The anticipation for Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s return to the Sage Gateshead was so high that today she arrived on Tyneside to find a giant wall mural of herself painted outside of the venue.

Sophie Ellis-Bextor recently released her incredible sixth studio album Familia, which charted at number 12 on its first week of release. The album ties in very closely with Sophie’s 2014 album Wanderlust, and by her own admittance many of the characters featured on Wanderlust reappear on her latest offering. Sophie describes the album as “the bolshier, more extrovert little sister to Wanderlust”.

As Sophie Ellis-Bextor takes to the stage at the packed out Sage Gateshead, she wastes no time in delving into her new album with the likes of the up-tempo opening number “Wild Forever”, the jazzy “Cassandra” and “Hush Little Voices” which has a beautiful violin accompaniment, all featuring early on. The first half of the show largely revolves around the Familia and Wanderlust albums.

Sophie is joined onstage by her six-piece band including bass player husband, Richard Jones from The Feeling.

Artists performing in this room are often asked to address the venue as “The Sage Gateshead”, however, Sophie shows off her rebellious side by fondly naming the crowd as “Sagey Baby”, which seems to stick throughout the course of the night.

Mid-set Sophie makes this huge room feel very intimate, with a stripped back acoustic segment. Following requests from fans online Sophie and aided by guitarist Seton Daunt, the pair delivers reworked versions of old favourites “Get Over You” and “Mixed Up World” from her first two albums Read My Lips and Shoot From The Hip respectfully.

During the latter part of the show, the Sage Gateshead has an atmosphere that is reminiscent of Studio 54 in New York and Sophie has most certainly brought their dancing shoes as both she and the band get funky. They collectively and seamlessly stitch together many of her disco classics including the likes of Modjo’s “Lady”, Spiller’s “Groovejet” and “Take Me Home”, which in turn gets the whole room including the dizzy heights of the balcony up on their feet.

Sophie seems overwhelmed by the response she has received this evening, rather affectionally telling the audience that she wants to spend the remaining two weeks of the tour performing at the Sage Gateshead every night. From this point on, Sophie declares that it’s a lock-in, much to the audience’s amusement. As the audience would want and expect, the main set to a close with the classic “Murder On The Dancefloor”.

As Sophie Ellis-Bextor returns for a duly deserved encore, the audience is treated to a sublime acoustic rendition of “Here Come’s The Rapture”, which is delivered from the balcony adjacent to the stage, as she projects her beautiful voice into the acoustically perfect Hall One at the Sage Gateshead. The result of which is rapturous applause from the Tyneside faithful.

Tonight Sophie Ellis-Bextor quite literally charmed the Tyneside audience with her unique blend of pop rock and funky disco music.

Sophie Ellis-Bextor
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Event Date: 18-FEB-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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