I was so envious when I read all the glowing reports about Jonathan's performance at Viva, Blackpool, in 2016 so when I learned he was to appear there again this year I immediately bought my ticket.
It was a sunny day as I set off from my home in North Wales. I was so excited that the day had finally arrived and with Believe playing on my cd player I made my way to Blackpool. It wasn't a very pleasant journey. For some reason I decided to follow my satnav which was a big mistake as it took me through the centre of Liverpool but it didn't matter asI was on my way to see my favourite tenor. I hadn't heard Jonathan sing live since November the previous year and it seemed such a long time ago..it was. I arrived at Viva to see a long queue snaking down the road, I was so excited to immediately see a familiar Fantoine face near the front I pushed in to say hello and before I knew it I was inside the door. My sincere apologies to all those people who were behind me. I am not normally so rude but I was so thrilled to be there at last I was acting like a naughty schoolgirl. I had to wait inside the door anyway as Glennis had my ticket so I didn't get very far. I could see her blonde head bobbing way down the queue and I should have been behind her!
When I entered the venue and we were shown to our table I looked around and said "Where's the stage?" and suddenly realised that it was right next to our table. I couldn't believe it! Jonathan was going to sing no more than twelve feet away from me! It couldn't get any better....but it did.
After we had finished our meals the screen at the back of the stage suddenly sprang into life and showed stills of Jonathan throughout his career so far (I couldn't see very well as the podium was in the way, but the reaction from the audience was great). But you should have heard the reaction when Jonathan walked onto to the stage. With that beautiful smile on his face you could tell he was so happy to be there, but not half as happy as I was to see him again.
The first song he sang was Granada. I was so entranced I almost felt as if I was the only person in the room with him and he was singing just for me, but when he finished and the room erupted with the sound of cheers, whistles and applause I came back down to earth. My goodness, he has so much talent he belongs on the greatest stages in the world and he will grace them one day as sure as eggs are eggs. Every single song he sang was sublime and I was so very very happy when two of my very favourite songs were included. The first one was "So Deep is the Night" which bought Jonathan back into my life when he sang it at the Llangollen Eisteddfod in 2012 and the second one was" E Lucevan Le Stelle" . This was the song that he sang live for the very first time at Viva last year and which made me feel so sad that I hadn't been there to hear it. But I was here now and the roof was raised for the second time. The audience went crazy, me included!
Jonathan's live performances are pure gold. He gives his absolute best and when he says a few words between each song you know they are heartfelt and genuine and funny too. He can be quite comical and so endearing. I just want to hug him all the time. I think of him as my second son and feel as much pride too as only a mum can (sorry Tracey I hope you don't mind x).
Pavel Timofeyevsky accompanied Jonathan on the piano and he was superb. He played a couple of solo pieces and I was spellbound. I have always adored the piano and would love to go to one of Pavel's concerts one day. But back to Jonathan...at the end of the show after two encores Jonathan was stunned when it was announced that they had a surprise for him. He does so much work for charity and is a patron of the the Katy Holmes Trust and was presented with an award for all his unwaivering support. We are all so very proud and the look on his face was priceless...he was so surprised and touched.
I was so sorry the evening was almost over but before it was I knew I could at least give Jonathan a hug and a kiss on his cheek and tell him again just how wonderful he is.
I had my photograph taken with him and queued to get it signed. Even though it's not a good one of me I will always treasure it to remind me of a wonderful evening listening and watching the incomparable Jonathan Antoine. It wasn't the first and it certainly will not be the last.....roll on Lytham, 1st Dec unlesd there is something before then. Fingers crossed. X