Beth Hart & Kris Barras SAGE GATESHEAD.

Beth Hart and Kris Barras Duo
Sage Gateshead
Saturday 15th 2020

I had a bit of a panic on Saturday morning when news reached me that Beth Hart had cancelled her concert the previous night in Glasgow, owing to a heavy cold.
It wasn’t until the venue eventually posted a video of the soundcheck that my nerves finally settled and Mrs. Magpie could put her ‘glad rags’ on for a night out.
Finally seeing Brit Blues-Rocker Kris Barras was a big draw for me; especially as he was performing as an Acoustic duo tonight; and as a fan of his ‘electric’ albums I was pleasantly surprised at how ‘Americana’ this sound was right from the first song, Heart on My Sleeve.
Barras’s worn around the edges voice was just perfect for these re-constructions; giving them an extra pathos; if that’s possible.
Sometimes I can find myself looking at my watch during a support slot; but tonight I was aghast when Kris announced his final song after 35 minutes …… I could easily have sat through another hour of his songs stripped back to raw basics.
When I saw Beth Hart at this venue a couple of years ago she made a surprise entrance via the right side of the back of the Hal; which is why four other photographers and I congregated at that side; only for her to appear from the opposite corner!
It’s still mighty impressive when someone can sing while glad-handing and kissing fans without missing a note; and Beth does this better than most.
I won’t bore you with a list of all the songs that were performed tonight; but suffice to say they were all from her four (?) most recent albums, with the emphasis being on ballads and slower Rockers, with a couple of belters slipped in every now and again, as still reeling from the bad cold Beth paced the evening perfectly
Of the many songs that stood out in this format; the song “for Joe Bonamassa” Your Guitar was simply beautiful as Beth alternated fierce and delicate piano playing with the greatest of ease.
I’ve loved Bang, Bang, Boom, Boom since the very first time I heard it; but never knew Beth wrote it after watching Natural Born Killers ….. fancy that? When this ended she had one of many ‘light-bulb moments’ and ‘suggested to the band’ that they play Tom Waits’ Chocolate Jesus, because it’s ‘naughty’ and boy oh boy; did she make it sound even naughtier than the original.
Even when she sang her louder rocky songs, Beth sat on a stool to conserve energy; but it made little difference to the power this woman can pour into a song.
It was no surprise that Beth introduced several songs with typically personal stories; none more so than Sister Dear which was about her sister Susan; which begat the bleakly sensitive Sister Heroine for her other sister; which my notes say ‘lump in throat/one of those nights’ ….. and it was.
While the song Baby Shot Me Dead is dark and mysterious; Beth’s story about writing it about her 80 year old Mother’s husband who left her for a woman of a similar age was chucklicious to say the least. (He’s back home now).
Looking visibly weary, but still with a twinkle in her eye, Beth and her bandmates for a couple of minutes before returning for a rip-roaring Sugar Shack, with her sitting on the edge of the stage; then in keeping with the ‘making it up as we go along’ theme to the set-list; ended the night with sensational version of Etta James’s I’d Rather Go Blind; then …. it was all over.
What a night!
What a performer!
This is why I love Rock and Roll.

Photo-set courtesy HarrisonaPhotos
Beth Hart
Kris Barras Duo

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