Tag Archives: Ramin Karimloo

Murder Ballad at the Arts Theatre

8 Nov

Who did it? That is the big question in Murder Ballad, currently playing at the not very glamorous Arts Theatre (yes, the place is in BAD need of a refurb, there just is no denying it). I will not spoil the surprise for those who have not seen it by giving away details of the plot. Just this: While watching the show I came up with various possible endings and none was what actually happened. So there is definitely potential for a good old guessing game as the story progresses.

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Victoria Hamilton-Barritt does not just lead us through the story; she is the star of the show. Both her voice and her sometimes sinister, sometimes almost cheeky and always intriguing portrayal of the Narrator are in a class of its own.

Kerry Ellis plays Sarah, the female love interest. One thing is for sure: She can sing. Personally I do not find her acting convincing. She is not bad by any means but next to her fellow cast members she never manages to shine.

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Then there is Ramin Karimloo – recently returned to the UK after playing Jean Valjean in Les Miserables on Broadway to rave reviews – as Tom, the former boyfriend: Dark, handsome – one of those guys women tend to fall for even though they know they mean trouble. Seeing Ramin take on a role that is so completely different from both the Phantom and Valjean (the two roles he has been playing on and off for a while) is a revelation. He gets to be bad and sexy and finally that incredible voice can show its diversity with a few slightly more rocky tunes. It is a joy to watch and clearly he is having fun in the show.

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Norman Bowman completes the love triangle as Sarah’s nice, gentle partner Michael – the guy she meets after Tom breaks her heart and who she settles down and has a child with. Michael is without a doubt the most interesting of the three lovers. While both Sarah and Tom know there is a third “party” involved Michael is kept in the dark the longest. And it is that moment of heartbreak – when Michael realises Sarah has been cheating on him (betraying her family) – that shows what a tremendously talented actor Norman is. And as if that was not enough he is an incredibly strong singer too.

While you cannot fault the cast of this production the set falls short at times. Personally I am no fan of the huge projections used in this show. They do nothing for the production and only distract from what is happening on stage (that is what a massive black and white photo of Ramin Karimloo does to me at least – call me shallow if you want). And while the revolve is used quite well it seems a bit like a gimmick someone simply wanted to play with.

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The songs did not stick in my head the first time around. I admit I have been back to see the show a second time (the cast is just too good to resist) and that time the score really got to me. So for me Murder Ballad is a grower.  It is not a prefect show. It has some obvious flaws and it will not be everyone’s cup of tea. But it is worth checking out if only for seeing a group of talented, well-known performers in such a small venue – who knows when you will get the chance again.

Murder Ballad is playing at the Arts Theatre until December 3rd. For more info and to book tickets visit https://artstheatrewestend.co.uk.

Ramin Karimloo live at the Union Chapel and Islington Assembly Hall

21 Jan

The last time Ramin Karimloo appeared on a London stage was in October 2012 – more than 3 years ago. Since then he has gone on to become a Broadway star and has performed in venues all over the USA, not to forget appearances in Canada and Japan.

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But despite being away for so long Ramin has never truly left London, the city he still considers to be his home. And on January 19th and 20th 2016 he finally found his way back on stage in his hometown. Two sold out gigs at the Union Chapel and Islington Assembly Hall clearly showed that London had not forgotten about “the Iranian with the banjo”. On both nights the audience was enthusiastic from start to finish.

Ramin has always been a unique talent with a voice of gold. From well-known musical theatre songs like “Till I hear you sing” (Love never dies”) to “Oh what a beautiful morning” (Oklahoma) and “Bring him home” (Les Miserables) – the latter a stunning duet with Hadley Fraser on this occasion – to cover versions of his personal and his own material, Ramin Karimloo doesn’t just sing lyrics and melodies, he embraces them and competely makes them his own. It’s what I call putting your soul into every song.

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Ramin’s unique and personal style which he has named Broadgrass is an amalgamation of Broadway and Bluegrass music and doesn’t just suit his voice perfectly but is clearly something he truly enjoys working on.

Having followed Ramin’s career since 2010 I have always loved hearing him sing his own songs as well as cover versions of his personal favourites. Getting to listen to “Constant Angel” again was just as wonderful as being treated to his take on “Ol’ Man River” and “If it’s the beaches”. But the most wonderful thing was seeing how much he has developed over the years. He is not “just” that guy with the brilliant voice. He is a talented musician and songwriter who loves what he is doing. And on top of that Ramin is still one of the most humble and gracious performers you can imagine. He doesn’t take his supporters for granted and always does everything he can to ensure everyone leaves the venue with a smile on their face.

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A special treat on both evenings was the appearance of Hadley Fraser – Ramin and his “brother from another mother” reunited on the London stage. It doesn’t get much better than this. Everyone who remembered the first Sheytoons gigs back in the days (Dublin Castle, anyone?) couldn’t help but smile all the way through “Driftwood” and “Wings”. Hadley and Ramin together are simply special – the bromance is still strong after all these years.

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Ramin Karimloo is going from strength to strength. His star is shining brightly these days but no matter where his career takes him next I hope he will always return home. London needs the Iranian and his banjo.

For all the latest info on Ramin visit http://www.raminkarimloo.com, check out his official Facebook page and follow him on Twitter @raminkarimloo.

2012 – A look back

31 Dec

With 2012 coming to an end I thought it was time to look back at the past 12 months and sum up my theatre related highlights of the year. And what a year this has been! I have had the opportunity to discover new shows, keep re-visiting my favourite shows, spend time with some amazing people, travel to places I haven’t been to before and – thanks to this blog – share my views on shows and theatre in general with all you guys.

It’s impossible to name each and every fantastic theatre moment – there are just way too many. But I want to mention a few that have had a special impact for various reasons. Lets start with my show highlights.

First of all one of my all time favourites is still going strong: Jersey Boys. That show has been a huge part of my theatre life since 2008 and I’m happy I got to visit the boys and girls in Jersey a lot during 2012. Obviously I have my favourites in every part but all in all the whole cast of this show is doing such an amazing job. They are the reason I will never get bored of the show. A special thank you goes out to Ryan Molloy (you are totally mad but I love you for it), Jon Boydon, Ben Wheeler, Mike Conway, Matt Wycliffe, Eugene McCoy, Mark Isherwood and TeeJaye. You guys are amazing!

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Another show that has had a huge impact on my 2012 is Les Miserables. Thank’s to (mainly) Ramin Karimloo I ended up seeing that show around 25 times between January and March 2012. Ramin’s Jean Valjean was quite simply one of the most stunning things I have ever seen in a show – breathtakingly fantastic all around. And his final show is definitely in the top three of my favourite theatre performances of 2012.

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Next up is a show I wish I could have seen more often than just twice. But sadly a limited run (clashing with the Olympics as well) prevented me from that. It is, of course, Mack and Mabel which was staged at the Southwark Playhouse this summer. This show was such a perfect production, from set and choreography right through to the cast (led by the wonderful Norman Bowman and Laura Pitt-Pulford).

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A show that restored my faith in musical theatre was Singin’ in the rain at the Palace Theatre. Shows like this are the reason I fell in love with musical theatre in the first place – from the dancing to the story to the amazingly talented cast, there’s no weak link in this production. I adore that show and it’s on my list of shows to see a lot more often in 2013.

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One of the smallest yet most enjoyable shows I have seen this year is Boy meets Boy at Jermyn Street Theatre. My reason to book tickets was Stephen Ashfield who I always enjoy to see on stage. I ended up loving this gem of a musical and would be thrilled to see it get another run sometime in the future.

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There were so many other shows I enjoyed (and still enjoy) watching. I can’t name them all but if you’ve been reading my blog and maybe even follow me on Twitter you probably have a basic idea anyway.

I’ll go on with some gig highlights of 2012.

The ones that had the biggest impact on me (and my travel diary) are Ramin Karimloo’s Road to find out concerts in May 2012. Without this tour I would never have ended up visiting cities like Newcastle, Cardiff and Birmingham. The tour consisted of 10 concerts and I am proud to say I managed to attend 7 of them – not bad considering I was flying over from Germany all the time. Was it worth it you may ask? Oh yes! I had a brilliant time. It was wonderful to see Ramin explore this new chapter in his career and I hope he continues to be successful with what he enjoys so much – making music.

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Some slightly smaller but still memorable concerts were the Bloomfield Avenue gigs at Roadhouse, Covent Garden on various Sundays throughout 2012. If you haven’t heard of that band I urge you to check them out: http://www.bloomfieldavenueband.co.uk/. They are currently looking for a new London venue for 2013 so watch out for any upcoming gigs.

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And finally some personal highlights that will remain a special memory of 2012 for me.

I still remember how thrilled I was when Dean Chisnall was promoted to playing the lead in Shrek the musical. I have known Dean for several years and I am proud to call such a wonderful and talented person my friend. And trust me when I say: Dean is by far the most dedicated performer you will ever meet. He so deserved to have a lead part in a big West End show and this year he finally achieved just that. It fills me with joy to see Dean on stage in such an iconic theatre as Theatre Royal Drury Lane. Here’s to more fantastic parts in great shows in the future!

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Tim Howar taking over as Stacee Jaxx in Rock of Ages is yet another highlight of 2012. I first saw Tim on stage in Tonight’s the night (the Rod Stewart musical – some of you may remember it) in 2003 and fell in love with his voice straight away. Tim has to be one of the kindest people on this planet. I feel privileged to know him and I’m beyond happy that he is back on stage in the West End where he belongs.

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My charity auction in aid of The Brain Research Trust was by far the most challenging theatre related project this year. Lots of emails, walking around the West End collecting posters and programmes and generally a lot of organisational work – but it was all so worth it. I couldn’t have done it without all the support from various lovely people (thank you again – you know who you are). It was great to see what a wonderful community the theatre world really is.

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So, all that’s left now is a look out for what is to come in 2013. There are so many things I’m already looking forward to. In no particular order:

1. Once the musical
2. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
3. Book of Mormon
4. Seeing MiG Ayesa and Jenna Lee James in the We will rock you arena tour
5. Seeing my lovely friend Björn Klein play Emmett in Legally Blonde in Vienna
6. Seeing Peter Johansson as Stacee Jaxx in Stockholm
7. Finally seeing Ben Whishaw live on a theatre stage
9. Watching The Bodyguard again (slightly addicted I fear…)
10. Generally continuing to support my favourite performers

… the list goes on…

With that I will leave you for 2012. Thank you for sticking with me throughout the year. I really appreciate your support for my little blog. Hopefully I’ll manage to keep you entertained with more reviews and other theatre related posts in 2013 (watch out for my review of The Bodyguard which is coming up as soon as possible).

Happy new year everyone! I hope 2013 brings you all you ever wished for. Keep in touch – comment, tweet or email me. I love to hear from you guys. x

Ramin in concert – Cardiff

30 May

And here the road to find out comes to an end. No review this time except for this: The concert in Cardiff was everything one could have hoped for and more. A fantastic ending to a great tour.

I’ve decided to just let pictures speak. Again, please don’t use these anywhere else without asking. Thank you.

I’ll close my Ramin on tour blog series with a huge thank you to the man himself. I’ve had the best time following Ramin’s road to find out through the UK. I’m very proud to support someone who is not only beyond talented but also the nicest person you can think of. So, thank you Ramin!

Ramin Karimloo in concert – Gateshead

20 May

Newcastle, or better: Gateshead – my 6th concert on Ramin’s UK tour. This ment a 3 hours train ride up north. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m really not a fan of train journeys.

However, once again I am glad I decided to add this date to my personal UK tour as otherwise I would have missed out on a very entertaining evening.
There was one addition to the set list compared to the concert in Birmingham two days earlier: Ramin’s friend Johan (from Sweden) sang a beautiful song from the musical Once called Falling slowly. Johan was definitely nervous and didn’t seem used to performing in front of a whole concert hall full of people. Bearing that in mind I think he did a wonderful job. His voice suited the song beautifully and it was nice to see Ramin support him by staying on stage but step back and blend in with the band and let Johan be in the spotlight by himself.

By now White blank page has become one of my personal favourites and I was happy the song was once again part of the set list. Ramin sings it with such a raw intensity and really seems to lose himself in the lyrics. It’s quite mesmerizing to watch I have to say.

Jonathan Ansell’s Gethsemane has grown on me a bit but I still don’t really like his version of the song. It may sound a bit odd but his rendition is slightly too theatrical for my taste. His Somebody to love on the other hand is absolutely stunning. The notes he hits in that song are insane so big thumb up in that case.

Ramin was on top form and really seemed to enjoy the banter with the audience. It’s wonderful to see how much he has grown into being a recording artist on stage without any role to hide behind. I want to give a special mention to his fantastic band who deserve much more credit than they are given. Yes, this is Ramin’s tour but what would the tour be without Steve Young for example. And lets not forget the fabulous Capital Voices and especially Katie Birtill who has become such a vital part of this tour.

Speaking of Katie Birtill: I was more than thrilled to hear her sing Somewhere with Ramin again. As much as I enjoyed hearing Danielle Hope’s and Louise Dearman’s take on the song I definitely prefer listening to Katie singing it.

Funny enough I would be happy to leave the musical theatre songs Ramin is so well-known for out of the set list and get to hear other tunes instead. As much as I love Bring him home, Music of the night and Till I hear you sing I much prefer songs like Broken, Show me light, Cathedrals, Constant Angel, I and love and you, Broken home, Ahead by a century (I still miss Alex and the cajón – bring on Cardiff!) and Good Riddance.
I’ll rather hear song from Les Miserables and Phantom in context with the show and prefer pop/rock/folk tunes for the concert I guess.

Last but not least I’d like to give a shout out to DAVE. What a dude! And before you ask: You needed to be there to get this properly but I had to mention it.

With only one stop left on the road to find out I’m really excited to see what Ramin has in store for Cardiff. It’s probably safe to say we are all in for a proper hootenanny.

Song list

Show me light
The impossible dream
Wild world
Inside my world
Guiding light (with Jonathan Ansell)
Gethsemane (Jonathan Ansell)
Broken home
Constant Angel
Falling slowly (Johan)
Eyes of a child (with Johan)
I and love and you (with Katie Birtill)
Radames letter / Till I hear you sing
Oh what a beautiful morning
Bring him home
Somewhere (with Katie Birtill)
White blank page
Broken
Just a closer walk with thee (with Steve Young and Katie Birtill)
Somebody to love (Jonathan Ansell)
The perfect space / Hallelujah
Ahead by a century
Solitude (with Katie Birtill)
Cathedrals
Coming home
Music of the night
Good Riddance

Ramin Karimloo in concert – Birmingham

18 May

My concert number 5 on Ramin’s road to find out took me to yet another city I’d never been to so far: Birmingham. More than 2 hours on the train (I’m really not a fan of train journeys I might add) but I’m so glad I was there to see the show.

Because one thing I can say for sure: This was definitely the best concert out of the five gigs I have seen on this tour. I did miss Alex and the cajón during Ahead by a century but that’s about the only “negative” thing I’ve got to say.
Ramin was on top form despite neck problems and his two guests Louise Dearman and Jonathan Ansell were absolutely wonderful.
I was especially impressed by Jonathan’s Somebody to love – what a voice!
It was nice to hear more of Katie Birkill again. Her and Ramin singing Solitude was an unplanned yet more than welcome addition to the set list.

Speaking of this, I know one of the things people are most interested in is the always changing song list of Ramin’s concerts.
So here you go everyone.

Complete song list

Show me light
The impossible dream
Wild world
Inside my world
Guiding light (with Jonathan Ansell)
Gethsemane (Jonathan Ansell)
Broken home
Constant Angel
See the day (Louise Dearman)
I and love and you (with Katie Birkill)
Radames letter / Till I hear you sing
Oh what a beautiful morning
Bring him home
Somewhere (with Louise Dearman)
Squander (Louise Dearman)
White blank page
Broken
Closer walk with thee (with Katie Birkill and Steve Young)
Somebody to love (Jonathan Ansell)
The perfect space / Hallelujah
Ahead by a century
Solitude (with Katie Birkill)
Cathedrals
Coming home
Music of the night
Good riddance

And here are a couple of photos from the concert. Please don’t use these anywhere else without asking. Thank you!

 

Ramin Karimloo in concert – Liverpool and Manchester, May 11 and 12 2012

15 May

Ramin Karminloo’s road to find out took him to Liverpool and Manchester on May 11 and 12 which ment I got to spend a weekend up north. I may mention that I absolutely adored Liverpool. Such a lovely city!

I’m going to do a little joined review for both concerts to avoid boring you to death by repeating myself over and over again.

Despite some bad neck problems Ramin was on top form on both nights. There was a slight change to the set list at the beginning of the show with The impossible dream and Wild world switching places after the opening number (Show me light).

Alex Gaumond was a guest at both concerts and treated the audience to an exclusive premiere of his upcoming single “Here I am”, a great rock/pop song with a catchy melody. I urge everyone to download this from iTunes once it is available.
Seeing and hearing Alex and Ramin sing Ahead by a century at both concerts was definitely a highlight of the tour so far. It’s obvious how much fun the two are having when they get to perform together. And Alex did a great job on cajón (that’s an instrument in case you were wondering). It would be great to see him return for one of the remaining concerts – fingers crossed his schedule allows him to do so.

Sean Kingsley joined Ramin in Liverpool. I don’t think I have ever heard a better version of Guiding light. The same goes for Closer walk with thee in which Steve Young also joined in. Sean’s voice really is beyond brilliant and I can’t praise him enough.

New additions to the set list were Somewhere and White blank page. The first is one of my all time favourite songs from West Side Story. In Liverpool the fantastic Katie Birtill sand this song with Ramin, in Manchester it was Danielle Hope. No offence to Danielle but personally I prefered hearing Katie and Ramin together. Her voice just suited the song better in my opinion.

Speaking of Danielle Hope, she was the second guest singer in Manchester beside Alex Gaumond. Danielle got to sing two solo songs: Somewhere over the rainbow and a song that is rather unknown in the UK: Breath from the Broadway musical In the heights. Both tunes were sung beautifully and a great addition to the whole evening.

I have mentioned White blank page already and I need to point out that not only is this an all in all fantastic song but Ramin’s version is also a complete joy to listen to. I might have become slightly addicted to listening to him sing this song.

While his neck problems prevented Ramin from doing a signing after the concert in Manchester they didn’t prevent him from giving 100% on stage in both Liverpool and Manchester. Those painkillers in Manchester might have made him slightly hyper though – not that the audience minded.

My more or less only criticism of the first concerts was that I thought the scripted talking between songs didn’t quite work. I’m happy to report that the concerts in both Liverpool and Manchester were the perfect mix between songs, a few scripted bits in between to guide through the evening and entertaining banter between Ramin, his band and guests and the audience. Ramin seems perfectly comfortable being himself on stage now and it’s fantastic to see him having such a good time on his road to find out.

I’m looking forward to seeing how the road continues in Birmingham, Newcastle and Cardiff.

Song list Liverpool

Show me light
The impossible dream
Wild world
If ever I would leave you
Constant Angel
I and love and you (with Katie Birtill)
Here I am (Alex Gaumond)
Eyes of a child (with Alex Gaumond)
Radames letter / Till I hear you sing
Oh what a beautiful morning
Bring him home
Guiding light (with Sean Kingsley)
Broken (with Sean Kingsley)
Closer walk with thee (with Sean Kingsley)
The perfect space / Hallelujah
Somewhere (with Katie Birtill)
Ahead by a century (with Alex Gaumond)
White blank page
Cathedrals
Coming home
Music of the night
Good Riddance

Song list Manchester

Show me light
The impossible dream
Wild world
If ever I would leave you
Constant Angel
Here I am (Alex Gaumond)
Eyes of a child (with Alex Gaumond)
I and love and you (with Katie Birtill)
Somewhere over the rainbow (Danielle Hope)
Radames letter / Till I hear you sing
Oh what a beautiful morning
Bring him home
Guiding light
Broken
Just a closer walk with thee
The perfect space / Hallelujah
Somewhere (with Danielle Hope)
Ahead by a century (with Alex Gaumond)
White blank page
Breath (Danielle Hope)
Cathedrals
Coming home
Music of the night
Good Riddance

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Ramin Karimloo in concert – Southend, May 4 2012

9 May

After attending the first concert of Ramin’s current UK tour at the Royal Festival on May 1st it was time for a trip to Southend to see number two of the seven concerts I’m booked to watch in total (this could be called dedication or maybe pure madness).

The concert took place at Cliffs Pavillion which – although a nice local venue – was quite a change to the rather impressive Royal Festival Hall a few nights before. Everything looked a little smaller and didn’t have that much of a big city vibe to it. The audience seemed to be a mix between Ramin’s loyal supporters and local residents who probably attend almost every event at “their venue”.

There were some changes to the set list compared to the first concert a few days before which shows that this tour is indeed a road to find out as Ramin has called it.

“Show me light” once again proved to be a great song to start the show. There’s nothing better than a good uptempo beat to start a concert if you ask me.

I very much enjoyed the mix of songs from Ramin’s album, covers of some of his personal favourites and well-known musical tunes. Judging from the people around me it seemed that the musical songs were the most eagerly awaited ones though. I’d like to quote the lady next to me who announced just after Ramin finished “Till I hear you sing”: THAT is what I came here for!

Personally I will never get tired of hearing Ramin sing “Constant Angel” and “Cathedrals” and I adore his cover of The Avett Brothers’ “I and love and you” which was sung with the fantastic Katie Birtill on this occasion. Katie is a member of the Capital Voices who are supporting Ramin on this tour by providing excellent backing voices. In Southend the audience was lucky enough to hear more of Katie when Ramin asked her to join him on lead vocals for several songs. Her voice suited the songs beautifully and I hope she’ll be doing some lead vocals again in the upcoming concerts.

Ramin’s guest at this concert was the fantastic Ben Richards who sang “Walking in Memphis” and “Amazing” (you can download his version of this song on iTunes – all money goes to the Macmillan Cancer Support) and did a great version of “Big yellow taxi” with Ramin in the second half of the concert.

It was nice to hear “Losing” again which was announced as a new song but all the Sheytoons supporters will surely remember it. It certainly is a beautiful tune and definitely a great addition to the set list.

A special mention goes to Steve Young who is not only playing the guitar in Ramin’s band but also lends his voice to some of the songs. Hearing him, Katie and Ramin sing “Closer walk with thee” was one of my highlights of this concert. Ramin’s version of “Oh what a beautiful morning” (one could call it “The Banjo Remix”) is another song that stuck in my head after both concerts as it was such a unique and well done take on a musical classic.

All in all this was a diverse and enjoyable evening that offered something for everyone. Personally I would have loved to hear more non-musical theatre songs but I fully understand that the majority of Ramin’s supporters want to hear him sing those tunes and would be highly disappointed if they weren’t part of the concert. But if there’s ever a free song slot: I’m quite certain everyone in the audience would enjoy listening to “Wings” or “Driftwood” (you might have noticed by now that I am quite a Sheytoons fan).

I’m not a hundred percent sure about some of the scripted little tales in between the songs. Of course Ramin can’t tell new things at every concert and those “fillers” in between are there to connect the songs and lead through the evening. But take “Oh what a beautiful morning” after which Ramin told the audience that he was sure they had never heard the song done like this before. That was absolutely true at the first concert and fit in well there. However in Southend more than a few people in the audience had already heard that exact version of the song as they had been at the London concert three days before. So when Ramin said “I bet you have never heard the song like this before” the answer from several people in the auditorium was “I have! On Tuesday…”. This was all in good humour no big thing but it might be worth considering that a lot of fans will attend several of his concerts and maybe just go for more “free speech” instead of following “the script”. Especially since Ramin did have a fair amount of unplanned funny banter with his band, Ben and the audience which came across really well.

I’m very much looking forward to the concerts in Liverpool and Manchester now. It will be interesting to see how Ramin and his tour develop on this road to find out.

Before I leave you with the song list of the evening I would like to mention that Ramin (and Ben) stayed in the foyer of the venue for ages after the concert to sign programmes and CDs and chat with the fans. After performing on stage for two hours this is something that should not be taken for granted and shows just how much Ramin values his supporters.

Song list

Show me light
Wild world
The impossible dream
Constant angel
If ever I would leave you
Broken home
I and love and you
Solitude
Walking in Memphis (Ben Richards)
Amazing (Ben Richards)
Radames letter / Till I hear you sing
Oh what a beautiful morning
Bring him home
Guiding light
Broken
The perfect space / Hallelujah
Eyes of a child
Losing
Big yellow taxi (with Ben Richards)
Closer walk with thee
Cathedrals
Coming home
Music of the night
Good Riddance

A big thank you to Sarah for letting me use two of her photos from the evening!

Ramin Karimloo at the Royal Festival Hall

2 May

First of all I’d like to apologise if this is a bit scrambled. I will do a proper concert review sometime next week. But I just wanted to write down a few impressions of Ramin Karimloos concert at the Royal Festival Hall last night.

This was the first concert of his tour which takes him around the UK this month. And what a venue to start a tour! The Royal Festival Hall is quite impressive and provided a great space for the concert.

Ramin has called the tour the “road to find out” because basically that’s what it is. A road to find out where the future might take him.
Accompanied by his tour band, the Capital Voices and on this occasion the London Concert Orchestra Ramin treated the audience to an evening of pop, rock, folk and musical. It certainly was a good mix with something for everyone.
Personally I enjoyed listening to him sing the songs from his album and tunes like “Broken” and “Murder in the city” the most (the last one being an unplanned but beautiful acoustic encore).

Ramins guest singers at this concert were Tim Howar, Tom Fletcher and Sebastien Izambard who all did a fantastic job. I have to give a special mention to Tim who has been one of my favourite performers for years. The guy is a star, simple as that. And to see and hear him duet with Ramin (“Eyes of a child”) was an experience I will never forget.

By far the most heartwarming moment of the evening was Ramin being joined on stage by his son Jaiden and singing “Hallelujah” for him (and with him to be precise – I sense a star in the making here). Anyone who wasn’t completely in awe at that sight must have a heart of stone.

My favourite songs of the night apart from the ones mentioned above were “Cathedrals”, “Constant Angel”, “Broken home” and “I and love and you”. I’ll admit I had never heard the last one before but I fell in love with the song straight away.

A special shout out goes to Steve Young who did a fantastic job on guitar and lent his voice to several songs as well. It’s great to have such an extremely talented guy join Ramin on his tour.

After all this praise I can’t help but mention two minor rants, both of which have nothing to do with Ramin, his band or the concert as such but shouldn’t be kept under wraps.

First of all: I do think charging £4 for a little programme that consists of 24 pages is pushing it slightly. Especially considering 8 of those pages are nothing but ads. But then that’s the usual thing of supply and demand – the programmes were sold out in the interval already.

My second rant is directed at one person only. And I do hope he gets to read this and realises I’m talking about him because he should know his behaviour is affecting other people – and not in a good way. I am all for supporting your favourite singer / performer etc. But constant screaming (or lets call it whooping) accompanied by repeated standing ovations simply is a bit annoying for the people around you. Plus it really can ruin the atmosphere – all that whooping while little Jaiden was on stage singing with his father was just not necessary, to name just one example.

But then I didn’t want a brilliant evening like this to be ruined by one person so I tried to ignore this and just cherished watching one of the most talented people I’ve ever had the privilege to see on stage do what he does best: Enthral the audience with his voice and his genuinely nice and humble personality.

Well done Ramin! Definitely a great start to the tour. I’m looking forward to see what the next concerts will bring.

Song list

Show me light
Wild world
The impossible dream
Songs of a human heart
Constant angel
If ever I would leave you
Broken home
I and love and you
Blue moon (Tim Howar)
Everything I’ve got belongs to you (Tim Howar)
Radames letter / Till I hear you sing
Oh what a beautiful morning
Bring him home
Guiding light (with Sebastien Izambard)
Broken (with Sebastien Izambard)
The perfect space / Hallelujah (with Jaiden)
It’s all about you (with Tom Fletcher)
Closer walk with thee (with Tom Fletcher)
Cathedrals
Eyes of a child (with Tim Howar)
Coming home
Music of the night
Murder in the city
Good Riddance

Ramin Karimloo – Ramin

14 Apr

Ramin Karimloo is best known for playing some of the most iconic leading parts in the world of musical theatre: From Chris in Miss Saigon to the Phantom in both The Phantom of the Opera and Love Never Dies to most recently Jean Valjean in Les Miserables. But he is by no means a typical musical theatre performer. With no classic musical training he started his stage career singing in rock bands in his home country Canada.

After working in musical theatre solidly for the last 10 years Ramin is now stepping into new territory. His long awaited debut album “Ramin” was released on April 9th. And just as Ramin is no ordinary musical theatre performer this is not an album you would expect from a musical theatre artist.
Although the album features two well known musical theatre songs with “Music of the night” and “Till I hear you sing” (from The Phantom of the Opera and its sequel Love Never Dies) even those songs come along in a refreshing new arrangement. While they still feature the huge belting notes both songs have a more pop-like feel to them making them more accessible to the non-theatre audience.
The up tempo songs “Show me light” and “Broken home”, both co-written by Ramin, stay in your head and especially the latter has the potential to be a huge mainstream hit. “Coming home”, the first single of the album was written by Ryan Tedder (who is behind Leona Lewis’ “Bleeding Love) and shows off Ramin’s incredible voice perfectly. Personally I prefer the simply beautiful “Constant Angel”, a song that will end up being stuck in your head for hours.
Ramin manages to make big songs like Muse’s “Guiding Light” and Bryan Adams’ “Everything I do” his own with ease. However, the stand out songs on his album are without a doubt the ones he co-wrote. The enthralling “Inside my world” is one of the most haunting song I have heard in a long time. And with “Eyes of a child” (another co-write) Ramin has added a beautiful and tender ballad to the album. “Song of the human heart” is maybe the most average song on this CD but only because the other songs are all exceptionally strong. This applies to the last song on the album in particular. Ramin’s stunning version of “Cathedrals” is the perfect finish to an all around impressive recoding debut.

Ramin has proven that he is more than just another musical theatre star releasing an album. His record is diverse and catchy and has everything it takes to appeal to the mass market. And whilst I wish him every success I do hope he won’t abandom his passion for theatre and will grace the stage in new and challenging roles in the future.

Get your hands on Ramin’s album here:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Ramin/dp/B005Q870PE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1334418559&sr=8-1

http://www.myplaydirect.com/ramin

http://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/ramin/id507550015

http://www.dresscircle.co.uk/9600-Product-CD-Ramin%20Karimloo-Ramin-38167

You can catch Ramin on tour in the UK in May. Visit http://raminofficial.com/ for more info.