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Review: Russell Watson at Tonbridge Castle presented by Rye International Jazz and Blues Festival

Chasing the shade, sipping Pimms and entertainment from People's Tenor Russell Watson with Tonbridge Castle as the backdrop was on offer this evening.

The summer's afternoon, which attracted hundreds to Tonbridge, kicked off with the Paul Richards Latin Trio playing guitar, double bass and drums who brought the sounds of latin, samba and jazz to the eager picnickers - perfectly fitting for the sweltering afternoon.

Next on was the vibrant Liane Carroll who played some well known songs with a twist - fusing Gershwin's Summertime with a touch of Julie Andrew's Favourite Things was one to remember. She also sang a number of Ray Charles classics such as Georgia On My Mind. 

Russell Watson
Russell Watson

Russell Watson came on to an eager crowd, opening with O Sole Mio, the stage was set for a fantastic set of songs, with Russell belting them out faultlessly.

The People's Tenor was joined on stage by The Fidelity International Choir, who provided understated harmonies and accompaniment. Choosing a selection of classics spanning his 18-year career and also from his latest album True Stories, Russell's music varied from the likes of Mario Lanza to John Denver to Frank Sinatra. Songs from the shows also featured including Bring Him Home from Les Miserables and If I Loved You from Carousel. 

Russell played Tonbridge Castle
Russell played Tonbridge Castle

Between songs Russell chatted warmly to the crowd, often laughing and joking with his accompanying musicians. He even managed to get the crowd to sing their part in a number of songs and everyone was on their feet with his rousing renditions of Jerusalem and Land of Hope and Glory. 

Russell ended the evening with the beautiful Nessun Dorma and You Raise Me Up. 

The concert was staged by the Rye International Jazz & Blues Festival, which will stage five concerts over the August bank holiday weekend. For details go to ryejazz.com

Tonbridge Castle, the setting for Russell Watson's open air concert
Tonbridge Castle, the setting for Russell Watson's open air concert

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