Broadway to Bluegrass…ish Part 2

Well. Just when you think you have been to a fantastic gig that would be hard to match, it’s beaten. Sunday night was truly fantastic and I had a brilliant time. But Monday was even better. Having met up with my ticket holder we proceeded into the venue to get another nice spot towards the front. Score number 1 – cracking view. There was some speculation as to who would be appearing with Ramin this time around – Simon Bailey had not seemed too sure when I asked him on the Sunday – but a tweet had gone out earlier in the day announcing that not only was Simon joining him again, but Hadley Fraser would be too. Score 2 – Ramin, Simon AND Hadley.

Once again, the excitement was rapidly building inside the venue (as with Sunday this was The Venue, 229 Great Portland Street). I far prefer small gigs to large ones and this venue fits the bill nicely, though not so well for anyone who has trouble standing as the seating is very limited. On the plus side it has a raised stage so all of the band can be seen and a bar right next to it so you can get a drink and still be involved in the concert.

As with Sunday Ramin came out to rapturous applause and kicked off with ‘Broken Home’. This was a great idea to start off as it is so lively and, being an album track, known by a majority of the audience. Ramin was absolutely on top form and was laughing and joking, possibly appearing even more spritely than he had been the night before. ‘Road to Find Out/ Wild World’ was next and then ‘Here I go’. This song was most appropriate as it was written by Ramin and it was first tried out at the Thank You Gig he did for those people who had preordered his album (‘Ramin’) and had had to wait for it’s release for rather longer than planned. It was a lovely song, very catchy, and lovely to hear it in the same place as he first aired it six months ago.

Another sing along and a few tears were next when he once again performed ‘Constant Angel’, a general consensus showing that this is one of the favourites for many people on ‘Ramin’and then a lovely rendition of ‘Music Of The Night’ – in Ramin’s own words “where it all began for many of you”. The crowd sang along, and although the tuning (from the audience, never from Ramin) was somewhat debatable it was a magic moment.

May I apologise in advance for the ‘singing’…it’s not me! I don’t sing while videoing!
Music Of the Night: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AExlmtu4EoQ&feature=player_detailpage

‘Down to the River and Pray’ followed, sung pretty much acapella and this went straight into Cathedrals, a song I just love. One more song ‘See Her Smile’ was next and then it was time for Simon Bailey to stand up and take the stage. After a few blatant plugs from Ramin about Simon’s forthcoming album ‘Looking Up’ (which can be preordered – more about this later) they both went into their cover version of ‘Murder In The City’. Simon followed this with ‘Goodbye’. This song has me in tears every time and despite the fact Simon said he was nervous you would never have known. Perfection!

Simon and Ramin perform Murder In The City: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ujxx9zqcxoE&feature=plcp

A song called ‘Make them Hear You’ was next, from the musical ‘Ragtime’. Ramin swore that it was a role he could never play, but I would say, from listening to him sing that song, that the role was made for him! The first half was completed with Ramin’s version of ‘Oh! What A Beautiful Morning’, from Oklahoma, and he was joined on stage, much to the surprise and pleasure of everyone there, by Stephen Rahman Hughes and Lee Mead. The threesome have recently completed a series of ‘West End Men’ concerts and despite the fact that this was completely spontaneous and unrehearsed and Lee was apparently ‘half cut’ (as he put it), this was such fun and a fabulous way to round off the first part of the entertainment.

The ‘West End Men’ sing Oh What A Beautiful Morning: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RhnH_osQZ4U&feature=plcp

In case you are unfamiliar with the names above, Rahman Hughes has a teatrical background having appeared in Bombay Dreams and also in the group Teatro, alongside Simon Bailey (Jeremiah James and Andrew Alexander). Lee Mead won the TV talent show ‘Any Dream Will Do’ to become Joseph in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat and is married to Denise Van Outen.

The beginning of the second half was the part that I think many people were looking forward to the most. Hadley Fraser (a hugely talented friend of Ramin’s) joined him on stage and for four songs the Sheytoons were reunited. Starting with ‘Driftwood’ the guys performed like the pro’s they are, sounding every bit as good as we all hoped and had the audience revelling in seeing them together. Between each song there was a bit of banter and – joy of joys- talk about an official Sheytoons reunion sometime in early 2013. ‘Losing’ followed, then ‘She Is Loved’ where there was a sticky moment with forgotten words and a lot of laughter. The crowd totally got behind this and it just added to the light hearted and fun atmosphere of the whole evening. The duo finished by singing ‘Broken’, another crowd pleaser and the place erupted throughout.

Unfortunately I was only able to capture two of the Sheytoons songs, but here are the links to Driftwood and Broken:
Driftwood: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9WO786Z4XMo&feature=plcp
Broken: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c48Q-8D1qI4&feature=plcp

Two covers followed – ‘White Blank Page’ by Mumford and Sons (another favourite somg of mine) came after ‘The Once and Future Carpenter’, another well written and tuneful song by the Avett Brothers. ‘Solitude’, one of Ramin’s own compositions came before the rather fun version of the hymn ‘Closer Walk With Thee’ where every member of the band had the chance to sing, with verses sung by Katie Birtill and Steve Young and with backing from the drummer, guitar and keyboard players.

A stunning performance of ‘Bring Him Home’ from Les Miserables brought the house down and then everything was livened up once again with Johnny Cash’s ‘Folsom Prison Blues’, taking Ramin back to some of his musical influences. The final song was ‘Coming Home’, another album favourite, and once again the audience helped to carry the song by singing every word along with the man himself.

As always Ramin and his band gave an encore – the audience would not have allowed this to be any other way – and he came out and sang a cover of the Civil Wars ‘Poison and Wine’ with Katie. This was really beautiful. another or Ramin’s self-penned songs ‘When Does it Go Away’ followed to an excellent reception and he ended, as is becoming traditional, with Green Day’s ‘Good Riddance’.

What a show this was. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and I just know that everybody went away smiling and singing and perfectly happy. I simply cannot wait for the Sheytoons reunion which is looking hugely promising.

‘Looking Up’ by Simon Bailey can be pre ordered at http://www.simonbaileyonline.com All preorders will be signed and the purchaser of CD no 500 will even get Simon’s own, signed guitar!
Follow him on Twitter – SimonBailey1210 and on Facebook: facebook.com/simonbaileyinfo

All video links and photographs are my own.

I hope you enjoyed reading this (almost) as much as I enjoyed being there. For thse of you who were there, it was lovely to see you and I hope this blog has done the gig justice.

Next gig to blog (I think) will be the Christmas with…Friends cabaret, organised by Sim G Productions on Dec 16th. Annalene Beechey, Rebecca Lock, Simon Thomas and Simon Bailey will be performing. I will, however write something between then and now.

Keep dreaming,
Naomi x

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