Joe McElderry triumphs in South Shields gig
25000 stars on show!
It was a homecoming triumph for former X Factor winner and this year’s Pop Star to Opera Star winner Joe McElderry as he returned to say an emphatic thank you to his friends and family in South Shields. The Bents Park had never seen so many stars as “Tommy the Trumpeter” (aka Ray Spencer) reckoned that just over 25000 people turned up to the free concert which was part of the South Tyneside Summer Festival, I don’t think there had been such a turnout since Rolf Harris packed them in some years ago, space along the promenade of the north east coastal town was at an absolute premium as Metro bosses Nexus ran a full service on a day that was scheduled for engineering maintenance, visitors came from all over Tyneside and I spent the afternoon partly in the company of a nice little lady who had travelled down yesterday from Glasgow! The Dragon was completely covered by cars and streets in the town centre and beyond were choked with parked cars, those of us who lived locally could either walk or cycle on a very pleasant warm day when the sun came out to welcome our visitors.
I would normally be able to get a prime vantage point to photograph these events and let the world see them, but today I had to take my chances amidst the shoulder to shoulder crush of the crowd, but at least you get to meet and greet! The queues had perhaps began to form yesterday, I don’t know, but there were certainly some folks sitting outside the park at 7:30 this morning! With a line up of supporting acts McElderry was very familiar with, the afternoon was in full swing after Lauren Waine and Scooch had wound up the “glee factor”, before the local hero made his entrance at around 3:10 for a set which lasted almost ninety minutes. His immediate family was sat near the front directly below the stage and giant screen which South Tyneside Council had built up to help those further back get a decent view. We were treated to a full “journey” over the past two years featuring songs from his very first audition for ITV’s X Factor, through to his No. 1 single “The Climb” including numbers from his new forthcoming album and a soaring rendition of Nessun Dorma the moving aria from Puccini’s Turandot, . When Joe effortlessly reached those high notes the 25000 other stars roared with approval, it was a monumental success.
Many of our local councillors and officers were there to savour the event in a marquee reception for Joe McElderry’s family built to one side next to the main stage and a full civic reception was held after the event in the Town Hall, South Shields in recognition of the very favourable publicity that this young man has brought to his home town. In troubled times our representatives needed an outlet to celebrate some success that everyone could join in with, and without doubt today’s concert was probably one huge success that Joe will remember for many many years.
Next Sunday’s concert in the Bents Park will feature the Lightning Seeds and will compete against the Sunderland International Air Show for visitors, two great reasons for you to visit us!