Artist: Kip Winger

Venue: Trillians Rock Bar, Newcastle 

 18 December 2000

It's been way too long since we saw this rock legend in concert. Acting in capacity as special guest on tour with Bob Catley, this is one performer who most certainly shouldn't be touted as a support act.

It was such a treat for us to have these two legends tour together. Not only that the toured together but that they actually ventured further north than the Watford gap, which is virtually unheard of for most of the bands we really want to see live these days.

Trillians was the perfect setting for tonight's gig as its cosy atmosphere and good acoustics made helped create a wonderful setting for the show.

Mr Winger has for a large part of it been out of sight, although not out of mind, over the last few years. A lot of people presumed that after the demise of his band Winger he had gone into producing other peoples records. Or maybe that he had simply dropped off the face of the earth as a lot of bands who were popular at that time seemed to do. But no! I can confirm that not only is Kip alive and well but he is also putting out some pretty marvelous tunes as well.

It may have been partially due to the fact that the crowd tonight ranged in age from about 30 - late 50's, but it must have made a pleasant surprise for Kip that the crowd not only knew who he was, but that they spent most of the night shouting out requests for all their old favourite songs from his back catalogue.

If he wasn't overwhelmed by this then he must have been made of stone. No one could deny the sheer enjoyment the fans were having at hearing him do this acoustic tour. Yes it felt a bit strange seeing him up there on the stage all on his own without any backing musicians, but that did not alter the fact that he came on and gave us his all. I doubt whether many people would have left after a gig like that and not made a mental note to look out for his next tour.

Kip Winger is an artist who hasn't lied down and let the bad times get the better of him. He has had a lot of good times in the past, but he's also had a lot of bad times as well. Has he let these hold him down? Has he heck as like! He has come out the other side stronger and with a much more laid back than he used to have. He knows now that he doesn't have to prove himself to anybody and this is a side of him we prefer.

Here before us we had someone who's managed to stand the test of time and there's not that many bands who have managed to do that. A lot fell foul by trying to do the whole image and packaging thing and bowed down to what was expected of them at the time by the marketing media. But Kip bless him is not one of them. This time around his voice is stronger and more mature. The young man with the chiselled jaw and the stubble has grown older and wiser. He still possesses those heart throb good looks that we all know so well and with this new album he is sure to make his mark once again on the rock scene with the older fans who prefer their rock to be classic and have some real substance to it.

Who could forget the gems we heard from the past as they flooded out from the stage and across the room. It's surprising just how many songs you do know and it's only when he started to sing them that you thought ... oh yes I loved that one! ... and then astounded yourself by even managing to remember all the words as well.

During the set we heard a lot of playful heckling from the headline band. Apparently during the tour they had nicknamed him 'Winge - r', this he took in the playful spirit it was intended. Later on they were heard shouting out 'You rule Kip!'

The atmosphere was very laid back throughout the whole show and it was nice to feel that the Kip and the crowd connected in a way that very few bands seem to do these days. We took him to our hearts and had a good laugh with him. I'm sure I'm not alone in saying that we all have nothing but the greatest respect for this man and his music. He's come a long way since playing bass to Alice Cooper and if tonight's performance is anything to go by then he still has a lot more mileage in him still to come.

It may have been a long time no see for us, but we were reassured by the fact that he promised to tour again in summer 2001 and that he would be returning up north to see us again. He even hinted that there might be a Winger reunion in the pipeline, lets hope so. All told a great gig.

Setlist Included:
Miles Away, Revolution Man, Easy Come, Easy Go, The Rainbow & The Rose, Heading For A Heartbreak, Down, Incognito


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