With Bruce Springsteen currently enjoying an extended run on Broadway, Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul returns to the UK for an eagerly anticipated show at the Mouth of the Tyne Festival.
Having spent a couple of days in the region Miami Steve wowed the locals on Sunday evening when he followed the sounds of Newcastle based blues band The King Bees along the river to one of the cities favourite watering holes – The Tyne Bar.
Earlier this week Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul released a new concert album titled Soulfire Live, but for those lucky enough to get a ticket for tonight’s concert they get the chance to see the real thing up close and personal.
Having graced the stages of the world’s most prestigious concert halls and stadia throughout his illustrious career, tonight’s sold out date at the Whitley Bay Playhouse is certainly one of the most intimate shows that Little Steven has played in recent times.
Bedecked in his trademark bandana, overcoat and colourful scarf Little Steven sets the tone for the night ahead with his take on Arthur Conley’s classic “Sweet Soul Music” before breaking into the title track of his latest offering. The whole room up on their feet from the off.
Van Zandt draws parallels between Whitley Bay and Asbury Park, New Jersey before declaring that “Whitley Bay got soul”, which certainly pleases the locals.
Soulfire itself is a collection of songs penned throughout Little Steven’s star-studded career. Besides his solo material, the album reflects upon the E-Street Band guitarist’s time working with the likes of Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, Garry US Bonds, as well as delving into the works of many artists that have influenced him along the way.
There are many highlights from the Soulfire record featured in the set. These include Van Zandt’s take on the Etta James song “Blues Is My Business”, the western-tinged Gary US Bond collaboration “Standing In The Line of Fire”, and the funky James Brown number “Down And Out In New York City”, to name but a few.
Collectively this world-class group of musicians bring these songs to life, there is no weak link in the band. Throughout the course of the show, they each get their moment in the spotlight. Subsequently, the crowd are in awe of the Disciples of Soul’s trio of backing vocalists who captivate the room with their stunning vocal harmonies and co-ordinated dance moves throughout.
During the second half of the show, Van Zandt delves deep into his solo body of work. The Disciples of Soul pick up the pace with the garage rock number “Salvation”. On the other hand, the inclusion of both mandolin and accordion perfectly accentuates “Princess of Little Italy”.
As Little Steven hurtles towards the finale of this musical extravaganza he takes the fans back to the start of his career with “Forever” from his 1982 debut solo album Men Without Women. Van Zandt gives a nod to local lads The Animals with “Club a Go Go” before bringing his career spanning set to a close with the anthemic “Out Of The Darkness”.
Throughout tonight’s musical marathon Van Zandt delivers a set that traverses his vast career whilst simultaneously tracing the roots of rock and roll. For two and a half hours the Whitley Bay Playhouse is converted into a cathedral of music, and it is certainly a joyous experience for all.
Event Date: 02-July-2018