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Friday 08 October 2021

Interview: Michael Bolton On Post-Lockdown Nerves & His Special Bond With UK Audiences Ahead Of Date @ the Brighton Centre

Multiple Award-Winning Singer, Songwriter and Social Activist Michael Bolton is set to visit The Brighton Centre, this month, and ahead of his tour we got some time with him before he travelled across the pond.

Q/ So how are you feeling about heading back to the UK on the Love Songs Greatest Hits tour after the touring industry was shut down for so long due to the pandemic?

Michael Bolton (MB): "It's so surreal still. In my lifetime I've never had this. It's bizarre. My band and crew are chomping at the bit to get on the road. I'm trying to wrap my head around how to deliver a new show but with the greatest hits because that's what my fans have been coming for 30 years for. I feel nervousness. Like this is my first tour or something - and it's not my first tour by any means."

Q/ What is special about seeing your fans from around the world in person?

MB: "The UK is such a central part of my life and career. I have my beliefs that for whatever reasons when my career finally took off, around '87, the UK became the second-biggest audience for me in the world. 

It's been amazing. Much more than I dreamed of. I just wanted to have a career singing, which seemed too much to ask until it finally happened. I've been touring up and down the UK for some 35 years. A long time. 

But that's not what makes the fun and the heart of touring. That's personal between the audience and myself. Far and away number one passion all these years later being able to walk on stage and enjoy and laugh with the audience - in most cases make myself the entertainer who likes to keep things light while we go into some heavy musical subject matter - it's something that's amazing between the artist and audience that lasts for so many years."

Q/ You must be familiar with so many iconic venues.

MB:: "I'll know the venues. When I get backstage I recognise where I am. I know most of the hotels. In a lot of them I can close my eyes and find my way to my room. With the UK in general. My grandmother is from Leeds. She didn't remember a lot about Leeds but I found her a book in Leeds all about the city. I gave that to my mother and let her know where I was going."

Q/ Tom Cruise has been out for a curry in Birmingham and to a quite country pub for a drink while in the UK filming the new Mission Impossible movie. Do you like to go out incognito and sample local delicacies?

MB: "I do.. I can't imagine Tom Cruise walking around on any country on earth and not being immediately recognised. I do like it when I have enough time in between concerts to walk around and be a tourist, take pictures and make notes. 

Enjoying being in a place that I look forward to going to. The UK happens to be one of those places. I developed a fondness from spending so much time there through the years going to do promo. I developed a group of friends that I love and look forward to seeing every time I'm back. 

Beneath all of it, if that bond is there - and recognition musically is there - it will emotionally be there. I'm kinda hoping there's a freedom to be emotional about being back on the road." 


Q/ It's bound to be emotional because there will be people in audience who might not have been to a show for two years.

MB: "I look forward to that and it being a more emotional experience. I think you're right all this time for them waiting is going to create this sense of an emotional appetite that's well past addressing. 

At the same time I need to relax and have fun on stage. That's kinda my job. Even as we speak about it I think about the years of developing knowing that so many, or almost all, of my greatest hits are in so many homes in the UK. I have memories as a young American that the UK has been our (America's) friend and ally since I was born. 

There's part of you that embraces that, like the child in you that remembers this friendly consciousness that exists between us. Not that we always agree about decisions that our leaders make but we still embrace each other as people and some sort of global family. It's not a stretch for me to say that. Once you get on stage and the audience is singing every song, then there"s no mistake about it. You"re home again. I feel like I have this tremendous responsibly as well as tremendous amount of permission to be myself and connect with the audience. 

To joke about everything from song titles to what people were doing in their lives at certain times. Of course the audience is going to be yelling out from time-to-time things that I'm not going to believe I just heard. I'll say: 'I'm sorry. Could you just repeat what I heard?'. Then they'll start laughing. I then literally will wish I hadn't heard it."

Q/ What sort of things do they shout out? Rude things?

MB: "Not if you think a proposal is a rude thing?"

Q/ You've had such a rich career which would translate brilliantly to the big screen. After seeing Rocketman and Bohemian Rhapsody do so well over the last couple of years, do you have any plans for a biopic?

MB: "I've been asked this a few times and it depends on are we going to be looking at anyone singing. It takes a while to put these things together. I don't have anyone in mind because I don't have a concept in my brain. I do have it on my radar. It's a really strong, unusual story. I'm looking at it but not there yet."

Michael Bolton plays The Brighton Centre on Friday 22nd October 2021. Tickets are onsale now via https://www.gigsandtours.com/tour/michael-bolton

by: Mike Cobley




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