at The City Hall, Newcastle, U.K., February 18, 2022

THE STRANGLERS (Live at The City Hall, Newcastle, U.K., February 18, 2022)
Photo: Mick Burgess

As Storm Eunice causes chaos across the country, Newcastle has so far escaped the worst of its wrath and the only storm being whipped up this evening was by The Stranglers on stage for the very last time at the City Hall.

Before the main event however, Dub-Punk veterans Ruts DC caused their own whirlwind with a short but devastating set comprising a set of songs from their days simply as The Ruts including the still thrilling “Babylon’s Burning”, “In A Rut” and the Dub-Reggae of “Jah War” along with more recent songs as Ruts DC including “Kill The Pain” and “Psychic Attack” showing a sense of class every bit as dapper as their smart suits.

It’s always been a pleasure to catch The Stranglers over the years and they have never failed to deliver but tonight’s The Final Full UK Tour 2022 – In Memory of Dave tour comes with somewhat mixed feelings. The tour was supposed to take place in 2020 but Covid put paid to that. Worse still, it took keyboard player Dave Greenfield from us. The band, deeply hurt by the loss of their bandmate, decided to reschedule the tour as a tribute to their fallen comrade.

Dave Greenfield, looking down from his great keyboard in the sky, would surely have approved of this supercharged performance from the band, now down to one sole original member, bassist, Jean-Jacques Burnel. Sunderland lad, Baz Warne stepped into the big shoes of Hugh Cornwall over 20 years ago and paid due reverence to the past while stamping his own inimitable mark on the songs, with the odd jest at Newcastle United’s expense.

With a career spanning over 45 years there’s a lot of material to choose from and over the course of the show lasting a good two tours pretty much all of the bases were covered.

Those wanting the hits got them by the bucket load, “Peaches”, “Hanging Around”, “Strange Little Girl”, the evergreen “Golden Brown” and a much welcome return of “Duchess” sounding as fresh today as they did back then.

Vintage cuts came thick and fast with “Sometimes” from their debut album Rattus Norvegicus, “Curfew” and a ferocious “Nuclear Device” keeping the older fans happy.

A band of this pedigree really shouldn’t still be making records as good as Dark Matters which came out last year. It’d be rude not to play a selection from that and “This Song” with its rasping bass and the dark, moody “The Last Men On The Moon” stood proudly next to “Hanging Around” and “Something Better Change” from the old days. There’s certainly still a fire in their bellies.

A poignant “And If You Should See Dave…” performed as an acoustic duo with Burnell and Warne harmonising beautifully was a touching tribute to their much-missed keyboard player.

A frantic “Tank” and a raucous “No More Heroes” were a fitting end to a scintillating show bringing the curtain down on a career that has spanned multiple generations.

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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