Friday’s event was the first of two shows at the legendary stadium, with Fender following in the footsteps of music legends like Bob Dylan, Queen and Ed Sheeran who had played there before it.
As the Fender craze swept the region, even Greggs the baker got in on the act, hosting a whole host of Fender’s Unplugged events at his Grainger Street store. Over the weekend, Gregg’s first-ever pop-up dive bar hosted North East talent like Cortney Dixon and Kay Grayson, to name a few.
Of course, demand for Sam Fender’s two-day St. James’ Park run was unprecedented. Both shows sold out almost immediately.
To commemorate the shows, it was announced on Friday that Sam Fender has released special limited edition picture discs of his forthcoming third album, due out next year. There will be two different, unique picture CDs – one for each night of the show – with photos from the performances and a special collector’s edition for fans.
For those in attendance early evening: Hector Gannet from the Northeast opened the event. While top sensations Holly Humberstone and Ireland’s Inhaler provided plenty of enjoyable pre-Fender entertainment.
Humberstone struck a chord with the Geordies by wearing a two-piece outfit consisting of a black and white Newcastle United jersey.
As the crowd eagerly awaited the arrival of Sam Fender, the stadium was in high spirits. Especially when The Beatles played Hey Jude over the PA just before the star of the show took the stage.
But it was the region’s superstar who would always grab the headlines that day. For a time it seemed like a show at St. James’ Park was always Sam Fender’s destiny. The atmosphere within his concerts lately has been comparable to that of a matchday crowd and Friday’s show was much the same.
As usual, black and white flags flew high through the air while the electrifying strains of Mark Knopfler’s “Local Hero” echoed across the hallowed ground, accompanied by Johnny “Bluehat” Davis on saxophone and several members of the band. The noise from inside the stadium was astounding as Fender took the stage with a rousing rendition of “Will We Talk,” which was promptly followed by “Getting Started.”
Fender took the stage wearing a retro Newcastle United track top and wielding his trusty axe. But he wasn’t alone in his attire, black and white shirts filled the venue as far as the eye could see. Frequent toon chants echoed around the stadium.
As the week progressed, speculation mounted about possible special guest appearances. On Friday night it was Sam’s brother Liam Fender’s turn, who joined the headliner on a cover of the Bruce Springsteen classic “I’m On Fire.”
One thing Sam Fender definitely has in his repertoire is a whole bunch of singalong anthems. Throughout the show, fans listened to every word from crowd favorites like Dead Boys, The Borders, Spice and a moshpit-inducing rendition of Howdon Aldi’s Death Queue. Pyrotechnics and fireworks regularly lit the stadium throughout the performance.
Highlights of the show included the wonderful airing of “Get You Down” and the classic “Play God.” Emotion ran high at the soulful conclusion to the main set of “Dying Light,” as Fender began the song behind a piano at the back of the stage. Cell phone lights twinkled throughout the stadium throughout the song.
The show came to an explosive conclusion with indie rock anthems Seventeen Going Under and the unmistakable Hypersonic Missiles.
Like the statues of North East greats like Sir Bobby Robson and Alan Shearer at the entrance to St James’ Park, Sam Fender has risen to become one of the area’s local heroes.
https://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/news/23580765.live-review-sam-fender—st-james-park-newcastle/?ref=rss Live Review: Sam Fender – St James’ Park, Newcastle