Michael Ball

All posts tagged Michael Ball

Ball and Boe were back together this weekend at Carfest South, first time for Michael but a return for Alfie – he last played this festival for Children in Need in 2013.  Regular reviewer Claire Shorter was there for us, as well as fellow fan Caroline Old:

Do you think they will like us? That is the question Michael asked Chris Evans before they went on stage……fast forward to the end of their set and the rapturous applause and cheers suggests the crowd didn’t just like the boys, they absolutely loved them. This was echoed by the number of backstage guests who flowed to the front of the stage (including Chris Evans).

Michael and Alfie’s set was after Reef and Miles Kane and before Razorlight and although their style is different to those bands, the audience was just about to find out Ball and Boe can turn their hands to any genre they choose and the set list at CarFest showed their diversity, talent, humour and all round awesomeness.

Michael and Alfie came out singing Tonight, they were beaming and appeared so happy to be back on stage together. Then it was For Once in My Life and You’ll Be Back; the way they interact during these songs is nothing but cute and Alfie also came down to the barriers for a singalong with the crowd. Next were great songs to get the audience involved – He Lives in You and You’re the Voice. For the last chorus Alfie got Chris Evans and some others on to the stage to join in and they were loving every minute.

When the Queen medley commenced, we were treated to A Kind of Magic, Radio Gaga, We Will, We Will Rock You and We are the Champions. They put so much energy into this medley and the audience were loving it as much as Ball and Boe were, on stage.  This was a high point for seven year old Dan (Caroline’s son) who said that “I loved We Will Rock You, I was on Daddy’s shoulders.”

We then heard the boys do their brilliant Les Mis medley: Bring Him Home, Empty Chairs, I Dreamed a Dream and One Day More.  We have never heard an audience sing along to Les Mis as much as they did that day and standing in a field it felt like an appropriate place to do it. The whole audience singing One Day More was incredible, a proper goosebumps moment.

Then it was time for the encore, Michael making sure Alfie had left the stage made a start with A Different Corner.  Alfie then appeared on the adjoining stage saying “Oi Bally, get off the stage…”, he then stripped down to his ‘Choose Life’ T-shirt, gave Michael his and then the party time started with a Wham medley including Freedom, I’m Your Man and Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go.   Chris Evans and a group backstage crew, family and friends returned to the stage having a great sing along and pulling out some cracking dance moves. Alfie was having a high kick contest with a couple of kids. It was great fun to watch them all having a blast.

Although we also love the boys performing solo this is a reminder that we need another combined tour, they are a perfect match and their talent, friendship and humour is a beautiful thing to witness. They love being on stage together and we love seeing them there.

Thanks for a fabulous review Claire, Caroline and Dan, who gets the last word: “It was so funny when Alfie told Michael to get off the stage!”

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Into August and the countdown to the 2018 Blackpool Illumination Switch On is under way – anyone going to see Alfie switch on?

In the meantime, let’s take a look at Janice Stark’s song selection.  Janice first saw Alfie on the Royal Variety Show 2010), bought the 25th Anniversary DVD has bought all his CD’s and DVD’s ever since. Janice says “I think I really prefer his opera renditions but the more modern songs have grown on me so tried to get a mix in my choice of six!”

Danny Boy, from Trust.

Dimming of the Day, Trust.

The Floral Dance at Children In Need Rocks for Sir Terry.

If I Can Dream, Storyteller.

Patiently Smiling, Love Was A Dream.

The Pearl Fishers Duet, with Bryn Terfel – Janice chose this or Nessun Dorma as her sixth song, so I chose this as it hasn’t been chosen before.

Another three new tracks have been added to our list – at this rate, we’ll eventually have every single song from Alfie!

If you would like to see your choices featured, please fill in the form:

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For Once In My Life, with Michael Ball at Scarborough:

Looking at the weather, this was one concert I wasn’t sorry to miss – let’s hope that we don’t get a repeat performance this week!

For Once In My Life is most famous as a hit for Stevie Wonder in 1967 but was actually recorded and released by Barbara McNair, Jean DuShon, Tony Bennett, The Four Tops and the Temptations before this. Let’s take a look at Stevie Wonder:

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The success of Alfie Boe and Michael Ball continued last night as, on a star studded evening at the Classic BRIT Awards 2018, they won two (count em!) awards!  With a one hundred percent success rate, they won in each category they were nominated for:

 

 

and

 

As we know, Album of the Year was voted for by the public and it was clear that both Alfie and Michael were thrilled to win on this basis.  However, Group of the Year was decided by a BRIT award panel and I for one, felt so pleased that Alfie and Michael’s work was recognised by their industry peers.

It was an extra special night too, for Decca Records, for as well as the two Ball and Boe awards, they also won with Sheku Kanneh-Mason, Jess Gillam (Sound of Classical) and Renee Fleming, not to mention the lifetime recognition for Dame Vera Lynn.  Both Kanneh-Mason and Gillam joined Tokio Myers and Andrew Lloyd Webber in calling for greater recognition of the value that music education in schools brings to children’s lives, a subject that Alfie has also commented on in the past, through his work with Nordoff Robbins.

The musical performances throughout the evening were superb, with the stand outs being the opening West Side Story medley with Alfie and Michael, Katherine Jenkins’ Never Enough and Bryn Terfel’s two performances of If I Were A Rich Man and the Pearl Fishers duet with Andrea Bocelli.

Thank you to everyone who voted and shared the Classic FM voting site over the last few weeks – give yourselves a pat on the back because you did it!

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Fantastic news for Alfie Boe and Michael Ball – on top of chart topping success with Together Again, they have now been nominated for Group of the Year and Album of the Year at the Classic BRITs which take place in June.

Although Group of the Year is decided by a panel, the voting public get to choose who wins album of the year! So, to ensure the best men win, click here to register your votes for Alfie and Michael.

Alfie has of course been nominated for the Classic BRITS before, with Onward – he didn’t win (that was Sting) so wouldn’t it be fabulous if he and Michael won this time?

Happy voting!

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Halfway through the countdown to find your favourite Alfie Boe Best Live Song 2018 and we arrive at a song that many fans described as their favourite track from Ball and Boe’s Together Again album:

The song was written by David Foster and Carole Bayer Sager, with Alberto Testa and Tony Renis for the 1998 film Quest for Camelot and was originally two solo tracks; English for Celine Dion and Italian for Andrea Bocelli.  The song was then released as a duet by Dion and Bocelli and that is the version that is most well known.

Both Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli have sung this many times with other people and it has also featured in the repertoires of many other singers and festivals.

Composer Foster had said that is is “a song that I just never get tired of playing, I never get tired of hearing it, and I never get tired of people telling me that they enjoy it. And it seems to mean a lot—it means a lot of different things to a lot of people. So it’s a powerful piece of music. I think it came through me, and I think Carole’s lyric is beautiful. And it’s very meaningful to me that when all is said and done, there is a piece of music like that, that will undoubtedly outlive me. It was a moment—that song was a moment for sure.”

The Prayer was was one of my standout songs of Together Again – it’s beautiful and is a treat for those who love to hear Alfie sing in Italian.  Both Alfie and Michael excel here and it seems to be a fitting song for the troubled times we currently live in.

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The countdown to the summer concerts continues and we are now at number six.  So far, so good but this week there’s a difference: two songs tied for sixth!  The first is a song that has featured in all the previous Best Live Song polls and was first seen in 2012 on Alfie’s Bring Him Home tour:

The song was written by Albert Brumley, a musician and singer born in Oklahoma in 1905. After studying at the Hartford Musical Institute, Arkansas, Brumley toured with the Hartford Quartet and went on to write / copyright an astonishing 800 songs. The most famous of these is I’ll Fly Away from 1932. In 1970 he was inducted into the Country Song Writer’s Hall of Fame and his songs have been covered by amongst others, Bob Dylan.

The second song is a new entry and featured on Ball and Boe’s 2016 chart topper, Together (46 seconds in is the best bit of this video):

The song is of course A Thousand Years, one of my favourite songs from both the Together tours and album.  Written for the soundtrack of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 1, the song was written by Christina Perri and David Hodges and recorded by Perri.  Released in 2011, the song has charted three times, eventually reaching number 13.

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The third song in our countdown is the first of the three new entries to this year’s poll.  From Ball and Boe’s second number one album, Together Again, the song in at number eight is He Lives In You:

Taken from the stage version of Disney’s The Lion King, and also opening the sequel, Simba’s Pride, He Lives In You was one of Alfie’s choices for Together Again.  Since his first child was born, Alfie has tended to choose at least one song per album for his children, so I’m wondering if this was the case for He Lives In You – I really should have asked him when I interviewed him last year!

He Lives In You was written by South African composer and musician Lebo M in conjunction with Mark Mancina and Jay Rifkin, originally for the album Rhythm of the Pride Lands, music inspired by the original Lion King movie.  The song then went on to appear in the stage version as They Live In You (first act), before returning as He Lives In You in the second act.

Together Again is available here:

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Another UK summer concert has just been added to Alfie Boe’s schedule – Alfie will appear at Henley’s By The River Festival on 11 August 2018.

The festival is in association with Classic FM and will also feature Sir Karl Jenkins, classical guitarist Milos and, I suspect most popularly, soprano Laura Wright, who toured with Alfie back in 2011/12.  Ever since, fans have been waiting to see the pair back together again, so I hope we see Alfie and Laura duetting.  Their version of Barcelona is regularly cited as one of Alfie’s best live songs.

Tickets are on sale now – click here to buy.

In news announced on Friday, Alfie will team up with Michael Ball again to sing at the Classic BRIT Awards, held at the Royal Albert Hall on 13 June and televised on 17 June.  Click here for tickets.

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What a twelve months it’s been for Alfie Boe and Michael Ball – as if a second number one album wasn’t enough, they have now performed sell out concerts in four countries, with the three Japanese concerts taking place this last weekend at the Orb Theatre, Tokyo.  Fans jetted in from multiple continents (Cecelia, Annie and Margie amongst them) to join Ayano, Mitsuho, Akiko and many other Japanese fans.  Roberta was also there and this is her review.

On Saturday night, two amazing performers, Alfie Boe and Michael Ball, stepped out onto the stage at a sold out Orb Theatre and conquered another audience, in another city, in another country, on another continent. Alfie and Michael loved the audience and the audience loved them from the first song to the last note in the Wham medley. To many in the audience this was a dream come true – Alfie and Michael singing in their country – and to others it was a completely new experience. The camaraderie between the two was so infectious that it easily carried over to the audience. Not only did you leave the show humming or singing a song you had just heard you felt good doing so due in large part to the affection flowing back and forth between Michael and Alfie and between them and the audience. To be a part of this event was an amazing honour and one to be treasured. The audience itself was much more diverse than in the UK, tending towards a younger age range with quite a few single men. At the stage door it was interesting to see young men among others asking Alfie to sign their programs or pose for a picture. The UK, US, Germany, Korea, China and Australia were all represented by fans who flew in for the concerts proving that music transcends any language barriers there may be.

Alfie and Michael came onto the stage with an amazing exuberance going from Somewhere to Tonight as they bounded and spun across the stage. Right from the start they were encouraging the audience to clap along with the music and the audience was happy to comply throughout. To say that Alfie and Michael were pleased with the audience response is probably an understatement.  Due to the fact that the two albums had just been released in Japan the set list was primarily a mixture of songs from both. However, Run and Keep Me In Your Heart seemed to be the highlights. Being a bit of a risk taker Alfie had no problem asking the audience with the aid of the translation skills of one of the backup singers (all three local singers were excellent) to sing along with him. While the first pass at the chorus was a bit timid by the time Alfie had a lucky gentleman on stage to repeat the chorus everyone was applauding and laughing and singing loudly.

Going into Run, Alfie made his now famous leap off the stage to the audience’s surprise and amazement. It did not take anyone very long to realise what a bonus they had received. People were reaching out to touch Alfie and stepping in the aisles to hug him as he completed his circuit. Since phones are not allowed there were very few phones lit but some had glow sticks which were waved throughout the song. Another popular song was New York, New York as Michael substituted Tokyo, Tokyo for New York. The reaction was as expected. A personal favourite was You’ll Be Back. Alfie and Michael took this up a notch, actually acting the lines out with forceful hand gestures and facial expressions. It was not a song well known to the audience but with all the acting it was well received. The audience even sang along on the da, da, da lines.

The Wham songs were as well received as in the UK; instead of the pudding hat Alfie wore a baseball cap with “I ♥️ Japan” on it. and wore it through the whole song. Alfie forgot to toss Michael his tee shirt and so while Alfie was bouncing across the front of the stage Michael was going through Alfie’s parka looking for the shirt.  Once again we had audience participation in addition to the clapping and dancing and Japan’s Alfie’s Arrows sitting in the front row put on their Choose Life tee shirts. It was a wonderful addition to a great medley.

 

The orchestra was reduced in number but this had no apparent effect on the sound – the music was as full as ever. Among the five of us who had experienced a collective seventeen performances in the UK, all agreed that Tokyo surpassed those shows.

Wow – what a fab review and as there were some differences between the first and second shows, we have another review still to come! Thank you so much Roberta x

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