Lightning Seeds at Sage Gateshead

Lightning Seeds
Sage Gateshead
12th March 2020

Here’s a thing; back in the day I’m sure I saw the Lightning Seeds at least three times (once as a support act); plus Son #2 had a couple of their albums; including Jollification which is what tonight was celebrating (where did those 25 years go?) but …….. this afternoon I really had to stretch to name four of their songs.
The whole evening managed to produce surprise after surprise after surprise; starting with Hall 1 at this venue being Sold Out ……. that’s 2,500 people btw, then thinking six of the band members probably weren’t born when the album was released.
Quite a few fans hadn’t read the details on their tickets and constantly wandered in during the first set; which was the Lightning Seeds playing Jollification in all its glory.
After all these years I’d forgot how intense many of these songs were; still catchy melodies; but intense and occasionally quite dark; although Perfect was whimsical in a Beatles White Album kinda way.
Back to my ‘surprises’; it was probably around the fifth song when the first of the middle aged ‘ravers’ began standing up and ‘dancing’ …….. you know the type; both hands in the air; one holding a plastic beer glass while the other points at the stage; all the while cajoling those around them to ‘get up …… DANCE!’
Then by the last song of this set; the fantastic Lucky You, the whole downstairs (including the arthritic me) were all standing …….. I’ve never seen a crowd so excited this early on.
Being the professional I am, I made it first to the bar btw!
Then, the second half started a couple of minutes early; meaning our beer was gulped down and I had to scurry down the aisle in the dark fumbling to get the camera out of my bag ….. tripping over another photographers bag on the way.
The second half; as billed was a veritable Greatest Hits and again; quite a few were darker and less recognisable than my aging my mind remembered; but nearly everyone around us knew every single word; and weren’t afraid to sing out loud. Bless ’em.
One of these was You Showed Me, from the DIZZY HEIGHTS album; which tonight was almost a Reggae DUB version, the bass was so high in the mix….. hopefully intentional; oh …… following a false ending Ian segued into All You Need Is Love, during which his guitar really earned its wages as he squeezed every ounce of passion out of every note. .
Don’t get me wrong; me and my big brother were thoroughly enjoying ourselves …… just I was hoping for a more raucous party type atmosphere; although those around us were ‘enjoying themselves’ a little too loudly and exuberantly; possibly due to drinking strong beer on a school night.
The mood did get cranked up; with the first of two songs I never expected to hear …….. a rip-roaring version of Wreckless Eric’s Whole Wide World which had absolutely everyone back on their feet; then next out of the traps was my favourite ever Lightning Seeds song; Sugarcoated Iceberg ….. which even had me mouthing the words.
As this ended, the opening chords to Pure and Simple received a huge cheer of recognition; but also had me checking my watch ……. 9.20; and the second half only started at 8.40 …… the hit single was every bit as fun and exciting as I’d hoped; but I couldn’t think what else they could have in the locker, especially as the accompanying light show seemed to highlight the end of the night; and even allowing for the deliberate false ending and reprise; the band thanked the audience and left the stage at 9.30.
The house lights never went up and the band came back for an obligatory encore.
But, by my reckoning all of the Hits had been played?
More or less in darkness, Ian regaled us with a wonderful version of Be My Baby; which was actually one of the highlights of a marvelous evening.
I was still baffled as to what was left in the locker …….. then …….BLOODY HELL! ……. No ….. it can’t be ……… HELL YES!
“It’s coming home ……. it’s coming home ……. football’s coming home!”
Never in a million years did I think Ian Broudie would ever resurrect the second best football song ever……. but he did and I not only danced but sang the chorus at the top of my voice.
Now, with Coronavirus about to wipe us all out, this may be the last gig I see for a long time; or possibly ever if the doom-mongers are right; but what a way to go!

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