Alfie Boe at the Royal Albert Hall
The crowd barely stirs through Emilia Mitiku’s catchy opening act but when the lights dim, spotlights scan the crowd and smoke fills the stage, fans finally show signs of life as Boe opens with It’s Over. His voice resonates throughout the entire hall and you can feel his enthusiasm – but the audience soon falls back into stillness, as if lulled by his words.
The storytelling theme of this tour is most apparent when Mitiku joins Boe on stage for a duet of Dimming of the Day. Although their physical chemistry and body language suggest otherwise, their strong vocals harmonize in the most compelling way. Expressive and soulful, they convincingly recount the tale of a troubled relationship.
The performance is only further enhanced by the talents of the accompanying band. As guitarists Matt White and Murray Gould strum alongside Boe on brown leather couches, the melody they create for Feneste Che Lucive is as sorrowful and apologetic as the tone he uses to recite the Italian lyrics. The set change is inviting and leaves the impression of listening in on a private recording session, amidst thousands.
The ever popular Bring Him Home is a definite crowd pleaser, meeting thunderous applause as Boe simply faces the audience, open and honest. He finishes to a standing ovation but the vibe is short-lived. Although it’s a lively set with a fair mix of old and new material from various albums including Alfie and La Passione, Boe still struggles to motivate the audience to get up out of their seats. By the twelfth number he’s shouting, ‘‘for crying out loud, get off your asses London!’’.
That being said, Boe keeps the energy high, and greets and hugs fans in the audience during the finale. His comedic banter and fist pumping effectively keep onlookers smiling, and in rock ’n’ roll fashion, he mounts the drum kit, jumping down dramatically as the final note on the snare is hit.
The encore of Rank Strangers is much less flashy: just Boe sitting on a stool with one spotlight overhead. All theatrics aside, his vocals hold the audience till the very end.
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