Scarborough OAT

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When I was looking for a subject for this month’s edition of Exploring New Music, I was again inspired by seeing Alfie perform, this time at Scarborough.  The song choice was Wildflowers by Tom Petty and I loved it:

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers are musicians that belong to the rarefied greats of music but aside from a monster hit of an album in the late 1980’s, I had not really listened to their music.  Regular readers will know that of the seven previous editions of Exploring New Music, I’ve not liked them all and nor did I expect to; after all, if you don’t expose yourself to new sounds, how will you ever find the performers of tomorrow?  However, you’ll be pleased to know that after listening to a good number of Heartbreakers albums, I love this music!  Thank you Alfie for introducing me to yet another fab musician.

I started with the Heartbreakers first, eponymous, album from 1976, which wasn’t a great hit at the time.  That came later, after the release of Damn the Torpedoes.  The 60’s inspired sound is a mixture of great tunes, rhythm and catchy hooks spread over nine tracks that range from fast and frantic to mellow, laid back and everything in between.  American Girl and Breakdown are the stand out tracks.

The group’s third album, Damn the Torpedoes was released in 1979 and the band very much needed it to be a hit. Luckily, it had some fantastic tunes. From the very first notes of Refugee to the very last notes of Louisiana Rain, it’s clear that this is a stonking good record.  There is not one track you’d skip, it’s all great.  My favourites are Louisiana Rain and Don’t Do Me Like That but really, I could have picked any of the songs.

Moving on, we come to the Tom Petty I remember from my teenage years; the Travelling Wilbury (always had a soft spot for George Harrison) and all round superstar, perhaps as a result of 1989’s Full Moon.  A solo album (with a couple of Heartbreakers playing on it), this album was a complete runaway success, with at least three classic Petty tracks coming from it: I Won’t Back Down, Free Fallin’ and Runnin’ Down a Dream.

I would love to hear Alfie singing this – it seems perfect for him.  Anyway, never mind Alfie, I’m thinking of adopting it as a personal motto from now on.

The last album I’m looking at is a more stripped back affair: Wildflowers from 1994.  Another solo effort, this reveals the soft, acoustic, mellow side of Petty’s music.  Encompassing folk, upbeat tracks with great danceability, rock and blues, the best tracks for me are You Wreck Me, Cabin Down Below, Broken Heart and the title track.

We’ve long known that Alfie loves rock music and it’s no longer a surprise to hear him introducing new rock tracks into his live sets.  In fact, one of the best things about seeing Alfie live is wondering which rock band will he choose to cover tonight? It’s one of the reasons why I love his live sets – you never know what you’re gonna get.  So next time someone says life is like a box of chocolates, say “no – it’s like an Alfie Boe concert!”

Of these albums, my favourite is Damn the Torpedoes, available here:

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Another Saturday in June 2018 and another opportunity to spend an evening with the beautiful music of Alfie Boe, this time in Scarborough.  Alfie was there a year ago, almost to the day, with wet weather of biblical proportions but this time around, the sun shone, and so of course, did Alfie and his band, each of whom are brilliant musicians / singers and complement each other as well as Alfie.

Each of the three concerts I’ve attended this summer has been different, despite having a similar set list.  Fleetwood was magical and the experience of a lifetime, Kenwood was one of the smoothest Alfie concerts I’ve ever seen and Scarborough saw Alfie at his most relaxed, taking a couple of mistakes in his stride and having the audience wrapped around his little finger from the very first note. Changing the lyrics of Volare to “Oh Scarborough, beautiful Scarborough, the beautiful town by the sea, I know you’ve been waiting for me” didn’t hurt either!  There was banter aplenty, audience included and a fabulous moment for fan Geoff, singing his heart out on Keep Me In Your Heart.

Alfie likes to change up the set list with each concert he does, even if it’s only the running order but this summer, each concert has seen at least one new song.  Scarborough saw Alfie include Wild Flowers from Tom Petty and it was wonderful:

Another song new to me and I think I’ve found the next subject of Exploring New Music.

Other highlights included Run, which saw Alfie run around the entire audience, including up in the stands, You’re The Voice, featuring the support act Belle Voci (they also returned for Run), Ophelia, and He Lives In You.  Every time I hear Alfie sing this, I love it more.   Sing, Sing, Sing and A Pencil Full of Lead started the evening off with a bang and along with The Way You Look Tonight (one of my new favourites) assured me that the new album is going to be a corker.  Due out some time in November, it appears that as well as big band sounds, the album will also be exploring New Orleans rootsy, gutsy jazz – I can’t wait.  Alfie’s voice is made for rootsy, gutsy music – the last few tracks of Storyteller and Rosie on Trust demonstrate his mastery of this sound and it will be a treat to see what he makes of it.

The last few weeks have been a whirlwind and a rollercoaster in one and I’m so grateful for all the supportive messages you’ve sent me  – I really do appreciate it. it’s also been a pleasure to meet so many readers over the last few weeks.  If you want to know more about what Jane did next, click here.  Alfie ha brought many wonderful things to my life and one of the best is the fabulous friends I’ve made.  Attending a concert is made all the more special by spending time with these wonderful ladies.  Thank you to Linda A, Linda W (me and the two Linda’s are now able to give guided tours around the North Bay area of Scarborough), Cecelia, Annie, Pauline H, Jean, Ayano, Mitsuko, Jennifer and Donna, Pat and Janet, Carole N, Sue, Barbara Watkinson, Roberta and Sharon for your friendship and company.

There will be another competition over the summer, to win a few signed goodies so make sure you’re subscribed to get first chance at entering!

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What an exciting time for Alfie Boe fans – the Together Again tour with Michael Ball starting this week and now a second announcement for a 2018 solo show in as many weeks.  Having played at Armed Forces Day in 2015 and returned in 2017 with Michael Ball, Alfie is set to return to Scarborough’s Open Air Theatre on Saturday June 30th 2018.  Let’s hope the weather isn’t as dreadful as it was this year!

Of his Scarborough 2018 show Alfie said “I love playing at Scarborough OAT, the crowds are always so warm and really up for a good night. The fact this is Armed Forces Day will make the occasion extra special.  This summer’s show there with Michael was played in some horrendous weather conditions. The rain really was something else that night, but the crowd were simply fantastic. Neither Michael or myself will ever forget that night. I now can’t wait to bring my own show back to Scarborough – hopefully this time in the bright Yorkshire sunshine! I will be performing some new material alongside plenty of the songs the fans know and love.”

Well, I love the sound of new material, as by then we will be looking forward to Alfie’s first solo album for a few years – bring it on!

Tickets go on general sale on Friday 1 December – 9am.  Click here.

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Thank you all for your best wishes for Alfie Boe in the last ten days, please see below for this official announcement from Alfie and Vector Management:

It is with regret due to Medical Advice that Alfie Boe will no longer be able to perform at Scarborough Open Air Theatre on June 25th – All Customers are advised to go to their original point of purchase to obtain a refund.

Updated: Ticketmaster will be sending out automatic refunds in the next few days so no need to contact them direct.  This process can take up to 15 working days.

I’m really sorry to be bringing you this news about the Scarborough concert, not least because I was so much looking forward to meeting so many Alfie fans but it’s not to be.  I’m sure you will all understand that the team brought you this news just as soon as we were able.

Despite our disappointment I hope you will all join me in wishing Alfie a swift and full recovery.

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Two months today and I hope to be seeing quite a few of you at Alfie’s only live concert this year (not counting his guest appearance for the Queen) at Scarborough.  My tickets arrived last week and I’ve booked the train ticket as well so all I need now is nice weather!

Amidst all the excitement I thought it would be the perfect time to revisit our 2014 poll to find the Best Alfie Boe Live Song.   I’m aware we’ve just voted in one poll (results next week) but polls on this blog are like buses and they’re such fun – the voting never goes the way I think it will.

The choices in 2014 are on this playlist

and I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that the eventual winner was the New Years Eve performance of Don’t Stop Me Now.

You can choose any song you like as long as Alfie has performed it live – video evidence would just be absolutely perfect – so please get nominating below:

The nominations will close in a week and the new poll will open shortly after (notice how I never say ‘soon’?).

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The first news for Summer 2016 is here! In news just released today, Alfie Boe returns to the Scarborough Open Air Theatre on 25 June 2016!  He will again headline the Proms Style concert on Armed Forces Day and tickets will go on sale Monday 14 December 9am!

Let’s look back at 2015’s concert (thanks to Linda W):

For more information click here.  Tickets will be on sale from Ticketmaster or at the Scarborough OAT box office.

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