OK, I’ll admit it here and now. I’m a recent convert to Ms Hart’s charms. Whilst I’d heard bits and pieces here and there over the past decade it wasn’t until I picked up 2011’s collaboration with Joe Bonamassa, Don’t Explain, that I finally got it. So obviously I went back and picked up what I could of her back catalogue on CD and I’m damned if I can explain how I let her pass me by until now. She possesses an almost archetypal blues voice with lashings of gospel style soul and a lilting vibrato to lift it way above the ordinary. And boy does she know how to use it.
On Tuesday I had the pleasure of catching her playing at the Sage in Gateshead, Hall 1. Not having seen her live before I wasn’t sure what to expect. It had everything; heart, soul, power, emotion, blistering guitar solos, spandex, cleavage, husband cameos, wardrobe malfunctions, blue rinses. It was fucking great.
Surrounded by her rather suavely dressed band Beth started proceedings at the piano for the slowburner I’ll Take Care of You from the the afore mentioned Don’t Explain. Then it was up on her feet and putting the sass into sassy as she ripped through Sinner’s Prayer. As witnessed below.
For the next 90 minutes or so she strutted through songs old and new imbuing them all with increased life and purpose in the live setting. Particular highlights included Caught Out In The Rain and the encores of I’d Rather Go blind and Baddest Blues. In truth though, there wasn’t one song which failed to deliver. The band were on top form, especially PJ Barth who made his guitars sing, laugh and cry throughout the show.
Could the evening have been improved? Sure. As great a venue as the Sage is I don’t think that it best suited this gig. I’d rather I’d seen it in some sleazy, smoky bar room but that is really being picky, and there aren’t any of them around any more anyway.
So do yourself (or yourselves if more than 1 person reads this) a favour and check Beth Hart out. Whether that be via her recordings, live or YouTube, you’ll not regret it.
Recommended Drink: Well anything has to be better the the Hadrian Border Tyneside Blonde I had whilst there. Keeping the dream venue theme going and in honour of some of Beth’s moves on the night how about some Wild Turkey Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey or, in honour, of her sobriety a nice glass of water.
P.S. The above photo is the only one I have of the night. I just don’t get those people who go to a gig and spend every second watching it through the screen of their phone. Though I’ll happily use the results of their wasted evening.