SWEET (Live)

at The Fire Station, Sunderland, U.K., December 10, 2023

SWEET (Live at The Fire Station, Sunderland, U.K., December 10, 2023)
Photo: Mick Burgess

The football terrace chants of “We Want Sweet, We Want Sweet!!” echoed around the hall even before they hit the stage in scenes that evoked visions of their last visit to Sunderland almost 50 years ago.

Of course, much has changed since then. The passing of three original members has left the legacy of Glam Rock titans, Sweet, in the hands of guitarist Andy Scott who may well have assembled the best version of the band since their 70s heyday.

Tearing out of the traps with a rip roaring “Action”, Sweet delivered the perfect mix of gold plated hits, Hard Rocking album tracks with a sprinkling of new songs.

Front man Paul Manzi was the real deal, he had the look, the charisma and more importantly, the voice to give the likes of “Teenage Rampage”, “Wig Wam Bam” and “Hellraiser” an almighty kick and along with bassist Lee Small, he combined with Andy Scott to deliver those trademark multi-layered harmonies on “Fox On The Run” and a sublime “Love Is Like Oxygen”.

While many think of Sweet as a Glam Rock institution with a bucketful of bubble gum Pop hits, there is far more to them than meets the eye. Albums such as Desolation Boulevard and Sweet Fanny Adams and B-sides to hit singles yielded some hard hitting Heavy Rock of the highest order with “Set Me Free”, “The Six Teens” and “Burn On The Flame” showing a band who could lay down some tasty riffs. No wonder they influenced a generation of Hard Rock bands from KISS and Cheap Trick to Mötley Crüe and The Wildhearts.

It wasn’t all nostalgia though as “Everything”, a smouldering Power Ballad and the hard driving “Circus” from their forthcoming album Full Circle showed a band full of vigour and creativity which bodes well for the future. No wonder Andy Scott was beaming wildly as his band took their bow after a climatic ending of “Blockbuster” and “The Ballroom Blitz”.


  • 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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