Opera House, Newcastle
Seven & seven is
Photos by: Keith Stodart
"A Pleasure playing at the Opera House" - Arthur Lee 28th August 2002
Newcastle was buzzing before the show. European Football kicked off at around the same time and Westgate road and the bars were full of both sets of fans (56,000 for the football, 800 for Love). Bizzare sight of the evening was Arthur and Love rolling down the street through a crowd of black and white striped 'toon top' football shirts. Surreal. Dylan's the bar next door was playing Alone Again Or, but we decided to hurry in for the real thing.
Newcastle Opera House is like a little Albert Hall inside - tiers like wedding cake icing on 4 levels with seats all round and (big bonus) the bars stay open so you can take trays of beer in all night. They had some great pieces about Arthur and Love in their August programme too. Arthur lee in my home town J what can I say? Age range down from 13 to a guy whose 62 next week, possibly greater.
Then it started. Arthur was well up for it and dressed for the occasion in the red shirt from the Houses of Parliament pictures and the stars and stripes bandana with a plum chenille rasta hat atop. Somebody shouted for 'Revelation' which raised a laugh. The sound quality was excellent from the stalls, grand circle and upper circle where I had friends and family in key positions. If there was a recording made on the deck, I hope it gets released as a live concert CD - I think it was that good. They just seem to get better and better.
They started with seven and seven is - what a blast again. Signed DC had all of the
actions, two full on harp solos and a bit of glissando (?) with the harp on the strings.
The vocals on alone again or were soooo clear. There was a little yawn on Your mind and
we, though, and I got worried that we were not being a good enough audience.
People started moving down into the aisles to sit on the floor, others were dancing at the back and sides. Orange Skies was just so ethereal, gasp. Bummer in the summer really rolled along, followed by the liquid guitars on between clark and hilldale. A nice touch was the Northern pronunciation in andmoreagain 'but me things are material'. You set the scene was one of the highlights of the night - just awesome. (I hope they made that recording).
Arthur was full of verbal and visual humour, it was great to see him perform so well (though my old man reckoned there was too much playing about with the words, I think he was jealous really). In everybody's gotta live he 'let Mike Randle tell you why' to introduce another fit solo. Then came the 'check this out' introducing My Flash on You. August next and the drumming was so crisp, the guitar interplay perfect and such a treat for us all. Arthur said he'd written a book to be published soon, and dedicated The Daily Planet to his Mother who, sadly, died recently. There was some interesting interplay with the band 'they want me to play songs I wrote before they were born'. But Rusty had his way and we were privileged to have The good Humor man which he said they'd recently learned. Well they must have been practicing a lot because Rusty in particular was brilliant. Love him. He seemed to be in his element at the opera house. Hurray! Red Telephone had enhanced solos (I think I remember) and Stephanie went down a storm. Arthur said they wouldn't do an encore and when a guy yelled 'don't go Arthur', he lifted his shirt and said 'You aint the one whose shirts soaking wet'. Singing cowboy to finish. It was completely Something Else, with Rusty going bananas jumping up and down, Mike, Daddyo and Chapple interacting brilliantly, Arthur right up there. Then he walked off, leaving them on stage while Rusty grooved away and they left with a continuing tone behind the cheering until mike came up and switched the amp off. Boo they cried.
Arthur showed a lot of appreciation of the band throughout the set, arms round shoulders, shared laughs etc. I stood up a lot, but sat down to let folks see, and did a bit of hand jive, well a lot really, and took 54 photos, mostly without flash.. At one point the singer remarked that there was a lot of noise 'and you're still sitting down'. Oh I do hope we were good enough for him to want to come back. The audience certainly needed no prompting to join in on the 'Freedom' and ev'rybody's gotta live lines, and spontaneously broke into the oo oo s in Singing Cowboy.
It was a perfect end to the best week of my life so far. Still my hero after all these years, now joined by 4 more really.
Other Voices: (mainly from the bar)
Dan (20, band Leader) 'I've never seen such a fit 57 year old - he was dancing all night'
Ellie (16 R&B fan, doesn't like guitar music) was spotting the songs as the intros were played 'I love them, I really do'
Stoned guy to mike ' I saw the strokes and you were so much better, I mean better than the strokes'
7 x 7 is crew member ' I've seen them at last. I've got all the albums and every single since my little red book. I just love them, I'll be 58 on Saturday.'
Jane's man 'edinburgh was better, it's a good venue, a small club with a good atmosphere and great sound'
Best wishes to Judy who got her forever changes signed. Thanks to Martyn Samuels for reminding me of the musical highlights. I could go on and on - oops! I have.
Keep on Shining. LizzyB
Just had to drop a note to say that I was at the gig in Newcastle last night.
I found Arthur Lee via a strange route, I was listening to an interview with Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin circa 1980, during which he made a number of references to Love and Forever Changes in particular. On the strength of that I bought a copy and a whole new musical experience and love affair opened up in my life.
To see those songs come to life in front of my eyes last night ranks as the greatest experience I have ever witnessed at a concert.
Everything about the show was fantastic, the band-outstanding musicians, the venue-very intimate with marvellous acoustics and of course Arthur, without doubt THE most gifted and charismatic performer I have ever seen, I was enchanted and reduced to a tear or two on more than one occasion watching him play with such soul and truly enjoying doing it.
Thank you Love-Thank you Arthur
I went to see Arthur Lee and love at the Newcastle opera house last night, it was
He really looked like he was enjoying himself, the crowd meant crazy for "A house is not a motel", and gave him a standing ovation which lasted for ages, you could see he was touched by it............................
When they got to the end of there set they kept going shouting songs across the stage to each other, it was a fantastic night which ended in another standing ovation with shouts of "Arthur,Arthur", following him as he strutted cooly off the stage................................
It is perhaps a cliche coined to many times these days but I feel that I have to use it again, "They just don't make them like that anymore"