Ryan McMullan is living the dream.
The rising singer and songwriter from Northern Ireland will make his third appearance at Lizotte's on Monday.
On his first visit, he darted into Newcastle during a tour which saw him opening stadium shows for Ed Sheeran on his Australian tour.
On his second visit, he took a red-eye flight from Perth to Sydney and drove up the highway while he was supporting The Coronas on their Australian tour.
On Monday he will be making the pilgrimage to Newcastle for his own show in between appearances as the opening act for Snow Patrol on their Australian tour.
McMullan is not just opening for Snow Patrol on this tour; he's playing keyboards in their band at every show.
Snow Patrol's keyboard player Johnny McDaid had major surgery on his neck recently and has been sidelined while recovering. The famous Irish band, formed in 1994, cancelled its tour dates in July, but kept its Australian and Asian shows, with McMullan taking on keyboard duties.
Best known for super single, Chasing Cars, the band has sold more than 16 million albums in 25 years. McMullan, well-known as a fan of the band, is only 27 years old.
Both Snow Patrol and McMullan call Belfast home.
"It's pretty surreal to be playing in band that means so much to me," he says this week during a phone interview as they're checking out of their Brisbane hotel, bound for Auckland, before they return to Australia for shows in Melbourne and Sydney.
"I went to see Snow Patrol more times than any band," he says. "To get to play with them is pretty special. To get to perform is phenomenal. All of a sudden, I'm doing 16 shows with them. It's the stuff you dream of as a kid, not only as a kid, but as an adult. It's definitely mind-blowing."
McMullan began the year by taking time off the touring road for two months. He has toured heavily as he gained an international following, but appreciated the time out to finally record some new music, and it's paying dividends.
He released a single, Hello Darlin' in late July; then another single, Belfast City, on August 2, with another single, Rebellion, coming out next week.
Hello Darlin' is another stunner from his deep bag of love songs. "I remember playing it in Sydney with Ed Sheeran for the first time," he says. "I remember hearing people's reaction. It's been growing its own life form."
Belfast City is a spectacular ode to his adopted city. While born in Portaferry, he's lived in Belfast for the last decade.
McMullan is riding high on Belfast City - he's playing a headline show there at Custom House Square on August 17.
"There's no better time," he says of the release, "I've got the biggest headline show coming up next in Belfast. What better time to release it. I'll get all the people from Belfast singing it."
One line of the song says, "I swear I don't care if I ever have to leave again, I'm going home to the people I love where I was born and raised."
McMullan played the song in his Newcastle set last November, segueing into In The Back of My Mind and then Oh Susannah.
He describes his next single release, Rebellion, like this: " . . . you do stuff you don't want to do and you're smiling while you do it. It resonates with me. I love me job, but there are days you want to stay home and watch Netflix. But you have to get up and do stuff. You gotta get up and smile . . ."
This is a light year for McMullan; he'll probably perform 120 shows this year, as he switches gears, and works closer with his own band.
Releasing new songs has meant new energy for him.
"It's kind of fuel to add spark to the touring," he says.
For the moment, he's enjoying the ride with Snow Patrol.
"They are such sweethearts as humans," he says. "It's a perfect fit. Their music always spoke to me. They are great people.
"It's such a wonderful thing to have it as a one-time opportunity."
By the way, will any of the Snow Patrol guys be coming to your Newcastle show? "I can neither confirm nor deny they will make an appearance," he giggles.