I first saw Alfie Boe at Motorpoint Arena, Nottingham. I had offered to accompany my mother as a patronizing gesture. I thought she was going through some sort of late life crisis. If she was going out to lust after younger men, it was my duty make sure he was safe. As soon as he strode onto the stage exuding energy and charisma behind that mighty tenor voice, I realised I had been a complete idiot. Props to the older generation.
We were lucky to catch both Alfie Boe and Michael Ball in Brighton after they added a last minute extra date onto their already lengthy and sold out tour, ‘Together’. Alfie strutted over to our side of the stage and waved. The presence of Alfie Boe unlocked some unseen potential in my mother. Then her glasses steamed up. Afterwards, she asked me how to get to the stage door. I restrained her and moved her on, but not without seeing her point. The energetic, hip jiggling version of the aptly named ‘That’s Alright Momma’ by Elvis brought the virility and hormones back into the largely post-menopausal room.
Classically trained and made famous by musical theatre, this man was no cheese merchant (in fact he had been a car mechanic in a previous life). His rendition of ‘Bring Him Home’ from Les Miserables had paved the way for a different form of self expression. He saw himself as more of a rock star and what could be more validating than rock icon, Pete Townshend, using him for his orchestral reworking of Quadrophenia. A perfect platform to let out his inner rock star in a classical setting. In both concerts, his mighty ‘Love Reign O’er Me’ from this album was the most definitive showcase for his extraordinary voice in both power and emotional intensity.
Two tenors with two very different tones intertwined in duets like ‘Somewhere’. There was much business like show business in the way they descended down a staircase surrounded by orchestra, piano and glamorous backing singers. Visuals added to the spectacle, especially during the 007 medley. They swung, ran and soloed. Michael Ball, the voice of the people belted his signature tune ‘Love Changes’. Alfie Boe, man of the people, ran in amongst the people, lest he forget he was one of them. Some of the horsing around seemed rehearsed, but if it hadn’t, and Michael Ball had failed to slap Alfie Boe’s ass in a trajectory that landed him on his stool, he may have made him a soprano. So no cheese, but a little bit of ham and a full feast of quality singing.