Gig review: Stereophonics at First Direct Arena, Leeds

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IN THIS era of massive arena gigs, it takes real skill, stamina and a decent back catalogue to keep such a vast crowd satisfied for the best part of two hours.

However, Stereophonics are masters at it as the Welsh foursome proved once more here, the band delivering brilliantly at Leeds’ sold-out First Direct Arena.

Boldy starting off with two songs from their new album – C’est la Vie and I Wanna Get Lost With You – might have been a risk but it paid off as they were suitably thumping and each well-received.

Next, frontman Kelly Jones headed back to 1998 with a brilliant A Thousand Trees; they were up and running, never looking back.

There was plenty more of their recent hits in the opening part of a 25-song setlist, including Graffiti on the Train, current single Song for the Summer and Indian Summer, before the epic Mr Writer – when the spectacular stage lighting really dovetails in perfectly – signals the onset of the true classics.

Just Looking takes things up another level before Jones reminds everyone Handbags and Gladrags – “the reason Ricky Gervais got famous” – isn’t actually their song.

The original singer of the song that famously became The Office theme tune Chris Farlowe did tell them once, though, that he was thankful of their cover version – “I built a patio. Now I can build the conservatory, too.”

Jones, whose distinctive voice sounds as good as ever, has the crowd in the palm of his hand with a beautiful acoustic Traffic, drummer Jamie Morrison delivers arguably a scene-stealing solo with a remarkable finish to Mr and Mrs Smith before a typically rousing Local Boy in the Photograph rounds things off.

Are you thinking there’s a few missing there? You’d be right.

But remember there is the encore, possibly the best I’ve ever witnessed… The Bartender and the Thief, I Wouldn’t Believe Your Radio, Maybe Tomorrow and, undoubtedly the high of the night and traditional show-ender, the anthemic Dakota.

Gig date: December 5

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