Blackberry Smoke – 2nd November 2018 – Newcastle O2 Academy
By Kevin Burdon (Kevin Burdon Photography)
Blackberry Smoke are on the road promoting their new album Find a Light, and such is their confidence in the quality of the new material they opened their set with a new song Nobody Gives a Damn, then kept the tempo up with a double whammy of Leave a Scar and Good One Coming On.
Blackberry Smoke are often touted as the heirs to the Southern Rock throne once Lynyrd Skynyrd finally hang up their hats, and based on tonight’s performance you can see why. They are the complete package, combining excellent musicianship, superb songwriting and relatable, down to earth lyrics. The band were on exceptional form, musically on point and with a setlist spanning their entire career with a couple of extended jams thrown in for good measure.
The new songs like Run Away From It All and Medicate My Mind fit neatly into the setlist alongside the staple classics such as Shaking Hands with the Holy Ghost and Restless, and the die-hard Newcastle crowd were in fine voice on Ain’t Got the Blues and One Horse Town.
There was a brief lull towards the end of the set when there was a bit of maintenance required on the kick-drum, but not to let that spoil the evening Charlie Starr led the band on a very impressive slide guitar driven blues jam while the repairs were carried out. He’s such an enthralling guitar player to watch, effortlessly fluid with a superb ear for melody, I could have easily just watched him play solos all night… My personal highlight of the set was a beautiful rendition of the Whippoorwill, musically subdued and perfectly executed, and the vocal harmonies between Starr and Paul Jackson were sublime.
After playing for the better part of two hours, the band finished the main set with another new song Lord Strike Me Dead, the band returned to the stage for an encore of Sunrise in Texas and Ain’t Much Left of Me, finishing just in time for the venue’s curfew at 11pm. Given the mood on stage it seemed that the band would have played all night if they’d been allowed to, and the response of the crowd as the band left the stage suggested that they would have waited all night to hear it too.
- Nobody Gives a Damn
- Leave a Scar
- Gone One Coming On
- Waiting for the Thunder
- Crimson Moon
- Let It Burn
- Medicate My Mind
- Sleeping Dogs
- Shaking Hands with the Holy Ghost
- The Whippoorwill
- Payback’s a Bitch
- Run Away From It All
- Ain’t Got the Blues
- Flesh And Bone
- One Horse Town
- Lord Strike Me Dead
- Sunrise in Texas
- Ain’t Much Left of Me
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