Review by Hayley Clark

As an 80’s baby growing up amongst the bright neon lights, catchy melodies and awesome anthems were the soundtrack to my childhood. As I neared adulthood the buzz of nostalgia filled, as the last Thursday of the month was 80’s night at Rosie’s in Solihull. 17 year old me snook into the club to party to the sounds I was born into with my group of college friends we used to always love nagging the DJ to play ‘Criticize’ and then belted it out to the boys who broke our hearts on the dance floor, so it was pretty apt my last night as a 35 year old was spent with the 80’s icon Alexander O’Neal.

At 20, Alexander shot into the music industry leaving his hometown of Mississippi and relocating across the river to Minnesota. With the Minneapolis sound upcoming and breaking through he joined forces with production legends Jam and Lewis to form Flyte Time with Monte Moir. In 1980 they signed up with Warner Brothers and was renamed as ‘The Time’, the soul legend being predecessor to Morris Day in the early days shaping the sounds of the band.

With it not being long before his solo career took off, it’s no wonder the three day residency at London’s swanky Boisdale sold our pretty quickly. The prestigious evening gown and tux wearing diners waited excitingly for the show to begin having finished an evening menu of delights. Set like an old style jazz club the Boisdale’s stage is petit yet compact, Alex’s band grace the stage cosily to clapping from the audience.


The intimate evening boasted joy as the soul sensation welcomed his crowd and joked “Good evening, I can guarantee to play songs from Hearsay and my self titled album and even my first album, but don’t worry I wont be playing songs from my Christmas album” as laughter filled the room.

Opening with ‘What Can I Say’ feedback proved an issue from the microphones but Alex quickly won the audience over with his dancing and lovable personality. Being the trooper he is, at 64, he carried on regardless whilst the sound guy rectified the situation. ‘Sunshine’ and ‘Hearsay’ kept the audience tapping along as his vocals warmed up to full strength, taking position on a stool he crooned ‘If You Were Here Tonight’ goosebumps filled the room as the audience were transfixed by the smooth soulful sounds coming from the stage.

An impromptu Happy Birthday for a couple in the audience gained cheers as the 80’s icon left his band in charge whilst he took a small break from the heated stage lights.

Covering the Earth,Wind and Fire classic ‘September’ the audience got onto their feet bopping along with the interlude and band introduction.

Crying out cheers and clapping Alex’s return kept them enthralled and on their feet powering through ‘Saturday Love’ and ‘The Lovers’ he captivated the audience as he started to sing the anthemic words.

“Don’t Criticize my friends, don’t criticize my ideas…” the crowd went wild as the band joined in, people hurrying to the stage in order to party to the catchy 80’s anthem, dancing both wild yet conservatively they gave their American idol a standing ovation.

Eager for more chants of “One More Song!” filled the restaurant. As Alexander returned it, the sounds of his number one track filled the air. Playfully asking the audience if they knew a girl who was fake they went wild for the encore ending an amazing night.

Having wowed the audience for night two of his intimate residency he left them wanting more. The smiles on their face said it all, his band of musicians keep the night flowing and Alex himself is a bit of a hidden gem when it comes to live shows, hopefully with these sell out successes he will announce a UK tour soon to accompany his new album due out.

One Response to “Alexander O’Neal at The Boisdale, Canary Wharf, London, UK – 17th October 2018”

  1. Martin Hunt Says:

    I cannot agree more, I was there also on Wednesday night and sang along to every song, the Man and the Band were on fire, it was an amazing night, I wish it could have lasted all week, he is an entertainer and Fake at the end finished it off superbly, Well done Alex and Team a great night out

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