Alfie Boe comes home to Fleetwood
- Credit: not Archant
Alfie Boe has performed all over the world, but nothing beats a return to his home town
It’s a tour schedule that reads a bit like the side of the Trotters’ yellow van: Tokyo, Fleetwood, London. But you don’t have to speak to Alfie Boe for long to discover which of those dates means the most to him.
‘Playing a home town gig is going to be very emotional for me,’ he said. ‘It was a no-brainer when the opportunity came along and I’m already looking forward to playing a gig for friends and family.’
Although many of his early performances were at the resort’s Marine Hall – he made his stage debut there as a 14-year-old in 1987 – the gig at Fleetwood Town’s football ground in June will be the first time he’s performed in the town for years.
There’s now a plaque in his honour on the wall of the Marine Hall which is testament to the impact he’s made since that show just over 30 years ago. He is one of the biggest selling and best loved vocalists of his generation and has sung all over the world, has played Valjean in Les Misérables in both the West End and Broadway, and appeared in the tv drama Mr Selfridge.
But all this seemed thoroughly unlikely when he left Cardinal Allen High School and started work at Blackpool’s TVR car factory.
He was a part of amateur operatic society in his youth and would practise songs while worked. A customer who heard him suggested he audition for the D’Oyly Carte company where he was given a part on a UK tour and went on to win a place at the Royal College of Music in London.
It’s a story worthy of the opera – an affable young lad who goes from oily rags to D’oyly Carte and on to global superstardom.
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He has sold millions of records around the world and now divides his time between a base in London and his family home in the States. But it hasn’t been a smooth ride to the top – stories of his drinking excited the tabloid newspapers a few years ago – and he admits he still struggles with being away from his wife Sarah and their two young children; Grace, nine and Alfie, five.
These days, though, he says he has healthier ways to combat the loneliness of a life on the road. ‘It can be heart-breaking to be away from family,’ he said. ‘You come off stage and get taken back to a hotel room where you’re on your own. You just have to find time to occupy your mind.’
For Alfie, now 44, that can mean trips to the gym, meeting friends for coffee, or cooking – he’s particularly keen on Italian cuisine and roast dinners.
And when his tour bus pulls into Fleetwood, he’ll also be taking on an unofficial role as tour guide to introduce the town to the members of the band and the crew who haven’t visited before.
‘Homecoming’ will be the biggest gig in Fleetwood since the Beatles played the Marine Hall in 1962 and Alfie added: ‘It’ll be good for me to show the town off a bit because not everyone on the tour has been there before.
‘Being Fleetwood born, it’s an honour and a privilege to be performing back in my home town and at my team’s home ground. I hold Fleetwood close to my heart and I’m so happy to be coming back to entertain family and friends.
‘There will be nerves before a gig – and the Fleetwood gig will be no different with so many friends and family there, but they’re there to be supportive and have a good time, so I’m sure it’ll be a good night.’
Homecoming’ will take place at Fleetwood Town FC’s Highbury Stadium on Saturday June 2. Tickets cost from £30 and are available from www.ticketmaster.co.uk, with £2 from every ticket sold being donated to Trinity Hospice where Alfie is a patron.