Archive for the ‘Chris Rea’ Category

Chris Rea in the 70s, Redcar 1983 and Newcastle 2006

Chris Rea Redcar Coatham Bowl 6th March 1983 and Newcastle City Hall 5th April 2006
chrisreaprogChris Rea was quite a well known figure on the North East music scene during the late 70s. Chris was born in Middlesbrough, his family owned an ice cream factory and ran 21 cafés around Teesside. He played in local bands and went solo in 1978. I first came across Chris Rea when I saw him as the support act for Lindisfarne on a couple of occasions at Newcastle City Hall. I would also often see him and his pals at gigs in Middlesborough Rock Garden and the Town Hall. You could easily spot them as they would all be wearing jackets which displayed the phrase “Whatever Happened to Benny Santini?” across their backs. This was the title of Chris’ debut album, and the name that the record company wanted him to use, instead of his own. I recall seeing their jackets, and wondering whi Benny Santini was 🙂 Then I became aware of the single “Fool (if you think it’s over)” which was a big hit for Elkie Brooks. After the Lindisfarne gigs the next time I saw Chris in concert was at a packed home-coming gig at Redcar Coatham bowl. He was on great form that evening, and the local crowd gave him an amazing reception. chrisreatix In the years that followed Chris went on to major stardom, and massive hits such as “Road to Hell”. Chris became very ill with cancer in 2001, and underwent a series of operations. He recovered and returned in 2005. The next time I saw him live was on his “farewell tour” in 2006, when it called at Newcastle City Hall. He had just released a CD set celebrating the blues, and the show was a mix of blues classics, tracks from Chris’ massive back catalogue and, of course, his hits. My tickets for that gig never arrived in the post, and I had to collect the hand written ticket pictured here at the door. Chris Rea is a versatile artist, a great songwriter, and a pretty nifty guitarist to boot. Although his 2006 tour was billed as a farewell, he has toured since then. A setlist from 2006: Jazzy Blue; That’s the Way It Goes; Where the Blues Come From; Josephine; Work Gang; Head Out on the Highway; Easy Rider; ‘Til the Morning Sun Shines on My Love and Me; Stony Road; KKK Blues; Julia; Stainsby Girls; Somewhere Between Highway 61 & 49; I Can Hear Your Heartbeat; The Road to Hell; On the Beach; Let’s Dance; Fool (If You Think It’s Over)