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Review: Randy Newman at The Sage Gateshead

ONE of America’s greatest singer-songwriters, Newman’s professional musical career started at the age of 17 back in the 1960s and he’s been prolific ever since.

ONE of America’s greatest singer-songwriters, Newman’s professional musical career started at the age of 17 back in the 1960s and he’s been prolific ever since.

This was the first night of a European tour, the Sage managing to book him for one of only three UK dates.

He boldly strolled on to the open Hall One stage, sat down at a grand piano and started the evening with more recent material.

One man and piano in a large auditorium, he was exposed and vulnerable. I admire his confidence.

Over two long sets, some songs were romantic; some political, occasionally they were biographical but themes of people and life run throughout.

His material has been performed by a range of musicians and I was regularly nudged by my friend commenting, “I never knew that was one of his.”

He played Simon Smith and His Amazing Dancing Bear, a song many associate with Alan Price, You Can Leave Your Hat On which conjures up images from The Full Monty, and other greats from his back catalogue.

Perhaps my highlight was the emotional I Miss You which was written for his ex-wife. The second set ended with a popular choice, I Think It’s Going To Rain Today.

Newman spent little time on introductions and let his songs talk for him. He lived up to his status as a legend.

 

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