Sam Fender – 17th November 2018 – Newcastle Student Union
By Victoria Wai (Victoria Wai)
It was the homecoming of all homecomings when Sam Fender headlined at Newcastle’s Student Union for the final night of his autumn tour. I have never felt so much excitement running up to a gig in ages and I mean real excitement, as my timeline was going crazy of people attending the show and then people being gutted for not being there. The room was packed even before the support act, another North East England act, A Festival A Parade. Beers were already being poured at a rate of celebration as they were on.
The night, like a lot of the dates of this tour, was sold out. Even before Sam and his band came on every inch of the floor within viewing of the stage was taken. Lights down and flashing lights got the crowd chanting ‘Fender’ until the main man himself appeared on stage, to screams filling up the room as if we were in a huge arena. The screams literally come before the introduction of each song and at their final note. The band themselves are just as energetic, moving about as much of the stage as Sam. Unfortunately, guitarist Dean broke his leg a few days prior so Joe stepped up on the night with Tom and Drew. You could not only see but feel the energy of this band and the audience feed off it. Chants of ‘Deano’ come when Sam gives him a shout out. That is how much respect is in the room on this night. Sam even represents the support act by wearing one of their T-shirts.
It seriously was a celebration of Tyneside’s own. Sam gives personal shout-outs to his old school then to the bar where he pulled ‘the worst pints’ and met his manager and even to where he used to busk to get to where he is now, selling out dates in the UK to across Europe and in the New Year will see him take on the festivals in Australia.
Hands are up and bodies sway throughout the whole night. A few people are on other people’s shoulders and at any opportunity, the phones are up recording the night. Normally in this kind of setting I would have expected the security to be all over the place but there was none of that. The chants come and go throughout the night. It feels like a football crowd at times. It would be hard not to get caught up in the moment of Sam Fender.
There are a few quieter songs in the set and to their credit, the loud crowd are at the same time quite attentive The biggest singalong of the night comes with Leave Fast. A lovely moment comes when broken legged Deano comes to the stage and he and Sam play out the end of the song, with Sam getting down on his knees. A touching moment to end the set on.
A three song encore ended with a cover of Dancing In The Dark by Bruce Springsteen (his favourite artist of all time) which may have got the second loudest singalong of the night!
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