at O2 Academy Newcastle, U.K., September 20, 2021

BLACK STONE CHERRY (Live at O2 Academy Newcastle, U.K., September 20, 2021)
Photo: Mick Burgess

For many in the packed O2 Academy, this was their first gig in what seems like an eternity and the sense of anticipation as the intro tape of “Bohemian Rhapsody” blasted forth from the PA as American Rockers prepared to hit the stage was tangible.

It was as, if the band had been shackled up for months on end and were finally unchained as guitarist Ben Wells raced backwards and forwards across the stage during opener, “Me and Mary Jane” while octopus-like drummer John Fred Young was more animated than usual.  The energy levels peaked from the start and never dropped for well over an hour and a half.

Lead singer, Chris Robertson, promised a set focussed on Black Stone Cherry sing-a-long classics and they duly delivered with “Soul Creek” and “Devil’s Queen” hitting the bullseye while “Ringin’ In My Head” and “In Love With The Pain” from their recent release, The Human Condition already sound like old friends.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been 15 years since the release of their debut and Robertson recounted standing on this very stage way back then and now 7 albums later and tours with veterans such as Lynyrd Skynyrd and Bad Company have seen these Kentucky lads grow into seasoned veterans in their own right.

A sole Robertson stood on stage with his father’s guitar for “Things My Father Said” which was dedicated to his recently departed father in a genuinely touching moment where the whole venue was illuminated by mobile phones waving in the air.

A steamroller of a finale featuring “Blind Man”, “Blame It On The Boom Boom”, “White Trash Millionaire” and “Lonely Train” left no-one in any doubt that as the old guard gradually leaves us, the future of Rock is in very safe hands.

Review and Photos By Mick Burgess


  • 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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