Classic rock heavyweights Europe and Black Star Riders along with newcomers, The Amorettes, shook the O2 Academy Newcastle this weekend.

Scottish all girl trio The Amorettes got the evening off to a flying start. The band delivered a fiery set of tracks from their upcoming album Game On and came out with all guns blazing. Their set included the likes of latest single “Fire At Will,” “Get What’s Comin’,” “Give ‘Em Hell,” and “Rock Me Roll Me.” This is the band’s first major UK tour. They got a great reception from the Newcastle crowd who cheered every track and even sang back the chorus to set closer “Hot and Heavy.”

Since the last time Black Star Riders were in the region they have recruited new bass player Robbie Crane of Ratt and Lynch Mob, joining the band’s impressive lineup of Scott Gorham, Ricky Warwick, Damon Johnson, and Jimmy Degrasso. The band recently released their brilliant new album The Killer Instinct of which several tracks get an airing as part of the band’s set, including “Soldierstown,” “Charlie I Gotta Go” and new single “Finest Hour.” The band genuinely looks like they are enjoying themselves, with Jimmy DeGrasso smiling constantly throughout the set.

Ricky Warwick commands the stage. The impressive partnership of Gorham and Johnson gives the band that distinctive twin guitar sound which Gorham made famous with Thin Lizzy. The band rock their way through Thin Lizzy numbers like “Jailbreak,” “Emerald,” and “The Boys Are Back In Town.” Black Star had everyone on their feet, even those on the balcony during an incredible rendition of the Bob Seger/Thin Lizzy classic “Rosalie” before bringing their set to a fitting close with “Whiskey In The Jar,” which transformed the venue into a giant singalong, the stage bathed in green light. The band left the stage to rapturous applause and left the crowd wanting more.

Europe makes a welcome return to a packed O2 Academy Newcastle. They have performed in this venue several times before. The band brought with them in tow their latest offering War of Kings which forms a large part of their set. The show opened with the title track from the album played alongside the excellent “Second Day” and “Days Of Rock n Roll.” The band played one of the stand out tracks on the album “Praise You,” which shows them perform something a bit different from the other songs, but equally magnificent, an emotional and dynamic number with catchy guitar riffs from John Norum and sublime keyboard work from Mic Michaeli.

Joey Tempest is engaging, energetic, and ever entertaining the epitome of rock n’ roll front men. John Norum’s playing is on fire. Mic Michaeli adds something special which gives the band their trademark sound.

Tempest shows off his mischievous side with his attempts to speak “Geordie” telling the audience “Alreet,” making references to local celebrities Brian Johnson and Ant and Dec as well as on a couple of occasions thrusting his white mic standing in the general direction of the unsuspecting security guards in the pit.

The set is full of classics including “Girl From Lebanon” from Prisoners In Paradise, “Superstitious” including a brief interlude of Whitesnake’s “Here I Go Again” and “Sign Of The Times” from their 1988 album Out Of This World. The night would not be complete without a crowd pleasing rendition of “Rock The Night” and set closer “The Final Countdown.”

The evening was a celebration of rock music brought by two of the finest classic rock bands, Europe and Black Star Riders, and the next generation, The Amorettes.

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Black Star Riders
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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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