22nd June 2016.
The undisputed Queen of UK Soul returned to The Sage after having to reschedule the original date due to illness. Long-time friend of Ms Knight, DJ Munro held opened the show playing some old skool funk and soul classics to get Hall One into ‘the mood’ and on ending his set, the lights went down and with no break, smoothly morphed into the Queen of the (K)night’s set and the sold-out Hall 1 went straight into party mood.
Beverley opened her show with Soul Survivor, supported with a theatrical setting of light bulbs filling the stage, as the crowd went straight on to their feet and for the first three numbers the energy was remarkably high; only to ‘mellow out’ as we celebrated the new album Soulsville with Meet Me In The Middle and a spine tingling version of I Can’t Stand The Rain. I am unsure how Beverley does it, as although the crowd were lapping up every single second some of us needed time to catch our breath and it finally came with Gold as the crowd slowly swayed or even took to their seats. It was also time to let your heart open and emotions roam free, as I do not think I was the only one that shed a tear to this powerful tune.
2016 has been a crazy year and more so in the musical world and we have lost many that people consider greats; and Ms Knight made two powerful tributes tonight, with the first being for the ‘funk-tastic’ Maurice White of Earth, Wind and Fire and a nice addition for us 90s soul heads was special appearance of Don-E on After The Love Has Gone. The band even supplied some EW&F moves too, as the crowd seriously got in the groove, dancing and waving their arms in the air. A few more numbers from Soulsville and a few from the back catalogue, then it was the second tribute of the night and a very fitting one too, as for anyone that ‘knows’ Beverley Knight will know how much of a MASSIVE fan of Prince she is, so it was a no-brainer that she ‘funked it up’ again with Alphabet Street and Cream from the Purple One and again the whole band showed us their smooth and sassy moves on top of the musical skills.
As the concert drew to a close, the packed hall chanted and stomped their feet for an encore; and they were rewarded with a tribute to the ‘world of theatre’ when Beverley treat us to superb renditions of Love Will Stand When All Else Falls (from Memphis) then seamlessly into I Have Nothing (from The Bodyguard). Having seen both of these in the West End I can honestly say they transferred very well into the set list of Soulsville too.
Like any Beverley Knight show Sage Gateshead went out on a high, with everyone back on their feet for the Soul Classics I’m Every Woman and Hold On I’m Coming. Before that last number Ms Knight gave her heartfelt thanks by singing her apology for having to reschedule – and with the reaction of the crowd it was a wait worth waiting for – and she continued singing about it being a Wednesday night and she hopes the night has taken away the ‘hump of hump day’ – and boy did she do that – then we ended on the highest of highs with Come As You Are – though I think if there was no curfew we could have sang and danced all night with Ms Knight.
Words and photos Victoria Ling aka L’il Vik