Together Tour 2016

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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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Coming to the end of January and we can start to look forward to a new Alfie year with some new shows and new music scheduled for this year.  Those going to the Japanese concerts won’t have to wait very long to see Alfie but before you know it, June will be upon us and Fleetwood, London, Scarborough and Llangollen will be blessed with many Alfie’s Arrows descending upon them. For those of you not in the know, Alfie’s Arrows was a term chosen by Alfie fans several years ago; Alfie liked it and the merchandise of the time produced Alfie’s Arrows badges.  Give me a shout if you’ve got one!

All fans would probably love to meet Alfie, even if they became somewhat tongue tied when speaking to him! If this is you, you are not alone!  One of the most exciting things for fans is to enjoy a meet and greet experience with Alfie and over the years, these have changed format, from the very informal to the ‘sign and pose’ opportunity of recent years.  Having said that, a meet and greet experience is still very special and seeing that Alfie smile just for you really does make your day, or even, dare I say, your year?!

Needless to say, apart from the actual “hello, how are you” and signing part of a meet and greet, the moment captured in a photo is the icing on the cake and a lasting memento of the day.  Here are a few fans who sent me their photos, as well as a few taken at stage doors etc:

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Thank you to everyone who sent me their photo, I just love seeing the happy faces!  If your photo is featured here, please click here to send me your meet and greet story and it might feature in a future post!

If this has whetted your appetite for your own meet and greet this year, click here to see availability at Fleetwood, Kenwood House and Scarborough.

If you would like to see your photo and story included then please fill in the form below:

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The first Six Sensational Songs post for 2018 is from Karen Blower.  I first met Karen in a virtual sense on Twitter as we both had a love of Alfie Boe and also both blogged about music; Karen is also a huge Il Divo fan.  Karen first became aware of Alfie via the Royal Variety performance that featured him as part of the Les Mis medley and of course, since then, Alfie has graced that stage twice more.  Here are Karen’s choices:

Of course, Bring Him Home, from a few years ago and in Karen’s words, “enough said”.  No further reasons needed!

Tell Me It’s Not True, from the Together Again tour.  Karen chose this because “Blood Brothers is a favourite musical of mine and Alfie’s version of the iconic song is amazing, especially when sang with Michael Ball”.

It’s Over, from the Storyteller days.  Karen says that “I grew up listening to Roy Orbison and Alfie is one of only a few singers who can do proper justice to his songs”. Yes indeed, and I still love have a chuckle that Alfie opened his set with a song called It’s Over!

Over The Hills and Far Away, at the Festival of Remembrance in 2011.  This one gives Karen goosebumps – and I’m sure she’s not the only one!

Forever Young, again at the Festival of Remembrance, this time in 2013.  Alfie has of course appeared twice more in recent years, being, in Huw Edwards’ words, “a great friend of the festival”.  As with the previous choice, Forever Young is just beautiful and gives Karen goosebumps.

Finally, Love Reign O’er Me from Classic Quadrophenia, this time from the Together tour 2016.  Karen acknowledges that this is a popular song by saying “again, yes I know but the emotion and power he puts into this, how can you not put it on the list?”  Quite – it was on my list!

Thanks Karen for sharing your six songs with us – yet again, two new songs to add to the list!

If you would like to share your six favourite Alfie songs with us, please fill in the form below.

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Alfie and Michael entered the UK album chart at number one! An amazing achievement for the pair and also for all of you for going out and buying it in your thousands – the most albums bought by one person (that I saw) was ten!  Anyone bought more than that?

Ball and Boe’s first album, Together, also re-entered the album chart at number 36 which is perfectly timed for this week’s Alfie Boe Best Live Song which comes from that album:

You’ll Never Walk Alone at Eastnor Castle was nominated by Pauline Merrick and was the encore performance for both the 2017 summer concerts and the 2016 Together tour.  The song was chosen in part as a tribute to the 96 victims of the Hillsborough disaster and the song was received incredibly emotionally when sung in Liverpool.  Alfie and Michael also performed this at the 2016 Festival of Remembrance.

Despite it’s undoubted footballing connotations in the UK, the song is of course originally from the 1945 musical, Carousel, which Alfie appeared in earlier this year.  However, Alfie’s character, Billy Bigelow doesn’t get to sing this song and it was a pleasure to hear Brenda Edwards’ Nettie sing it in the ENO production.

You’ll Never Walk Alone has been recorded many times but for us in the UK, the most famous version is that of Gerry and the Pacemakers from 1963:

Although it was the Together version that was nominated, I couldn’t resist including a video of Alfie singing this at the VE Day celebrations in 2015, as it was the first time he sang this for a long time:

Thank you again for supporting Alfie and Michael to the number one position – if you want to see an exclusive video from the boys then make sure you subscribe now!

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Welcome to Six Sensational Songs, a new occasional series of blog posts featuring fans talking about their favourite Alfie Boe songs and why they are our favourites.  As the title suggests, each post will feature just six songs – it might seem a herculean task to choose just six but you can do it!  Details of how to send in your six favourites will be given later so keep reading!

As today marks the first anniversary of thoughtsofjustafan becoming the Official Alfie Boe Fan Blog, I’ll start us off.

Keep Me In Your Heart:

None of you will be surprised that this is my first choice but this particular video is from the last date of the 2016 Together tour and was a really special night, so glad I was able to be there.  I’m always asked what it is about this song that I love – and yes, at lot of the appeal comes down to one line “like the buttons on your blouse”.  What can I say – I love this song and it helps that it’s from my favourite Alfie album, Trust.

You Are My Heart’s Delight:

This was the first song I ever heard Alfie sing live and I was lucky enough to be in the company of the fabulous Linda Wellington (whose birthday it is today!) on a blisteringly hot day in September.  Alfie’s autobiography had been released the previous week (I first met Linda at the book signing) and knowing that this song was so personal to Alfie made it even more special. This is just one of Alfie’s appearances at Proms in the Park and, we hope, there will be many more to come.

Love Reign O’Er Me:

Never having been a Who fan or a fan of rock opera, I was dubious about Alfie singing Classic Quadrophenia – or I was until I heard this song.  Spine tingling doesn’t even begin to describe how I feel about Alfie singing this or any part of Classic Quad.  The world premiere at the Royal Albert Hall in July 2015 was one of the best evenings of my life and I know that anyone who was there feels the same.

Suspicious Minds:

Alfie singing Elvis is frequently one of my most popular subjects and the day that we heard Suspicious Minds at Carfest South in 2013 still ranks in top five Alfie concerts.  The 45 minute set was absolutely perfect for the setting and Alfie had the crowd, not to mention Chris Evans, completely in the palm of his hand.

Angel:

Jimi Hendrix’s Angel was a song I had never heard before Alfie’s Storyteller tour but as with nearly everything else that Alfie sings (there are exceptions, but not many), I fell in love with the song.  We haven’t heard this since Storyteller and maybe that’s right as it fitted in perfectly with that tour – but I do miss it.  If you’re reading this Alfie, please bring it back, just once!

Brindisi:

It was a struggle to choose just six songs and you might have noticed that there are actually eight songs in the videos as some videos contain two songs (not cheating, I promise!).  I’ve chosen Alfie’s duet on Brindisi with Lesley Garrett as the chemistry between them makes the song.  And Alfie nearly missing his first note due to laughing is worth another look every time.  Not everyone likes opera Alfie but I would dearly love to hear him singing this live.  It’s not unthinkable – he’s given us Nessun Dorma, Recondita Armonia and La Donna e Mobile in recent years after all.

Now, I’m sure that you’ll all have your own choices so if you want to share them with us, please fill in the form below.  You’ll need to choose six songs, they can be live or recorded but if you want a particular video to accompany your choices, please mention it.  Please also tell us why you have chosen them.

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Apparently today is Blue Monday or the most depressing day of the year so in case you’re feeling in need of cheering up, here’s the thoughtsofjustafan 2017 quiz of everything Alfie Boe!

As with previous quizzes, there are no prizes but plenty of pride to be played for – how many will you get right?  Answers will be posted next week.

Good luck…and no cheating!

  1. With which product did Alfie make his TV commercial debut in 2016?
  2. At which football team’s ground did Alfie sing the National Anthem in 2016?
  3. How many dates were there on the 2016 Together tour?
  4. Name Alfie’s three opera heroes from the Spring radio 2 show.
  5. What was special about 12th November 2016?
  6. Which actress and singer featured as a guest artist on Ball and Boe: One Night Only?
  7. Alfie will play which role in Carousel in 2017?
  8. Katherine Jenkins will play Julie Jordan; where will she sing with Alfie before that?
  9. Which song was voted the fans favourite in 2016?
  10. Which two songs featured in Alfie’s solo section of the Together tour?

Have you seen the Together tour YouTube playlist* yet?

*the first video may not play in all countries.

Check out the updated Alfie Boe gallery too – click here.

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We have a winner!  Our new year competition was to win a Ball and Boe Together tour goodie bag and this morning the lucky winner was selected (randomly, thanks to twitter) as

Pauline Merrick!

Congratulations Pauline, please click here to send me your address details.

It’s so exciting, perhaps we should celebrate by watching Ball and Boe Together on YouTube:

And if you want to look back at some fabulous memories of Alfie over the last few years, click here to see Linda W’s gorgeous photos.

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Happy New Year!

It’s the beginning of another exciting new year for Boe and Ball (we’re allowed to call them that on this site!!!) and to start us all off in the right mood, it’s competition time!

I have a Together tour goodie bag to give away which contains the following:

BB umbrella

BB VIP bag

BB tour lanyard

BB hardback tour programme signed by both Alfie and Michael

To win this goodie bag all you have to do is answer the following question*:

How many live dates are Alfie and Michael scheduled to perform in 2017?

Entry is now closed!

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*all entrants must be subscribed

Merry Christmas everyone!  What a year 2016 has been for Alfie Boe – and 2017 looks set to be just as good!

Thoughtsofjustafan usually looks back at the year at New Year but I have something else planned for this New Year’s post (make sure you’re subscribed to hear about it first!) so here goes my top ten moments of this year:

  • Becoming the Official Alfie Boe Fan Blog in February this year – dream come true!
  • Keep Me In Your Heart live and emotional at Blackpool…my buttons are still just about intact…

  • A fabulous night’s entertainment with wonderful friends at Bournemouth.
  • The Together tour itself and seeing so many happy fans getting tickets – even if the sale days themselves were just a little bit stressful!
  • Alfie’s Opera Heroes on Radio 2, especially Maria Callas.
  • Alfie finally talking about Strictly Come Dancing with proper knowledge, borne from watching the show – surely we have Michael to thank for that?!
  • Interviewing The Thompson Twins’ Tom Bailey – what a gentleman.
  • Interviewing Jennifer Warnes – I still haven’t got over her answer to the question about preferring duets to solo songs!
  • Alfie and Michael hitting the top chart spot – it’s been a long time coming and so well deserved
  • Alfie saying how nice it was to see me again at the Manchester meet and greet – him and Michael both loved the card from fans

alfie-card

Thank you to everyone for reading and supporting thoughtsofjustafan – I really appreciate the time you take to comment and share.  Recently, we passed the staggering number of 160,000 hits – thank you!

Thank you too for all the wonderful compliments you have sent over the year, you are all very kind.  It never fails to amaze me how widespread Alfie’s fans are – click here to see where we all are.

There are some extra special people to thank who make thoughtsofjustafan possible:

Thanks to Debbie Bannigan for believing in me and ensuring that I too, believe in me.  You are amazingly generous and thoughtsofjustafan would not continue to exist without you.

Thanks to Linda Wellington for continually providing me with photos and videos and allowing me to use them.

Thanks to Carole Hunt for continuing to allow me to use her photo for the main blog banner.

Thanks to everyone who allows me to use their videos here.

Thanks to Roberta Kappus and Carole Hunt for being fabulous reviewers again this year.

Thanks to Ellen Rook, Linda Anstee and Marie Blair for being my top social media sharers – thanks for spreading the word!

Thanks to my top commenters in 2016 – Linda McCann, Sue Redfern and Sally Cook.  Love hearing from you!

Huge thanks to Emily at Vector for all your help and support.

Finally, without Alfie’s support there would be no thoughtsofjustafan – thanks for everything in 2016 Alfie!

Merry Christmas!

And so we come to end of another tour and what a tour it was.  I’ve said it was a perfect tour and I really think it was; intimate venues interspersed with larger arenas, plenty of dates, laughs a minute, Alfie and Michael solo spots and fabulous, gorgeous vocals from both and last but not least, the chance to spend so much time with so many lovely friends and fellow fans.  One of the best nights out in a very long while, Alfie related or not, was the first Bournemouth concert and the seemingly never ending quest to get a drink afterwards – we did manage it you’ll be pleased to hear and it was really lovely to be surrounded by good friends, discussing the important things in life.  Namely, Alfie Boe and his music!

This week had Ball and Boe finishing the tour in the way in which they started: with lots of dates together.  I was lucky enough to be at the final two shows, Manchester and Blackpool, both second shows at those venues and I honestly think Alfie and Michael saved the best for last. The audiences were brilliant, lots of dancing and singing along when requested and standing ovations galore – the second half seemed to consist of us standing up and down like yoyo’s on both occasions.  In Manchester, there was a definite extra thrill knowing that the concert was being streamed live around the world, with the added bonus of catching up with tweets at the interval from Boe Buddies in Australia and USA amongst others.

Blackpool was always destined to be just that bit extra special, being the end of the tour (the third such date this time around!) and being Alfie’s home ground and so it proved to be.  The mutual admiration and friendship between Alfie and Michael that has been apparent all the way through this tour was even more to the fore for this concert and came to a head during the Bond medley, both vying to out do the other in saying “nobody does it better”, preceded by Alfie’s astonishing end note of Thunderball.  In this case, the last line became “strikes like Michael Ball – brilliant!

Two years ago at the end of the Serenata tour I mentioned that I wasn’t all that keen on Bring Him Home but Alfie’s emotional intensity simply bowled me over.  This tour has given me a new way of looking at Alfie’s signature song but it still hadn’t brought me to tears until Blackpool – the Les Mis medley in its entirety was so beautiful, the tears just came.  Although, in truth, they had been there for a while at this concert, Keep Me In Your Heart starting them off. Regular readers will be aware that this is my favourite Alfie song but the way it’s been sung on this tour doesn’t lend itself to provoking tears, rather it’s been a joyful, dancing and singing along moment before the heavy emotion and power of Love Reign O’er Me.  Blackpool however, was different.  Following a heartfelt speech from Alfie about the tour, Alfie launched into an acoustic version of the song with just MD Murray Gould accompanying to start (thanks to Linda W for sharing):

The tears came almost from the beginning and they weren’t far away in Love Reign O’er Me as well.  I don’t have any more superlatives left to describe Alfie’s performance of this song so I’ll confine myself to a comment on the backdrop of the original Quadrophenia film.  When I saw this in Hammersmith I said that it detracted from the overall effect but that may have been because I was sitting to one side and not front on to Alfie – this time I was practically dead centre to the stage and the film was the perfect accompaniment to the denouement of Alfie’s powerful vocals.

Love Changes Everything was another high spot in the Blackpool show and the tears were there the whole time, mainly because the elderly couple next to me started singing it to each other.  I had Michael’s family on the other side of me and we ended both that song and the evening overall linking our waving arms, making it even more sweet.

What will I take away from this tour?  Fabulous music and fabulous times with fabulous friends.  Thank you to everyone who came and said hello, it was lovely to meet so many readers and fellow fans.  Thank you to my guest reviewers: Carole, Roberta, Cecelia, Samantha, Heather Crosskey, Heather Moore, Barbara, Joan and Christine. Thank you also to the people who made it special: Linda A, Linda W, Karen and Richard, Pat, Sue, Carole, Jan, Rachel, Nicola, Jayne, Nikki, Janet, Cecelia, Sally, Paul and Pauline, Jo Cassidy, Roberta, Hannah, Gill, Geri, Linda Evans, Jen and Donna, Liz, Pauline H, Chelley Thompson, Carole and Eric, Annie and Mitsuko.  If I’ve missed anyone out, I’m sorry! Super special thanks to Linda A for putting up with me throughout this tour especially when I was having 2017 ticket meltdown in a Manchester hotel room (we get to do it all again next year!!!) – and for giving me one of her meet and greet tickets so I could give Alfie and Michael the tour card from fans and get this photo:

alfie-card

Super special thanks to Linda W and Annie for taking and sharing their videos of the tour too – you can find them on the Together 2016 playlist on Alfie Boe on YouTube.

Click here for info on the 2017 tour dates.

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you’ll get the chance to win a Together tour goodie bundle very soon

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