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Review: The Classic Rock Show – O2 City Hall


Review: The Classic Rock Show – O2 City Hall

After a year off due to Covid it was fantastic to see The Classic Rock Show back in Newcastle for which is one of the last few shows on the 31 date tour through January and February. Being the third time I’ve now seen them I can confirm that this show is as Rockin’ good as ever! 

Back again were Jesse Smith, Rudy Cardenas, Peter Thorn, James Cole, Henry Burnett and Wayne Banks, Jess Harwood and drummer Tim Brown, who was on his first foray with the band but looked like he had been involved for years. 

AC/DC started this gig off with ‘Back In Black’ and I believe this is probably a compliment to being able to play again and being back on stage, after what was an uncertain time for the live music industry, of which Rudy Cardenas also mentions later on. 

This show is high energy all the way through and it wasn’t long until the audience were clapping along. The interchanging lead singers throughout show mean each of them get to show off their individual talents. 

Jesse Smith is rock through to the core, his distinctive voice, his dress, his hair and whole demeanour scream rock. He’s a fabulous performer and a joy to watch on stage. Smith has many standout moments for me, covers of Led Zeppelins Cashmere, The Who’s ‘Love Reign O’er Me’ and a second from AC/DC, ‘Highway to Hell’.

Rudy Cardenas again dons his leather jacket and I can’t help but think of Grease when I see him, but he too is fantastic. I gest with my reference to Grease, because Cardenas can back this up and is as rock as anyone. Watching him entertain us with his stage presence, and his voice exemplified in songs from Tom Pettys ‘American Girl’ and more throughout the show. 

Jess Harwood is the solo female singer in the group and how I wish we had a little more opportunity to see her because she was just fabulous in her moments in the spotlight with ‘Black Velvet’ which belted across the O2 City Hall and ‘Total eclipse of the heart’. My only consolation is I’ll get to see her later in the year when she’s on tour as a member of the band ‘Rumours of Fleetwood Mac’.

Rock wouldn’t be anything without the guitars and in this band we are privileged enough to see some fantastic guitarists. James Cole – touring car racer by day he brings a coolness to his playing that he’s no doubt perfected on the track. Pete Thorn who has a big following on YouTube and for those that can appreciate a chord Thorn is as good if not better than anyone out there at the moment.

A tribute to Meatloaf was all the more appropriate this year, and The Rock Show had the audience up joining in with this as they had all the way throughout, only this time people dancing in the aisles, while being warned off the stewards…which were promptly ignored. This show just makes people want to dance and sing.

The set hasn’t changed on the three occasions I’ve seen them. a backdrop of screens that have video playing or images relating to the song playing. I love that when you see this live singing against a silent backdrop you can see how precise and in sync they are word for word with the video projection. Lighting plays a big part of the atmosphere and we get to see plenty of these shining up and around the stage and auditorium.

Rock is back, and The Classic Rock Show is one of the best shows you will see all year. Until next year my friends.

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