US soul sensation Candi Staton arrives on Tyneside to ring in the New Year at the Sage Gateshead.

Following on from the success of last year’s New Year’s Eve spectacular with LA-based rock and soul quartet Vintage Trouble, this evening Candi Staton follows suit with an exclusive performance at one of the North East’s largest NYE get-togethers. This being somewhat of a rare live appearance for Staton who has largely spent 2017 in the studio in preparation for the release of her forthcoming album Unstoppable.

Subsequently, the Sage Gateshead is packed to the rafters with revellers from early in the evening, many of whom take the opportunity to dine at the venue, with a stunning four-course banquet being the order of the day. Of course, a whole raft of catering and entertainment options line the venue’s concourse.

The precursor for the main event comes courtesy of the House Gospel Choir. This incredibly talented ensemble featuring in the region of twenty highly energetic musicians puts their own unique slant on a multitude of 90s dancefloor fillers.

The group’s collective vocal harmonies and DJ fuelled beat-heavy rhythm certainly gets the party started to great effect and has the whole room moving. This being the contemporary choir’s first appearance of the evening before returning to the concourse to ring in the New Year at the stroke of Midnight.

What better way to see out the final hours of 2017 than in the presence of a four-time Grammy nominated singer/songwriter. This magnificent room is packed, with the crowd spanning into the upper tiers of the balcony. However, their seats largely become frivolous from the moment Candi Staton takes to the stage with the whole room up on their feet and dancing in the aisles ensues.

Having had a long and successful career in the music industry tonight Staton chooses to deliver a set which traverses her entire back catalogue. Old favourites like the incredibly funky “I’d Rather Be An Old Man’s Sweetheart”, the soulful “Sweet Feeling” and her heartfelt take on Tammy Wynette’s “Stand By Your Man” all stand out in the set.

It hasn’t always been easy for Staton, she discusses starting out on the Chitlin’ Circuit back in the 60s before reminiscing of touring compatriots and friends who are no longer with us such as Peabo Bryson, Billy Paul and David Gest, but insists she still has work to do. Many of the tales mentioned during the course of the show are featured in Staton’s new autobiography, which she informs the audience is rather fittingly available from the Candi store on her website.

Joining the legendary vocalist onstage are her longstanding backing band which features former Style Council/Dexy’s Midnight Runner’s keyboard player Mick Talbot, Ernie Mckone (bass), Mark Vandergucht (guitar) and Susan Furlonger (backing vocals). Staton’s producer/drummer son Marcus Williams rounds out the line-up. Each of the band takes their moment in the spotlight during an extended rendition of the classic “Young Hearts Run Free”.

Candi Staton closes out her main set with a crowd-pleasing performance of “You’ve Got The Love”. The track’s unmistakable bass intro sparks frenzied clapping, dancing and of course ‘hands up in the air’. Departing the stage to a standing ovation, Staton leaves the audience very much wanting more. Following a brief interlude and feverish applause from the Gateshead faithful Candi propels the audience towards New Year’s Day with her Gospel tinged RnB number “Hallelujah Anyway”.

Tonight Candi Staton proves that she has still got star quality in abundance. Now at the age of 77 and with a new album set for release next year, the Atlanta based disco diva shows no signs of slowing down.

Candi Staton
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Event Date: 31-Dec-2017

About The Author

Adam Kennedy is an experienced music photographer based in northeast England. He has been shooting concerts for several years, predominantly with the band Vintage Trouble. In 2013, he was one of their tour photographers, covering the UK and Ireland tour including the headline shows and as opening act for The Who. As an accomplished concert photographer, Adam's work has been featured in print such as, Classic Rock Blues Magazine, Guitarist Magazine, Blues in Britain magazine, broadcast on the MDA Telethon on ABC Television in the US, used in billboard advertising for Renaissance Hotels in the US, and featured online via music blogs such as Uber Rock and Guitar Planet. He is also the official photographer at Newcastle Rock and Blues Club.

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