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Review: The Shires at Sage Gateshead

The Shires immediately resurrected a love for country musicians and twanging guitars with our reviewer Fran Fitzsimmons

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The Shires at Sage Gateshead
The Shires at Sage Gateshead

As The Shires stepped out to the cheers of the Sage, they immediately resurrected a love for country musicians and twanging guitars.

The pair broke records earlier this year – becoming the first UK country artist to land a Top 10 album.

Opening with their first single from over a year ago, they had the Hall Two crowd in the palm of their hands with old favourite Nashville Grey Skies.

Working through their album Brave, it became clear why Crissie and Ben’s sultry harmonies had catapulted them from Bedshire and London to country stardom.

With infectious foot tapping and shoulder bopping, the crowd hung on to their every word as Crissie wowed with her stunning vocals.

As they played All Over Again, State Lines and Brave, they became less country and more commercial pop which I found a little disappointing – although the crowd didn’t seem to mind.

I did stay hooked, but purely because of their memorising acoustics and charming personalities.

After missing his opening line to Only Midnight, Ben burst into giggles – stopping the song in its tracks and having to start it over again.

Later he announced he had been tuning his guitar for the past few minutes in a tuner that wasn’t plugged in. He told the Gateshead crowd: “That’s it. I’ll be looking for a new job tomorrow.”

The last song of the set was Tonight, which will no doubt become the go-to crowd favourite as the Shires continue their 18-date UK tour.

The encore brought the night to a close on a high with a cover of Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers’s Islands in the Stream.

With loud approval from the crowd, the Shires bowed out and vowed to see everyone again when they return to Gateshead for the SummerTyne Festival.

Fran Fitzsimmons

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