Ramin Karimloo is best known for playing the Phantom in both The Phantom Of The Opera and Love Never Dies. So it is definitely a good choice to call his first solo tour after taking off the mask “A night with the Phantom”.
But although the all time favourites from both Phantom shows are obviously part of this concert the audience is in for much more than that. From South Pacific to some Gershwin classics, from Les Miserables to Miss Saigon and Sunset Boulevard – this show takes the audience on a journey through the world of muscial theatre. Ramin and his special guest (and leading lady) Celia Graham perform some of the greatest musical tunes ever written. But it doesn’t stop there. Ramin even treats the audience to a sneak preview of his upcoming album.
This first concert took place at Colston Hall in Bristol, a lovely venue in the heart of the city. I you’re ever in Bristol make sure to check out their schedule.
I’m not going to review every song from the show but I do want to mention my personal highlights. “They can’t take that away from me” takes Ramin to unknown territory as he doesn’t do Jazz (his words, not mine). But seriously, after hearing this song I think he should from now on. His voice suits the song beautifully – and this is coming from me who absolutely adores Robbie Williams’ fantastic version of that very tune.
After looking through the song list before the concert I was looking forward to hearing Ramin’s take on “Stars” from Les Miserables. Imagine my surprise when that song was replaced by “Bring him home”. I could have died happily at that moment. I have seen Alfie Boe as Jean Valjean and his “Bring him home” brings tears to my eyes. But I can honestly say that hearing Ramin sing this song is even more special – he manages to put so much emotion into it – and this is “only” a stand alone as part of the concert. Just imagine him as Jean Valjean in the actual show – there wouldn’t be a dry eye in the house!
The title song from Sunset Boulevard is another one of my favourites. I have never seen the show and am not very familiar with the score. But I think that needs to change as I was blown away by that song.
Ramin’s second special guest is Olivia Jade Archbold who a lot of you will know from Britain’s Got Talent (I admit I don’t but then I’m German and can’t watch the show on tv which is a good excuse I guess). She’s only 16 years old but – my God – she has the most amazing voice. Her “Anyone who had a heart” is absolutely fantastic.
After hearing “Constant Angel” and “Coming home” from Ramin’s upcoming solo album I definitely can’t wait for January. It’s great to hear him sing some original material and if the rest of the songs on the album are just half as good as those two this is going to be one hell of a CD!
The show concludes with some all time favourites from both The Phantom Of the Opera and Love Never Dies. The audience in Bristol was on their feet after almost every song. But then every song deserves a standing ovation. Just hearing Ramin sing “Till I hear you sing” and being treated to Celia’s “Love never dies” again is worth the money for the ticket alone. And without spoiling the surprise I can assure everyone: You will love the very last song of the show (which will also be on the album). I’d like to add that really enjoyed the slightly new arrangement of that song.
The whole evening is a pure delight. Ramin is obviously having a great time and shows off his entertainer qualities by throwing in some funny anecdotes here and there. He really manages to connect with his audience. And the fact that not everything went exactly to plan in Bristol didn’t matter at all – those slight muck ups just made the audience take to Ramin even more.
As much as I have enjoyed watching Ramin in Love Never Dies and lately in the Phantom Of The Opera Anniversary concert it is even more special to see him on stage in this tour. Just the man himself (plus his special guests), an orchestra and a brilliant support by the Capital Voices – it doesn’t get much better than that. Special kudos to the Welsh Concert Orchestra who did a fantastic job at the concert in Bristol.
I’m very much looking forward to seeing the show again in Manchester. Everyone who doesn’t have a ticket yet – what are you waiting for? The tour will take Ramin to Manchester on October 22nd, Birmingham on October 29th and Southampton on November 4th.
For more info check out http://www.raymondgubbay.co.uk/whatson/a-night-with-the-phantom
And go to http://www.amazon.co.uk/Ramin/dp/B005Q870PE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1318791594&sr=8-1 to pre order Ramin’s album which is out on January 2nd 2012.