Review: The Classic Rock Show at The Sage, Gateshead

We received complimentary tickets in return for an honest review.

I’ve spoken before about the Venn diagram of Dave and mines musical taste with one of the only things sitting in the middle being cheesy 80s rock, Roxette and Bowling for Soup. It’s been a while since we’ve had a night out together due to one thing or another so being offered tickets to the Classic Rock Show at the Sage in Gateshead was something we could both look forward to.

The Sage is one of my favourite venues thanks to the brilliant acoustics and excellent bar facilities and it lends itself perfectly to this kind of thing. Here’s the official line on what to expect from the Classic Rock Show:

Paying tribute to its favourite rock heroes CRS thunders through legendary performances from the likes of Led Zeppelin, Dire Straits, The Who, Eric Clapton, AC/DC, Queen, The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac and many more.

Performed with note-for-note precision, bringing the original iconic and era defining recordings back to life on stage, with an amazing sound and light show to match. Anthem after anthem, riff after riff and solo after solo, culminating in a show-stopping guitar duel that is definitely not to be missed.

Of course, everyone’s definition of what constitutes Classic Rock is different. I’m personally not such a fan of the 70s stuff (being slightly before my time – hoho) and the set list of the show was 70s heavy. HOWEVER I have to say I was absolutely blown away by the talent of the musicians on stage.

Baba O’Reilly by the Who was a strong start and personal favourites of mine in the first half were I’m Gonna Keep on Loving You by REO Speedwagon and Another Brick in the Wall by Pink Floyd. Highlight of the first half though was Romeo and Juliet by Dire Straits – local boy Mark Knopfler will always get the biggest reaction from a Gateshead crowd!

There were some elements that weren’t to my taste, simply because I’m not a fan or the song or artist, like Barracuda by Heart or the 6 minute Rush instrumental (Rush is a band people go mental for and I just don’t get it!). This, however, was more than compensated by excellent renditions of Rosanna by Toto (it’s better than Africa – fact!) Bat out of Hell by Meatloaf and Jump by Van Halen all in the second half.

What I really enjoyed was that there were a range of singers on stage. There wasn’t just one person trying to emulate the style of Mark Knopfer and Roger Daltry and David Lee Roth, which would be a big ask and take some vocal range. And I think that added a level of authenticity to the show. Look, tribute act shows get a lot of stick, especially when some can me priced quite steeply at the £35-£50 mark, but here’s my take on it for what it’s worth. Hip Hop Hooray are one of my favourite tribute acts because they play a massive spectrum of music I love and am passionate about by all my favourite artists. Where else am I going to see Eminem and Kanye West and Run DMC and Beyonce all on the same stage for £35? If classic rock is what you’re passionate about then this will be money well spent.

Me and my dad always talk about our eclectic music tastes and that all we ever really want are good songs sang well and that is exactly what The Classic Rock show is. In fact, I’m going to go one better and say that it’s a show full of good songs performed by insanely talented people who sing the shit out of them!

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