite the heat. The tent was very warm and the stage even warmer. Alfie went from jacket to just shirt at the beginning of the second half to pulling his shirt out towards the end. Following the final bows Alfie appeared reluctant to leave the stage wandering around a bit before finally exiting.

Together Alfie and the Llangollen audience proved that music has no boundaries. As Alfie said “it is the same notes in different order”. An evening to be treasured and remembered.

Thank you so much Roberta and Annie – let’s hope we see this repertoire at some point in the future!

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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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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!

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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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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It’s shaping up to be busy few weeks in late Spring / early Summer for Alfie Boe; as well as the cruise, and a scattering of UK concerts, he is now announced for two concerts with Boston Pops as part of their spring season.  The concerts take place on May 15 and 16, Rock the Pops with Alfie Boe and tickets go on sale on Monday 26 February, 10am EST, click here.

As we know from Classic Quadrophenia, rock music combined with a symphony orchestra produces a simply sensational sound, one that particularly suits the operatically trained tenor of Alfie.  Suggested tracks include those from Pink Floyd, The Who, Queen, the Rolling Stones and Alfie’s favourites, Led Zeppelin but I’m sure there will be lots more to enjoy too!  Alfie has of course performed with Boston Pops recently, rocking Tanglewood with Pete Townshend’s Classic Quadrophenia. 

Hopefully, some of the fans Alfie gained from his Tanglewood performance will be able to return to see him again, not to mention those US fans who are super keen to see more and more of Alfie in concert.  You never know, perhaps the future will see Alfie perform at other symphonic venues across the USA?

Tickets are on sale from 10am EST 26 February – click here.

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Shawn Alexander is the latest fan to choose her six favourite Alfie Boe songs  Shawn says that she “originally learned of Alfie through Michael Ball. I’m a big fan of Michael’s – then watching the Les Mis anniversary concert I was introduced to Alfie. With living in the states and in Florida I don’t have many opportunities to see shows. When Michael and Alfie were in NY I just HAD to go – I’m a single Mom, and I don’t spend foolishly but I just had to treat myself.”

These are Shawn’s choices, chosen simply because they are her favourites.

Love Reign O’er Me from Classic Quadrophenia – Shawn saw Alfie perform this in New York and it “moved me to tears”.

Along with Shawn’s first choice, Bring Him Home is the most popular song in this series, each having been chosen six times.

Someone to Watch Over Me

Maria, from West Side Story.

It Was A Very Good Year – this song provides one of the best moments on the DVD of the Bring Him Home tour, Alfie Live!

When I Fall in Love.

Yet again, I’m taken aback by the depth of Alfie’s repertoire – four of these six songs have not been chosen before!  If you would like to see your six songs featured, please fill in the form:

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How did you get on with our quiz on all things Alfie Boe in 2018?  Answers coming up:

  • How many Classic Quadrophenia shows did Alfie sing with in 2017 and where were they?

A: 5: Tanglewood, Metropolitan Opera House x 2, Rosemont Theatre, Chicago and Greek Theatre, LA

  • How many solo shows for 2018 did Alfie announce at the end of 2017?

A: 4 (Fleetwood, Kenwood House, Scarborough OAT and Llangollen)

  • Which guest artists featured on Ball and Boe: Back Together for ITV?

A: Imelda May and Jason Manford

  • Name Alfie’s understudy for Carousel.

A: Will Barratt – click here to read my interview with him

  • In which building was Alfie’s blue plaque unveiled and what did it commemorate?

A: Marine Hall, Fleetwood – commemorated Alfie’s first live performance

  • Which song was voted Alfie’s Best Live Song in 2017?

A: Run...of course!

  • Which of Alfie’s albums topped the classical chart in 2017?

A: Love Was A Dream

  • How many HMV stores did Alfie and Michael visit to sign copies of Together Again?

A: 7 (Blackpool, Manchester, Sheffield, Nottingham, Oxford St for the world record and then Birmingham and      Liverpool a few days later)

  • Which TV talent show did Alfie make a guest appearance on earlier this year?

A: Britain’s Got Talent, singing ‘with’ Dame Vera Lynn

  • Which song did Alfie play on guitar during the Together Again tour?

A: Wagon Wheel, a song we all know a great deal better than we did before the tour!

How did you get on?

9 and over – you’re an Alfie genius

5+ – need to listen to more Alfie.  I recommend becoming a subscriber here so you don’t miss anything next year!

3+ – Are you sure you’re in the right place? Become a subscriber and you’ll find out everything you ever wanted to know!

Hope you all enjoyed – I wonder what Alfie will bring us this year?

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Ten days or so after new year and we might be feeling just a bit down in the dumps with the winter blues so let’s cheer ourselves up with an Alfie Boe quiz!

As with previous quizzes, we’re playing for pride, not prizes so let’s see how many you get right!  Answers next week.

  1. How many Classic Quadrophenia shows did Alfie sing with in 2017 and where were they?
  2. How many solo shows for 2018 did Alfie announce at the end of 2017?
  3. Which guest artists featured on Ball and Boe: Back Together for ITV?
  4. Name Alfie’s understudy for Carousel.
  5. In which building was Alfie’s blue plaque unveiled and what did it commemorate?
  6. Which song was voted Alfie’s Best Live Song in 2017?
  7. Which of Alfie’s albums topped the classical chart in 2017?
  8. How many HMV stores did Alfie and Michael visit to sign copies of Together Again?
  9. Which TV talent show did Alfie make a guest appearance on earlier this year?
  10. Which song did Alfie play on guitar during the Together Again tour?

Answers will follow next week – good luck!

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Back in 2015, I interviewed Alfie just before he went off to Broadway to do Les Miz and just after he had created the role of Jimmy in the world premiere of Classic Quadrophenia.  Naturally, we spoke about the highlights of that concert at the Royal Albert Hall and I told Alfie that I was surprised by how good Billy Idol was.  I had to admit that aside from the obvious few hits, I didn’t really know much about Billy Idol and his music, to which the answer from Alfie was unequivocally, “well, you should – you should definitely listen more, especially to Rebel Yell“. That was over two years ago and although I had the best intentions, I still had not researched and listened to Billy Idol!  Now, however, looking around for a new year resolution that might actually stick, I came up with the idea of listening to more music, especially music that I would not normally choose to listen to and has been introduced to me by Alfie.  Of course, my first subject for this monthly post is Billy Idol!

Growing up in the 1980’s, I couldn’t help being aware of Billy Idol, particularly White Wedding, Hot in the City, Mony Mony and Rebel Yell but I would never seek out his music to listen to; rather, it was part of the music culture of that time.  So, embarking on project Billy Idol, what did I actually know about his music?  If you had asked me a month ago I would have said his music was punk but I came to realise that although the music is definitely originated in punk, it has much more of a pop sound and style about it that I wasn’t expecting.  Punk Pop, perhaps.

Although, this was the song that Alfie had recommended me to start with, he might have meant the whole album, also entitled Rebel Yell.  Regularly cited as Idol’s best album, I’ve now listened to the whole album and I agree, it’s great! It’s catchy, it’s got rocking rhythms and tunes and above all, it’s reminiscent of that whole era.  Aside from this song, Eyes Without A Face is my favourite track. Luckily, Idol was making his mark just when MTV started and I can still remember the novelty of watching music videos  non stop on the TV…something that we today can scarcely credit, with our non stop on demand music!

From Rebel Yell, I worked my way through his other albums but nothing caught my ear until his 2014 release, Kings and Queens of the Underground.  This is the title track:

I’m a sucker for songs that tell a story and the lyrics on this song are fabulous; recalling past glories whilst also moving the story forward.  It doesn’t hold back on the highs and lows of the rock and roll life either; it could be subtitled, ‘how the hell am I still here’? The sound is unexpectedly pared down and would be a great song to hear live.  Other tracks that appeal are Save Me, Postcard From The Past and Ghosts In My Guitar.  They have different styles, from the understated to the classic Idol sound but as a whole, it hangs together perfectly.

Kings and Queens of the Underground is available here:

As I mentioned earlier, my New Year resolution is to listen to more music, especially that inspired by Alfie, so I’m looking for some recommendations for another eleven posts.  If you have any recommendations for me, fill in the form and I’ll see what I can do:

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