Michael Ball & Alfie Boe – Together

Michael Ball & Alfie Boe – Together
Live Nation. Musical Director: Callum McCloud. Concert Hall, QPAC, 5 Oct 2017; Melbourne 7 Oct; Sydney 11 Oct; Adelaide 14 Oct; Perth 16 Oct.

When Michael Ball and Alfie Boe opened their second-half with Gershwin’s “I’ll Build a Stairway to Paradise” that’s where the audience were – paradise. It was just one of the electric moments these two superstars of song created during their two-hour concert Together. Based on their best-selling album of the same name, musical-theatre favourites rubbed shoulders with rock, pop and swing in a program that seamlessly mixed all genres.

Ball’s softer musical-theatre tones blended beautifully with Boe’s classical tenor providing thrill after thrill, and with a 16-piece band, a trio of girl backup-singers, a tryptich of LED light screens, and superb lighting, it was an evening to truly remember.

It opened with the band playing “Somewhere” from West Side Story and the disembodied voices of Ball and Boe singing off-stage before they entered to thunderous applause. They followed with a driving “For Once in My Life” before they got down to business with a stunning version of Phantom’s “The Music of the Night”.

First-act highlights included a blistering pop-vocal of Farnham’s hit “You’re the Voice”, and a medley of Elvis tunes with Boe doing an impressive hip-swivelling impersonation of the ‘King’ on “That’s Alright (Mama)”. The best harmony of the night (and a brief dance), came with “Me and My Shadow” and the most swinging big-band arrangement was “New York, New York”.

Both performers took a turn at centre-stage, with Boe singing “Keep Me in Your Heart” as a salute to Tom Petty and Ball reaching-the-rafters on “Gethsemane” from Superstar. A medley of James Bond hits pleased, but it was the finale, a suite from Les Misérabes that was the showstopper. Boe repeated his recent Broadway turn as Valjean with an astonishing “Bring him Home”, Ball essayed his original Marius performance on “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables” and together they sang the heart out of “I Dreamed a Dream” and “One More Day”.

Their friendship, which dates from the time they were in an ill-fated production of Kismet, is obvious with banter that was warm and jokey with enough of the common touch to bond with the audience.

Sound at times was a bit muddy and continually pushed to off-the-chart levels. When they encored with a roof-raising “You Never Walk Alone” the hall was filled with Mexican hand waving acolytes. Power-ballads have never been more impressive. Undoubtedly the concert of the year.

Peter Pinne       

Photographer: Mitch Lowe.

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