For me, the Yeovil concert came at the end of a long-awaited holiday and was the perfect finale to a wonderfully relaxing week away. The town's Octagon Theatre, celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, is a lovely, modern venue with an intimate feel, the well-raked seats curve round the stage offering everyone in the highly enthusiastic audience a fabulous view. Top marks too for excellent sound and lighting, the latter providing an atmospheric and often dramatic backdrop to the main attraction.
Speaking of the main attraction, let me set the scene... an excited buzz fills the auditorium, startling into applause as a figure appears from the wings. Will Stuart quietly takes his seat at the keyboards and the lights dim, the crowd hushing for the opening notes of a sweet melody before erupting once more as a second, more familiar figure strolls to the centre of the stage, acknowledges the applause, pulls his mic stand back from the edge just a little and starts to sing.
From the first note, it was clear that Lee was in fine, fine voice... from the purity of his high notes to the rich warmth of his lower register, the apparent ease with which he moves through his extensive range belies the immense voice control needed to do it. I recall the phrase 'light and shade' being used on Any Dream Will Do to describe the expression Lee instils into whatever he sings, the way he acts a song - it's a good phrase, though barely adequate to convey the intensity the Yeovil audience were privileged to witness on Sunday evening.
The achingly simple arrangement of the beautiful Cat Stevens' song, 'Father and Son', has long been a favourite of mine, but never have I felt (and remembered) more keenly the love and hurt fuelling the battle between quiet wisdom and youthful self-belief. Lee followed that with a heart-piercing rendition of 'Bring Him Home', making a complete mockery of the allegedly waterproof properties of my mascara!
There were plenty of lighter moments too, not least Lee's interaction with special guest and great friend, Stephen Rahman-Hughes, their high-energy duet of 'Luck Be A Lady' always a highlight, though rivalled in the comedy stakes on this occasion by Lee's self-administered 'resus' treatment when he found himself mildly out of breath after demonstrating some of Fiyero's Wicked moves at the end of 'Dancing Through Life'. By his own admission, with gym-time limited by long days' shooting, on-set catering is a dangerous thing!
Lee's small but perfectly-formed band - musical director, Mason Neeley on drums and guitar, the aforementioned Will Stuart on keyboards and Richie Blake on bass - were also on cracking form, their undoubted talents subtly enhanced by the natural rapport that develops between musicians who play regularly together.
A slightly shorter second half set meant the evening was over far too soon, though to be fair, it would be over too soon however long Lee stayed on stage and thankfully we have only three weeks to wait until the next date on Lee's 2014 tour - at the Beck Theatre in Hayes, Middlesex (only 30 minutes or so by public transport from central London!) on Sunday 20 July, tickets still available!
I've included the full setlist on a separate page to retain an element of surprise for those yet to see the show.
Lee's full concert schedule (including past appearances) can be found at - CONCERT DATES
Last updated: 30 June 2014