It’s been 12 years since Gareth Gates shock Pop Idol defeat at the hands of Will Young but if he’s still bitter about it he certainly didn’t show it whilst entertaining his North East fans at Sage Gateshead on Thursday night.
The audience might not have been as big as in his hay day when he packed out the arena once as part of the Pop Idol tour and then again with Will and Zoe Birkett a few months later, but there’s still clearly a fondness for the lad who stole the nation’s heart with his angelic voice and nervous stutter.
Gareth was last in Newcastle a few weeks ago as part of 5th Story on the Big Reunion Boyband tour but he wasn’t flunked by his pop pals for his latest appearance, cutting a confident figure behind the mic and piano.
Gone were there backing tracks and in their place drums, guitar and keyboard, meaning that overly produced schmalzy ballads became stripped back rather intense love songs, particularly number one hit Anyone Of Us and top 5 hit Say It Isn’t So.
Cover versions served Gareth well back in the day so he’d be fool to shy away from that winning formula.
He didn’t, which meant that his very enthusiastic audience were swept away by his takes on She’s Like The Wind and All Of Me which acted as the perfect lead in to original track That’s When You Know.
His impressive and take on Ed Sheeran’s recent chart topper Thinking Out Loud showed a lot more grit to Gareth then his pop poster boy past would have you believe.
And of course his hit covers were in the mix too- with Suspicious Minds getting many out of their seats and Unchained Melody seeing fans make their own voices heard.
But there was one voice that ruled the night and that belonged to a certain 30 year old Bradford boy.
It was his voice that we all feel in love with in 2002 and it’s still there now.
The more intimate setting and the absence of thumping backing tracks allowed Gareth’s voice to shine more than the TV studio did back in his Pop Idol days and the acoustic vibe to proceedings really showed off his skills as a musician as well.
Gareth’s audience came to be entertained and he definitely gave them plenty for their hard earned.
More than just a trip down memory lane this concert and the atmosphere Gareth whipped up, showed that he should have no reason for taking a hiatus from the music industry any time soon.
Anyone of Us
She’s Like The Wind/All of Me/That’s When You Know
Just Close Your Eyes
Say It Isn’t So
Thinking Out Loud
Angel On My Shoulder
What My Heart Wants To Say
Summer of 69
Livin On A Prayer
Spirit In The Sky