Les Mis 25th concert

All posts tagged Les Mis 25th concert

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.

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Back in November 2014 I asked “How Did You Find Alfie Boe” and I’m pleased to say that lots of you responded, being only too pleased to tell me how and when you first heard that beautiful voice.  A few of you have been on board Alfie’s musical train right since the very beginning – and by that I mean since he was singing locally in Lancashire!  One of his many nephews and nieces even filled in the survey although I don’t know which one! One respondent had followed him since he was appearing regularly in opera and another couple since his first album, Classic FM Presents.  Other reasons given were his 2007 appearance on Parkinson, other TV appearances, Desert Island Discs, through friends, surfing youtube, through hearing David Miller of Il Divo talk about Alfie and his performance at the Diamond Jubilee concert in 2012.

However, like most of us Alfie fans these days, the vast majority (82%) of the respondents found Alfie through Les Miserables.  Of those 82%, just over half first saw and heard Alfie on a PBS 25th anniversary promotion and the others saw him either live or on the DVD of that concert.  This is what one smitten fan said

Saw him on PBS in Florida, USA in March 2011 singing Jean Valjean role and stopped in my tracks when hearing that voice. Watched the whole O2 Les Misarables concert and then had to find out who this wonderful tenor is. YouTubed him and listened and read everything I could find on him. The Alfie and Matt Lucas video Nessun Dorma with his hands in his pockets was what clinched him for me. Joined his Facebook page and his own web page and since have met many wonderful fans of his who over the last 3 years have become good friends. All this from that one O2 performance.

After finding out how and when fans found Alfie, I then wanted to find out when they made their first Alfie related purchase, be it  CD, DVD etc.  I admit that I was expecting most responses to be “immediately” or very quickly, given the devotion shown to Alfie by fans.  However, I was slightly surprised to find that although two thirds of responses indicated that a purchase was made either the same day or next day, the next highest response was months, at least 6-12.  In three cases there was a wait of at least a year and one waited for 3.5 years before making up (her?) mind to buy a CD.  Incidentally, the length of time before making a purchase and considering yourself to be “Boed” does not match up; with the exception of the Lancashire locals and the fan waiting 3.5 years, every single respondent considered themselves “Boed” immediately.

The survey then went on to ask which albums fans had in their collection.  For this survey, I only considered Alfie’s albums released under his own name (not including Serenata which was released after the survey) and the collaboration with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Home for the Holidays.  The rest of his recording career can be found on the Alfie Boe Discography.  The results are:

Classic FM Presents – 61% of respondents own this

La Passione – 82%

Onward – 72%

Love Was A Dream – 69%

Bring Him Home – 98%

Alfie – 95%

Storyteller – 95%

Trust – 90%

Home for the Holidays – 37%

As you can see, the most owned albums are the Decca ones released since the Les Mis connection although La Passione is the most popular album of Alfie’s back catalogue.  It occurs to me as I sit writing these results up, that I should have asked in which order these albums were purchased; it would have been interesting to see how many people had La Passione before Les Mis.  I suspect that like me, the answer would be not many,  otherwise Alfie would surely not have contemplated becoming a personal trainer for the SLC police.

DVD ownership is something else again – this time, there were only four choices as only two tours have been filmed:

Les Mis 25th concert – 96% own this

Bring Him Home tour – 83%

Storyteller tour – 75%

Home for the Holidays – 43%

Perhaps the relatively high amount of people owning the DVD of Home for the Holidays reflects the low amount owning it on CD (they don’t see the need to have it twice), otherwise the completely predictable result is that Les Mis is the most owned DVD.  Of course this was expected, given that 82% of us found Alfie that way to start with.  This is also borne out by 66% of those owning it citing it as their favourite of the DVD’s.  Storyteller comes next, followed by Bring Him Home and Home for the Holidays again bringing up the rear.

Those of you who completed the survey will remember I also asked you which album you preferred – to find out the answer, you’ll have to be a subscriber!

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