At The Sage, Gateshead, U.K., November 13, 2016

BETH HART (Live at The Sage, Gateshead, U.K., November 13, 2016)
Photo: Mick Burgess

Being hand-picked to perform alongside such legends as Buddy Guy, Slash, Jeff Beck and Joe Bonamassa is cast iron proof that Beth Hart is in possession of a rare and valuable talent.

With a voice evoking the glory days of Nina Simone with a sprinkling of Alanis Morissette, Randy Crawford and Amy Winehouse all backed with an intensity and power that could shake the very foundations of a 15 storey tower block, it’s no wonder that Hart has been feted in the highest musical circles.

Her latest album Fire on the Floor is arguably her most expansive and varied to date revealing a new dimension to her talents touching on Jazz alongside the Blues, Soul and Rock elements that she has showcased across her work. With this, her sixth album in as many years and recorded in an incredible three days revealing an artist who is in a deeply, rich vein of creativity.

The tour was sold out weeks ago as demand far outstripped supply showing just how high her star has risen since her early days as a new artist struggling to make her way in the business back in the ’90s. The Sage needless to say was absolutely packed and when she made her grand entrance through the crowd from the back of the hall it was clear that this was not going to be just any old show.

Although spending a fair amount of time behind her piano, Hart was able to project her personality to all corners of The Sage. Prior to the show Hart pledged to cover a couple of songs from most of her impressive back catalogue and duly obliged over a two hour set crammed with a rich, variety of styles each giving Hart the chance to show the sheer versatility contained within her golden vocal chords.

From the Jazz schmooze of Jazz Man to the dirty, smoking Blues of I’ll Take Care of You and the edgy Rock of Waterfalls, which saw Hart back out into the crowd giving plenty of opportunities for impromptu selfies, Hart had it covered. Her ability to craft moods and emotions from her voice was a joy to hear and when the haunting, moving melody of Tell Her You Belong To Me shimmered across the Sage, it was truly a breath-taking moment as was the dark, imposing Baddest Blues.

With a setlist that not only changed radically from night to night, but also deviated significantly from the planned official setlist for this evening’s show, each and every show that Hart performs is personally crafted by her as the show evolves making each show is acutely unique, intense experience.

Hart broke down the barriers between artist and audience with frequent tales of growing up, her struggles with addiction and bi-polar disorder and the impact of her father leaving her mother. Her life story became her songs and at times deeply personal, exposing her insecurities but also her inner strengths and Hart lived and breathed every single emotional note.

With The Sage packed to bursting point it was comforting to see that so many people can tear themselves away from the X-Factor and come out and see a genuine talent, perform live on stage. Music is alive and kicking away from the goggle-box and tonight was living proof of that.


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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