Whilst the recent Billie Eilish livestream event proved that it’s possible to pull off a decent virtual live music show, it remains hard to suggest that the thrill of ‘real’ live music can be beaten by the virtual experience.
Exemplified by clear arrival times, table service, and one-to-one stewarding, tonight sees The Sage re-open from lock down with a clear intent to go beyond ‘just’ hosting live music shows and really push their ambition to create meaningful experiences into existence. Led by providing exceptional customer service, tonight’s ambience and the venue’s warm and friendly team perfectly sync with the needs of a live show audience re-emerging from hibernation.
Opening a wonderful evening of music, Holly Clarke, playing her warmup from a stage beside Sage’s main café area, shines with acoustic renditions of Northern folk music. Heartful and meaningful, Clarke’s thirty-minute set feels more vital and poignant than usual; these are Northern songs, sung beside the Tyne, on an evening where one of the North’s most important venues brings itself back to life. It’s hard not to be moved by the occasion and Clarke’s ability to communicate both a sense of heritage and hope.
Building on the occasion, and after having been ushered into Sage One by The Sage team, local Northern pipes star Kathryn Tickell carries the evening to its conclusion with an upbeat, well curated, performance.
Supported by brother Peter, father Mike, and Accordionist/clogger Hether Ferrier, Tickell’s 60 minute set is warm, moving and grounded in history as she takes us through nicely arranged versions of pipe/folk pieces which feel appropriate for this evening.
For all of the superb musicianship however tonight it’s Mike Tickell who steals the show; his deliberate style of singing and spoken word reinforcing how important live music can be in its ability to connect us to each other as well as to our pasts and presents.
An evening curated through world class service and music, and grounded in North East tradition; tonight was a perfect symbol of intent for The Sage as it builds itself back to greatness. As it should.