Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Hawkwind Sage Gateshead 20th October 2018

Hawkwind returned to the Sage with a fantastic show which only they could produce. hawks tix2This extravaganza had everything a Hawk fan such as myself could dream of; the band played a set of classy psychedelic rockers which spanned their entire career coupled with a new concept album The Road to Utopia, an orchestra conducted by super Womble Mike Batt and return of their old friend and my own hero, Arthur Brown. What more could an old, knackered, true Hawk connoisseur ask for?

So we took our seats (me literally, as the Sage kindly removes a seat to make space for my wheelchair); carer Hannah and I for this never to be forgotten Hawk experience. For me, this was one in a long series of experiences of both Hawkwind and Arthur Brown concerts; for Hannah it was her first experience of both (and she had also never heard any of the music of either performers). The concert began with an expanded, extended, dynamic version of “Assault and Battery”; a song which once seemed new to me and now has earned its place as a true Hawkwind classic. Captain Brock remains at the helm, as always, but gone is long time band member Mr Dibs; the Hawkwind family continues to change over time, but the spirit and the soul of the band remains as true to its psychedelic roots as ever. arthur brown

The orchestra added a new dimension to the songs. This, complemented by excellent lighting effects, a laser show and a backdrop displaying a Futurescape of the road to Utopia, made for an experience on a different level to previous Hawkwind concerts.

Arthur Brown was as manic as ever, his booming operatic voice taking the songs to a new level. His narrative to “Sonic Attack” gave the song new relevance in an age where we were about to be thrown into a world with a future as unknown as ever before. His costume changes were as bizarre as always, the long staff returned to be banged on the stage floor and his silver foil hat and cape was my favourite. We sat transfixed Hannah (yes she loved it) and I; the whirring, swirling sounds weaving their magic around us. The encores were “Spirit of the Age”, “Hymn to the Sun” and (of course) a tremendous, thundering, majestic closing song “Silver Machine”. Mesmerising.

Setlist: Assault and Battery; The Golden Void; Shot Down in the Night; Paradox; We Took the Wrong Step Years Ago; The Black Corridor; The Watcher; Sonic Attack; Damnation Alley; Zarozinia; Intro the Night; Down Through the Night; Have You Seen Them; Arrival in Utopia. Encore: Spirit of the Age; Hymn to the Sun; Silver Machine.

We’ll meet again

Hawkwind Sage Gateshead 18th April 2016

I have been a great fan of Hawkwind for many many years, since I first saw them in the early 1970s. I followed the band throughout the 1970s and 1980s, but foolishly lost faith in my Hawk heroes during the 1990s, but returned to the fold around 20 years ago and have seen them several times ever since. In recent years I have tried to catch every visit they make to the North-East of England.hawkwind_pic_1294320474-1380x269
On this occasion they turned up in the glorious surroundings of the Sage Gateshead, in the larger Hall, Hall 1, and the downstairs area was almost full. These days, the band is led by original member Dave Brock and the psychedelic warlords usually take us through a set which draws from throughout their back catalogue of psycho beat favourites. However, this time things are different and we were treated to a new album and a new concept.

This time the concept was: “Hawkwind present The Machine Stops Tour – A live concept show from their new studio album based on the sci-fi classic. E.M. Forster’s dystopian vision of the future is brought to life in classic Hawkwind style through a spectacular array of music, lights, dance and visual effects. Join the legendary Lord of space Rock Dave Brock and Hawkwind on their journey from the surface of this world, to the centre of the next…with time for a few old favourites along the way. ” (Tour promotional information). forster

“”The Machine Stops” is a science fiction short story by E. M. Forster. After initial publication in The Oxford and Cambridge Review (November 1909), the story was republished in Forster’s The Eternal Moment and Other Stories in 1928. In 1973 it was included in The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume Two. The story, set in a world where humanity lives underground and relies on a giant machine to provide its needs, predicted technologies similar to instant messaging and the Internet.” (Wikipedia).

I was a bit unsure as to how much I would enjoy the show, given everything was new to me. However the concept and the visuals supported a set of new songs which flowed together well, and I thoroughly enjoyed the new show. I was pleased to hear my old favourite “Silver machine” as the final encore. All in all, this was another great concert by Hawkwind.hawk tix

Setlist: All Hail the Machine; The Machine; Katie; King of the World; In My Room; Thursday;    Synchronised Blue; Hexagone; Living on Earth; The Harmonic Hall; Yum Yum; A Solitary Man; Tube;    Lost in Science; Orgone Accumulator; Utopia. Encore: You’d Better Believe It; Silver Machine

Elvis Costello Sunderland Empire 3rd of March 2020

Wind back 40 odd years. Marie and I are in the upstairs bar in Newcastle Polytechnic Students Union. With us is Gary Chaplin of Penetration, Captain Sensible of the Damned and a young guy named Elvis Costello The occasion is, I think (my memory is hazy these days), the first Stiff Tour.ELVIS TIX The Captain is holding court, telling tales of the Damned on the road and how his favourite band is ABBA. He demolishes a packet of crisps in one go including the plastic pack itself! Elvis is quiet, drinking his pint. I’m not sure why the Captain was there, as he wasn’t appearing that night; I guess he must just have come along for the ride. This was the second time I had seen Elvis Costello live and I must admit I was very impressed, particularly by his second single “Alison”. I had seen him a few weeks earlier at Middlesbrough Town Hall, again on the Stiff tour. I think it must have been around November 5th and Guy Fawkes night, as I recall we were waiting outside the venue and some young kids had their “guy” against the wall and asked Elvis “Penny for the Guy?” as he passed them on his way into the Town Hall. I think he threw them a few coppers. “That Elvis Costello” I told my mates. At the time I wondered how a young guy dared call himself “Elvis”. I was soon to find out. He was soon to be in the charts with “Watching the Detectives”. A few years later, in 1980, I saw him in my home town of Sunderland, at the Mayfair. I’ve seen him a few times before and after that over the years, but I must admit I still prefer those early, rocking, concert performances by an angry young Elvis who spat out the lyrics.
Wind forward 40 years and Elvis is back in Sunderland, this time at the Empire Theatre; the venue where I saw my very first concert and where I have enjoyed many gigs over the years including those by Rory Gallagher in Taste, the Nice, T Rex, Slade, Chuck Berry, Kate Bush and many others. The support act was Ian Prowse and pretty good he was too, warming up the crowd well before our hero took to the stage.ELVIS 2
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Which Elvis would we get? The angry rocker, the middle-of-the-road crooner, or perhaps a mix? Well what we did get was a show that surpassed anything I could have expected. Elvis was backed by a great band; the Imposters, who included some old faces (Steve Nieve and Pete Thomas from the Attractions) and two excellent girl singers. For the next two hours plus we get a full selection of our favourites from throughout his career: some I am hearing for the first time but the majority I know very well. Elvis wears a silver lame jacket and is very much the rock star. The sound is loud, a little murky at first, but soon becomes clear. Elvis stands at the front, pointing his Fender Jaguar guitar at us and he spits out the lyrics as he always used to. He reminds us of that gig in Sunderland forty years ago, referring to the venue as Tiffany’s, rather than the Mayfair (but he wasn’t wrong, Tiffany’s was the sister club, next door to the Mayfair and a little more middle-of-the-road). Funnily enough I met with my friend Marianne a couple of weeks ago and she served behind the bar in Tiffany’s at the time and told me that Elvis was drinking in the club after the gig. He can’t resist dropping some names of his collaborators such as Bert Bacharach and Carole King (but who can blame him). The hits keep flowing: “(I Don’t Want to Go to) Chelsea”, “Watching the Detectives”, “A Good Year for the Roses” which has grown on me over the years, “I Can’t Stand up for Falling down”; then we are back to the very start and “Alison” and he finishes with “Pump It up”. He returns (this time the lame jacket is gold and very fetching) ELVIS 1 and sings a beautiful version of “Shipbuilding”, followed by “Oliver’s Army” with everyone standing up and singing along and finishing with an excellent version of “(What’s so Funny about) Please, Love and Understanding”. Excellent. A marathon of professionalism and much, much better than I had expected. A great night. I also ran into some old friends Ian, Pete, Mike, Maureen and John. Happy days can be here again. 🙂

Setlist: Strict Time; Clubland; Green Shirt; Accidents Will Happen; Watch Your Step; Tokyo Storm Warning; Little Triggers; (I Don’t Want to Go to) Chelsea; Unwanted Number; Watching the Detectives; Man Out of Time; A Good Year for the Roses; A Face in the Crowd; I Can’t Stand Up for Falling Down; Burnt Sugar Is So Bitter; High Fidelity; From a Whisper to a Scream; Alison; Everyday I Write the Book; Pump It Up. Encore: Shipbuilding; Oliver’s Army; (What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding

Jeff Lynne’s Electric Light Orchestra Newcastle Arena 14th April 2016

ELO TICKETThis was one of the last concerts I attended before my accident and I am finally getting to report on it. I went along with my mate Norm and we were both looking forward to seeing (a new version of) the Electric Light Orchestra again. I’ve seen the ELO many times before, from the very early days when there were a spin-off band from the Move, initially set up by Roy Wood and Jeff Lynne. But I hadn’t seen them since the 1970s, as I recall, and to be honest this was something I thought I would never see again. But Jeff Lynne had decided to come out of retirement, reform the band and delight fans all over the world (to quote one of their songs).
They started their set with “Tightrope”, followed by one of my favourites “Evil Woman”. And then the hits started flowing. Jeff Lynne had assembled a band of excellent musicians who supported him in playing faultless versions of all their songs. Pure magic. “Telephone Line”, “Turn to Stone”, “Sweet Talking Woman” and many others. They even took us right back to “10538 Overture”, ELO PROGwhich transported me back to seeing them play it at the Reading Festival in 1972; such happy days and happy memories. They closed with “Mr Blue Sky”, another favourite of mine. The encore was (as it always had been, even back in the old days) “Roll over Beethoven”, their unique semi-orchestral version of Chuck Berry’s rock ‘n’ roll classic. The crowd were ecstatic; a night of nostalgia, happy memories, great fun and great music.

Setlist: Tightrope; Evil Woman; Showdown; All Over the World; When I Was a Boy;  Livin’ Thing; Ain’t It a Drag;  Can’t Get It Out of My Head; Rockaria!; 10538 Overture; Secret Messages; Steppin’ Out; Shine a Little Love; Wild West Hero; Telephone Line; Turn to Stone; Don’t Bring Me Down; Sweet Talkin’ Woman; Mr. Blue Sky. Encore: Roll Over Beethoven

Sooty’s Magic Show Newcastle Tyne Theatre and Opera House 20th February 2020

Well this was a proper nostalgia trip for me. sooty ticketThose of you who have been reading my blog for some time may recall that my 1st ever “concert” experience was seeing the Sooty Show with Harry Corbett at Sunderland Empire in the early 1960s. One of the many great things about having grand children is that it gives you the chance, and a great excuse, to relive your childhood. Now I wasn’t aware that Sooty was back on television again but indeed he is and, along with Sweep and Soo, in pretty authentic form accompanied by new friend Richard Cadell and on TV every morning (see the Sooty Show). So along we went myself, Laura, Dale, Lisa and little Phoebe to experience the little bear and all his friends. The advertisement said: “Izzy Wizzy let’s get busy! Join Sooty for his brand new Laugh Out Loud Magic Show! Direct from their hit ITV series, Sooty, Sweep and Soo will amaze you with impossible tricks and sidesplitting jokes! Be astounded at Sooty’s flying car, Soo’s singing unicorn and Sweep’s levitating sausage! A spectacular treat for the whole family.” What fun!

sooty progAnd pretty good it was too. Sooty was as naughty as ever, the little voices of our three heroes were exactly the same, the magic tricks were as silly as ever and Sooty had his magic wand and even said (along with all of us of course) “Izzy Wizzy Let’s Get Busy!” Along with this we had friendly magician Michael Jordan who span plates on sticks and managed to make his wonderful assistant disappear from a box.
But the most magical part came at the end. A little boy, who couldn’t have been more than 5 or 6 years old was brought up on stage. Richard told him that some magical things were going to happen and that he would “remember them for the rest of his life.” The boy did some tricks with Sooty and then climbed into his little red car alongside the little bear and flew up into the air. The car safely brought them back to land safely onto the stage and Richard presented the boy with a small magic wand which apparently was Sooty’s “original wand that he had had for 70 years. 🙂 ” The boy was told that he would treasure the wand for the rest of his life and that he would remember this experience for ever. And you know what. I bet he will.
Pure magic.

Hawkwind 50th anniversary tour York Grand Opera House 11th November 2019

Time passes so quickly. It seems only a glimpse of an eye and yet it is so many years ago since I first saw Hawkwind. There I was. A young boy, running to the front of Newcastle City Hall to pick up Joss sticks and copies of International Times magazine and give them out to the crowd. They had been handed to me by, I think, Nik Turner. I sat mesmerised with my old buddy John watching swirling lights and listening to strange psychedelic beats while a naked Stacia danced in front of us. A few months later I was in Sunderland Locarno experiencing the Space Ritual tour. Happy happy days. hawkwind ticket
So I had to go to this one. 50 years of Hawkwind; still led by our Captain, David Brock and still mesmerising us with that pounding, swirling beat that only these psychedelic warlords can provide. The nearest date was in the splendid York Grand Opera House, a venue I have visited before to see Blackmore’s Night.
The trip to York was a bit of an adventure with a taxi ride to Durham station, a train to York and then a taxi to the venue. This all worked well and Lisa and I arrived at the venue in plenty of time. We had a drink in the Ken Dodd bar (the Opera House was apparently his favourite venue) and waited for the concert to begin. Our seats were close to the front, with me in my wheelchair at the end of the row. Although we were at the end we had quite a good view of the stage. Support came from The Blackheart Orchestra whose enchanting, dark tunes set the scene and the tone for the evening. After a short interval, Hawkwind took to the stage and delighted us with a set drawn from across their full 50 year career. The current line up of Hawkwind contains leader and original member Dave Brock,IMG_0623 hawk 1 longtime drummer Richard Chadwick, Old friend and wizard Tim Blake on keyboards and theremin, along with (relatively) new members Niall Hone on bass and Magnus Martin on guitar and keyboards. So we are treated to some of my favourite Hawk tunes including “Spirit of the Age”, “Born to Go” and of course “Silver Machine.” For the encore we wind back 50 years to the first album and “Hurry on Sundown.” Then another of my all-time favourites “Master of the Universe”, by which time we are on our way out, panicking and waiting for the taxi with 10 minutes to go for our train. The taxi arrives just in time! Then it’s a quick dash along the platform in York station, having navigated lifts down and back up again, and two friendly guys are waiting with a ramp to get me back onto the train. Although they are arguing a little as neither have been “trained to use the new ramp!” They managed to use it and we take our seats on the train for the short ride back up to Durham, where our friendly Station taxis guy awaits us. A short ride to pick up Chris and I am helped back to bed after experiencing another wonderful night with my hawk heroes. Happy days are here again. 🙂IMG_0622 hawk 2

Setlist: Motorway City; Flesh Fondue; Last Man on Earth; The Song of the Gremlin; Born to Go; 65 Million Years Ago; In the Beginning; Spirit of the Age; The Fantasy of Faldum; Silver Machine; Assault and Battery; The Golden Void; Right to Decide. Encore: Hurry On Sundown; Master of the Universe; Welcome to the Future.

Fairport Convention the Sage Gateshead 2nd of February 2020

Hi I am back again. After around 4 years without posting on here since my accident, I have decided it was about time I took the plunge and started to post again.TICKET1 So here is a report of the latest gig I attended. Actually I have been quite a few concerts over the last 4 years so I will try and catch up in the weeks and months to come and blog about each of these. My gig attendance has been curtailed somewhat, but I am still managing to go to see bands so I decided to write about it again.
Last week I went to see Fairport Convention along with my carer Lisa at the Sage Gateshead. I use taxis now to get around which makes going to concerts significantly more expensive. knife angelThe first thing we went to see, outside the Sage, was the knife angel sculpture. “The Knife Angel is a 27ft sculpture crafted out of 100,000 knives that have been surrendered to police forces across the country. It is also known as the National Monument Against Violence & Aggression. It was first unveiled in 2017 and has been touring the UK since.”Knife Angel

Then it was into the Sage to see old favourites Fairport Convention. First stop was to buy a programme, kindly signed by bass player Dave Pegg; one copy for me and another for my friend, John, who now lives in America. Peggy reminded us that he is the oldest member of the band and that this was his 50th year as a Fairporter. Once in the hall, which was packed, it was nice to meet up with old friend Mike and his wife Maureen. Our seats were in the normal spot, very close to the stage. SIGNED 1

I must admit I lost faith in Fairport Convention during the mid-70s, thinking that they had become too “traditional.” However in recent times I have returned to the fold and really enjoy seeing this band again. The format was similar to that of recent years. The concert began with support act  Smith and Brewer a close harmony Americano duo, who played a very pleasant set, warming the crowd up well. They played a short 30 minute set at which point they were joined by the members of Fairport Convention for a song or two. Fairport then continued their set including a short interval; the first set containing several numbers from their new album and the second set comprising several songs from “Full House” which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.FP1 It was great to see them perform “Who Knows Where the Time Goes” in a version which did justice to the original. Closing songs were, as always, “Matty Groves” followed by the encore “Meet on the Ledge” for which they were joined by support act Smith and Brewer. Then it was back in the taxi and on my way home, picking up second carer Chris who had kindly agreed to help get me back to bed. All in all it was great to see Fairport Convention again, and I look forward to further encounters in the future. PROG 1

Setlist: Set1: Walk Awhile; Don’t Reveal My Name; Cider Rain; Good Time For A Fiddle And Bow / The Christmas Eve Reel; A Thousand Bars; Shuffle and Go; Moses Waits; Bankruptured; Moondust and Solitude. Set 2: Jolly Springtime; Steampunkery; The Year Of Fifty Nine; Farewell, Farewell; Sir Patrick Spens; Sloth; Doctor of Physick; Who Knows Where the Time Goes?; Matty Groves. Encore: Meet on the Ledge