Ramin Karimloo Back from Broadway

Another year, another Ramin Karimloo gig – something I’ve been looking forward to for months. After spending time on Broadway performing in the musical Anastasia, he has come back to the UK for a bit. His last Royal Festival Hall gig was back in 2012 – I don’t know where the time’s gone since then!

I can’t find a setlist, but Ramin sang songs from the musicals he is known for, like Phantom and Les Miserables – Music of the Night, Till I Hear You Sing, Bring Him Home – and tunes from other musicals like Oklahoma!The Greatest Showman and Finding Neverland – Oh What A Beautiful Morning, From Now On and Neverland. He also included songs he has written himself and released previously, as well as a number of new songs. One of the reasons I love seeing Ramin live is that I am always being introduced to new types and genres of music.

It was such a good night and I only hope I don’t have to wait for another year to see Ramin live again.

An Evening with Ramin Karimloo – Union Chapel

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Union Chapel

I’ve written before about how much I love Ramin Karimloo, and I’ve been looking forward to his Union Chapel concert for months: he hasn’t performed in the UK for several years, owing to his role as Jean Valjean in Les Miserables on Broadway, followed by a stint in Japan. I was not the only one to be excited by the news, as the concert was sold out really quickly, so I was very happy to have got a ticket.

The Union Chapel is a beautiful venue, a working chapel which also hosts gigs, talks and other assorted events. It can be a bit chilly inside, but you’re allowed to take a cup of tea to your seat and watch the show, which helps create a cosy atmosphere. I must be getting old – this sounds very appealing compared to the traditional concert experience of moshing with a can of lager!

Ramin himself sounded incredible, but then I hadn’t expected anything less. He opened the show with “‘Til I Hear You Sing”, which is one of my favourite Andrew Lloyd Webber songs, and sang several musical numbers including “Oh What A Beautiful Morning” and “Bring Him Home”, which he performed as a duet with Hadley Fraser, who was present on stage for the entire concert. What I love about Ramin, though, is that he is so versatile – over the last few years he has branched out from musical theatre, and his gig included original songs and covers ranging from country and bluegrass to rock.

The concert was such a brilliant experience, and I’m really glad I made the effort to go. Who knows when Ramin will be back in the UK again? I’ve added the setlist at the bottom of this post: I would encourage you to go and look up the list on YouTube, to discover why this man is so amazing.

Setlist

1. Till I Hear You Sing

2. Traveller’s Eyes

3. On The Road to Find Out/Wild World

4. Driftwood

5. Broken

6. Letting The Last One Go

7. Constant Angel

8. State Lines (with Ashleigh Gray)

9. Bring Him Home (with Hadley Fraser)

10. We’re All In This Together

11. Wings

12. Oh, What A Beautiful Mornin’

13. Do You Hear The People Sing?

14. Murder In The City

15. I Wish The Wars Were All Over

16. Will The Circle Be Unbroken

Encore

17. Losing

18. Wagon Wheel

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Broadway to Bluegrass…ish – Ramin Karimloo returns to London

I first came across Ramin Karimloo when he played the Phantom in the sequel to the original Phantom of the OperaLove Never Dies. Since then I’ve seen him as the Phantom in the 25th anniversary production at the Royal Albert Hall, sat in the front row to see him play Jean Valjean in Les Miserables, and watched him at a concert in the Royal Festival Hall. He has an incredible voice, seems like a lovely person and is very versatile: the music he plays ranges from Broadway and West End classics through to indie-guitar ballads and American country and bluegrass, hence the title of his two gigs in London on Sunday and Monday.

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I was lucky enough to get a ticket for last night’s show and it was fantastic. The venue was a really intimate one and the atmosphere was friendly as everyone there was an enthusiastic Ramin fan. The presence of a number of guests mixed things up a bit: singer Simon Bailey performed a track with Ramin and then sang one of his own;  Lee Mead and Stephen Rahman-Hughes sang backing vocals to ‘Oh What a Beautiful Morning’; and Hadley Fraser (who performed as Raoul opposite Ramin’s Phantom and Inspector Javert with Ramin’s Jean Valjean) joined the stage so that the duo could perform as the Sheytoons. I had an amazing time, although I managed to consume slightly too much wine.

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This morning I saw that the setlist had been posted on Ramin’s Twitter feed, which is handy as I didn’t recognise all of the songs. Now I know what they are!

Broadwaytobluegrass Setlist

My highlight of the night was when Ramin performed ‘Bring Him Home’ from Les Miserables – absolutely stunning. I can’t wait to see him live again!

Muse at the O2

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The O2, all set for Muse

I went to see Muse on Friday at the O2. It was the fifth time I’d seen them and they were as brilliant as usual. They even played a song from Showbiz (Sunburn) which I wasn’t expecting.

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Muse rocking the O2

I haven’t actually listened to their new album yet, but I quite liked the tracks I heard here, so hopefully I will be impressed.

Richie Sambora at Shepherd’s Bush Empire

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I was at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire last night to see Richie Sambora (the guitarist with Bon Jovi). I had a brilliant time. Naturally enough he mainly performed songs from his new album, Aftermath of the Lowdown (which I haven’t got hold of yet; I really must, it sounds brilliant) but played a few others too, including a cover of ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’ by Oasis, which was most unexpected. I was a bit gutted he didn’t perform very many songs from his first two albums, but at least he did ‘Stranger In this Town’, which is my favourite.

He played quite a few Bon Jovi tracks, including ‘These Days’, although personally I’d have preferred him to perform more of his solo songs. I love Bon Jovi, but I’ve seen them before and I’m sure I’ll see them again, and there were several songs I would like to have heard that weren’t performed. I still had a fantastic time though.

The Empire itself is pretty awesome too: a converted theatre with the seats taken out of the stalls for standing/moshing purposes. There wasn’t a great deal of moshing going on last night, despite the surprising plethora of younger people there; I’d expected the audience to be mostly older. I found it quite amusing that the older people hung around at the back while the younger ones pushed forward into the crowd.