REVIEW: MUSIC; Michael Ball and Alfie Boe - Together.
Byline: CATHERINE JONES Arts Editor firstname.lastname@example.org @BodenJones
ECHO Arena Liverpool THEY sang it at the Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall last weekend.
And, apparently, it forms the encore of every show on their new UK tour, Together.
But you'd hope that the roof-raising rendition of You'll Never Walk Alone that Michael Ball and Alfie Boe sang at the ECHO arena on Thursday night - complete with a JF96 symbol beamed on the screens behind them - might have just had an extra poignancy.
Certainly Boe, a lifelong Liverpool fan, looked moved as the crowd's voices soared with the pair in the closing moments of an evening packed with music, and not a little laughter.
The singers have been bosom buddies since they met on the set of an ill-fated production of Kismet a decade ago, and have always wanted to find a joint project.
Hence the title of the show, and their new album, which Ball joked had taken "months" to come up with, with the aid of a focus group.
And there's a lot of genuine jesting and teasing banter between the men, who spend the majority of the two-hour plus show on stage and singing together.
Occasionally, they stopped taking the mickey out of each other (Boe dubbed Ball "Mr Tumble". Ball cheekily gave him a helping hand - on the bottom - when Boe mock-slipped clambering on to a high stool) to gently jest with a gaggle of latecomers. It's all warm, fuzzy, good-natured stuff.
Vocal-wise, the pair come from opposite ends of the scale: Ball's softer, musical theatre style at times working beautifully with - at times butting up somewhat awkwardly against - Boe's power-driver classical tenor tones.
The former apprentice mechanic from Fleetwood hardly needs a microphone. With one, they could probably hear him on the Fylde Coast - and definitely in one of his solo numbers, Quadrophenia's Love Rain on Me, which was cranked up to somewhere north of a Spinal Tap 11.
He also showed an unexpected rockier side with a crowd-pleasing That's Alright (Mama) that surely Elvis would have applauded.
Ball also got a chance alone in the spotlight, and found his own way to pack a mighty emotional punch with a pair of old favourites: Gethsemane, from Jesus Christ Superstar, and, of course, Love Changes Everything.
Elsewhere, the duo delivered a series of numbers from the album - Speak Softly Love, Somewhere, For Once in My Life, Tell Me It's Not True and - perhaps most successfully in the duetting stakes - Music of the Night.
Interestingly, it was the Rat Pack-style section that opened the second half which showed their vocal harmonising off to best effect, including a joyful, nicely blended, Me And My Shadow, with Boe reining back his booming tones.
Add in a specially-created Les Mis medley - Boe a recent Valjean on Broadway, Ball the original Marius in the West End - and that heart-felt Hillsborough encore, and there were plenty of smiling faces heading out into the Liverpool night.
On stage at the ECHO Arena on Thursday night: vocal-wise, the pair come from opposite ends of the scale - Michael Ball with his softer, musical theatre style and Alfie Boe with his powerdriver classical tenor tones Picture: DAVID MUNN
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|Publication:||Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)|
|Date:||Nov 19, 2016|
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