Sunday, July 3

Michael Ball: Past & Present Tour – The Shows Must Go On

It is no secret that I have and always have had since I can remember, a massive crush on Michael Ball and I have seen him in concert before and I would love nothing than to see him live again, but this will have to do..   However, he never ceases to amaze me with how he enthrals, energises and entertains his audience with his stories, wit and cheeky smile. This particular concert is to mark 25-year career of a lovely, cheeky man who is a genuinely, down to earth, loveable guy obviously humbled by the praise he was receiving.

Michael was joined on stage by 5 guest vocalists: Adrian Hansal, Ben James Ellis, Emma Williams, Louise Clare Marshall and Louise Dearman and we were privileged to hear so much talent on one stage. 

The set was simple but effective with blue & purple lighting and a staircase in the centre, which featured the 20+ piece orchestra who were placed on either side of it and were a treat on the ears also. Lead by Musical Director Callum McLeod, they never missed a beat and accompanied their artists extremely well.

Smart casual was the tone, nothing to highbrow and everything exactly right. Michael wore a tailored black suit throughout starting with a white shirt and tie and then stepping it up a notch and wearing a purple shirt and tie – and looked great in both. The guest artists moved from black and white, to greys and then back to black. All quite simple, but lovely.

Now onto the reason I was there, the man and his music. What a set list, wow.

There are so many for me to pick out but I will name a few, if I might be a little indulgent. He performed my favourite Killers song “Are We Human” and did it brilliantly and moved with ease onto “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen…  From Supertramp to Bobby Darin, this man can do it all with seemingly no effort.  

To name all the songs would take an age but I will point out “Empty Chair at Empty Tables“ from Les Misérables – I have still to find anyone who can sing this better than Michael (although Eddie Redmayne came close in the film), “Gethsemane” from Jesus Christ Superstar – hauntingly beautiful and one of the best things I’ve heard him perform and of course, his signature tune “Love Changes Everything” but I definitely didn’t expect to see him boogie his way into a rendition of The Andrew Sisters’ “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” with the guest performers – super fun. 

As I mentioned, the guest singers earlier were all super talented but I feel I must mention a beautiful performance by Ben James Ellis and Louise Dearman, of “Next Time You Fall In Love” from Starlight Express that literally blew me away – gorgeous.

I thoroughly enjoyed a little trip down memory lane with Michael and guests this evening and hope to see him live, again, sometime soon.

Available online until Sunday 4th October at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F8Nack_25vE

Reviewer: Hazel Bumby

Reviewed: 2nd October 2020

North West End UK Rating: ★★★★

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