Newcastle has come to town and it is determined to party and celebrate one of its most successful sons of recent years.
The air is awash with the Geordie twang, the beer is flowing (although Newcastle Brown doesn’t appear to be on tap) and there’s a huge Newcastle United flag on stage.
There’s more than a couple of black and white strips on display and there’s even occasional chants of “Shearer!” from a boisterous 8,000 strong sell out crowd.
It’s fair to say that the Toon loves Sam Fender and he pays the love back with an energetic display packed with crowd pleasing favourites.
He might only be 28, but Fender commands the stage like a seasoned rock icon.
With a Brit Award under his belt, it was a sensational show to launch the Open Air Theatre’s 2022 summer season.
Moshing and singalongs were the order of the day as Sam and band raced through the likes of Will We Talk, The Borders and Get You Down.
If that wasn’t enough, the huge cheers for Spit Of You, Play God and The Dying Light before a sensational encore of Seventeen Going Under and Hypersonic Missiles proved that Fender has more than enough to follow in the footsteps of his icon Bruce Springsteen in the arena rock god stakes, the influence of The Boss clearly audible in some of his powered up and sax drenched anthems.
Flames and fireworks match the passion of the audience, with Fender briefly pausing and stopping the show after passions boil over and a scuffle breaks out at the front of the stage, telling the audience: “Oi, no f***ing fighting, we’re only here for dancing,” to a huge cheer and roar of support from a clearly aggrieved crowd.
A singalong to Saturday, via an intriguing blues jam version, has the crowd belting out the chorus at the very tops of their voices, so loudly they probably heard it back in Newcastle.
He was supported by fellow North East singer-songwriter Heidi Curtis, a teen singer-songwriter who captivated with an enchanting blend of spell binding vocals and a vibrant performance.
Tonight was the night Sam Fender and Newcastle partied – and it was a joy to have an invite. The only way is up for Fender – and we love it, love it!
This summer’s Scarborough OAT headline programme continues with shows from the likes of Lewis Capaldi, George Ezra, Christina Aguilera, Elbow, The Script, Tears For Fears and Crowded House.
Photos: Cuffe and Taylor.