Newcastle, you should be feeling very proud of yourselves this week.
Privy to a great seat at the Sir Elton John concert at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday evening, I have since been singing your praises to anyone who will listen.
As promised, you delivered a world-class event.
Fancy a former steel city transforming its main sporting hub into a “live” music venue in order to host one of the planet’s most beloved showmen.
And, to welcome 30,000 people into your home with little more than minor glitches – you’ve really done yourselves proud.
I’ve been to big-name music events and festivals in a few international settings and this was up there with some of the best.
It was smooth and appeared seamless.
There were plenty of on-site food vans with relatively fast-moving queues, an organised layout, signage, helpful personnel and adequate safety inclusions.
Even the weather couldn’t have showcased the city better when, after days of heavy rain, Sunday brought not a breath of wind, allowing the clearest of sounds within the stadium.
From the cheerful welcome received from the staff at the gates, to the humour of the shuttle bus driver on the way home, the entire evening left me with a smile.
A great crowd and an amazing show.
Michael Chugg, the promoter responsible for bringing Sir Elton to Newcastle, is to be commended for his foresight.
This was his first return to the stadium since one of his biggest local gigs, Newcastle Earthquake Relief, held 32 years ago.
On that occasion, Midnight Oil, The Angels and Crowded House were the headline acts.
If I were to find any fault with the evening it lies with the stage.
While I appreciated the visuals emanating from the sizeable area, I did struggle to see past “the plank”, which hung unavoidably in the middle of the main screen.
I can only guess that its purpose outweighed its aesthetics and, in this case, I’ll have to be forgiving.
And, while it’s well outside your jurisdiction but I have your attention, I dream of attending a concert and watching the main act without a mobile phone interrupting my view.
To Chugg Entertainment, Sir Elton and his multi-talented band members, the events team, security, police, drivers, and promoters – thank you.
To Newcastle, let’s do this all over again – soon please!
- The second, and last, show takes place at McDonald Jones Stadium from 7pm on Tuesday 10 January.
For more stories like this:
- Elton John concert ‘an economic boon’ for Newcastle
- Newcastle is looking for its own Billy Elliott
- April is Newcastle Food Month
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