Wet Wet Wet at Newcastle Metro Radio Arena Review- March 11th 2016.

As I mentioned in my previous post about Wet Wet Wet and their show at the First Direct Arena in Leeds on March 4th, I am a huge Wets fan and have been right since they first hit the charts back in 1987.  Since then their music has been a massive part of my life and seen me through thick and thin.  I can remember exactly where and when I bought each new Wet Wet Wet album and the excitement I felt when I finally got home and was able to play them.  Buying “Holding Back The River” back in 1989 was particularly memorable as my Dad had bought our first CD player. It was a six disc stacking one with a cartridge and he let me and my brother choose a CD each to play on it.  I can’t remember what my brother chose but I chose “Holding Back The River”.  That CD has now worn out and I’ve replaced it but the feelings from hearing that music have definitely not worn out.

A week after watching Wet Wet Wet play live at Leeds First Direct Arena I was back with my friends for a second helping of “The Big Picture Tour” but this time in Newcastle.  Once is never enough and we were ready for our #wetsroadtrip part 2!  .

So it was a massive shock to us to find messages on social media two days before the Newcastle show that the Cardiff show had had to be cancelled due to Marti Pellow being ill.  He had gone down with a nasty chest infection. As anyone knows when you have a chest infection it completely wipes you out, not only with the lack of energy but you lose your voice.  I know this from first hand experience being a teacher, when your voice goes you can’t do your job properly. You have to be one hundred percent on top form.  We weren’t sure whether the gig at Newcastle would go ahead, would Marti be well enough to perform?

No news was good news so I set off first to collect my friend Dot and then headed north to pick up our other friend Julie.  We love our #wetsroadtrips and my iPod was ready loaded up with my Wets, Marti Pellow and Graeme Clark playlists to play on the car stereo. We had booked to stay overnight in a hotel on the riverside but when we checked in I realised I’d booked us in the wrong hotel. There are two Jurys Inns in Newcastle and I’d chosen the wrong one, typical!  The one we were in was near the SAGE, not the Metro Arena so we would have a long walk along the quayside. Still, it was a beautiful day and perfect for a walk even in my beloved heels!

A selfie of me and my lovely Wettie mates Dot and Julie on the Gateshead Millenium Bridge . Photo copyright of Dot Liddell.

 Later on, back at the arena we went and took selfies to post on Twitter using the #wetsfans hashtag hoping that they might end up behind the band on the big screen again like we did before in Leeds.  Sadly as I’d booked separately from my friends I wasn’t sat with them and the view I had wasn’t as good as the one I had had in Leeds. I was on the same row, Row D but the people stood in front of me were so tall! I’m so glad I was in heels, if not I couldn’t see over the top of the people in front of me!

Even though I knew what was to come having seen the gig in Leeds before the excitement was still the same.  I remember my Mum saying to me “Why are you going to see them twice? It’s the same show!” Oh Mum, you don’t understand there are aspects to a show that are the same but even sitting in a different place gives you a different perspective on the show. As with all live shows nothing is the same twice and performers react differently to  different audiences . The butterflies were still going in my tummy!

Graeme Clark playing bass.  Graeme showcases his talent on the bass and also on an acoustic guitar throughout the show.  He comes into his own with his bass solos in “I Can Give You Everything” and also in “Lip Service”.

The Wets opened with their upbeat track “East Of The River” from their debut album “Popped In Souled Out” which is always a popular addition to their set and the audience were already in the mood for dancing and singing along. Marti’s voice sounded as great as ever and we were soon able to help him out with a mini singalong session through a medley of their hits, “Goodnight Girl”, “Angeleyes”, “Temptation” and “With A Little Help From My Friends”. Even though Marti had been suffering, he was ever the professional. Though we were more than happy to help him out. As with the Leeds gig I went to, we got to shout out the four letter word that comes in one version of “Temptation”.  It felt very liberating shouting out the f word, though I would have been embarrassed doing it if my Mum had been next to me in the audience!

My phone camera takes rubbish photos but I managed a couple of long distance shots.  Here is Graeme Duffin showing his amazing skills on guitar.

Other favourites included the Roy Orbison inspired “All I Want” from 2004 and their upbeat “Run” from their “Timeless” album.  These are always popular with the crowds and get people singing and dancing along.

It was great to hear “Love Wars”, one of the new songs that had been recorded last summer in the South of France.  Even though it would be unfamiliar to people who had not been to any of the other dates on the tour, people were soon dancing and clapping along in time to the music.

With the tour coinciding with the 20th anniversary  of “Picture This”, Wet Wet Wet’s multi million selling album it was very fitting that the set included tour favourites “Don’t Want To Forgive Me Now”, “Julia Says” and “Somewhere, Somehow”.  It was fantastic to hear “She’s All On My Mind” which highlights the amazing saxophone solo introduction from Leo Green and also “Morning,”

The show opened with East Of The River.

 There is always a lot of cheerful banter at a Wets gig between Marti and the audience. At some gigs I’ve been to in the past Marti has been known to shout out “You’re such a lovely audience, I’d like to take you home with me!” Of course there’s lots of cheering comments like “Yes please!” Tonight at Newcastle though, I heard a woman shout out “Marti, get your kit off!”  Maybe something to do with the amount of alcohol being sold.  I couldn’t believe there was someone selling wine by the bottle like an ice cream seller at the theatre.  I like a drink but not enough to spoil the show for others with my behaviour.  I like to cheer and scream but it’s to show appreciation for the band, not to be rude and cheeky or embarrassing.

Despite suffering with his chest infection, Marti Pellow coped fantastically well and still managed to sing perfectly as well as flashing that trademark smile of his.  Photo copyright of Dot Liddell.

Another part of the show is a three song acoustic set where Marti is joined by Graeme Clark and Graeme Duffin with their guitars.  They played the brilliant “Roll ‘Um Easy” which came along with a hilarious anecdote about being filmed in a rowing boat on Loch Lomond for a documentary.  It was referred to as Loch Lomondo by the American producer and Marti and Graeme C were filmed singing and playing “Roll ‘Um Easy” in a rowing boat in the middle of the loch.  They had mega hangovers and were wearing Versace suits.  Nowadays with Health and Safety gone mad they would probably be seen wearing high-visability life jackets! The second song of the acoustic set was “Gypsy Girl” from “Picture This” which is always popular with the audience who join in with the la la las in the chorus.  Finally the trio played “May You Never” a song I hadn’t heard the Wets play in a long while.

The atmosphere in the arena was electric.  The brass players Leo, Matt and Neil S added a fantastic dimension to the live show and it was great to see them moving to the front of the stage instead of being stuck at the back. Photo copyright of Dot Liddell.

  Highlights for me at a Wets gig are when they play “Somewhere Somehow” and “I Can Give You Everything”.  The latter song never fails to make me want to dance. It ends up on my housework playlist at home so I feel in the mood for doing chores.

 We were over the moon again to be featured three times on the big screen behind the band as they played “She’s All On My Mind” when our #wetsfans tweets appeared!

My tweet sums it all up “The best band in the whole world,” It ended up on the big screen behind Graeme Clark as seen here during “She’s All On My Mind” being played.  Photo copyright of Joyce Williams.
Spotted on the big screen played during “Somewhere Somehow”behind Neil on the keyboards with my lovely Wettie mates. Photo copyright of Dot Liddell.

   As they say all good things have to come to an end and the encore came in the form of “Lip Service.”  As Marti sang about the roof being on fire, I felt along with others as if it really was on fire, the atmosphere in that arena was electric, just like it had been the previous week in Leeds.  The Wets finished off with their mega hit “Love Is All Around”.  I love “Love Is All Around” but it’s not my favourite Wets song.  But if they didn’t include it in their show, it wouldn’t seem right somehow.  It has been a part of the band’s history. The reception that the audience gave once again showed that love really is all around for these guys who have brought such happiness and amazing memories to us for the past 30 years.

The obligatory end of show bow.  Fantastic to get a photo with the lovely Tommy on it as it’s not always easy to take photos with him being at the back of the stage on his drums.  He sounded fantastic though. Photo copyright of Dot Liddell.
A Wets gig is always a great time to get together “with a little help from my friends” anf to share some wonderful memories of special times. This lovely group shot is copyright of Joyce Williams.

 Lots of us Wets fans are looking forward to a trip down to London in June when Wet Wet Wet will be playing at The Royal Hospital in Chelsea.  Another #wetsroadtrip to look forward to and to create lots more memories. We are all on countdown!

Once again I would love to thank my friends Dot and Joyce who always take lovely pictures of the guys in the band whereas I am no photographer.  I’d better get some practice in!

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Hi, I love your review about the wets who I also love so much and av followed since day 1. I have seen Marti and the wets now 78 times, I follow Marti when he does solo and theatre and my family think I’m nuts, but I get so much joy and just love watching them perform. My favorite song is sweet surrender , i could talk forever about the boys and Marti, i have been on an incredible journey and met some lovely people along the way but i will stop now ha, take care Amanda x

    1. Thanks for your lovely comments. 78 times? I’ve got a way to catch up. Was never allowed to go out to gigs when I was growing up and then I was a student with no money, etc. I finally managed to get a ticket to see the guys at their Wembley gig in 95 but ended having to sell the ticket as I was moving house and it was the only day my Dad could help me move with a van! I thought never mind I’ll see them on their next tour, but I got pregnant and I was about 7 months gone. They had some dates down for after the baby was due but I didn’t dare go! I finally got to see them for the first time in Nottingham in 2013 and saw what I’d been missing! Since then I’ve tried to see them as much as I can. I love Sweet Surrender too, such a beautiful song. X

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