Lee's concert at The Sage in Gateshead was special to me for a number of reasons - firstly I was in the company of a group of very good friends, secondly the venue itself is absolutely stunning and finally Lee himself was on phenomenal form, so strong vocally and very clearly loving his life right now. He was backed by his wonderful band (with Nathan replacing George on trumpet), and supported again by Laura Wright - their voices blending beautifully on the two duets. While his chat was perhaps a little less exuberant than of late in the first half, though still hugely entertaining, whatever he does to re-energize in the interval worked in spades and his second half performance exceeded the very high expectations set by the first!
Turning from the performance for a moment, the theme of the evening was mic/sound issues ... they started early when Lee's mic appeared to fail towards the end of Paint It Black (although I fear this may have been operator error, flicking the switch as he plucked the mic from its stand!). He started the second half in dramatic fashion, running on so fast that when he grabbed the mic stand, the mic flew from its clip, across the stage, landing at the foot of Duncan's keyboard ... Lee followed and retrieved it, pulling a wonderful face as he did so, recovering in time for the second line of Get Back. He didn't get much further before the gremlins hit once more ... leaning on his mic stand at the end of Seven Nation Army, it sank to below waist level, the height adjustment mechanism having lost its grip! He called for help, then knelt as if to use it as it was, before a new stand was brought on for him. And finally, he lost patience with his 'in-ears' and proceeded to remove them, humming 'The Stripper' as he tugged on the wires. The band soon picked up the cue and gave him full accompaniment as he proceeded with his 'strip', eventually throwing the bundle of wires to the floor with a flourish! None of this translates well to the page, but it was very, very funny on the night!
Highlight? Probably Seven Nation Army - I so love Lee's version of this - but it's almost impossible to pick one memory from a concert so packed with moments that moved and amazed.
Click for the full setlist, along with a few extras I hope you'll enjoy. And finally, a few photos from this amazing concert - click any below to view full Gallery.
Lee's full concert schedule (including past appearances) can be found at - CONCERT DATES
Last updated: 8 November 2014