Review: Michael Ball, York Barbican, April 21

MANY attending Easter Sunday’s concert at York Barbican had weathered storm conditions at Michael Ball and Alfie Boe’s Together Again concert at Scarborough’s Open Air Theatre last June.

The lovely, cosy and watertight Barbican makes for a far more civilised venue! Ball's 11-piece supporting band kicked off the evening with Theme from Antonin Dvorak's "New World" Symphony No 9. "Ah, Hovis," chuckled the rather jolly gentleman in the row behind.

This set the tone for a very convivial and enjoyable mixed programme of popular favourites, show tunes and tracks from Ball's new album Coming Home To You. He was rightly proud and graciously thankful to his loyal audience that this record had become his second solo number one, his last being his debut set in 1992.

The album is rich with much-loved covers, such as I Just Can’t Help Believin’, I’ll Have To Say I Love You In A Song, Sail On, Miss You Nights, Goin’ Back and an impassioned Bright Eyes, dedicated to a cherished pet dog.

Many in the audience were there for the classics from musicals associated with Ball such as Sweeney Todd and Chess. Indeed, the Abba/Tim Rice song Anthem closed Act One.

We also were treated to Ball’s favourites from Blood Brothers, Mack And Mabel, The Lion King and Beauty And The Beast. The highlight, inevitably, was Ball’s suite from Les Misérables, earning a full standing ovation, although a close second went to the jolly You Can’t Stop T,he Beat from Hairspray, which was followed by Ball’s Eurovision song, One Step Out Of Time, and new song All Dance Together.

Of course, the encore started with Love Changes Everything. A splendid night was had by all.

Ian Sime