Following Lee's very welcome announcement on Instagram that he'd be joining the ranks of performers who are bringing some online cheer into these difficult times with a series (hopefully) of Friday lunchtime livestreams, we enjoyed the first of these on Friday 27 March.
The initial intention was for a collaboration between Lee and his musical director Adam Dennis on keyboards in the latter's studio, but as the lockdown intensified that was obviously not an option. So, instead - a new venue was found and a new phrase was coined... A Carppella was born!
The first of Lee's 'live from the drive' Instagram livestreams was a triumph. Was it 100% slick - no, of course not - it wasn't meant to be, it was filmed on a phone in a car with no band. Was it 100% fabulous - absolutely - Lee with all his charm and humility, chatting and name-checking the commenting listeners, swigging from his water bottle, then stilling for a moment before bursting into song. After song. That stunning voice, in that tiny space. Oh my.
Lee tweeted that the second session (Friday 3 April) would be #ACarppellaFromHome for him too as he had a very welcome house guest (his daughter Betsy!). It was a slightly different vibe (and view!), but just as much fun, and it was lovely to see Betsy joining him briefly to say hello and check out the messages coming in from the viewers.
We were back in the car for week 3 (Friday 10 April) and it was hot... so hot in fact that Lee's phone shut itself down to prevent it overheating! A Carppella brought with it a whole new level of potential tech issues but Lee took each in his stride and seemed to enjoy his time online as much as his very happy audience.
Week 4 (Friday 17 April) was the final session, for now at least, and the consensus seems to be that Lee saved the best for last. It's especially sad therefore that this one could not be saved, not only for those who couldn't tune in live, but for everyone who did and would dearly love to watch it again. There was the usual eclectic mix of songs, weaving upbeat numbers I Want To Break Free and old tour favourite Kiss with emotionally charged choices Fix You and Some Enchanted Evening, the latter the favourite song of a close family friend who is gravely ill, dedicated to him and his family. Between songs, Lee answered some of the questions coming through in the live chat - his comments on whether he would ever return to Holby City were even picked up by Digital Spy - until finally it was time for his last song. It was one we'd not heard from him before and I had to go back to work part way through so I'm very much hoping it won't be the last time he sings it. I don't think he could have chosen a better song to reflect how people are looking out for each other through this crisis... You'll Never Walk Alone.
Lee set up a YouTube channel to share the live sessions after the event (though sadly the first half of the 10 April session and all of the final session on 17 April were lost to the ether and couldn't be uploaded). Although we've come to the end of A Carppella, for now at least, Lee hopes to add further content to the channel as we progress through the lockdown. Meanwhile, here are the saved sessions...
Lee's full concert and events schedule (including past events) is at CONCERT & LIVE EVENTS.
Published: 23/03/2020; last updated 22/04/2020