A glossy programme included a set list featuring all the numbers performed in Jersey, plus one extra, but with the order mixed up a bit. However, a run time of 2 hours including interval meant there would have to be some cuts if they were to avoid the 40 odd minute over-run we'd been lucky enough to enjoy in Jersey (no trains to miss there)!
Act 1 followed the programme order, with only one cut - a duet from Evita for Matt and Kerry - but ended, somewhat unexpectedly, on 'Bring Him Home'. The stunning rendition by all three men might very well have earned a standing ovation had the programme not led the audience to expect more.
The main cuts, a further three songs, were from Act 2 and the one that cut deepest for me was Lee's solo 'Fix You'. I know I'm not alone in thinking that an over-long saxophone solo after 'A Nightingale Sang...' could happily have been sacrificed to allow Fix You to remain in the set. But there was a wonderful consolation - the unexpected and unbilled inclusion of 'Bui Doi' from Miss Saigon. Such an emotional song and so beautifully arranged, giving full rein to The Men's glorious voices, supported by the talented PPA Singers, making their first appearance of the evening.
I fear my talk of cuts makes me sound dissatisfied with the concert and that couldn't be further from the truth. I think the concept is brilliant, the cast extremely well chosen, and the production values very high. Both Matt and Lee commented after the show that they were still 'tweaking' the material, and I very much look forward to seeing how the show develops. It deserves to be a huge success and I hope their ambitions to take it to the USA and Asia will be achieved - audiences there will love it, and them! Meanwhile, more UK dates please ... current dates are listed on the WEM index page and I will add more as they are announced.
But back to Guildford - 'One More Day', moved from the end of Act 1 to the end of Act 2, brought the audience to their feet and Stephen encouraged them to stay up for an encore performance of 'Bohemian Rhapsody' - they were more than happy to oblige, swaying, hands aloft, singing along so enthusiastically it prompted this tweet from Stephen:
I thought the impact of the show might be lessened somewhat by a second viewing - could I still be surprised, would I still be delighted? Happily the opposite was true - knowing better what to expect simply gave me more opportunity to savour the beauty and power of the performances. So ... surprised? Absolutely. And delighted? Always.
All that came to Guildford, you made it a very special evening. An amazing crowd, loved it when we were silenced by your singing....awesome!— StephenRahman-Hughes (@stephenrahman_h) July 19, 2012
Click for the full set-list, with credits and a wee bonus, and finally my huge thanks to the lovely Abs for sharing her wonderful photos.
Lee's full concert schedule (including past appearances) can be found at - CONCERT DATES
Last updated: 25 May 2015