Lee Mead and Skegness, not words I'd normally put together.
Lee Mead conjures up visions of a smooth seductive, sexy voice that gives me the shivers on many occasions; a mass of dark curly hair, a body....perhaps I'll keep the rest of those thoughts to myself!
Back to less titillating matters. Skegness. I always thought of it as a Victorian seaside resort, the faded grandeur of a few sea-front hotels, a north sea battered coastline, a rickety pier, fish and chips and sticky pink and white rock. How wrong I turned out to be.
After a pleasant long weekend in Lincolnshire, my friend, her husband and mine travelled to Skegness, arriving in time to grab a drink before the show started at 7.30. For one night only Lee Mead the winner of Any Dream Will Do. The men had planned to find a nice hotel bar, hunker down there and wait for us to finish out Lee fix. They were dressed respectably, as only husbands can on occasions, but one look at the brash resort, filled with bulky men covered in tattoos, wearing shorts and garish 'T' shirts and they were hotfooting it into the theatre to purchase tickets. (Apologies here to anyone who lives in Skegness, and thinks it an utterly delightful resort! It just isn't my cup of tea.)
Of course they were sat way at the back while we were savoring, and somewhat salivating over a central position three rows from the front. I was surprised at how many people there were. I'd been to two previous concerts, the packed Southend, and the almost as packed Basingstoke but Skegness seemed quite a different entity to me, with a theatre catering mostly to the folks who holidayed in the town. Although taking a look around the auditorium I'd guess a fair number of people were locals and not holidaymakers at all.
There was already an air of anticipation and, as the band started playing the intro to Paint It Black, the excitement built. Then Lee bounded onto the stage dressed all in black and belted out the Stones classic - a version more akin to his hot, dark 'Any Dream Will Do' performance, than the violin laden arrangement on his first album. This was closely followed by Gonna Make You a Star (so much better than David Essex's version) and Nothing Else Matters, the title track from his second album. From then on the audience were in the zone and captivate by this gorgeous young man.
He spoke of many things in his life and his career, between numbers, chatting without a script, which is refreshing and makes each concert a new and exciting experience. This time he included a cute remark about how hot he was, and he hoped he wasn't sweating too much. Bless him, he glanced under his arms, then clamped them to his side making the audience laugh. This is a such a different Lee from the shy young man who appeared on 'Any Dream Will Do', and did do one or two quite awkward interviews during his initial tenure as Joseph. Lee has blossomed and grown over the last few years, and his voice as well as his confidence just gets better and better.
My favourite songs have to be the Musical Theatre numbers, 'Anthem' (Love him to record this), 'Jesus Christ Superstar' (brilliant he should play Judas) and of course the crowning epitome of 'Close Ever Door'. You just have to hear him sing this live to appreciate how special he is; he acts the song, you can feel the angst as he sings it and at the end his stunning voice just soars, sending shivers up your spine.
Added to this were songs from his albums, including my two special favourites, ' When I need you the Most', written by Gary Barlow and Lee's dad's favourite number 'Through The Barricades.' He also included in this eclectic mix, some standards. First a song I never expected him to sing 'Kiss'! This guy knows just how appealing to women he is, and he plays on this; his sexy dance moves making the audience scream. 'Beyond the Sea', the old Bobby Darin classic, displayed the smoothness to his voice, like rich dark chocolate- a treat we all crave but only indulge in on occasions. He then dedicated a song to his wife Denise and new daughter Betsy - the melodic favourite, 'When You say Nothing at All.' So sweet and moving.
I should add at this point that Niamh Perry, one of the girls from the Nancy show, who is now appearing in 'Love Never Dies', performed a small number of songs and dueted with Lee singing 'When the Stars Go Blue.'
When Lee mentioned the show 'Any Dream Will Do', he asked very innocently if anyone had watched it. DOH! But his words got a laugh and when he sang 'Any Dream Will Do' he didn't need the children's choir, let alone a backing track, the audience sang the accompaniment perfectly!
All too soon the show was at an end, but we were given one last song, one we recognised from the show - 'Daydream Believer', which had the audience standing and joining in as well. All in all a great night, with still more concerts to come.
My friend's husband, who wasn't a particular fan said at the end "Boy can that young man sing". I think that sums Lee up very nicely.
credit for photo- Lee Mead Music