Review: Kelis at The Sage, Gateshead

My first memory of Kelis was seeing the video for Caught Out There in 1999 and honestly I don’t think I’d ever seen or heard anything like it before. I think at first I thought it was a Mel B solo effort – and if so it was considerably better than anything she’d released before – ‘aaaaah’ bit certainly suited her persona. My second memory of Kelis is my dad also being in the living room at the same time, hearing said ‘aaaaah’ bit, saying loudly ‘nope’ and turning it over. Oldies eh?!

Anyway, she’s someone who when I look back has had a subtle influence on different periods of my life. When I lived alone in Heaton for a short period of time, the neighbours downstairs were obsessed with ‘Trick Me’ (as was I). The problem was, they didn’t appear to have to get up for work in the morning and blasted it full volume at 2am. It could have been worse I suppose. At least it wasn’t Coldplay.

Then in 2004 when Milkshake was released and everyone went nuts for it it reminds me of Meagan coming to visit me from Nebraska and me her and Ang dancing and singing it at the top of our lungs in Mood in the The Gate. Fun times.

So suffice to say I was so excited to see Kelis was now playing The Sage in Gateshead (one of my favourite music venues). I know she’s been doing the festival circuit in the UK this summer but I feel super lucky she’s decided to do a rare one off show in the North East. It seemed right that me and Ang go along and dance and sing at the top of our lungs once more. If only Meagan were here to complete the trinity.

Kelis and her band took the stage at about 8.45pm and what followed was essentially a 90 minute dance party. Kicking off strong with Spaceship and 22nd Century, everyone was on their feet by the time she was belting out Caught out There as song 4 (perhaps a little early in the setlist for me – but just you wait!). All the hits were indeed present and correct as well as some of my favourite album tracks like Ghetto Children and Till the Wheels Fall off. There was a great mix of old and new and the band of two drummers, a dj, a keyboardist, a bass player and a backing singer supported her perfectly. Everyone on stage just looked like they were having so much bloody fun and it was infectious. Trick Me and Bounce we particular stand outs!

Vocally she sounded incredible and physically she looked amazing (I need to know where to get one of those sparkly jumpsuits from!) she was note perfect – complimented I’m sure by the amazing acoustics where her silky smooth voice got me right in the feels in parts; a true performer for sure. There wasn’t much chat between songs other than the odd ‘how you all doing’ which is a shame for me personally, I like a bit of banter from artists and as such the setlist felt a bit rushed through at times but the crowd, which was a surprising mix; quite a few young kids there with their parents which was amazing to see, was loving it.

I wrote recently about being lost in the moment and seeing Madonna perform Like A Prayer live. Well I think that moment may now be rivalled by the Milkshake/Gravel Pit mash up which was quite frankly one of the best things I’ve ever heard with my own ears and needs and official remix on Spotify asap! A lot of the setlist was interjected with 90s/early 00s bangers like Smells Like Teen Spirit, I Feel Love and Gypsy Woman – credit to the DJ for those remixes which kept the crowd going all night.

I wanted a nostalgic night with my best friend dancing to the tunes of our youth, and that’s exactly what I got, the fact that it was delivered by such talent was the cherry on the milkshake.

Full setlist:

  • Spaceship
  • 22nd Century
  • Brave
  • Caught Out There / Back to Life / Millionaire
  • Good Stuff / Glow
  • In the Morning
  • Get Along With You
  • Ghetto Children
  • Young, Fresh n’ New
  • Jerk Ribs
  • Friday Fish Fry
  • Rumble
  • Forever Be
  • Bossy / Caught Out There / Got Your Money
  • Trick Me
  • Fire
  • Midnight Snacks
  • Lil Star
  • Milkshake (with “Gravel Pit” mix)
    Play Video
  • Bounce
  • 4th of July (Fireworks)
  • Acapella


  • Blindfold Me / In Public / Stick Up / Game Show / I Want Your Love
  • Till the Wheels Fall Off

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