Inverness Caley Thistle net Andrea Bocelli for stadium gig

It has been the dream of the club's bosses, who pursued the Italian tenor for more than a year.

Inverness Caley Thistle net Andrea Bocelli for stadium gig Getty Images

Tickets are set to go on sale for the biggest surprise event in Scotland’s musical calendar.

It was confirmed on Monday that Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli had been signed by Inverness Caley Thistle for one night, next year.

It was a dream of the club’s bosses, who pursued him for more than a year.

The opera giant, with millions of fans, is likely to add to his following with a first trip to the Highlands.

Booking Bocelli for the Inverness Caley Thistle stadium, in July next year, heralds a post-Covid dawn for a football club with proven credentials as a music promoter.

Caley Thistle chief executive Scot Gardiner, who played a key role in negotiations to attract him to the area, said: “We felt that if we did not reinsert the stadium on the concert map with as big a star as we could possibly get then we would kind of be doing it a disservice going forward.

“So, if we set the bar really high then it would mean that we could attract equally sizeable artists in the future.”

The stadium has famously hosted sell-out gigs by Elton John and Rod Stewart.

Bocelli’s Believe tour will generate big money for the club and its official charity partner, the Highland Hospice.

Charity spokeswoman, Karen Duff, said: “We’re delighted. He’s such a huge star worldwide and for us to be picked as a local charity.

“Scot wants to keep all the funding within the Highlands, so it’s just incredible. We’re really, really excited.”

Bocelli seems to be as thrilled as his fans at the prospect of performing in Inverness.

He said: “It will be more than a concert. It’ll be a deep, personal joy to take my voice to a place of history, beauty and poetry.”

He has even quoted the bard, Robbie Burns, saying that his heart is “already in the Highlands”.

The masterminds who netted Bocelli for Inverness after many months of discussions say they cannot wait for the t-shirts for the Highland leg of the tour – showing Caley Stadium listed alongside musical icons.

Mr Gardiner added: “He’s playing Hollywood Bowl, Madison Square Garden, the 02.

“I was sending them pictures of Caley Stadium and saying ‘look how amazing this is’.

“So, it was a tough ask but we put together a professional team and they could see that, so in the end we got there.”

Further music nights are likely to be confirmed by the club in the coming weeks.

Tickets go on sale at 10am on Friday.

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