Past tours, and the Warners Leisure gig a few weeks before had given some indications of what to expect and we were not disappointed:
- the three piece band - comprising Lee's long-time musical director and producer, Mason Neely, on drums and guitar, Richie Blake on bass guitar and the uber-talented Will Stuart, on keys
- the mix of music - from Lee's musical theatre past, his albums, and the MGM musicals that were his first introduction to the theatrical world and the inspiration for his fourth album, due for release late this year or early next, and the associated tour
- the arrangements - stripped back and simple, allowing Lee's glorious and expressive voice full rein
- the sharp suit - a tad on the tight side now, at Lee's own admission, his busy schedule keeping him from both working out and shopping for new suits!
- the easy charm - this year's 'Lee Mead In Concert' tour format places a stronger focus on the music than his previous 'An Evening With...' show, where stories were liberally scattered amongst the songs, but there was still room for a tale or two, including mention of the possibility of him playing Raoul in 'Love Never Dies' (that would have bankrupted me!) and of being recognised in the gym by Chris Martin, the Coldplay frontman and composer of 'Fix You' which Lee covered on his last album and sang beautifully tonight, who to Lee's surprise (and I suspect delight) not only knew he was a singer but also told him he had a great voice
- the ready humour - not afraid to poke fun at himself, and more gently at his guests and audience, laughter is never far away when Lee's on stage
- the great guests - first a reunion with Keith Jack, runner-up to Lee in the 'Any Dream Will Do' TV casting programme - they have become good friends but not performed together since the live final in 2007. Singing solos in both halves, Keith also joined Lee for a lively, laughter-filled duet of 'Luck Be A Lady' in the second - I bet they didn't foresee that when singing it as a group song on the first live show of Any Dream Will Do! Later there was also a delightful surprise guest - Amanda Henderson, who plays 'Robyn' on Casualty, joined Lee to sing a fantastic version of 'As Long As You're Mine', their voices blending beautifully, though Amanda complained afterwards that she could hardly look at his face for fear of laughing!
- the dancing - yes, I did say dancing... a lovely bit of tap during 'Singin' in the Rain', great footwork Lee!, a somewhat freestyle demonstration of his old 'Dancing Through Life' moves, an energetic little routine with Keith during 'Luck Be A Lady' and some light booty-shaking in Kiss!
- and oh, did I mention the voice - powerful, playful, passionate, pure ... I really don't have the words adequately to describe it but I do know I'll never tire of listening to it.
And finally, the lovely Phill Cowndley has kindly allowed me to post some of his gorgeous photos from the evening here on the Timeline but I highly recommend a visit to his Lee Mead - Sherman Gallery at www.phillcowndleyphotography.com where you will find even more treasure from this fabulous concert.
Lee's full concert schedule (including past appearances) can be found at - CONCERT DATES
Last updated: 6 May 2014