By Dee Cooke
While the Duran gig on Tuesday 14th September was more fabulous than I could ever have expected, I had a very good reason for being unable to stick around for the second night – I already had tickets for another exciting show! I made a quick train journey from Birmingham back home to Newcastle, ready for the long-awaited return of Andy Taylor to the North East of England. Duran one night and Andy the next… quite possibly the closest I’ll ever get to seeing the classic lineup! Wonderful that they were both hometown gigs too.
Andy’s gig was a charity show titled ‘Rock ‘N’ Raise’, with the aim of raising money for charities including the Sir Graham Wylie Foundation and Teenage Cancer Trust. As such, it was a bit of a festival atmosphere with various support acts, all with links to the area. My favourite was North East singer Lorraine Crosby, who is most well-known for singing the female vocal on Meat Loaf’s ‘I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That)’ and these days performs a Queen tribute act. She has a brilliant voice and would later join Andy for his big finale.
There was also a charity raffle and auction just before Andy came on, with the auctioned items being a bracelet made specially out of the guitar strings Andy was using that night (to be made after the gig, obviously!) and a signed poster. The two items went for £1,000 each, and I believe were bought by the same person! Great news for the charity and I hope the buyer enjoys them – the bracelet especially would be a very special souvenir!
Andy and the band played a brilliant mix of Duran tracks (including ‘What Happens Tomorrow’, which Andy described as ‘the Duran song that got away’, and ‘Careless Memories’, which I adored), Power Station tracks, tracks off the 1987 Thunder album, and a few Robert Palmer and Rod Stewart tracks with which Andy had originally been involved. It occurs to me that seeing an Andy Taylor gig must be the only way now to see Power Station songs performed by a Power Station member, unless John and the rest of Duran ever decide to throw a few into a set! There were no tracks played from Andy’s new album, so it felt like quite a different show to his last gig at the 100 Club, but that also felt right for the type of show it was. There’ll be plenty of time to hear the new stuff when Andy’s ready for us to hear it.
Just like Duran the night before, Andy closed his finale with ‘Rio’. Andy’s version was a bit of a party, with support acts joining him on stage and the glorious surprise of Si King from the Hairy Bikers playing the bongos! (For non-UK fans: the Hairy Bikers are a famous TV cookery duo and Si is from the North East.)
Because it was a local-to-me gig, I dragged my husband out with me. He really enjoyed it and was able to share my excitement when Andy played ‘What Happens Tomorrow’ as I’ve recently been playing Astronaut a lot in the car! He says he’d like to see Andy again so I’ll be buying two tickets for the Cullercoats gig if/when that COVID-cancelled UK tour finally gets rescheduled…
Fingers crossed that Andy will eventually make it out there to see all you international fans too – because everybody deserves to see this show. It was a cracker!