Alexander O’Neal at the O2 Academy Leicester
1st June 2013, O2 Academy Main Stage
The Alexander O’Neal show tonight attracted an audience of over 1,500 people to the main stage arena of Leicester’s O2 Academy.
The Reminisce Summer Concert Tour was headlined by the soul sensation – from the USA – Alexander O’Neal who performed his hits Criticise, Fake and If you were here tonight.
Supporting the legend of the 80s soul scene tonight were local singer Ten, Heatwave and soul 2 soul artist Jazzy B.
Appearing in Leicester for the first time, three acts from the era of soul grooves drew a large audience – one that reflected those who had been there in the 80s when soul was enjoying its golden age and quite a lot of younger people who wanted to experience for themselves what it had all been about.
Alexander O’Neal is best know for his top ten hit of 1987, Criticise. Other hits, including If You Were Here Tonight, were favourites with the capacity crowd.
Heatwave reached second place in the UK charts in the late ’70s with their song Boogie Nights. They also enjoyed hits with Mind Blowing Decisions, Always and Forever.
Jazzy B, the producer and artist known as ‘soul 2 soul’ played a set of his funk, soul and reggae songs.
Audience members got a full night of music – from the DJs who played their set of r ‘n b and Motown classics to warm up the audience through to the appearance of the man they had all been waiting for.
For many in the audience it was a trip down memory lane; for others it might well have been a voyage of musical discovery. Featuring the sounds of disco and ‘old skool’ the night’s music got many ladies moving. Compering the night was Bob Peters, one-time DJ with the famous Flamingo club in London.
The first act of the evening was Leicester singer Ten. We saw her at Sumo on Thursday when she appeared at the City Link-Up show.
On stage Ten made a colourful splash and, even though most of the audience would not have known her, the crowd responded warmly to her beautiful voice and appealing stage presence. Ten sang her single, which is out now. Ten is starting out on her musical career now but I have a feeling this is a name we are going to see a lot of in the future. You can see Ten at the Leicester Belgrave Mela, later this year.
Heatwave came on to the stage and gave the audience a full hour of their catalogue of songs. The two singers at the front were backed by a full band that included keyboard players, guitarist, drummer and bassist and two female backing vocalists. What the room got was sixty minutes of compelling beats and rhythms and a storming stage presence. Their front man made the most of his lively stage act, which included a full cart-wheel, which brought the house down. They got the audience singing along to their songs and refraining back “ooo baby yeah baby”. The room was filled with their fans and what was clear was that this style of music is widely loved and enjoyed by Leicester people and, fo course, those who had traveled quite some way to be at the show.
Masters of the big romantic ballad, Heatwave delivered a stormingly good set. The song everyone had been waiting for came right at the end of their set. Boogie Nights is the one hit that we all remember.
While the stage was re-set for the headline act, DJ Jazzie-B gave the room his offering of soul 2 soul tunes.
After a big build up from compere Bob Peters, Alexander O’Neal came on to the stage, greeted by exuberant cheering and applause from the ample audience. With a full band and backing singers, the great soul legend sang some of his memorable songs. Now aged 60, O’Neal is an iconic performer and top-class singer.
Watch Alexander O’Neal singing Criticise