Mercury Rev & Royal Northern Sinfonia: Sage Gateshead – live review

Mercury Rev

Mercury Rev and Royal Northern Sinfonia

Sage Gateshead

13th July 2017

A spellbinding evening as Mercury Rev come together with the Royal Northern Sinfonia to bring to life some of their exceptional tracks.

Evenings like this are always incredibly special, when a renowned band comes together with one of the finest orchestras that the country has to offer. Throw in a couple of special guests and on paper this is undoubtedly going to be one of the shows of the year. As the crowd hush and the lights dim, the Royal Northern Sinfonia take their places and they’re quickly followed by Mercury Rev along with special guest Simon Raymonde.

It seems only apt that Raymonde should join the band on these dates as they are to commemorate twenty years of the brilliant Bella Union record label. Tonight they open with the rather epic Central Park East, the track feels perfectly suited to the setting its grandiose sound fills the room. Jonathan Donahue clutches on to the mic stand as he croons through this beautiful track.

Mercury Rev

The exceptional Hercules is quick to follow; the Northern Sinfonia add such a brilliant depth to all of these tracks. They truly come to life tonight, but it is Donahue and Raymonde’s stories between the tracks that add an equally endearing touch to proceedings. Particularly just before a cover of Dusty Springfield’s I Wish I’d Never Loved You which Raymonde’s father had written.

Tonight this captivating track is performed by the wonderful Holly Macve, who truly does it justice. Their set continues to go from strength to strength with anecdotes relating to Donahue’s time in The Flaming Lips raising a laugh from the crowd before a cover of There You Are. An extremely impressive rendition of Spiders and Flies follows before the set reaches its climax.

Opus 40 is arguably the highlight of the entire evening though; this huge track really takes on another life. As the set comes to a close we’re taken aback by a rather graceful rendition of When You Wish Upon A Star, before the band close out on The Dark Is Rising. You really cannot fault anyone who is involved this evening, it is a suitably epic set. Our only grumble is that we would have loved more as it seemed that as they reached their peak it all ended too soon.

~
Mercury Rev can be found online here mercuryrev.com. They’re also on Facebook and tweet as @MercuryRevvd.

Use of these images in any form without permission is illegal. If you wish to use or license any images, please contact LeeHammond@Louderthanwar.com.

All words and photos by Lee Hammond. You can check out more work by Lee at his Louder Than War author’s archive, he also tweets as @Napzap.

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