Let me start by saying I have no interest in Dolly Parton – I’m a Rush/Yes/Pink Floyd kind of person myself, BUT she’s one of Maureen’s favourites to I agreed to go along, quite prepared to be bored silly all night.
I’m not about to go out and buy her records as I think she sounds like a chipmunk, but I do have to hand it to her – first grade professional show – and I was rather amazed at the range of instruments she can handle – and the range of music styles she’s written for. Before the show, as the hoards came rushing in, vendors were selling “Dolly” hats with LED lighting so lots of people were done up like Christmas trees which was quite good. The stage lighting throughout the show was superb (the only down-side being the ONLY two large video displays, which, for those of us at the back, were frankly rubbish. That and a small number of feral teenagers who felt the need to scream like baboons from time to time preventing others from hearing the lyrics, only slightly detracted from what was otherwise a first class show).
We left the Arena approaching 11pm, hungry as hell, on a Saturday night – no problem you might thing… I don’t go to Newcastle much these days having lived there for a decade and not being particularly impressed then – but it’s getting worse – thousands of people looking for food and what do the takeaways do at 11pm – CLOSE. One by one as we were driving up through Westgate Road – they were closing down. What? A decade ago when we lived there I remember having a kitchen drawer full of price lists with opening times as late as 12.30pm – today by 11.30pm the place is a ghost town – granted Westgate was never the highlight of Newcastle – but it’s gotten a lot worse by the look of it – and it looks distinctly like you’re somewhere other than Britain. We eventually found a Chinese open just off the A69 – the girl at the counter had the most rotten teeth you can imagine and the food was, well, crap! So much for rounding off a great show.
I guess it’ll be another decade before I bother to venture back to town on a Saturday night. Awful.
But back to the superb concert – check out the photos – sorry they’re not better – I didn’t think they’d be keen on large cameras so just too the iPhone – which can’t really do something like this justice. You can click to enlarge them but don’t expect miracles.