Well renowned for their distinctive brand of fully electrified British rock, Thunder pushes their creative boundaries as they deliver a show with a difference at the Sage Gateshead.

It’s been two years since Thunder last performed in the North East of England, but with a new album under their belts in the shape of Please Remain Seated, the British rockers are back out on the road across the UK as they grace the stages of some of the grandest concert halls in the land.

Frontman Danny Bowes and guitarist Ben Matthews are no strangers to this majestic building having performed together in the adjacent Hall 2 some years ago. Bowes quips that on that occasion they peered into tonight’s room, the neighbouring Hall 1 and dreamed that someday they would find the right opportunity to play here. Well, tonight is that night, and a packed out crowd is in attendance to witness the group perform inside of this acoustically perfect and fully seated auditorium.

With Please Remain Seated, Thunder has taken many of their timeless classics and given them a new lease of life thanks to new stripped back acoustic arrangements. Subsequently, this evening’s show has a feel reminiscent to the MTV unplugged shows which were popular back in the 90s. Perched on stools at the front of the stage, Thunder walks the Tyneside faithful through a thoroughly enjoyable set which draws upon a whole raft of reworked numbers from their latest offering.

The band kicks off the proceedings by taking the crowd back to the start of their career with the unmistakable “Love Walked In” which is performed in its entirety by Morley and Bowes before the rest of the band take to the stage for the ironically titled “Stand Up”. However, it is the band’s incredibly infectious and somewhat harmonious recent single “Miracle Man” that is one of the early highlights of the show.

The eastern tinged guitar playing of Luke Morley along with Harry James atmospheric percussion playing on “Future Train” is incredibly effective in this format. Likewise, Chris Childs truly shines with some incredible bass work during the jazzy “Girl’s Going Out of Her Head”.

Just like a fine wine Danny Bowes voice just keeps on getting better with age. Tonight there’s no holding him back one bit, he makes his vocal performance look effortless.

Thunder gives a rare airing to “A Better Man”, this being a track which Bowes recalls that they hadn’t performed for years prior to this tour. The crowd so attentive throughout, so much so you could hear a pin drop in the room, to which Bowes shows his appreciation.

The beauty of performing songs in this format is that the band can make their tracks sound as different from the original as they chose. One track in particular which fits this category is “Bigger Than Both Of Us”, which Bowes declares originally started out as a heavy metal tune. The current incarnation of the track has a much more honky-tonk rock and roll vibe, which certainly hits the spot.

The beautiful slow blues number “Loser” and a crowd-pleasing rendition of “Serpentine” brings the band’s main set to a close. During the latter of which the whole room defiantly on their feet, as the band receive a duly deserved standing ovation from the Gateshead faithful.

A four-song encore that includes a foot-stomping slide fuelled blues rendition of “Robert Johnsons Tombstone”, the classic “She’s So Fine”, the heartfelt “Resurrection Day” along with the spellbinding “Low Life In High Places” featuring the Thunder Choir rounds out a stripped back acoustic evening at the Sage Gateshead.

With a career spanning thirty years, Thunder continues to go from strength to strength, there is just no stopping them.

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Event Date: 06-Feb-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.