A brief report, very much from a personal perspective, of tonight's fabulous concert at The Capitol, Horsham.
This lovely modern venue was packed to the rafters with a capacity crowd, creating a fantastic atmosphere, and in the virtuous circle we have witnessed many times in the past, Lee seemed to feed off the energy in the room, giving back one of the best overall performances I've seen from him on this tour, or anywhere come to that. It wasn't perfect by any means, the odd lyric escaping his grasp, but it was real... passionate, intense, funny, charismatic and from the heart. It reminded me of something Andrew Lloyd Webber said on 'Any Dream Will Do' when asked what kind of Joseph he thought Lee would be... "I think he'd be Lee, frankly". And tonight, Lee being Lee was simply glorious.
I've commented on previous tours how, with growing confidence, he had come to 'own' the stage, but there is something intrinsically different, as we near the half-way point on this tour, about the way he now also owns the material he sings, although perhaps inhabits is a better word. This is true of the whole set, but stand-out for me tonight was 'Fix You' - in introducing it, Lee spoke briefly of the difficult year he has had personally and the hope he now finds in this beautiful song. Then he sang it... and completely floored me. He did it again with 'Bring Him Home' later in the evening, but to single out these two (can you 'single' out two things?) is an injustice to the rest of the set... no song was delivered with less than total conviction. 'Kiss' may not pack the emotional punch of a 'Hallelujah' or a 'Father and Son' but it is one hundred per cent entertaining. This 2014 vintage Lee is an intoxicating performer!
But a Lee Mead concert is rarely all about Lee... he is as generous to his fellow performers as he is to his audience and tonight he was joined once again by special guest and good friend, Stephen Rahman-Hughes, the last time the two will share a stage until the Southend concert in October. Stephen, still touring in 'Rock of Ages', had flown from Glasgow to be at the gig, having a close encounter with ex-hurricane Bertha and a lightning bolt on the way, and though he must have been shattered (not to mention shaken!) from the journey, his humour, energy and amazing voice were undimmed by the experience. The lucky Horsham audience were also treated to a second guest, Lee's lovely and vocally-gifted Casualty colleague, Amanda Henderson, duetting with him on 'As Long As You're Mine' from Wicked. And of course, there's the band... Lee's trusty MD, Mason Neely, on drums and guitar, Will Stuart on keyboards, and new to the line up on this occasion, Neil (whose surname I have yet to discoover!) slapping the bass.
I've included the full setlist on a separate page to retain an element of surprise for those yet to see the show.
I was delighted to read on Twitter following tonight's gig that Amanda is also due to sing at Lee's next concert in just three days' time at G Live, Guildford, when Lee's other guest will be his former Joseph co-star, Preeya Kalidas. Twitter also revealed earlier that Chris Norton (aka Norton James, who was Alan A Dale to Lee's Robin Hood in Plymouth last Christmas) will be singing at the Guildford concert. It promises to be another excellent evening - if you enjoyed Horsham, why not indulge yourself!
Finally, thanks to the lovely Abs, a few photos from this wonderful evening...
Lee and Stephen Rahman-Hughes will be back at Horsham on 29 November 2015 with the first theatre show of their new venture together Steve and Lee - Both Sides Now - it promises to be another fantastic evening at this lovely venue.
Lee's full concert schedule (including past appearances) can be found at - CONCERT DATES
Last updated: 11 August 2014