The Sage, Gateshead
This was a great coup by The Sage as Roland played just four venues on this mini-tour (the others being in Birmingham, Hull and London) as he limbers up for the release of a new album, Return to Vegas.
It was a serious, intense set punctuated by just the occasional burst of humour. Early on, he asked ''Does anybody like punk rock? Do you love punk rock...? Well, here's some reggae'' before launching into a storming Ever Fallen in Love.
The audience was in a very responsive mood throughout the gig and the biggest cheer of the night was reserved - predictably - for Suspicious Minds. Elsewhere, he still hit the high notes in She Drive Me Crazy, which had the audience singing along from the start.
The encore started with The Prisoner, a recent song based on themes explored by the famous TV series of the same name, with key line ''I am not a number; I'm a free man!'' belted out very convincingly.
What Do You Mean
Ever Fallen in Love
Girl Like You
Johnny Come Home
It’s Only Money
Around the World
She’s Not You Girlfriend
She Drives Me Crazy
I’m Not The Man I Used To Be
This was undoubtedly one of the best gigs of the year. Here's hoping the new album appears sooner rather than later and that a full tour will follow, with the same band.
Here are a few more photos with which to conclude.