Phoenix Nights-style homecoming as Tony Christie goes gold - VIDEO

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IT was missing Max and Paddy on the door, Brian Potter in his wheelchair and Jerry St Clair to introduce the turn – but otherwise Tony Christie’s homecoming was like a scene from Phoenix Nights.

Old Golden Voice, celebrating 50 years in the business, was back where it all began for him, on stage at Conisbrough Ivanhoe Working Men’s Club, between Rotherham and Doncaster.

Tony Christie performing at the Ivanhoe WMC in Conisborough

Tony Christie performing at the Ivanhoe WMC in Conisborough

VIDEO: Press the play button to watch our exclusive chat with Tony Christie and video highlights from the show.

MORE VIDEO: Watch more show highlights - see bottom of this story for the video link.

The Amarillo hitmaker, who started out as plain Anthony Fitzgerald, could have marked his half a century as he does these days, selling out the Royal Albert Hall or playing to 80,000 fans at the V Festival.

But he chose to return to his former local, down a terrace-lined side street, where he made his paid-for debut in 1961.

Cheers. Tony Christie has a soft drink at The Ivanhoe Club and Institute, Conisbrough.

Cheers. Tony Christie has a soft drink at The Ivanhoe Club and Institute, Conisbrough.

No fancy bills advertised his return, just a hand-written poster behind the bar offering tickets at £25.

Some thought it must be a tribute act, other tap room regulars baulked at the price to see a singer they once watched for free - even with half the proceeds going to repair the vandal-hit local St Peter’s Church and the rest to the Teenage Cancer Trust.

Yet this show was never in danger of being anything but a sell-out.

The phone was red hot with non-members snapping up tickets for the gig ahead of a 50-date tour celebrating Christie’s golden anniversary.

Proud mum Iris, 89 next month, brother Neal and other family and friends were among the lucky 200 or so who were treated to a career retrospective, with tracks from new album Now’s The Time and all the hits, including Avenues And Alleyways, I Did What I Did For Maria, Las Vegas, the Jarvis Cocker-penned Walk Like a Panther and, of course, Is This The Way To Amarillo?

Christie remains a master of the microphone technique, using it like an instrument to get the best out of his still amazing vocal range, while his timing and phrasing prove why he’s still making records at the age of 67.

“This is where it all started for me 50 years ago, doing my first paid gig,” he said.

“I hoped they wouldn’t start heckling, and the audience was fantastic! It was good to be home.

“It brought back a lot of memories,” he told The Star.

But quote of the night belonged to the glass collecting club official, in a line which could have come straight from Peter Kay.

“I don’t want another night like this for a long time - I haven’t stopped,” he huffed and puffed, adding that bar takings could be up as much as six-fold on a normal Wednesday.

This was anything but a normal night - it was a golden reminder not to miss Christie, on tour from April 20 to July 3.

Tickets are available to buy from www.alt-tickets.co.uk or call the Box office on 0845 413 4444

He’s planning a tour of bigger venues - with another return to South Yorkshire - next year. For latest news and more visit www.tonychristie.com

FULL YOUR SCHEDULE:

APRIL

20/04 – Southampton The Brook – Buy tickets – Box office 02380 555 366

21/04 – Chelmsford Civic Theatre – Buy tickets – Box office 01245 606 505

23/04 – Lincoln Theatre Royal – Buy tickets – Box office 01522 519 999

26/04 – Buxton Opera House – Buy tickets – Box office 0845 127 2190

28/04 – Harlow Playhouse Theatre – Buy tickets – Box office 01279 431 945

30/04 – St Albans Arena – Buy tickets – Box office 01727 844 488

MAY

01/05 – Selsey (Bunn Leisure) The Embassy – Buy tickets – Box office 01243 606 080

02/05 – Shrewsbury Theatre Severn – Buy tickets – Box office 01743 281 281

03/05 – Kings Lynn The Corn Exchange – Buy tickets – Box office 01553 764 864

05/05 – Lichfield Garrick Theatre – Buy tickets – Box office 01543 412 121

06/05 – Porthcawl The Grand Pavilion Theatre – Box office 01656 786 996

07/05 – Bradford St George’s Hall – Buy tickets – Box office 01274 432 000

08/05 – Rhyll The Pavillion Thearte – Buy tickets – Box office 01745 330 000

10/05 – Stevenage Cordon Craig Theatre – Buy tickets – Box office 01438 363 200

11/05 – Lowestoft The Marina Theatre – Buy tickets – Box office 01502 533 200

14/05 – London Leicester Square Theatre – Buy tickets – Box office 0844 873 3433

15/05 – Ipswich Regent Theatre – Buy tickets – Box office 01473 433 100

17/05 – Leicester De Montfort Hall – Buy tickets -Box office 0116 233 3111

18/05 – Cheltenham Town Hall – Buy tickets – Box office 0844 576 2210

19/05 – Yeovil Octagon Theatre – Buy tickets – Box office 01935 422 884

21/05 – Skegness The Tropicana – Buy tickets – Box office 01754 874 444

22/05 – Chatham Central Theatre – Buy tickets – Box office 01634 338 338

26/05 – Barrow In Furness The Forum – Buy tickets – Box office 01229 820 000

27/05 – Basingstoke The Anvil – Buy Tickets – Box office 01256 844 244

28/05 – Potters Bar Wylloyts Centre – Buy tickets – Box office 01707 645 005

29/05 – Christchurch Regents Centre – Buy tickets – Box office 01202 499 199

JUNE

02/06 – Stockport The Plaza Theatre – Buy Tickets – Box office 0161 477 7779

03 /06 – Rochdale Gracie Fields Theatre – Buy tickets – Box office 01706 716 689

04/06 – Glenrothes Rothes Hall – Buy tickets – Box office 01592 611 101

07/06 – Hull City Hall – Buy tickets – Box office 01482 226655

09/06 – Falkirk Town Hall – Buy tickets – Box office 01324 506 850

10/06 – Carlisle Sands Centre – Buy tickets – Box office 01228 625 222

11/06 – Ayr Citadel Leisure Centre – Buy tickets – Box office 01292 269 793

12/06 – Aberdeen Music Hall – Buy tickets – Box office 01224 641 122

14/06 – Northampton Royal & Derngate – Buy tickets – Box office 01604 624 811

16/06 – Swindon Wyvern Theatre – Buy tickets – Box office 01793 524 481

17/06 – Basildon Towngate Theatre – Buy tickets – Box office 012268 465 465

18/06 – Derby Assembly Rooms – Buy tickets – Box office 01332 255 800

19/06 – Blackpool Opera House – Buy Tickets – Box office 0844 856 1111

21/06 – Pocklington Arts Centre – Buy tickets – Box office 01759 301 547

23/06 – Truro Hall Of Cornwall – Buy tickets – Box office 01872 262 466

25/06 – Bromsgrove Artrix – Buy tickets – Box office 01527 577 330

26/06 – Tunbridge Wells – Buy tickets – Box office 01892 530613

28/06 – Aldershot Princess Hall – Buy tickets – Box office 01252 329 155

29/06 – Western Super Mare The Playhouse – Buy tickets – Box office 01934 645 544

30/06 – Barnstaple Queens Theatre – Buy tickets – Box office 01271 327 357

JULY

01/07 – Cannock Prince Of Wales Theatre – Buy tickets – Box office 01543 578 762

02/07 – Worthing Assembly Hall – Buy tickets – Box office

03/07 – Grays Thurrock Hall – Buy tickets – Box office