Birmingham Post

~ 05/04/1999, by Adam Sedgley ~

Having a Ball for the holiday

NEC, Birmingham

Never mind chocolate eggs and bunnies - Michael Ball was the Easter treat as far as thousands of his faithful devotees were concerned at the NEC Arena.

They took to the stadium to sate their musical appetites on his wonderful voice and left happy and glowing with contentment after the ace singer showman delivered a memorable set.

He began with Hot Stuff, delighting the mainly female audience, but keeping his clothes firmly on. Then, on the theme of music and memories, he conjured up a stunning mix of songs highlighting a dazzling versatility.

It was easy to see why he has captivated audiences in the West End and Broadway with starring roles in the likes of Les Miserables, The Phantom of the Opera and Aspects of Love, and why his several albums have won admirers around the world.

Included in the first hour-long half were memorable versions of the Boyzone/ Billy Ocean classic When the Going Gets Tough; Love on the Rocks from The Jazz Singer and Gethsemane, from Jesus Christ Superstar - especially apt for Easter.

There was also a touching tribute to the late Dusty Springfield, with How Can I Be Sure.

Backed by a ten-strong band and three backing singers, Michael ensured the pace did not slip in the second half when the audience savoured the likes of the Celine Dion Titanic monster hit My Heart Will Go On.

He also gave us an amusing Blues Brothers impression as he sang Everybody.

A stunning one song encore of the song he is perhaps best known for, Love Changes Everything, from Aspects of Love, ended a great night.

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