Blackpool is a place with which Russell Watson is well acquainted, but playing the Opera House is a long way from touring the resort’s less distinguished venues.
“I remember playing the Central Club once”, recalls the man who has earned the monicker The People’s Tenor.
“I was on between nine and 25 past nine - the man told me ‘you need to make sure you’re finished because that’s when we do bingo and they’ll lynch you if you’re not off by then.”
He’s come a long way since bowing to the threats of fanatical bingo players, and a huge fanbase of his own is now his reward for years of hard work perfecting his craft. It’s a labour for which the Salford lad is never ungrateful.
He added: “I’m from Manchester so I do have a tendency to moan a lot about not very much, but I think back to the days in the clubs where I was my own manager, driver and road crew – it was hard work and you think to yourself ‘I’ve not really got that much to moan about’.”
And coming to the resort is always a joy for Russell, who always revels in the chance to see his friends Bob and Lynn Sanderson, who live in Marton and helped nurse him through the cancer which stunted his career between 2005 and 2008. So it’s no surprise when he describes his concert at the Opera House on Saturday, March 29 as one of the “highlight gigs” on his tour.
He said: “It’s mainly because it’s just a fantastic place. “I was born to entertain and to work on stage, it doesn’t matter where I am in the world.
“It’s like being a footballer and putting your boots on before the kick off.
“I can’t wait to get on the stage, sing and perform.”
So what else will he up to while he’s here?
“I always like to walk down the seafront and blow away the cobwebs.”
As long as he’s not interrupting any bingo games, he’s sure to enjoy himself.