Il Divo, Royal Albert Hall, London
Wednesday 18 April 2012
"I know I'll collect so many phone numbers from all these beautiful ladies," claims Carlos Marín, the diminutive, gleaming Spanish baritone. A section of "beautiful ladies" at the front hold up cards with their phone numbers on. It's cruise-ship entertainment from Simon Cowell's operatic pop quartet, which he formed in 2004, presumably under lab conditions. His experiment has spawned five staggeringly successful albums (the latest being last year's Wicked Game) and sold over 26 million records
These sharp-suited "divine performers" are Marín’s lothario, the US tenor David Miller (the one who looks like Kevin Bacon), Swiss tenor Urs Buhler (the one who looks a figure skater) and French pop singer Sebastien Izambard (the one who resembles a high-level record executive or Cowell himself).
There is plenty of power (all four of them at full pelt make your fillings twitch) and precision from these slick warblers, who deliver their ballads in various languages, but little soul or personality. There's no real sense of what these classically trained musicians actually like to sing. However, thankfully, they are humanised by some onstage blunders – Miller trips going down the stairs and some amusing (intentional or not) patter: "I'm still the only single one, oh what a depressing life I lead," teases Marín.
"None us had any idea what we were doing at the start of Il Divo," maintains Miller, before admitting their voices are most suited to "musical theatre" numbers. And he's right. Their potent lungs work best on "Don't Cry for Me Argentina" and "Somewhere" from West Side Story.
They work less well, however, on karaoke favourites such as "Unchained Melody", "My Way", "Crying" and, worst of all, "Hallelujah". Leonard Cohen's exquisite lament has been dismembered quite a bit of late (mostly on The X-Factor), and it’s maimed once again by this histrionic foursome. You don't really care for music, do you? Indeed.
Their song selection is so crushingly obvious, even when they go off-piste with Chris Isaak's wonderful "Wicked Game", they have to project huge, dirty great flames on the backdrop.
However, this experience is clearly providing an adoring crowd a great deal of joy. There are standing ovations, whoops and flowers are constantly being handed to the affable singers. The hunks regularly serenade women in the audience to show their gratitude. They do lay the camembert on thick. "This is the best thing I've ever done in my life," claims Izambard. Judging by the ecstatic noises that greet their final number, "Time to Say Goodbye", this concert has made a lot of people very happy. Just not me.
1. Come What May - the love theme from Baz Luhrmann's Moulin Rouge
2. Dove L'Amore - By Cher
3. Adagio - Albinoni's Adagio
5. Si Tu Me Amas
6. Don't Cry For Me Argentina
7. Everytime I Look At You
9. Unchained Melody (SenzaCatene)
10. My Way
1. Senza Parole
2. Melanconia (Wicked Game)
3. La Vida Sin Amor
6. Llorando (Crying)
7. Ven A Mi (Stay)
8. Regresa A Mi (Unbreak My Heart)
9. Pour QueTuMaimes Encore
Encore - Time to Say Goodbye
There’s revolution in the air, but one lady’s not for turningTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Cyclist in Russia narrowly misses being hit by car and lorry
- 2 'F*ck it, I quit': KTVA reporter Charlo Greene quits live on air in spectacular fashion
- 3 What are your fingerprint words?
- 4 Gary Lineker involved in Twitter row after presenter rubbishes claims he will be warned by BBC over foul-mouthed tweets
- 5 Pink Floyd new album: Band unveil cover art for first record in 20 years
Downton Abbey fans unimpressed by Kindle sponsorship adverts
Thomas Heatherwick creates gin palace with a fantastical Willy Wonka vibe
Idris Elba 'absolutely' wants to play James Bond
Cilla, episode 2, ITV, review: Sheridan Smith continues to shine
Kendrick Lamar: New song 'i' released on Soundcloud sampling Isley Brothers - listen here
Scotland could still declare independence – even without referendum, says Alex Salmond
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Hilary Mantel 'should be investigated by police' over Margaret Thatcher assassination story, says Lord Bell
Plebgate MP Andrew Mitchell called officer a 'little s**t', claim court documents 'exposing ex-Chief Whip's 'record of abusing police'
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God
Labour Party conference: Ed Balls to set out plan to freeze child benefit to balance books