AS EXCITEMENT builds for the long-awaited 2013 arrival of The Lindisfarne Gospels in the North East, fans of the other Lindisfarne have also been given something to look forward to.
The Lindisfarne Story has been booked to grace the stage of Newcastle City Hall on June 8 and promises to be a must for anyone who has ever counted themselves as a disciple of the North East’s most well-known music-making outfit.
In the 33 years to 2003, Lindisfarne sewed themselves into the cultural heritage of the region while singing their way into the hearts of music lovers the world over with songs like Meet Me on the Corner, Winter Song, Clear White Light, Run For Home and, of course, Fog on the Tyne.
They released scores of albums, played thousands of concerts and survived the comings and goings of band members over the years, as well as the tragic and untimely death of the band’s poetic songwriter and frontman, Alan Hull in 1995.
Throughout it all they retained and expanded a loyal fanbase – thousands of whom will recount fond memories of concerts at the legendary City Hall in Newcastle, with which the band became synonymous following a staggering 120 live performances there.
So it couldn’t be more fitting that this show, designed and performed by founding drummer Ray Laidlaw and the Lindisfarne’s last frontman, Billy ‘Mitch’ Mitchell, who led the vocals from 1995 to 2003, will get its biggest outing at the venue.
“For years I’ve been trying to think of a way to do the songs without becoming a tribute band,” says Ray. “It can’t be the band, because the band is never going to happen again.
“But I really wanted to do it and Billy really wanted to do it because we love the songs so much – and people are always asking for them.
“So we needed to come up with a way to truly celebrate the band and the songs, and this is what we came up with.”
The resulting show, which features Billy’s band (including his singer songwriter son, Tom) offers a mixture of anecdotes and stories from the band’s 33-year history (including the odd deconstructed song for the musos among you); a start-to-finish, non-stop rendition of perhaps the most iconic of Lindisfarne long-player: Fog on the Tyne; and a compilation of around 10 other tracks, chosen from the extensive back catalogue at their disposal.
Following half a dozen small shows during October, Ray says they felt confident booking the City Hall gig, which also makes up part of the regionwide Festival of the North East, scheduled to take out the whole of June 2013 with a cultural celebration of the region and its industrial heritage.
“Neither of us wanted to risk doing the show for the first time in the City Hall. But we got such a great thumbs up from everybody – including people who have been coming to see us for years and years. So we thought we must be on to something.”
The Lindisfarne Story comes to Newcastle City Hall on June 8, 2013. Call 0191 277 8030 or visit www.newcastlecityhall.org to book