Review: Christmas with Aled and Russell at The Royal Concert Hall Nottingham
Despite working together for several years, it was the first time I’d seen Aled Jones and Russell Watson live when their Christmas tour stopped by at Nottingham’s Royal Concert Hall, where the duo played to a packed house in an evening of Christmas songs and stories that delighted their supportive and eager fans.
Russell, dubbed the People’s Tenor, I’ve seen several times and never disappoints, Aled I’ve only caught snippets of when flicking through the telly and Songs of Praise comes on, and of course, we all know him from his choir boy hit Walking in the Air. If ever a song could change a kid's life then that one did.
Either artist though could likely fill the venue on their own, but with Christmas in the air and a new album* to promote, the duo joined forces for a relaxed evening of festive entertainment.
Not an obvious pairing, of course, we draw comparisons. Classical pairing Boe and Ball also have an album out, Ant and Dec as they point out were mentioned in another review. Morecambe and Wise? The comparisons don’t surprise me as the pair have the chemistry and the comfortable banter of lifelong friends. They're extremely likeable and their unique blend of pop/easy listening/classical crossover style music makes for enjoyable listening.
Two hours of beautiful music fly by. There are no solo numbers, the pair perform songs that have been specially arranged for them to create beautiful harmonies. Watson has power in his vocals, complimented by baritone Jones's smooth tones.
With just a small live band of four to accompany, along with backing from the fantastic Rock Choir who add the festive choral sound it allows them to really showcase their voices.
Between songs, they share stories about Strictly, The Masked Singer, as well as how the Christmas album was recorded at the peak of the summer. During the heatwave, they recorded In the Bleak Midwinter. Oh, and Russell came without his suit.
I really enjoyed the night, as did the rest of the audience who gave a standing ovation. Of course, they end with Walking in the Air but arranged as a duet.
We leave full of Christmas spirit as intended. I think Jones and Watson might just be my new favourite duo. We must protect them at all costs and make them a Christmas institution.