A First Night with the Phantom – 13th October 2011

As y’all know, either from my references to him in earlier blogs or just my general fangirl flailing when he is mentioned, I am a huge fan of Ramin Karimloo. I first became aware of this wonderfully talented gent when he took over the role of the Phantom in Lord Webber’s infamous musical. Having seen various appearances of his, I was enchanted by the rich tone of his voice which gave me shivers and  his acting ability which was fantastic – he seemed to inhabit the role with such believable intensity that for an instant, I forgot he was acting 😀 Finally, I came to the conclusion: ‘I NEED to see this man live, It’ll be a crime if I don’t.’

My first opportunity came back in August 2008 when my parents booked me tickets to see Phantom of the Opera as a present for my eighteenth. It was a wonderful production and in short, Ramin blew me away 😀 Following this, for a fair while there was regrettably a Ramin shaped void in my life until he returned with style though this time without the mask in the 25th Anniversary of my favourite musical ever Les Misérables as the zealous revolutionary Enjolras. He was wonderful again and to this day I still get goosebumps when he sings even though I’ve practically played the DVD to death!

While youtubing his Les Mis clips by way of plugging his awesomeness to friends, it was a happy accident that I discovered Sheytoons, Ramin’s band formed with fellow actor extrordinaire and all round lovely gent Hadley Fraser. LOVE their music and I’m counting down the days till I get the chance to see them live together… hopefully I won’t be waiting too long! 😉

So, imagine my excitement when I found out Ramin was starting a short  tour in anticipation of the release of his solo album in January here in Bristol… tickets please! 😀

We arrived at the Colston Hall around 6:45, a while before showtime. I didn’t care about the wait though, I was too excited. At one point I got briefly starstruck because I glimpsed the man himself wandering the hall next to the auditorium, and I like to think he saw the smile I shot him, because no-one else to my knowledge noticed his passing 😉

Ramin was joined by the wonderful Welsh Concert Orchestra who were conducted to perfection by David Shrubshole, who signalled the arrival of our leading man with a lovely piece culminating in the intro to Some Enchanted Evening. This is one of my favourite songs, though I haven’t seen South Pacific… and to hear Ramin sing it was an utter delight and TOTALLY worth the shivers I had rippling up and down my spine throughout. The next song he did was a particular highlight: If Ever I Would Leave You from the musical Camelot. I have never seen it, but ADORE Ramin’s version and would be in complete and utter heaven if he recorded it. The lyrics are absolutely beautiful and Ramin was right: They don’t make em like this anymore 😉

Away from the realm of musical theatre with Sheytoons, Ramin has proved himself as a songwriter as well as an incredibly talented singer and we, the lucky lucky first audience were treated to some tracks from his new album, out in January: Constant Angel  and his version of a song called Coming Home. They are both beautiful songs and hearing them made me even more proud and excited that I’ve already pre-ordered my copy! 🙂

Aside from being a wonderful singer, I was glad to get an insight into what a  funny man Ramin is. There was lots of charming moments which included getting ahead of himself and thus missing a line in Why God, Why? signalled by a sudden freeze and a ‘My Bad’… (bless him, he started the song again :D) and a joke before and after he sang  They Can’t Take That Away From Me: ‘I was once told you have to only be one note away from the right one to sing  jazz……. (he sings it)………. ‘I think that was two or three’ 😀

Not content with just gracing us with his presence, Ramin was also joined by Celia Graham (his original Christine from Phantom) and Olivia Archbold, of Britain’s Got Talent. In all honesty, during the first half it took me a while to warm up to Celia’s voice, but as the evening progressed I became a fan and LOVED her rendition of Love Never Dies in particular. Olivia wowed me totally – for such a young girl her voice is amazingly powerful and has matured LOADS since BGT. I would happily go out and buy her rendition of Anyone Who Had A Heart if she released it.

Les Mis wise, Ramin treated us to Do You Hear the People Sing? IN FRENCH. I could be heard saying ‘Tres Bien Monsieur!’ if you listened hard enough 😀 . We were MEANT to have Stars, but as an extra special surprise he sang Bring Him Home instead! I was once under the impression that no-one can sing this song better than the Valjean’s I know and love. NOT ANYMORE 😀

Ramin’s playful side emerged once again during the final stage of the evening.  After reeling off various musical composers whose work he had paid tribute to with amazing vocals, he  asked us, ‘that’s it, right?’ Queue the LEGENDARY intro theme music from Phantom and an explosion of cheers and applause from the crowd, and STUNNING renditions of the title song, All I Ask of You, Till I Hear You Sing and Music of the Night.

Every cheer and standing ovation (he got many :D) was THOROUGHLY deserved. I can’t wait to do it all over again in Birmingham. In a fortnight 😀 😀


One thought on “A First Night with the Phantom – 13th October 2011

  1. Great blog, I was at Bristol too with my daughter and we had a wonderful evening. We first heard Ramin in 2006 in Birmingham when he played Chris in Miss Saigon. He injured his foot while performing that night and hobbled badly onto the stage for the encore – he was obviously in a lot of pain. We were so struck by his amazing talent that a few weeks later we travelled to Bristol to see him again! During the interval I asked about the stage door but my daughter was worried going there might “burst her bubble” in case he didn’t want to talk to us. How wrong could she be! He was utterly charming and because there were only a few people at the stage door, we got to have a really long chat with him and ask him about his injury. Apparently he’d pulled a ligament and the specialist told him it would have been better if he’d broken it! Anyway, he signed our programmes and we had a photo with him, he was such a gent and he’s exactly the same now except I couldn’t count the fans outside Coniston Hall as there were so many of them!!! He truely deserves the following he’s getting and I’m sure he can only go on to bigger and better things. Its lovely to share our feelings for Ramin. I’m off to look at your blog on Birmingham now. Best wishes Daph Woodford.

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