David Gray | L.A. Salami – 24th March 2019 – Gateshead Sage
Review and photos by Victoria Wai (Victoria Wai)
L.A. Salami started the night with many in the room not having a clue who he was prior to this gig but he definitely had many talking by the time his set ended. One person even muttered, “It’s actually nice to hear someone sing something with actual real meaning.”
A tune plays in the background at a nice volume as people settled for showtime. Unsure if people thought it was a part of the show but it definitely felt like it and as soon as the figures appear on stage and a hello from David Gray comes there’s a huge cheer as The Sapling from his latest album, Gold In A Brass Age, opens the show.
The show itself feels huge. It’s a sell-out this night. All bodies are still and silent. As a write this, I have read again and again about people talking at gigs being a big no-no and I totally agree. The odd whisper is good but not through the whole show and at a volume where you can’t hear the artists and this night it seems all but that one woman are in agreement. I don’t know if it is because it’s a Sunday or because of the grand venue we are in and the music of David Gray not being of the ‘beer swigging’ standard. This is not a bad thing and this is not a negative reflection on the audience as at every song change the claps and vocal appreciation feels electrifying. They just seemed in awe with every second Gray and his band give us this night of music. But good on that woman whooping and trying to get the venue clap along at the appropriate moments, though deep down I think she wanted it the whole night.
Back to David Gray though. His (and the band) performance was such a calming experience. It was one of those perfect gig moments where you get lost for a few hours and everything feels right in the world no matter what subject matter is being sung about. Until this moment I have only ever seen Gray on television with a guitar or behind a keyboard. I have never seen him do what he did this night. He was loop peddling between guitar swaps – huge nod to the guitar tech doing the swiftest of changeovers and allowing Gray and band to smoothly carry on. As he starts, A Tight Ship, he sings into his ukulele to capture a sound then quickly takes up his place behind the keyboard with no note missed. What a moment especially for a first-timer of a David Gray show. Other moments include Gray letting loose and busting a few moves which could definitely have given Elvis a run for his money.
We are given a ‘solo’ section, not that Gray really needs it as from the second he stepped on the stage he owned it, even though the backing band are fantastic, it is a wonderful part of the show which includes Snow In Vegas that was a duet with LeAnn Rimes from his 2016 Best Of album, his 2002 hit The Other Side and a Bob Dylan cover One Too Many Mornings. This is also the moment where Gray does the most talking as he mentions his grandfather being from South Shields. The biggest cheers come with The Other Side and it is no surprise that other songs from that era also get this reaction – Sail Away came earlier in the night.
When the band rejoin Gray on stage, a few more amazing numbers come from his current album but his ‘biggest hits’ close out the night in the form of Babylon with This Years Love and Please Forgive Me in the encore which really gets the crowd on their feet….and you wonder why they just didn’t do this from the start….however it’s also good that they didn’t – one reason because I may have been the shortest person in the room and secondly people really got to sit back and take in every moment in admiration of David Gray and it really was that kind of night where you appreciated the silence and be in awe of art.
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