Review: Michael Ball and Alfie Boe, Back Together, Leeds First Direct Arena, February 25
INDEPENDENTLY, Michael Ball and Alfie Boe are two of the biggest entertainment draws. Together they are a phenomenon.
Three mega-selling albums, imaginatively named Together (2016), Together Again (2017) and Back Together (2019), have established the pair as the UK’s absolute best-selling act of physical CDs.
Regulars of the Leeds First Direct Arena, Messrs Ball and Boe are just so comfortable in their complimentary talents and know exactly how to pick a set list that will enthral their very loyal audience.
Almost predictably, kicking off with a rousing version of The Greatest Show, from the Hugh Jackman film soundtrack, Ball and Boe present consummate covers of famous duets I Knew You Were Waiting For Me (Aretha Franklin and George Michael) and Something’s Gotten Hold Of My Heart (Marc Almond and Gene Pitney).
Other well-chosen covers include Army (The Shires), Labi Siffre’s (Something Inside) So Strong and, most convincingly, John Farnham’s anthem You’re The Voice.
Individually, Ball covered Anthem from Benny, Bjorn and Tim Rice’s Chess while Boe stole the show with his emotive cover of Snow Patrol’s Run, which gave the audience a chance to wave phone torches in the air. What fun!
Of course, Michael and Alfie had to showcase the very best of musical theatre, including Sunrise, Sunset (Fiddler On The Roof) and surprisingly Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again (Christine’s solo from The Phantom Of The Opera).
Hot from their historic engagement for Les Miserables – The Staged Concert, overjoyed fans were treated to Stars, Bring Him Home and One Day More, which felt as if this was the climax of last night’s concert.
This was not the case as the orchestra and choir then launched into a Lion King Medley and a trio of Queen songs, two very fine Freddie Mercury songs, Who Wants to Live Forever and The Show Must Go On, and one of Freddie’s off moments, Friends Will Be Friends. Never mind.
An encore of Paul Anka’s My Way would have kept the audience happy. However, the surprise of the evening was the Grease Mega Mix: Grease, Greased Lightnin’, You’re The One That I Want and We Go Together. Everyone left elated!
CHART-TOPPING tenor Alfie Boe will bring Armed Forces Day to a climax on June 27 with a 6pm concert at Scarborough Open Air Theatre.
The East Coast resort has the honour of hosting this year’s Armed Forces Day National Event that day.
Around 200,000 people, including members of the Royal Family and prominent
politicians, are expected to head to Scarborough for a series of events to
honour the dedication and sacrifice of the nation’s servicemen and women.
Boe says: “It is an amazing honour, as well as a huge thrill, for me to
be back at this wonderful venue to perform on Armed Forces Day.
“I’ve played there many times and I’ve always received such a warm
welcome from the good people of Yorkshire. The fact I will be performing as
part of Scarborough’s hosting of Armed Forces Day’s National Event will make it
even more special. I cannot wait for June 27; it will be an amazing evening.”
Mezzo-soprano Laura Wright, who has performed at major events
around the world, will be among those to join Boe on stage.
Boe, who has starred in stellar productions of Les Misérables and La Bohème, will be appearing at Scarborough OAT for the fourth time. He headlined Armed Forces Day concerts there in 2015 and 2018 and performed alongside his friend and collaborator in song, Michael Ball, in 2017.
He and Ball will next sing in Yorkshire at Leeds First Direct Arena on February
25. On his return in June, he will combine familiar favourites with selections
from last November’s celebration of songs of the 1930s and 1940s, As Time Goes
By, his first solo record since 2015.
Recorded with Grammy award winner Gordon Goodwin and his Big
Phat Band, the album journeyed through the defining songs of that golden
era, from the full force of Sing Sing Sing to the smooth The Way You Look
Tonight and title track.
Laura Wright, who topped the classical album chart with her debut, The
Last Rose, is writing and recording her seventh album. At 24, she composed the
Invictus Games anthem, Invincible, for Prince Harry and two years
later wrote Heroes, the first official anthem for England Women’s Cricket, and then
Brave for the Military Wives.
She became the first ever official singer of the England Rugby Union team
and has sung at the Rugby Union World Cup, the NFL series, the Grand National at
Aintree, Royal Ascot and the FA Cup Final.
Looking forward to presenting Boe on June 27, Peter Taylor, director of Scarborough OAT concert promoters Cuffe and Taylor, says: “Alfie is massively popular and is someone we are asked to bring back every year, so we are delighted to be welcoming him back to Scarborough OAT this summer.
“June 27 will be an extra-special night as the nation’s focus will be on Scarborough. It is such an honour to host the Armed Forces Day National Event and so we really could not think of anyone better to headline this concert than Alfie, who will be joined by the wonderful Laura Wright.
undoubtedly be an incredibly moving and special concert and, we feel, the
perfect climax to a day that celebrates the dedication and sacrifice of our
Clark, Scarborough OAT venue manager and event manager for the Armed Forces Day
National Event, says: “Alfie Boe is a firm favourite here and we are delighted
to welcome him back in 2020. His show will be a highlight of the prestigious
Armed Forces Day National Event in Scarborough and a wonderful musical
celebration dedicated to our Armed Forces.”
Tickets will go on general sale on Friday (February 21) at 9am at
scarboroughopenairtheatre.com; on 01723 818111 and 01723
383636, or in person from the Scarborough OAT box office, in Burniston Road, or
the Discover Yorkshire Coast Tourism Bureau, at Scarborough Town Hall, St Nicholas
For more information and a full list of Armed Forces Day 2020 events in Scarborough, go to scarborougharmedforcesday.co.uk.
SCARBOROUGH OPEN AIR THEATRE’s 2020 LINE-UP
Tuesday, June 9, Lionel Richie
Wednesday, June 17, Westlife
Saturday, June 20, Supergrass
Saturday, June 27, Alfie Boe
Saturday, July 4,Snow
Friday, July 10,Mixtape,
starring Marc Almond, Heaven 17 and Living In A Box featuring Kenny Thomas
CHART-TOPPING duo Michael Ball and Alfie Boe will play Leeds First
Direct Arena on February 25 on their Back Together tour.
The singing double act will be on an arena tour from February 22 to
March 7 for ten dates in the wake of the November 2019 release of their third
album, Back Together, on Decca Records.
The album of duets features The Greatest Show; Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again; Sunrise, Sunset; Circle Of Life; Come Fly With Me; Queen Medley; My Way; Something Inside So Strong; I Will Always Believe; Let It Be Me; Somethings Gotten Hold Of My Heart; Army and Brothers In Arms.
Back Together follows the success of Ball and Boe’s debut, Together, Britain’s best-selling album of 2016, and 2017 number one Together Again, the latest addition peaking at number two in the charts en route to achieving gold sales.
After decorated careers in theatre and opera, Ball and Boe have sold more than one million albums in the UK, received two Classic BRIT awards and presented two ITV specials.
Last August Ball and Boe returned to Boublil and Schoenberg’s musical Les
Miserables for a 16-week run at the Gielgud Theatre, London.
For ticket availability for February 25, go to firstdirectarena.com/events/.