Review: Kate Rusby at The Sage Gateshead

CHRIS de Burgh was the butt of some gentle humour in Hall One, with Kate telling us: “I feel like a proper musician, a bit like Chris de Burgh”.

Kate Rusby
Kate Rusby

CHRIS de Burgh was the butt of some gentle humour in Hall One, with Kate telling us: “I feel like a proper musician, a bit like Chris de Burgh”.

And later, the “lighting man has made us look as good as Chris de Burgh!”

I agree that the lighting was particularly lovely for this concert, perhaps spurred on by Kate’s trademark fairy lights decorating the amps and mic stands.

Kate is charmingly modest, but you can’t get much more “proper” than a folk star of her radiance and I have serious doubts that Chris could pack out the Sage with such adoring fans.

This is Kate’s “20” tour celebrating two decades in music with her album, also entitled 20.

Having seen her in the relatively early days of grungy venues, it’s incredible to see just how popular she is with kids, young people, parents and grandparents.

Saturday night’s substantial show of two halves was a proper family event.

She delivers a retrospective set spanning her entire career, including old favourites such as Underneath the Stars and I Courted a Sailor alongside less well known songs like the tragically beautiful Annan Waters and the uplifting Wandering Soul.

For 20 she has re-arranged mostly previously released tracks, collaborating with a host of guests including Richard Thompson, Nic Jones and Paul Weller. The only guest at the Sage is guitarist and banjo player Ron Block, playing alongside Kate’s band led by her guitarist husband Damien O’Kane.

The Barnsley-born folk singer has always been good at entertaining chit-chat and having two children has given her even more to talk about. Her second daughter, Phoebe Summer, was born six months ago, so we hear a bit about her, and there is banter about Kate’s cyber boyfriend and an unexpected trumpet player, alongside her commentaries about the songs.

That Kate’s reached her 20th landmark with her genre-defying popularity still rising may just be down to one thing – a haunting, tender voice that can make an audience hold its breath.

 

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