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Spotlight on the West End, Milford Haven .. 17 Feb 2024
Lee Mead : Spotlight on the West End - Milford Haven, Feb 2024 I first heard about this little gig when in the queue for the ladies during the interval of the last date of Lee's The Best Of Me tour last October (thank you, my friend - you know who you are!). It seemed a long way off then, not to mention a long way away, but distance has never stopped us before and tickets were duly purchased. So, on a wet and wild day in the middle of February, the first and, at time of writing, only 2024 concert date in the Meady diary found us heading to the far south west of Wales to a tiny theatre and music venue tucked away amid the shops and pubs of Milford Haven.

We did a drive-by on arrival to get our bearings, then settled into our lovely crash pad down on the quayside. On a sunny day the view would have been glorious... as it was, we took it on trust that the sea was out there somewhere and hoped the rain would ease before we had to scale the heights (OK, a moderately steep hill) back to the venue. It did... and we made it in good time to join the queue waiting for the doors to open (a queue? for a Lee gig? we felt right at home!)

Lee Mead : Spotlight on the West End - Milford Haven, Feb 2024 As is the way with such queues, it wasn't long before familiar faces started to join it - one of my absolute joys of travelling to see Lee is the chance to catch up with friends made over the years of doing so. We chatted as we waited, the time for the doors to open came and went, someone popped out to explain there was a minor hitch with soundcheck and we'd be let in soon. Before long, the doors opened... but only as far as the foyer, soundcheck glitch apparently ongoing!

Then we were in, taking our seats at round tables arrayed before the stage, long tables at either side of the space already occupied by the local Vision Arts Youth Theatre company who, we soon discovered, were to play their part in the proceedings. A bar stretched along the back wall, its Budweiser sign catching Lee's eye from the stage later - taking him to America in his mind's eye. Those with Meet & Greet tickets were escorted, group by group, to another room for their time with Lee - re-emerging with happy smiles, even more excited for the show to come.

As it turned out, we had a little longer to wait for the main event... first we were treated to performances from the aforementioned Youth Theatre - the cast of their 2023 production of Les Misérables gave us I Dreamed A Dream, The Confrontation, Stars and a rousing Master of the House, while the full company gave us Don't Stop Believin' from their upcoming production of Rock of Ages. There were solos, including numbers from Tarzan and Thoroughly Modern Millie, and a few songs from a fabulous, female, choral quintet whose harmonies were just delicious.

Lee Mead : Spotlight on the West End - Milford Haven, Feb 2024 The first half over, I took a sneak peek at one of the set lists taped to either side of the stage and, assuming both were the same, schooled myself to be grateful for a rather shorter set from Lee than we'd been hoping for. That'll teach me to be nosey... although the lesson turned out to be rather delightful! Lee's long-time music director, Adam Dennis (keyboards), and Tim Rose (guitar) took their places and as the lights dimmed, the first notes of Pure Imagination (and a loudly enthusiastic crowd) welcomed Lee to the stage. And so the magic began.

There was a little less chat from Lee than we sometimes hear - he still set each song in context, telling us what it meant to him, when he first sang it, why he sings it now - but mostly it was all about the music. It was five songs in that he went 'off piste' from the set list I'd seen ... a last minute change, I thought, but no - what I'd seen was less than half the total set! Smiling wider with each new song, I began to wonder if a much joked about Ken Dodd 'lock in' was in play!

Lee Mead : Spotlight on the West End - Milford Haven, Feb 2024 He sang thirteen songs in all - old favourites, new favourites (sorry, but all of them are favourites!) - you can find the full setlist here. Musical theatre numbers sitting easily alongside contemporary pop hits, from the swagger of All I Care About Is Love (conjuring very happy memories of his Billy Flynn in Chicago in the summer of 2022) to the stillness of Bring Him Home, from George Michael's A Different Corner to Robbie Williams' She's The One. And as always, Lee doesn't just sing these songs, he lives them.

But all good things must come to an end and with a final "would you like a couple more songs?", there was a short pause as the full Vision Arts company joined Lee on stage - for once, he did not have to rely on his audience for the 'ah ah aahs' in Any Dream Will Do (although we joined in as enthusiastically as always, much to the bemusement of some of the youngest members of the company) and, even more rarely, that was not the final number! The grand finale on this occasion, also with full backing choir (on and off stage) was From Now On.

For all the times I've heard Lee sing, his voice never fails to blow me away. I sit there mesmerised, a huge smile on my face, very often a tear rolling quietly down my cheek, amazed all over again at his range, his beautiful tone - rich and velvety in the lower register, pure as crystal at the top end - his ease of delivery belying exquisite vocal control. Just sublime. When and where can I hear him again?

Lee Mead : Spotlight on the West End - Milford Haven, Feb 2024 Well, he'll be taking his show afloat again - performing on P&O cruise ships throughout the year (he's off to the Caribbean again next, it's a hard life!) - and he's still planning some tour dates in the autumn. I very much hope we'll hear more about those soon. There's also talk of a potential new tour in 2025 (don't hold me to it, but maybe keep some space in your diary in April, just in case!).

In other news, Lee continues to work on the two projects he's mentioned previously - a TV project he's collaborating on with a producer (that he tweeted about last week) and a play he's co-writing with Susie Chard (one of the step-sisters in his Palladium Cinderella) - both of which are long-term endeavours, unlikely to bear fruit until 2025 or later. But with other potential opportunities always on the horizon, there are undoubtedly exciting times ahead, including of course panto! While we can only await news of where he'll be this year, after the fun he had playing Khashoggi in We Will Rock You last summer (which I hear Crossroads chief exec, Michael Harrison, much enjoyed), I sense he's feeling the pull of the baddie role! I, for one, am most definitely up for that, but I may have to be patient a little longer - I'm not convinced his Prince days are quite over yet!

Finally, huge thanks to all at the Boulevard Theatre for their wonderfully warm welcome, to all from Vision Arts for sharing with us their passion for performing, to Adam and Tim and, of course, to Lee himself for bringing their supreme musical talents, and their lovely selves, all the way to Milford Haven. And last but never least, thank you to my travel buddies for your company and especially for the laughter - so much laughter!. I wonder where we'll be going next...?

Lee's full concert and events schedule (including past appearances) can be found at - CONCERTS & LIVE EVENTS

Published: 21/02/2024
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