What a fantastic party it was.
Those who had paid for the privilege of bringing chairs, picnics and flags – and staking a claim to their place in the glorious sunshine were well rewarded with a full evening’s entertainment – with Russell Watson as the headliner.
His voice soared over the crowds – surprisingly good acoustics for the slightly breezy seafront – with Volare, You’ll Never Walk Alone, You Raise Me Up and The Impossible Dream more than rewarding those who had camped all afternoon, paid extra for the VIP seats or, like me, just found a delightful spot on the Green to enjoy my first-ever visit to a Lytham Proms concert.
He was in fine voice and on friendly form – the crowds lapped it up and begged for more.
But... who told him the grey vote would be for 1951’s terribly old-fashioned, somewhat dreary Mario Lanza classic, The Loveliest Night of the Year? A brilliant night it was indeed – but I can’t have been the only one thinking Proms called for livelier choices and when the ubiquitous Jerusalem gave way to fireworks and Land of Hope and Glory, it was time to dance, sing and prove that very point.
He came close to being upstaged by the fantastic Jonathan Antoine and Charlotte Jaconelli – who just went by their Christian names when they were apparently pipped for the Britain’s Got Talent trophy by a performing dog.
This was news to me, but their three songs – Perhaps Love, Sarah McLachlan’s magnificent Angel and their trademark track, The Prayer, were rewarded with a standing ovation the likes of which even Russell didn’t achieve.
Earlier, tenors trio The Nocturnes and violinist Gary Lovini added great value to the entertainment package and kept the crowds very happy.
The warm weather helped, of course – but this was top class – a magical evening of quality fare, against a splendid Fylde coast backdrop.