Where do I start? I could begin by saying that at least the weather was decent this time, if very very cold.. the first time I saw Alfie in Birmingham it snowed.. the second time there was a monsoon so just cold was an improvement! I could also say it’s the first time in many years I’ve been into Birmingham near Christmas time and the city centre looked lovely.. would have looked better without all the roadworks but still..
However all of that is a mere item compared to the concert itself. I mentioned I’d seen Alfie twice, I’ve seen Michael before too. Nothing quite prepares you for the two of them together though.
My seat was at the back of the circle, I had an excellent view of the whole stage, including all the lighting display behind them. So although I couldn’t see the whites of their eyes, I could still see them perfectly well and hear them, after all, it was all about the voices.
Their voices blend perfectly together, the performances were faultless. The humour was.. oh my the humour. They are actual five year olds as a friend of mine would say. A woman made the mistake of going to the toilet, which resulted in a full five minutes of wee/poo/fart noises, Alfie jumping off stage saying he was “going to find her” and Michael wanting to know if she’d washed her hands.. I have not laughed that much for ages! all whilst they attempted to sing Wonderful World so to those whose concerts have yet to come, don’t come in late, if you’ve bought one of the fleeces keep quiet about it and don’t get up to go to the loo during the show!
Anyway, back to the music. There were many many highlights, the Elvis medley, the Bond medley, the swing medley – Michael’s Mack The Knife was most impressive, Tell Me It’s Not True from Blood Brothers gave me goosebumps, the Les Miz set needs no words, the whole thing was pure, unadulterated entertainment. Proper singers singing proper songs. I loved A Thousand Years from Twilight and Tonight from West Side Story.
But even that didn’t compare to the solo spots. They were a whole different bag of beans as far as I was concerned. Alfie did Keep Me In Your Heart, he had everyone singing along, I love that song. Then.. then he did Love Reign O’er Me from Quadrophenia. Majestic, stunning, spellbinding, Alfie is like an unstoppable force of nature when he sings this. It was incredible.
So how does Michael follow that? with Gethsemane from Jesus Christ Superstar.
Now, I know very little about that particular musical, I know precisely two songs – Jesus Christ Superstar and King Herrod’s Song. I had never heard Gethsemane before.
“It’s a hell of song isn’t it?” said Michael when he’d finished.
It is Michael. And that was one hell of a performance. It equalled Alfie’s. It nailed my backside to the seat, it blew me back in my chair and much as I love Michael and I know he can belt a tune out, I was left wondering where the hell did that come from! I was on my feet when he’d finished. Just WOW.
They finished the show with Les Miz and rightly sang *their* songs on their own. The duet of I Dreamed A Dreamed was perfect.
The encore of You’ll Never Walk Alone had the Symphony Hall on it’s feet, waving it’s arms and singing it’s head off.
I am a massive fan of both of them, so this was a dream concert for me, it was an incredible experience.