Having seen many tributes to the one and only Elvis I sat down expecting to be entertained by yet another run of the mill act..... How wrong could I have been?! This truly captivating show had my attention from the start. A Vision of Elvis was formed in 2009 and has been selling out internationally ever since. Rob Kingsley has the style the voice and the charisma to be worthy of him being recognised as “The Official European Champion” a title earned by winning Europe’s Largest Tribute Artists competition, the ultimate accolade amongst tributes.
This was the second live Temperance Movement show I have had the privilege of attending. The last time I saw them was in December 2014 after their first self-titled album dropped, too much success, instantly captivating hundreds of thousands of fans in the UK and broader Europe. To date it has sold over 31,000 copies on CD and vinyl and is still the subject of countless fan clubs’ discussions, blogs, and dedicated YouTube channels, updated nightly.
To find the second word used in the programme notes for a relatively unknown young opera singer to be ‘extraordinary’ is some starting point. But the evening demonstrated that sometimes, just sometimes, high expectations can be justified … and then promptly surpassed.
And make no mistake, The Liverpool Opera – Four Seasons team had pulled a blinder. Not only was this the UK debut for Chinese born baritone Yunpeng Wang, they had beaten Convent Garden to him and this will add to the compelling history that this performer is rapidly writing for himself. And it already makes fascinating reading.
Oh, What a Night! If you love Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, and think that the cast of popular West End Musical Jersey Boys are the best thing since sliced bread, then "Let's Hang On!", a tribute bands to excel any other Four Seasons tribute band, will blow your socks off!
These guys deliver hit after hit from opening song, ironically enough LET'S HANG ON, to encore of, yep you guessed it, LET'S HANG ON, you will be Beggin' for more by the end of the show!
Jonathan Antoine shot to fame after becoming an overnight sensation as one half of the classical duo Jonathan and Charlotte, as part of series six of popular ITV show Britain's Got Talent in 2012.
Jonathan, a classically trained tenor from Essex, once again proved to a shocked audience that you should never judge a book by its cover when he first braved the judges on BGT. He received a standing ovation with the duos rendition of "The Prayer". Despite coming second in the shows final, Jonathan some rose to fame as a successful solo artist and has gained a loyal fan base. It is hard to believe that Jonathan only very recently turned 21 as he has the stage presence of a much older, established artist that has had decades of performing to large audiences.
Westrock promises a night of "hit after hit" from legendary artists such as The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Steely Dan, Toto, The Doobie Brothers (or as their Facebook page reads - "The Doonie Brothers"), Journey, America, Santana and many more.
I have to say that with such a title, and with this being at The Palace Theatre, Manchester, I rather expected it to be a play or documentary interspersed with examples of their music, rather than what I was presented with, a pop concert tribute act which played their music in chronological order.
Well actually it was a little more than just that. They did provide snippets of background information to some of the songs of this famous duo. It was minimal, but what they did say was interesting and informative and was amplified and exampled by the addition of a large projection screen behind them which throughout the whole evening was awash with images, newsreel footage and cinematic footage relevant to the song or the era, and showed many photos of them at the different stages of their career in studio or candid pictures. In fact for me, the screen became my point of focus and the most interesting thing, since without it, I would have been sitting through what would effectively have been a folk-rock concert.
Fans of the 1996 film Brassed Off starring Ewan McGregor and the late Pete Postlethwaite will find much enjoyment seeing the Grimethorpe Colliery Band live in concert. Performing beloved music from the film such as March: Death or Glory by R. B. Hall and Finale from William Tell by Rossini, the band did not disappoint and reminded the audience exactly why we love the film so much; for the music!!
It doesn’t take a connoisseur of music to recognise the incredible musical talent within the band. Particular stand out performances from principal cornet player Roger Webster, co-principal cornet player Jamie Smith, principal euphonium player Michael Dodd and solo baritone player Michael Cavanagh highlighted the band’s strengths even further, leaving the audience completely blown away.
The Manchester Mid-day Concerts Society invite artists to perform one-off concerts for them which are held, not at mid-day as the name would suggest, but at ten past one in the afternoon. These concerts have now become a regular and familiar event at The Bridgewater Hall in Manchester. The advantage of an afternoon mid-week concert is that you are guaranteed a good seat. The disadvantage of an afternoon mid-week concert is that you are guaranteed a good seat! Mind you, saying that there must have been about 300 members in the audience this afternoon. I did notice however, that I was undoubtedly the youngest!
If you are looking for a concert of great songs from the world of Musical Theatre superbly sung by four of Britain's top Musical Theatre performers, then you couldn't go far wrong with this afternoon's offering.
The setting was the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester, the second of 5 dates on this whistle-stop tour, the orchestra was The Manchester Concert Orchestra under the baton of Richard Balcombe, and the whole spectacle was produced by Raymond Gubbay.
Jools Holland and his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra put on a show of such matchlessness in today’s world.
I enter the theatre and look for my seat in the near dark; below the stage watches me like a giant blue omni-seeing eye. The crowd is a mix: every generation is chattering excitedly, from grandparents, to mum and dads to their kids. In some ways, it mirrors what is to come. Jools’ world famous big band could be one of jazz’s longest running stage families: a collection of friends and relations, like-minded, jazz-souled artists who at some point crossed paths and decided that they liked the result. Jools’ daughter, singer Mabel Ray also performs as part of the band.
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