On This Day

All posts tagged On This Day

…at the opening of the Blackpool Illuminations:

Another one for those who like the fresh faced Alfie as opposed to those who prefer the beard – no guesses which camp I’m in!

In 2006, Alfie was promoting his debut album, Classic FM Presents and the music choice reflects that, starting with Jerusalem and ending with the classical crowd pleaser, Nessun Dorma.   Alas, at that time, despite being well known locally, Alfie wasn’t well known enough to actually turn on the famous illuminations; I bet they’d love to have him do it now though!  Next year Alfie?

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…songs from his debut album, Classic FM Presents:

I would dearly love to hear Alfie sing these arias again to hear how his voice has matured.  We did hear Nessun Dorma on the Serenata tour of 2014 and Alfie has sung the odd aria over the years but I still want to hear more!

Against the Tide, an original song at Leeds Millennium Square:

This is the only time we have heard this song and every time I listen to it, I love it more – Alfie is having the time of his life and revels in teaching the audience to sing it.  Alfie fans are a talented bunch of people!

To my mind, this song suits Alfie down to the ground and would have fitted perfectly on his 2013 album, Trust.  I wonder if we will ever hear this song again, either live or on a future solo album?  Please, Alfie, please!  One thing’s for sure, Alfie never does anything remotely predictable so the direction of his next solo album could be absolutely anything!

 

Land of Hope and Glory with Annette Wardell at Alive @ Delapre:

Alfie can be seen sporting his Jean Valjean haircut for Les Miz Broadway in this video – do we like?  I’d completely forgotten that they sang this twice as we weren’t enthusiastic enough – and I’d also forgotten Alfie’s comments about what to wave!!!  This was my last concert that summer and the first time I took my son, 9 at the time.  He had a lovely time right up until Alfie started singing although he couldn’t help himself from singing along to quite a lot of the songs!

Land of Hope and Glory is of course heard annually at the Last Night of the Proms and was also England’s national anthem for the Commonwealth Games until 2010 – for those who have no idea about these games, England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales compete as separate nations, hence the need for a different national anthem.  It was also included at the end of a number of Alfie’s 2015 summer concerts, either in those officially labelled as ‘Proms’ concerts or not.

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Come What May with Sophie Evans at Llangollen:

Two years ago, Alfie was performing at several festivals, much as he has just done with Michael Ball, and Come What May was again part of his repertoire, albeit usually as a solo.  In Llangollen though, the song was performed as a duet with Sophie Evans, who was also on the bill for that event; Sophie had also appeared with Alfie at Singleton Park earlier a few weeks previously.

Come What May is of course from Baz Luhrman’s Moulin Rouge, one of my favourite films of all time – who doesn’t love a film that you can sing along to, swoon over Ewan McGregor and then have a good cry at the end?  Alfie has sung this song with a variety of partners over the years, from poll winner Rebecca Newman to, at the other end of the scale, Mel C but the one that sticks in my mind the most is Laura Wright from the Bring Him Home tour:

I’m sure I’m not the only one who loved Alfie and Laura together!

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Stranger in Paradise on Parkinson:

This is of course from Kismet, the much mocked (by Michael Ball and Alfie at least) production at ENO where Alfie and Michael first met.  Now, I happened to watch this performance on Parkinson and liked the song and the singer but that was it – certainly, I didn’t have the same reaction as when first hearing Alfie as Jean Valjean.

Kismet first appeared as a musical in 1953 before making it’s way to London a couple of years later.  Stranger in Paradise is the most famous song from the show, certainly in the UK and in 1955 there were six versions of the song in the UK chart, Tony Bennett being the one to hit the top spot.  Since then, the song has been recorded by more artists than we’ve all had hot dinners but I can’t find one I like better than Alfie.

The summer tour is almost upon us so if you want to review one of the shows (Hampton Court and Greenwich are taken) please fill in the form:

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…in Korean!  This was his one off appearance in Seoul, Korea and he sang a varied programme of classical, opera and musical theatre – and one song in Korean.  I understand the song is traditional but I have no idea what they are singing about!  The audience, soprano and conductor all seem very impressed though and his pronunciation seems, to my untutored ear) in time with the soprano:

The second song is one of my favourites from Alfie’s operatic repertoire, Brindisi from La Traviata.  Alfie looks as if he is enjoying this rare venture into operatic waters although I think he may have wanted to dance at one point and the dress had other ideas!

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The Thrill Is Gone at the Birchmere, Alexandria:

Alfie is clearly having the time of his life here but, as far as I’m aware, this is one song that he hasn’t performed in any tour since.  Bring it back Alfie, it’s great!

Written in 1951 by Roy Hawkins and Rick Darnell, the version most well known is that by BB King:

As mentioned in On This Day 31 January, Alfie was experimenting with blues at the time and The Thrill is Gone fits right in with that.  Perhaps that sound for Alfie was of it’s time  but I really hope we see it return in the not too distant future – I could listen to Alfie sing Trust and Storyteller all day long.

As mentioned, the original was by Roy Hawkins and this is it – still blues but more measured, at least to me:

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...Wayfaring Stranger in New Jersey:

First heard on the Autumn 2012 US tour, Wayfaring Stranger featured on Alfie’s 2012 album Storyteller and became a set list staple of the eponymous tour.  The song went on to feature in the first two Best Ever Alfie Boe Song polls in 2014 and 2015 and signalled a clear progression towards the style of Alfie’s next album, Trust.  Here is Alfie talking about why the song was chosen:

The joy Alfie talks about here was much more in evidence on the Storyteller tour – this is the song from the Royal Albert Hall (thanks to Linda W):

The strong backing vocals from Seweuse and Lucy are the icing on the cake for me, not to mention Murray, Matt and Nick on guitar and bass and Richard on keyboard.  I defy to stay sitting in your seat and not dance around when listening to this!

Storyteller is available here:

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O Sole Mio / Now or Never in Swindon on the Bring Him Home tour:

Seems a long time ago now doesn’t it?  Of course it is now five years since we saw Alfie do so many solo tour dates.  It’s been a while since I’ve sat and watched this combination of O Sole Mio and Now or Never and I’d forgotten how effective it was.  Lots of you haven’t though as it featured in the top ten of last year’s Best Alfie Boe Live Song.

O Sole Mio was written in 1898 and has been recorded and performed by huge numbers of people, making it one of the most famous Neapolitan songs around.  Alfie himself sang it on his 2007 album La Passione although that hasn’t stopped him having to explain that it’s not about ice cream to UK audiences.  For those of you outside our sunny shores, the tune of O Sole Mio was the theme of Cornetto ice cream TV adverts for a ten year period in the 1970’s and 1980’s.  It’s certainly where I remember it from originally.

La Passione is available here:

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