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The Black Crowes - O2 City Hall, Newcastle 17.05.2024

First of all I’d like to say thank you to whoever decided not to use the banner and back drop at tonight’s show. Whether it was a logistical reason, if it was too big, or whether they walked, in took one look at just how amazing Newcastle City Hall looks and decided to let every one see it in its glory I applaud that decision wholeheartedly!

Seeing a full band set up in front of that iconic City Hall pipe organ just sends shivers through me! Having the stage so well lit with strings of lights hanging from the ceiling like a huge barn hoedown just added to an already brilliant atmosphere and made it easier to see each member of the band clearly for a change.

Any way back to this wonderful Friday evening and what an evening it was promising to be, The Black Crowes haven’t graced us here since 1992 THIRTY TWO YEARS!!! Granted they were apart for a good period of that time but when these dates were announced it sparked an excitement I’ve not seen in a long time!

AC/DC's 'It’s A Long Way To The Top (If you wanna rock n roll)' blasts from the PA, a fitting intro as the band kick into the swampy slide guitar driven 'Bedside Manners' from their latest release 'Happiness Bastards and from the get go Chris Robinson owns the stage throwing out every move in the book in front of a huge lighted mirror. His voice is in fine form and you can see he’s thoroughly enjoying being up there grinning at just how close the audience is to him. 'Dirty Cold Sun' from that same album follows again showcasing that Southern Rock swagger the band have taken and made their own.

Chris points out that this could well be the smallest venue they’ve played this tour but believe me this crowd would be hard to beat by any larger one when they then go way back to give us 'Twice As Hard' the place goes nuts and rightly so!

Rich Robinson cuts a fine figure of a guitar hero poised in front of what looks like a junk pile of old amps and cabinets from all ages and makes like Vox and Marshall etc and whilst he may not be the whirling dervish around the stage like his brother, his amazing fretwork certainly takes ones breath away!

The sets pretty much changes night to night and they certainly surprised me choosing the Stones tinged 'Goodbye Daughters of the Revolution' from the 'Warpaint' album which had me smiling and doing a little dance on the way from the photo pit back to my seat. It’s an album that doesn’t get much love so was really nice to have something from it.

Most audiences dread hearing the announcement of “ here’s one from our new record “ but when that record is as good as 'Happiness Bastards' the five tracks in tonight’s set are received with gusto and to be honest we would have welcomed more, 'Follow The Moon' and 'Flesh Wound' two examples of just how great that album is.

Of course the classics are wanted more and they give us them in droves 7 tracks taken from those first two albums including an incredible performance of 'Thorn In My Pride' once again highlighting what a great voice Chris Robinson has.

The whole place goes off when the Otis anthem 'Hard To Handle' kicks in and back in the day I’d be assured of a full dance floor whenever I played it and it still gets that reaction now. There’s folk in the audience here who weren’t born last time they played here alongside old ‘uns like myself revelling in the good time rock n roll and that's reassuring in a world where folk claim rock is dead.

The eight piece band are a tight unit totally in tune with each other. The backing singers adding so much depth to each song and Nicolas Bereciartúa on second lead guitar giving Rich a run for his money with some of the most sublime slide playing I’ve seen in a long time just a big grin inducing joy to watch.

A stand out moment for me though was 'She Talks To Angels', that song hit me first time I heard it on that debut. It’s so powerful and tonight it just knocked me for six with Chris's raw emotion pouring out over each verse.

'Sting Me' has that bluesy drawl quality to it that makes 2500 people feel like they’re in a small sweaty spit n sawdust bar with their best mates and I guess that is some of the huge appeal these songs have they’re just great songs you can have a great time to, what’s not to love!!

'Jealous Again' and 'Remedy' see out the main set to a deserved mighty roar. 'Good Morning Captain' bids us goodnight and although not a rip snorting boot stomping finish it still featured some of that incredible guitar work mentioned earlier giving us another moment to savour.

Tonight is going to be really hard to beat this year and it’s only May. As I walked through the crowd at the start to go take photos I couldn’t go ten feet without seeing people I’ve known for years and same on the way back and at the end and each and everyone them were just beaming at what a fantastic night this had been.

It may have been 32 years since they were last here and yeah we all know how the Crowes history went down in that time BUT believe me it was worth every second of that wait!!

Photos & Review - G's Gig Shots


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