Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Roy Wood kicks off the festive season in front of a packed out audience at the Sage Gateshead.
As a founding member of legendary outfits ELO, The Move and Wizzard the Birmingham based rock legend has written countless chart-topping hits. Tonight with the aid of his formidable eight-piece Rock and Roll band Roy Wood delves deep into his vast songbook.
Whilst gazing around the room it’s noticeable that one of the members of the audience even arrives at the show dressed in full glam rock attire reflecting Wood’s 70s period with Wizzard.
As this huge band takes to the stage, Wood kicks off his career spanning set with “California Man” and “Ball Park Incident”. The majority of tonight’s show is taken from Wood’s time with both The Move and Wizzard respectively.
Wood delivers a thunderous performance of “I Can Hear The Grass Grow” with the aid of a five string Fender Stratocaster; a tradition he reminisces that started out during The Move’s residency at the legendary Marquee club in London.
During the course of the evening, there is also room for the occasional solo number including the Little Richard/Fats Domino-inspired “New York City”. The track kicks off with a drum intro reminiscent of Richard’s rock and roll classic “Keep On Knockin’”.
On the other hand, “Big Girl’s Blues” really showcases the talent of this incredible ensemble; from the keyboard playing of Danny McCormack who starts off the number, through to Wood’s backing vocalist of 20 years Shell Naylor who adds some beautiful harmonies and the group’s incredible quartet of Saxophonists who each in turn light up the stage all night long.
Drummer Roy Adam’s also takes his moment in the spotlight with a hard-hitting solo in the midst of the band’s instrumental jam “Roy’s Revenge”.
The second half of the set is all about the hits. Wood delivers crowd-pleasing renditions of both “See My Baby Jive” and “Are You Ready To Rock”. The latter of which also features Wood on bagpipes; a custom he later declares he wished he had never started.
As Wood discusses each number, what becomes apparent is that during the 70s The Move had somewhat of a rivalry with Englebert Humperdinck. Both “Fire Brigade” and the anthemic “Flowers In The Rain”, which each, in turn, features in the show, were held off to the top spot of the charts by the pop singer himself. The latter of which was also famously the first song to ever be played on BBC Radio 1.
Heading into the final numbers of the set Wood breaks into The Move’s Number 1 single “Blackberry Way”, which certainly has the crowd singing and clapping away. However, rather than doing the false ending and walking off stage to later return for an encore the band decide to play straight through.
Of course, the night would not be complete without Wizzard’s timeless holiday anthem “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day”. The entire room up on their feet as both the band and the Sage Gateshead choir sing along at the tops of their voices. Wood and company leave the stage to a duly deserved standing ovation from the Geordie faithful.
With just a week away until Christmas Day tonight’s show in Gateshead is the perfect aperitif for the festive period.
Event Date: 18-Dec-2017