Sunday Mercury

~ 04/04/1999, by Andy Richards ~

Fans have a ball at star's home gig

MUSICALLY, he's been there, seen it, done it and probably has a collection of T-shirts to prove it.

From the West End of Broadway, the Eurovision Song Contest, and several hit albums, Michael Ball has achieved global fame and success.

The Bromsgrove-born musical maestro returned "home" on Friday night to the Birmingham's National Exhibition Centre to celebrate his talents and show just why he has achieved mega-success.

He kicked off a stunning two-hour-plus set with the Full Monty hit Hot Stuff to the immediate delight of an adoring mainly female (of all ages) audience.

Terrific versions of the Boyzone/Billy Ocean classic When the Going Gets Tough, Love On The Rocks from The Jazz Singer, and a tribute to Dusty Springfield, with the song How Can I Be Sure, followed. Interspersed were hits from many West End shows, mostof which he has appeared in, including Prepare Ye The Way Of The Lord, from Godspell, Memories from Cats, and Gethsemane from Jesus Christ Superstar.

It was a stunning mix of styles which reflected his truly excellent voice and versatility.

After an hour-long first half, which sped by, he left the stage for a 20 minute break before returning to delight again with the likes of Don't Cry For Me Argentina and the monster Titanic-hit My Heart Will Go On.

A magnificent one-song encore of his traditional show-stopper Love Changes Everything concluded a memorable evening and sent the sell- out crowd, home happy.

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