Alfie Boe rocks his Homecoming show
A unique night of music - not to mention a few blagged pints, Aunty Eileen and special guest Jimmy - marked Alfie Boe's very welcome Homecoming concert.
The Fleetwood-bred international singing sensation poured his heart and soul into the one-night-only event at Fleetwood Town Football Club, showcasing the very best of his vocal talents and plenty of cheeky charm to book.
Highbury Stadium played host to a sold out 9,000-strong capacity audience, and Alfie's already large family swelled to include each and every single person there.
From the off, Alfie was at ease with the home crowd who in turn embraced the Port's famous son back into the town; one women took the opportunity to apologise for rejecting a teenage Alfie's advances, while other audience members willingly handed over their drinks when Alfie spotted them heading back from the bar.
He welcomed 'Jimmy' into the audience, a chap taking advantage of the show from the comfort of his own home backing on to the stadium.
The impromptu, relaxed atmosphere must have been a real change from the world's greatest opera houses, arenas and theatres, a breath of fresh Irish Sea air for all involved.
"I've got to do this more often, I've got to come home more often," he said, later adding: "I love this, why haven't I done it before now?"
The 44-year-old 'lad from Shaky Lane' spoke of his love for his family, even leaping down from the stage to greet Aunty Eil' as she passed by and inviting young relatives to join him on stage.
Alfie also paid tribute to the late Tony Lofthouse from Fisherman's Friends for both his personal support and as a figure in Fleetwood's economy, as well as to his own father crediting him with being his biggest musical influence and the man responsible for his eclectic tastes.
He even took to Twitter during the interval - during which Alfie and his band changed into Fleetwood Town shirts - to share his excitement for the night, writing: "Thrilled to be back in my hometown tonight to perform @ftfc's Highbury Stadium!"
The star's three-hour show featuring a broad range of music, from both his professional back catalogue through to personal favourites, running the musical gauntlet from swing to country, from opera to rock, with - of course - a little bit of Les Mis thrown in for good measure.
The musical's anthem Bring Him Home, which Alfie has sung as the character Jean Valjean on the West End and Broadway - a job he credits as having changed his life, could have been the anthem of the night.
Alfie's beautiful tenor tones soared through the song, and as it came to an end the audience was brought to its feet in rapturous applause.
Holding the moment, the former Cardinal Allen Catholic High School pupil kept his eyes closed and soaked it all in.
Perhaps, however, the true song to sum up the occasion was - to some a rather surprising inclusion - The Real Me, from The Who's rock opera Quadrophenia, giving Alfie a chance to showcase his love of rock music.
The song took Alfie, his 10-piece backing band and three backing singers into the final stretch of the night, taking the celebration up a gear and surprising some audience members that 'it's not all opera'.
But on a night like this, Alfie Boe could have sung The Birdy Song ten times over, and no one would have cared - all that mattered for the fans, friends and family was that Alfie, their Alfie was home.
ALFIE'S SET LIST
Sing, Sing, Sing
Pencil Full Of Lead
The Way You Look Tonight
Bring Him Home
A Thousand Years
You'll Be Back
He Lives In You
You're The Voice
You'll Be In My Heart
Islands In The Stream
Spread Your Wings
The Real Me
Love Reign O'er Me
See Me, Feel Me
Filing out of Highbury, fans who had traveled the length of the country in some cases were delighted with the experience and being able to share in Alfie's and Fleetwood's big night.
Angela Ladyman had traveled from Buckinghamshire for the night. She said: "It couldn't have been any better. I've seen him plenty of times, and this was something else, very special - a real 10 out of 10."
Freckleton resident Beryl Burns said: "It was brilliant. I don't think he will ever do another concert quite like this again."
And Susan Rutherford, from Southport, said: "It's fantastic to have an international star that can come back to his home town like that. He put his heart and soul into it."