Lee was special guest at the sixth City of Bath Male Choir annual concert at the Bath Forum on Saturday 5 November 2011. Also on the bill, Bristol Musical Youth Productions - a very talented group of young performers.
Those lucky enough to be there were treated to some old favourites and lots of new material from Lee's forthcoming album (due for release in late January 2012) and UK tour, presented in two 20-25 minute sets at the end of each half. Lee was accompanied by his Musical Director, Mason Neely, on guitar and Steve Williams on piano, who will also be joining the tour in February. Lee said again (as he did at the Savoy last Sunday) how involved Mason had been in the production of the new album, adding this time that he had also played virtually every instrument on the album (very talented guy, Mason!).
The show was opened by Bristol Musical Youth Productions, with a selection of numbers from shows they've staged, ending with a medley from Les Miserables which they performed brilliantly. Lee then joined them on stage, where they accompanied him in a beautiful arrangement of 'Bring Him Home'.
Lee followed up with three tracks from his new album - 'Better', previously covered by Boyzone, Take That cover 'The Garden', and a second outing for 'Falling Slowly'. He closed the first half with Elton John's 'Your Song' - not sure if this one will be on the album or not, but I loved the arrangement.
City of Bath Male Choir, led by founder Grenville Jones, opened the second half in rousing style before Lee returned for his final set. More new material followed, with David Gray cover 'Sail Away' and one of my all-time favourites songs (although I know it from the Art Garfunkel version rather than the Stevie Wonder original referenced by Lee) 'I Believe (When I Fall In Love With You It Will Be Forever)'. Again, he didn't say at the time whether either of these would be on the album but I'm delighted to read he later confirmed that 'I Believe' would be!
For his last two solo numbers, Lee turned to his previous albums for 'Collide' and 'The Best Is Yet To Come', before the City of Bath Male Choir joined him in his finale number - 'Anthem' from Chess (which we learned last Sunday will also be on the new album, I understand the only MT number to be included). Regular readers will know this is a favourite of mine at Lee's concerts, and hearing it with the backing of a 70-ish strong choir is awesome, but I somehow prefer the aching simplicity of Lee's solo delivery.
The full setlist is included on a separate page, while the pictures below are shared by kind permission from Grenville Jones and photographer, Sam Farr.
As you'll see from the image at the top of this page, there was a programme (more pages below) and the show was followed by a wonderfully relaxed signing, from which a couple of photos also follow. We spoke briefly about the new material, how they were still working it out and feeling their way with it. You could certainly feel the difference in confidence in his performance of, say, 'Collide' compared to the new tracks, but I feel immensely privileged to have been in the first audience to hear them and incredibly excited for the album and tour to come!