The Shires bring a sun-kissed Spring Bank Holiday weekend to a close at the Sage Gateshead.

This incredible venue holds a special place in the hearts of Bedfordshire based country outfit The Shires. The chart-topping outfit has played in almost every room of this majestic building since making their debut on the concourse stage of the SummerTyne Americana Festival several years ago.

Since those early days, the group dreamed of someday headlining the Sage Gateshead’s main auditorium – Hall One. Inside of just three years, the British country stars have witnessed a meteoric rise that has resulted in that dream being realised many times over.

Tonight Crissie Rhodes and Ben Earle aka The Shires make a welcome return to the North East of England for their fourth appearance in Hall One at the Sage Gateshead since 2015 where a full house awaits them.

The Shires are currently out on the road in support of their third album Accidentally On Purpose. The band’s current UK run has seen them tick a further achievement off their list by becoming the first British country act to perform a headline show at the prestigious Royal Albert Hall in London.

Tonight the country duo delivers a well-balanced set that perfectly represents their three studio albums with particular emphasis placed on Accidentally On Purpose. Several tracks from The Shires latest offering feature in the set including the likes of set opener “Echo”, the band’s pop-tinged contemporary country number “Ahead of the Storm” and their recent Ed Sheeran collaboration “Stay the Night”.

Mid-set The Shires slow down the proceedings with a spellbinding medley of their beautiful ballads “Black and White” and “I Just Wanna Love You”. The two tracks are seamlessly segued together to great effect. Likewise, Rhodes puts so much of herself into a heartbreaking rendition of “Daddy’s Little Girl”.

Lively, foot-stomping country numbers such as “Beats to Your Rhythm”, new track “Guilty” along with “Friday Night” have the whole room including those in the dizzy heights of the balcony up on their feet. The latter of which gave the fans one last chance to have a dance as the Bank Holiday Weekend comes to an end.

As The Shires take the Gateshead crowd back to their debut album Brave the line ‘We can build our own Nashville Underneath these grey skies’ couldn’t be more accurate. The Shires have gone on to catalyse the domestic country scene as well as flying the flag high for British country music on both sides of the Atlantic.

Crissie and Ben bring their main set to a close with “Tonight” whereby they leave the audience singing the song’s chorus long until the pair returns to the stage. This, in turn, creates somewhat of a special atmosphere inside of the room.

With an imminent day off approaching The Shires returns to the stage, Crissie armed with a well-deserved G&T and Ben with a pint of beer. The band close out their set with a three-song encore of “Loving You Too Long”, their stunning take on the Bee Gees “Islands In The Stream” before closing with the country anthem “A Thousand Hallelujahs”.

Crissie and Ben’s stunning vocal harmonies, catchy hooks and their captivating presence over the Gateshead audience puts The Shires in a league of their own. With now four packed out shows in this grand concert venue inside of three years, an arena tour must inevitably be on the cards for The Shires in the not too distant future.

The Shires
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Event Date: 28-May-2018

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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