Black Stone Cherry - O2 Academy Newcastle 20.09.2021
At some point in most Rock shows a band will ask “so who’s seeing us for the first time tonight “ and there’ll be the smattering of raised hands through the audience BUT tonight when Black Stone Cherry’s Chris Robertson flipped that scenario to ask “so who is out seeing a live concert for the first time in nearly two years?” it hit home just how much live music can mean to people as there were very very few hands that WEREN’T raised in this sold out crowd and they were absolutely ready for it as they raised the roof with their cheers for its return!
But I digress as that was later in the set! Black Stone Cherry have a great relationship with the UK and the fact that they have made it over when so many others are still having to postpone or cancel is testament to their commitment. They’re a good few shows into the tour but you can tell even before they hit the stage that they are excited and raring to go. From the pit I can see Ben Wells in the wings is already bouncing and dancing to the Classic Rock that is being pumped out through the PA which bodes well as the crowd are lapping it up in droves too, singing every word at the top of their voices as if the bands were here playing live! And then the boys hit the stage firing on all cylinders and 'Me & Mary Jane' begins what is to be one helluva sweaty loud hit filled Monday night! The set is a wonderful trip through Black Stone Cherry history, but is it really 15 years since their debut and I was playing 'Hell & High Water' in the Rock clubs I worked at? I’m not the only one thinking that too as I can see folk looking at each other with that “15 ??! No way!! “ look when Chris mentions it
This is BSCs first outing with their new bass player Steve Jewell and he seems to be settling right at home in that position not only nailing every tune but also managing to have eyes in the back of his head and not colliding with the ball of energy that is Ben Wells! I don’t know where he gets his stamina from but from start to finish he is on the move spinning turning kicking jumping and never dropping a note. Mind you John Fred Young behind the drum kit is a powerhouse too just absolutely smashing it song after song and a ferocious solo.
The latest album 'The Human Condition' is now almost a year old so rather than trying to push it as a new album tour the way a band would normally, we get a trio of 'Again', 'In Love With The Pain' and 'Ringing In My Head' spread out in the set sitting quite nicely like old favourites 'White Trash Millionaire', 'Blind Man' and 'Cheaper To Drink Alone'.
As always though with these guys it’s that feeling of them meaning every word of what they say even though, as Chris states, he says it every night you know when he opens up on stage about how he feels whether it’s about his friendships in the band or the love of the crowd he means every word of it and the audience singing every word of 'Things My Father Said' back at him you can see just how much it means to him and everyone else in the room tonight!
Of course 'Blame It On The Boom Boom' and 'Lonely Train' are huge set closers but the toon choir get one last chance to sing their hearts out as Ben & Chris return to the stage and deliver a lump in the throat inducing 'Peace Is Free' asking everyone to take the last 18 months fears and frustrations and isolations and scream them out as loud as they could in this song a request the sold out throng gladly took on board !
For so many tonight this was their first time in almost two years having some kind of feeling towards normality and looking at all the smiling faces leaving the O2 Academy, Black Stone Cherry were just the guys to start them on that journey!
Black Stone Cherry - https://www.facebook.com/blackstonecherry
Photos & Review - G's Gig Shots