Alexander O’Neal – A Night At Boisdale, Canary Wharf
Feeling little tired and fluey, I still managed to put on my best glad rags topping it all off with a rather leary yet trendy yellow jacket. There now - no one would be able to see the bags under my eyes, or notice my sniffling and snivelling they'd be detracted by my bright yellow jacket and just smile at me with pity in their eyes. Anyway, I was heading to see the legendary Alexander O'Neal at The Boisdale, Canary Wharf. I've often frequented this venue when artists have been in town and it's a venue that gives the ambience of making one feel special. Dimmed lights, red decor and cosy little tables littered a little hapharzardly across the space, with great background music - it's a place for that special tete a tete or even to play footsies whilst staring into someone's eyes over hors d'oeuvres.
As I walked in, Alexander had just taken to the stage. His backing band were high energy and really rocked the night out. At times they covered his wavering voice subtly, but he still rocked on. A legend amongst many, here I was, again, to witness another old skool classic artist perform. I'd already interviewed and seen so many giants this year i.e Little Anthony, The O'Jays, Earth, Wind and Fire, Freda Payne etc this year and this was just another wonderful addition.
Alexander an American R&B singer, songwriter and arranger from Natchez, Mississippi was looking a lot older, and a little tired. However, his passion to perform was still clearly felt and you could see he loved music. The ease and 'tongue in cheek' humour with which he interacted with his audience, who were keen, ready, intrigued and ready to rock and roll was palpable. These people were avid Alexander O'Neal followers and you could see by the high fives, the nods of 'yep I remember that toooon' and periodic personal standing ovations by the more excited and ecstatic, when he took us down memory lane, serenading us with the likes of 'Criticise' 'Fake,' 'What's Missing' and many more. It didn't take long for the audience to get up and boogey like it was 1995. The look on their faces was one of ecstasy - this was throwback time, reminiscence at its peak. It was a time to two step. For those needing a little more intimacy and canoodling then 'If You Were Here Tonight' did the trick. I sat back trying not to throw a hissy fit or look too perturbed and vex about being on my own at that moment in time. I had come to the event with a friend and if I had thrown myself at her at that moment in time, asking her to 'give us a dance darling' I would've been headline news this morning as 'GONE 'MISSING.'
Even though his voice was a little strained, there was no doubt about why Alexander O'Neal is the legend he is. A man whose career has spanned more than 40 years in the music industry and with two live albums, 6 compilation albums, 10 studio albums and 35 singles under his belt as well as a few TV appearances Alexander continues to rock on. At the Boisdale Music Awards on 12th September 2018, Alexander O'Neal was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award.
I made it through the evening without weeping and spluttering into anyone's coffee, and quietly slipped an antibiotic tablet into my mouth as I pretended to laugh at some unheard of joke. All in all it was a very very pleasant night. I too managed to do a little two step and upon returning home, I decided to have an Alexander O'Neal personal reunion and put on a youtube playlist lulling myself to sleep.
Alexander O'Neal will be appearing at Boisdale on Thursday 18th October