REVIEW: Michael Ball & Alfie Boe
Opera House, Winter Gardens, Blackpool
Alfie Boe and Michael Ball announced that they will be finishing their tour with a second Blackpool date, during their triumphant performance at the Opera House.
Boe, who was born in Blackpool and brought up in Fleetwood, spoke during the show about his delight of returning for the homecoming concert.
He said: “I can’t tell you how happy I am to be home.
“I’ve always loved playing the Opera House, it’s beautiful, it’s steeped in history with performers like Laurel and Hardy, Charlie Chaplin, Michael Ball!
“I used to work here and I got fired. I won’t tell that story again , the guy that fired me is in the wings!
“I want to say thank you for all the support, the album and this tour
“I’m flying the flag for this place, I know where I’m from and it’s always beautiful to come back”.
The big band accompanying the pair, who weren’t visible at this point, started the show, building the suspense before Alfie Boe could be heard belting out the opening line to ‘Somewhere’ from ‘West Side Story’. Michael Ball joined in and eventually they emerged on stage to screams from the audience.
The main thing that shone through almost immediately was the chemistry that they shared. Michael Ball was his usual jovial self and Alfie Boe’s more dry sense of humour complemented him perfectly and drew quite a few laughs from the audience.
A mesmerising performance of ‘Music of the Night’ set the bar very high early on but they both managed to live up to the incredibly high standard they’d set for themselves.
In between show tunes, mostly taken from their joint album ‘Together’, they pair also performed a number of medleys, ranging from Elvis Presley songs, to James Bond themes to swing numbers.
Alfie littered the set with references to his hometown including, at one point, shouting “Cod Army”.
In the second half, both took it in turns to perform two songs on their own.
Alfie first getting everyone on their feet to sing-a-long to his hit ‘Keep Me in Your Heart’ remarking afterwards “whenever I sing that song, it brings me back home”, before a stunning rendition of ‘Love Rain on Me’ from ‘Quadrophenia’ drew one of the many standing ovations of the night from the capacity Opera House crowd.
Michael Ball then replaced Alfie on stage to perform two of the most iconic musical theatre songs of all time in ‘Gethsemane’ and ‘Love Changes Everything’, both note perfect and to standing ovations.
They joined forces once more for the finale, a ‘Les Miserables Suite’, culminating in emotionally charged renditions of ‘Bring Him Home’ and ‘I Dreamed a Dream’, before one last final standing ovation and screams of “more” led to an encore of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’.
No doubt many of those who attended will rush to buy tickets for the second date on Wednesday, December 14.