Turn back the clocks 30 years and you would have been hard pushed to switch on Top Of The Pops without finding one of the many stellar acts at today’s Lets Rock The North East featured on the show.

Whilst festival season throws its own unique challenges, with mother nature not always cooperating that didn’t stop close to 10,000 attendees from descending upon Wearside for a music-filled Saturday. And whilst the inclement weather early in the day almost put a stop to the festival going ahead, the organiser’s dedication and expertise along with the resilience of the festival punters resulted in a safe, enjoyable and successful event for all.

It’s during scenarios such as this that memorable moments are created such as Black Lace orchestrating a mud fuelled conga through Herrington Park mid-afternoon. The fans in attendance didn’t seem phased by the many different elements that were thrown at them and carried on regardless. Each patron fully embracing the event, many of whom arrived in Sunderland bedecked in costumes reflecting this beloved era including Bucks Fizz, Beetlejuice and the Blues Brothers outfits.

Sporting a sparkly black blazer Jason Donovan may well have left his technicolour dream coat behind but it didn’t stop him from parting the clouds with a crowd-pleasing rendition of “Any Dream Will Do”. And there were “Too Many Broken Hearts” in the front row for the former Neighbours star. One eager fan even threw her bra at the stage – Tom Jones eat your heart out. 

It goes without saying that many of these artists performing at the event were the soundtrack to our everyday lives back in the 80s. And this afternoon the Sunderland crowd were nostalgically transported back to their youth to the sounds of “The One and Only” by Chesney Hawkes, “Doin The Doo” by Betty Boo, “Going Underground” by From The Jam, “Happy Talk” by Captain Sensible, “Too Shy” by Limahl and “China In Your Hand” by Tpau. Carol Decker’s voice still sounds fantastic and it goes without saying that she sank her “Heart and Soul” into her short but sweet set.

Kim Appleby dedicated a heartfelt set to her sister Mel and got the crowd moving early in the afternoon with hits such as “Respectable” and “Free Spirit” certainly striking a chord with the Wearside audience.

Marc Almond was the precursor to the main event as he took the Lets Rock North East crowd through a nicely balanced set that included Soft Cell hits such as “Say Hello Wave Goodbye”, “Soul Inside” alongside his unmistakable 80s anthem “Tainted Love”.

Since the passing of Rick Parfait, rockers Status Quo have made few live appearances together. A rare performance on Wearside by Francis Rossi and company topped the bill on Saturday evening. A thunderous set packed full of classics such as ” Sweet Caroline”, “Roll Over Lay Down”, ” In The Army Now” and “Whatever You Want” pleased the denim-clad punters in attendance. The legendary outfit closed out their main set with the anthemic “Rocking All Over The World” this being a sentiment many in attendance could relate to.

The beauty of events such as Lets Rock is that they cover a vast array of artists that perfectly represents this much-loved era of music. As Disco outfit Shalamar declared early in the evening it was certainly “A Night To Remember”. Roll on next year! 

Lets Rock The North East
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Event Date: 08-June-2019

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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