Led Zeppelin

All posts tagged Led Zeppelin

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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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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My 2018 new year resolution to listen to more music is into the second month and this time, I’ve chosen Led Zeppelin, recommended to me by the lovely Linda Wellington.  In fact, when I asked for recommendations, I would have been shocked had Linda not mentioned Led Zeppelin as she absolutely loves them!  Aside from Stairway to Heaven, I wasn’t really aware of much of the music of Led Zeppelin until I heard Alfie sing Rock and Roll and Kashmir – this made me listen to the originals but until now, that was as far as I got.

Linda kindly supplied the whole back catalogue for the band but especially recommended Led Zeppelin IV and Physical Graffiti as being the best albums to start with.  Led Zeppelin is a band that I would never normally listen to, having the preconceived notion that I’m not keen on that genre of music.  Now however, whilst admitting it’s still not 100% my kind of music, there is a lot to like, not least the different influences apparent over both albums.

My highlights from Led Zeppelin IV include The Battle of Evermore, with it’s eastern inspired sound and acoustic guitar and mandolin, Going to California, When the Levee Breaks and Misty Mountain Hop.  The shorter, acoustic inspired tracks appeal to me more but I really loved the blues infused Levee Breaks as well.  Rock and Roll is also a favourite, but I hope I’m forgiven if I say I like Alfie’s version better!

You can see how much I liked Led Zeppelin IV by how many highlights I picked but Physical Graffiti is also a great album.  Besides Kashmir, my favourites here are Night Flight, Down by the Seaside, The Rover and Trampled Under Foot:

Although many songs pass the get up and dance test, Night Flight, with it’s opening bars sending you headlong into the song is the best.  Some of the other songs have fabulous long intros which allow the listener to really appreciate the musical skill on show but getting straight into the main body of the song is what I liked about Night Flight.

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

Led Zeppelin IV and Physical Graffiti are available here:

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Part of the appeal and fun of being an Alfie Boe fan is the friends I’ve made along the way…and there a lot of you out there that I would never have known had it not been for Alfie. Chatting to one of my closest friends recently, we were struck by how much the music we listen to now has been influenced by Alfie and his musical choices.  Some of you will be amazed to hear that I do actually listen to other artists (oh alright, it’s not often!) but a lot of the music I’ve discovered in the last couple of years has been driven by Alfie’s musical train.  So the next logical step was to write about it!

Looking through my iPod I now have music from Led Zeppelin, Bonnie Raitt, The Clint Boon Experience, The D’Oyly Carte, Emilia Mitiku, Laura Wright, Jimi Hendrix, The Who, John Owen-Jones, Ramin Karimloo, Al Vosper.  For me, this diverse group of artists has only one thing in common: Alfie Boe introduced me to them.

Obviously some are a lot more well known than others (I can just imagine the gasp of horror from Linda W at my only really listening to Led Zeppelin in the last year or so) and although I was aware of them I never considered listening to them until Alfie sang their songs or worked with them.  This is certainly the case with The Who and Quadrophenia which I listened to for the first time two weeks ago in preparation for Alfie Boe and Quadrophenia – I can honestly say that I really liked it and have listened to some of it again…and I didn’t have to!  It goes without saying that I prefer Alfie’s take on I’m One and Love Reigns O’er Me.

Alfie’s well known saying “there’s only two types of music, good and bad” has obviously rubbed off on me or maybe I’m just more willing to embrace new music as I find myself not only listening to but buying music I had previously discarded as being “not my thing”.  This is definitely the case with Clint Boon; I was not a fan of the Inspiral Carpets and wasn’t particularly keen to listen to the Clint Boon Experience albums even though Alfie was featured.  Of course, when I did listen, I liked it (and not just for Alfie!).  As I write this, the thought occurs that super fans can sometimes be categorised by their willingness to go and do whatever their favourite artist asks or mentions…I leave that with you for later discussion.

One of the joys of my musical education with Alfie has been finding out about extremely talented musicians who I would almost certainly never have heard of otherwise.  These include Laura Wright and John Owen-Jones who I have had the pleasure of interviewing and the awesome Al Vosper, Emilia Mitiku and Michael Boe.  They all produce the sort of music I have always listened to but I am absolutely sure their work would have passed me by without Alfie.

As always, I would love to hear about your musical education with Alfie – what do you now listen to that you didn’t before, or perhaps you have been drawn back to something you haven’t listened to for years?  Leave me a comment in the box!

I’ll leave you with one of my favourite songs from the Storyteller tour, Jimi Hendrix’s Angel (thanks to Linda W for sharing):

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I am often asked what it is about Alfie that I love – if this often happens to you as well, this post is for you to share with everyone that hasn’t yet been Boe’d so go ahead and click on the share buttons at the bottom of the post xx

So here goes – I’d love to know what you would add to this list!

1. This is his most famous song – do you need another reason to love Alfie?

2. Alfie hails from Fleetwood, Lancashire (although he was born in Blackpool in 1973).

3. Alfie is the youngest of nine siblings (4 boys and 5 girls) born to Alfred and Pat.

4. Alfie loves cooking and once considered becoming a chef (although he did once cut his finger on live TV!)

5. Other career changes considered include a personal trainer for the Salt Lake City police force.

6. Alfie is a Lyric Tenor which means his vocal range (excluding falsetto) is approximately the C one octave below middle C (C3) to the D one octave above middle C (D5) with the ability to extend a little to either side.

7. Alfie played Jean ValJean in the 25th Anniversary Les Miserables concert and at the Queens Theatre for 5 months in 2011 – but you all knew that one right?

8. When playing JVJ as The Mayor in Les Mis, Alfie used to wear the socks belonging to the convict JVJ costume in order to better inhabit the role.

9. Alfie is married to an American actress, Sarah Boe.  They met in San Francisco.

10. Alfie was the subject of a South Bank Show documentary in 2013.

11. Alfie once supported the Fron Male Voice Choir on tour.

12. David Miller of Il Divo was in La Boheme on Broadway with Alfie (they played alternate nights as Rodolfo).

13. Alfie recorded some demo Queen tracks at Abbey Road studios whilst a student – he listened back with obvious embarrassment on a recent documentary!

14. Alfie used to work at the Blackpool Opera House in a backstage / security role.

15. Alfie has recorded Empty Chairs, Empty Tables with two of the singers who played Marius: Michael Ball (original Marius and 10th anniversary concert) and Nick Jonas (25th anniversary concert).

16. Alfie was a body mechanic at the TVR factory in Bispham – if you know nothing else about Alfie, you know that!!

17. After graduating from the Royal College of Music, Alfie went on to train at the National Opera Studio.

18. Won the Christie prize at Glyndebourne for Albert Herring.

19. Appeared on several Clint Boon Experience albums as “opera dude”.

20. Spent a few nights sleeping on a park bench in Hyde Park “in between digs” so to speak.

21. Played drums in a local rock band, Whisky Train as a teenager.

22. Alfie is an ambassador for the Prince’s Foundation for Children and The Arts.

23. Alfie sang at the wedding of Peter and Autumn Phillips. (Ave Maria and Panis Angelicus).

24. Alfie famously prefers to perform in opera, rather than listen to them – this is usually quoted incorrectly as “Alfie hates opera”.

25. Alfie often takes fans cameras and phones and takes photos of himself and the band on stage – perks of being front row!

26. Alfie auditioned (and was called back) for Raoul in Phantom of the Opera – the RCM beckoned though and we shall have to imagine his Raoul.

27. Won a Tony Award as part of the cast of La Boheme on Broadway.

28. First professional audition was for the D’oyly Carte Opera company – he sang You Are My Hearts Delight.

29. Moonwalked across the stage during final performance of Romeo et Juliette at the Royal Opera House.

30. Appeared on Vanessa Feltz’s BBC Radio 2 programme as part of the Wednesday Words of Warmth – his tip to get through a Wednesday was to make a big bowl of meat pasta sauce.

31. West London Karaoke Champion 1994 singing Suspicious Minds.

32. First recording Alfie appears on is Die Fledermaus, with the D’oyly Carte company (in the chorus).

33. Suffered from chlorine poisoning whilst filming a projection for The Pearl Fishers at the ENO.

34. Brother Michael is also a talented singer, recent album is called A La Voix.

35. Alfie and Sarah’s first dance at the their wedding was Led Zeppelin’s Rain Song.

36. First, and so far only,performer, with Renee Fleming to sing on the balcony of Buckingham Palace (at the Diamond Jubilee celebrations).

37. Alfie was first introduced to La Boheme by his brother Michael – thank you Michael!

38. Alfie is great at comedy falls – as witnessed by viewers of Jonathan Ross show in October 2013!

39. Twitter often mentions how much Alfie looks like Declan Donnelly – maybe, but only without his beard – judge for yourself:

dec

40. A photo of Alfie; together with his amazing voice, what other reason to you need to love Alfie Boe? (thanks to Carole Hunt who took this gorgeous photo and generously allowed me to use it on my blog – what a star xx)

alfie-carfest.jpg

 

 

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Interview with the Daily Mail.

Apparently, Alfie would like Led Zeppelin’s Rock & Roll to be played at his funeral; entirely fitting, given his history with the band (click here to see Alfie Boe’s duet with Robert Plant).

And if you want to organise a ghost hunt, who you gonna call?  Alfie Boe of course, seeing as he likes the TV shows so much!