The second week of Lee Mead's Some Enchanted Evening tour swept up the East Coast of England before turning inland, leaving in its wake a trail of beaming smiles from long-time fans and new converts alike (and the search for food continued... Lee hoping this eatery's name was not reflected in its menu!).
The set list was unchanged (I include it in full here), but then why change what had been received so enthusiastically in the first week of the tour?! As I've said before, Lee has really hit the sweet spot with his song choices on this tour - a great mix of tempo and tone, mood and emotion - letting him do what he does better than any other artist I've seen... tell the story of a song in a way that draws you into its heart so that you live it with him rather than simply hearing it. Lee spoke of this recently in an interview with Paul Lucas-Scott, published last week in The Sussex Newspaper, and I include an extract below as I believe it explains perfectly why he is such a special performer:
"Every song that I sing has a very personal connection for me on some level. I believe that is how you give more to your audience. It's not just the case that the singer sings the song. That would not be interesting to me and, if people are paying to see me live, I want them to feel moved and to connect with the songs in their own way and that is the joy of performing live. That's when it's magic."
And it was certainly magic at the Marina Theatre in Lowestoft, and the Embassy in Skegness, and the beautiful Pomegranate in Chesterfield... each concert having its own character but sharing the elements that make this tour such a joy. The music I've touched on already, but great songs require a great singer AND great musicians to bring them fully to life, and Lee's band are quite simply superb - led by his long-time musical director (and producer) Mason Neely on drums and ukulele, with Richie Blake on bass, John Pearce on fiddle and Michael Riley on piano - their playing blends beautifully with Lee's vocals, a wonderful alchemy making the whole greater than the sum of its parts. A couple of instrumental numbers during the evening not only allow Lee a brief vocal rest but also give the audience the rare privilege of hearing the band really let rip. Lee says often how lucky he is to sing with such talented musicians and I can understand his sadness, which he spoke of at the Chesterfield gig, at a tweet he'd received which seemed to dismiss them as an irrelevance. While I understand this was not the writer's intention, I confess I find it hard to grasp how an artist being supported by an excellent band could ever be perceived as a disincentive to go to a concert!
At a Meady gig, almost as important as the music, is the banter... Lee's sometimes random, often tangential, but always entertaining stories, mostly of his time in the business, but also of more personal things - his first kiss with the extremely tall Louise, a long-departed gerbil (a girl gerbil, her name lost in the mists of time - Louise was clearly more memorable!). He also touches on darker times, happily now behind him, and time and again throughout the evening, with love shining bright in his eyes, of his precious daughter, Betsy.
In Lowestoft, there were memories from the earliest days of his career of being lead singer on the house entertainment team at Potters Resort just down the road. It was what I call a 'three shredded wheat' night - Lee's very lively mood seemingly the result of bringing his own show to a theatre he'd gazed at all those years ago thinking "one day..."! In Skegness, the crowd seemed a little coy at first but by the end of the evening were old friends.
Finally, on a personal level, the last sprinkling of fairydust comes from enjoying such evenings in the company of good friends... and so I end by thanking Lee not only for the magic in the music but for the many friendships forged over the years of supporting him.
There are just six more dates on this tour, six more chances to be royally entertained by Lee's spectacular vocals and engaging chat, and the first of those is already sold out... you can find details of all the dates here, while Lee's full concert schedule (including past appearances) can be found at - CONCERT DATES
First published: 17 October 2016