Ramin Karimloo at Islington Assembly Hall
It’s a crisp Wednesday evening and the queue of fans stretches far down the road leading to the Islington Assembly Hall in eager expectation of Ramin Karimloo’s final UK gig before heading back to America. A crowd formed mainly of women files into the art deco venue, whose old-fashioned aesthetic belies impressive acoustics.
When Karimloo bursts on stage with a powerful rendition of Till I Hear You Sing from Love Never Dies he is greeted with ecstatic applause and instantly transports the audience to the bright lights of Broadway. However, as the evening progresses he proves that his musical talent stretches further than the show tunes that have brought him to fame. His voice is strong and versatile as he moves between folk rock songs such as Cat Steven’s It’s a Wild World and his own country and bluegrass-inspired tracks.
Highlights include Broken, a beautiful string-based track featuring on his album, and Bring Him Home, a tune he regularly sang in the role of Jean Valjean in Les Misérables. Here, he sings the latter as an effortless duet with his special guest Hadley Fraser, leaving the audience with goosebumps and tears in their eyes.
For the rest of the show Fraser forms a part of Karimloo’s dynamic backing group, who join him in interacting with the audience and creating a fun and laid-back atmosphere throughout. Karimloo himself maintains a good rapport with the audience telling stories and cracking jokes that leave the ladies swooning in the aisles.
Aside from a couple of musical slip-ups on Karimloo’s part (which were acknowledged but forgiven by his fans), the only criticism of the evening lies with the support act, Steve Young. Slightly underwhelming given the context of the evening, Young does little to warm up a chilly January audience.
Overall diverse and entertaining, the performance is enjoyed as much by the male spectators as by the female fans who explode into rapturous applause as Ramin Karimloo closes his show.
Photo: Andrew James
For further information about Ramin Karimloo and future events visit here.
Watch a live performance of Bring Him Home here: