The Sweet The Sage Gateshead Dec 15th 2012

Slade and Sweet The Sage Gateshead Dec 15th 2012
sweettix1 I bought a ticket for this gig on ebay for £1.75 (result!) and was particularly looking forward to seeing the latest version of the Sweet, as it is many years since I have seen the band. These days the Sweet features guitarist Andy Scott as the only original member. I’ll blog about their set, rather than Slade, as I wrote about the latest (Noddy-less) version of Slade when I saw them at London’s Koko club last christmas. sweetprog I saw the classic Sweet line-up a couple of times in the 70s, and also saw Andy, Steve Priest and Mick Tucker as a three piece in the early 80s, after Brian Connolly had left the band, and Brian Connolly’s Sweet in the early 90s. All of these line-ups were good fun in concert, so I was interested to see how this latest incarnation would shape up. Sweet started their set with Hellraiser, which sounded really good. Andy is very clearly the leader of the band, playing those chunky fuzz-toned guitar riffs that are the bedrock of all the old hits on a lovely red strat. They followed Hellraiser with New York Groove, which is the title track of their new album. Its good to see that the guys are still releasing new material. sweettix2 This new track was followed by The Six Teens, which is often forgotten, but is one of the best Sweeet hits in my view. Then we got a few of the hits: Wig Wam Bam ran straight into Little Willy. By now most of the crowd were up on their feet, singing along to every word. It was during Teenage Rampage that I looked down from my seat in the circle and saw a group of 50-something men and women singing “Recognise your age it’s a teenage rampage”; which seemed almost surreal. The next song was a cover of Dead or Alive’s You Spin Me Round, which also appears on the new album. Love is Like Oxygen followed; a great song, written by Andy, and quite different to the rest of Sweet’s material. Then Andy paid tribute to Brian Connolly and Mick Tucker, and the “crazy journey which I was on in the 70s”, and assured us that “as long as there is breath in me”, he would be there playing with Sweet. Then they played Blockbuster, Andy introduced the members of current line-up, and they finished with Fox on the Run. Great stuff. The new line-up is very strong, with three great front men: Andy, Tony O’Hora on guitar, vocals and keyboards, and, on lead vocals and bass, local Geordie guy Peter Lincoln. The powerhouse drummer is Bruce Bisland. The current band plays all the hits in a blend of heavy rock and pop that seems entirely right. Andy looks good; great 70s style hair; very thick and long (makes me dead jealous). The crowd wouldn’t let them leave without an encore; we got Action (another great, under-rated and oft-forgotten song); and of course, the whole place then went crazy to the Ballroom Blitz. I went down to the foyer during the interval and queued in a line to meet the members of Sweet, who signed my programme. Great to shake hands with Andy Scott! Legend. A good fun set, and better that I had expected.

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