As a young person, I’d never really considered the Sage as a venue for my favourite musicians. I’d usually pop off in a state of hysteria to the Metro Radio Arena, to stand mesmerised in the presence of Lady Gaga or some other hyped up “world-class“ star. However, for less well-known yet equally as talented musicians like my personal heroine, KT Tunstall, the O2 academy or the City Hall in Newcastle is often the place to be.
So naturally, I was thrilled to hear that KT herself would be participating in a night of musical innovation at the Sage (a completely new and unexplored experience for me) with musicians Robyn Hitchcock, Eliza McCarthy, Martin McCarthy, Krystle Warren and Howe Gelb for a concert mysteriously named “The Floating Palace” and described as an “intimate evening of free-wheeling musical collaboration”.
Twenty minutes after learning this, front row tickets were booked, a friend was blackmailed and coerced into joining me and we were all set for what my said friend amusingly stated was “sophisticated music”.
In retrospect, it was certainly something very special. The musicians themselves were undoubtedly passionate and relaxed; simply there for the joys of performing what they described nonchalantly as “folk-rock, nowadays found in a museum” and admiring the diverse range of each other’s talents. Unlike other concerts I’m usually attracted to, there were no mind-blowing special effects or extravagant costumes to distract from the music: it was simple yet effective with the often very personal and achingly beautiful melodies of the varying musicians captivating an equally varied audience.
Of course, sitting no more than 10 feet from the action and the casual grandeur of the stage heightened the atmosphere of this unique experience. For me, I was simply delighted to see my role model KT doing exactly was she does best. She, along with other musicians, seemed pleased to be among such an attentive audience, treating it as if she were performing for no more than close friends and family, in a timeless jeans and t-shirt ensemble. The group performed some of their own pieces, but collaborated effortlessly, performing “I Want You Back” by the Jackson 5 memorably, Tunstall (to my joy) belting out each chorus with real meaning.
When the event came to its inevitable end, I couldn’t just leave it there. After a twenty minute wait by the stage door and little bit of pleading to one of the other artists, KT Tunstall came out to meet her adoring fans (me) in borderline freezing temperatures. She listened to two minutes worth of incoherent babbling from myself and kindly signed the small pile of CD’s I’d brought with me, even cheerfully posing for a few pictures with me and my endlessly tolerant friend. Tunstall is a rare specimen: not many artists are as down to earth and effortlessly generous as herself, and I believe that for her talent and personality, she deserves more recognition.
So, it’s safe to say that if the Sage can host talent such as “The Floating Palace” it’s definitely worth a visit, regardless of age or musical taste – I suspect you’ll be surprised and awed by what this landmark venue can offer.
by Carole Saville © 2012
Carole Saville is a 17 year old student living in Cullercoats. She is currently studying AS level English Literature, French, Biology and Psychology at Whitley Bay High School with a view to becoming a writer. Her interests include art, music, reading and writing.
Carole can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.