Sooo…where to start? I think I’d like to begin by saying how fantastic it was to see Ramin back up on stage, and even betterthat it was at an ‘intimate’ venue. The 229 club on London’s Great Portland street only has room for around 200 people which means everyone gets a good look at the band who are rather crammed together on a small stage. That said, there were a fair few band members- drums, keyboards, fiddle, 2 guitars (not including Mr K), bass and Katie, the backing singer.
For anyone who is unfamiliar with Mr Karimloo, he is an Iranian, brought up in Canada who now resides with his family over here in the UK. He has played many theatrical roles, most notably the Phantom (in the west end) and at the Royal Albert Hall for Phantom of the Opera’s 25th anniversary. Catch it if you can on dvd, it’s fab.
Ramin started with Broken Home, an upbeat album track which got everyone well into the mood (not that they weren’t already). This was followed with the ‘Road to find out’ the title of his recent tour and a song which he also performed on it. A new song, ‘Here I Go’ was next, and then another extremely popular album track ‘Constant Angel’. As ever this reduced several audience members to tears. He then proved that he still ‘has it’ by singing a beautiful version of ‘Music of the Night’ a song from Phantom for those unfamiliar with it. The crowd all joined in and it was a wonderful moment. He never faltered on the high notes and it was ever so well received.
Another couple of songs- ‘Down to the River and Pray’ followed straight on by ‘Cathedrals’ (one of my album favourites) and then ‘See Her Smile’ -a lovely ballad, and it was on to his guest for the evening, Simon Bailey. You all know my feelings there! A definite highlight was the Avett Brothers ‘Murder in the City’ covered by both Ramin and Simon together and appearing on ‘Looking Up’, Simons debut solo album. Simon then followed this with a slightly different version of Goodbye – all guitar this time but still as hauntingly beautiful and meaningful as last week. He was well received and I hope he managed to sell more albums, I overheard many comments about how impressed people were.
Ramin closed the first half with ‘Make Them Hear You’ and finally ‘Driftwood’, a number penned with his friend Hadley (see my previous blogs) and sung originally by Sheytoons, a group Ramin and Hadley formed. Hopefully someday these guys will release an album as they make really excellent music.
Here is the link to part of Murder in the City and all of Goodbye https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fk1R2h_Mkj4&feature=youtube_gdata_player
A short interval (with, for me chats and hugs from Simon) and Act 2 began. He kicked off, as he did on the tour, with ‘Oh What A Beautiful Mornin” A song from the musical Oklahoma. He then slowed everything right down and gave a spine chilling, noise bump raising version of ‘Bring Him Home’. Now, I don’t know about bringing him home, but it certainly brought the house down. Wonderful stuff.
Another Sheytoons (my favourite of theirs) ‘Broken’ and self penned ‘When Does it Go Away’ (beautiful) and then Ramin gave us a couple of covers, the first – ‘The once and Future Carpenter’ (nothing to do with Earl I might add) by the Avett Brothers and the second – ‘White Blank Page’ by Mumford And Sons. I have heard this several times (the original and Ramin’s version) and I absolutely love it.
‘Solitude was next, another beautiful own composition, then ‘She Is Loved’ another smashing Sheytoons song. Ramin’s gospel background came into play next with ‘Closer Walk With Thee’, a hymn which the whole band participated in and livened up to make it great fun followed by a Johnny Cash number and then ‘Coming Home’, the first track which was released from his self titled album.
The audience were not willing to let them all go at that point so with whoops and cheers and a chorus of ‘we want more’ everyone came back to the stage and gave us all some more numbers including a final Sheytoons song ‘Losing’ and a cover of Green Days ‘Good Riddance’ a real crowd pleaser fast becoming a trademark show closer.
I had an absolutely fantastic evening especially with the accompaniment of Kym and Rachael and I cannot wait for tonight part 2, where, I believe we not only have Ramin and Simon but also Hadley too.
Must go and get ready, cant wait.