Artist: New Model Army

Venue: Northumbria University, Newcastle

Date:  22 October 2000 

Support band - Automatic

Local band "Automatic" wowed the crowds with their performance as support band for New Model Army. The hall was already half full when they came on stage.

They help fill the gap left behind by the demise of The Wildhearts with their very similar musical direction. Only disappointment was the lack of merchandise available from them. Quite a few people could be heard at the stall asking if they had a CD available.

I did actually spot at least one member of NMA watching them from the dark corner of the crowd, and he certainly seemed to be enjoying their performance. Their set seemed to go over too quickly though, not long enough to get a true picture of their full potential.

New Model Army

NMA came onstage around about 9 pm and continued to play full on for the next 1 1/2 hours. This was being billed as the warm-up for the big Nottingham Rock City gig, well if this was a warm-up then they must have blown Nottingham away.

The hall was packed with fans both old and new, coming in all shapes and guises. You had the travellers, the Goths, the rockers, and even the tattooed skin-head brigade, on mass and hungry to see the band back in action. They opened with 'Fate' and went on to 'Over the Wire' next.

Justin was totally into it and was strumming the hell out of his acoustic guitar. It may have been 7 years since they last played Newcastle, but the fans were definitely out in force that night. Many travelling down from Scotland and even some travelling over from other parts of Europe just to catch a show with them.

The songs they played covered the wide spectrum of their back catalogue of hits, with 20 years under their belts they had plenty to choose from. They also did 'Purity' and used the keyboard to cover the fiddle parts, although a good version, I did miss the fiddle.

The fans arms were held high and outreaching to the band as we swayed along all night. Not many could resist dancing along with the beat they played.

In between songs Justin made the remarks that when NMA were first starting out Margaret Thatcher had just become Prime Minister, and Newcastle football team were just another 2nd division team and nothing special. He said it felt good to have outseen Maggie!

Always a favourite with the fans was 'Green and Grey' a song which was dedicated to the North of England. Towards the end of the set they played 'No rest for the Wicked', probably their most famous song, which is almost an anthem for their fans after all these years. The crowd went totally mental and the circles of dancers which had formed broke out into one big frenzied mass of deranged fans, swarming back and forth in front of the stage.

The lads came back on stage to do an encore which included 'Liberal Education' and 'Vengeance' if my mind serves me right. Welcome back NMA, don't leave it so long next time you visit!

Setlist included: Over The Wire, Stranger, R & R, Aimless Desire, Wonderful Way To Go, No Greater Love, Orange Tree Roads, You Weren't There, Vanity, 225, Purity, Flying Through The Smoke, Stupid Questions, No Rest For The Wicked, War, Green and Grey


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