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Newcastle City Hall
Its been a long time since I have been to Newcastle City Hall- the last time was probably about 20 years ago . Given that most concerts are held in Metro Arena, this was going to be almost a trip down memory lane.
**A (very) brief History...**
The City Hall was opened in 1927 and the Harrison and Harrison Organ was added in 1928 to give Newcastle its first dedicated concert venue. Since then it has prided itself on showcasing acts from around the world, including Rock, Pop, Comedy and Musicals.
The City Hall is situated in the centre of Newcastle upon Tyne and is close to other amenities including shops bars and restaurants. It is one of the quieter places at night so whilst there is not a lot of parking close by, should you take the car then you will probably get parked. There is also plenty of public transport close by including buses and the Metro.
**The venue itself...**
The City Hall is in a large old building with a grand doorway and friendly staff at the door checking tickets- no bag emptying here. Once inside,its quite ornate with high ceilings and lots of ornate decoration. Doors lead to the stalls area and stairs to the upper level with the bar and some toilets situated downstairs. The bar is open from 6pm until 11pmand the bar itself is well staffed so no waiting around. There are plenty of comfortable seats and lots of standing area with bar stools and tables dotted around so it's a comfortable place for pre show drinks.
We were seated upstairs at the side of the stage so had a great view of the stage . the seats are easy to find and there is plenty of space along the walkways . when we found our seats I was pleased that there seemed to be more leg room than some of the seats in other venues. With the stage at the front and seating all around on the upper tier and right in front of the stage in the stalls area it is easy to see that the venue holds 2000 people but at no point did we feel squashed, even when leaving our seats to go to the toilet. Even in the interval because the walking areas are wide there is no bottle neck of people frantically trying to get to the bar.
There are 6 seating areas available for every show for wheelchair users. It is necessary for wheelchair seating to be booked in advance.
Telephone: 0191 2778030.
Address: Northumberland Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 8SF
I had a great night here. The acoustics are good, and we had a fine view of the stage- so much better than some larger venues where we find ourselves watching the whole show on the large screen.
Its very relaxed with friendly staff and even afterwards there were plenty of people waiting for the artists to come out of the City Hall and while we waited for our lift we noticed that no one was moving them on.
Recommended if theres ever a show you want to see. I will certainly aim to revisit.
Thanks for reading
Newcastle City Hall is a great venue for music and comedy. Given that Newcastle also hosts the Sage music centre which is world renowned, one would be forgiven for asking why you would chose to go to the City Hall.
Basically, the City Hall and the Sage are very different and what makes the city hall nice is how traditional it is. This does not mean that it feels really old, it is modern with new furniture. Only that it manages to hold on to the feel of a traditional concert hall like the Albert hall.
Where you sit in this hall is a bit of a gamble. The difference in height between rows is not that great, so you don't want to be sitting behind someone very tall. However from my experience, the seats described as partially sighted are absolutely fine.
If you can, book seats which are close to the stage since some of the seats near the back feel a bit distant. I saw Buena Vista Social Club here and it felt very special, with everyone dancing up at the front by the end.
Footloose is about as predictable as they come with its seen-it-a-million-times-before storyline and not so spontaneous musical numbers. The set is nothing spectacular and the costume designer seems to have a passion for fishnet tights and hotpants. The plot in short is that country town Bomont has banned public dancing following the death of some of its teenagers in a road accident on the way back from a dance. Teen Ren McCormack then moves to the town and sets about changing the law. You?ll see an all singing all dancing cast and recognise a few songs from the eighties, one of the standouts being ?Holding out for a hero?. Karen Bruce?s choreography unquestionably makes the show, as your eyes are glued to the stage whenever there is a dance number. Unfortunately the show is let down its by the two leads. Chris Jarvis can no doubt move around the stage very well but his singing is weak and at times in the dialogue you can hardly make out what he is saying. Rachael Wooding?s Ariel is possibly one of the most irritating characters I have ever had the misfortune to watch. She flounces around the stage in tiny hot pants, pouting and flicking her hair every five seconds and gives you the almost overwhelming desire to jump on stage and slap her. Like Jarvis she lacks heavily in the vocal department but her dancing is also average when compared to some of the others on stage. You are then led to the conclusion that she got this part on the basis of being blonde and exceptionally thin. Both are shown up by Cassidy Janson, Taylor James and Richard Taylor Woods who are all wasted on supporting roles and are far more deserving of the leads. Cassidy Janson as Rusty, belts out her solo ?lets hear it for the boy? and Taylor Woods is equally impressive singing ?The girl gets around?. The star of the show though is the well-timed comic performance of Taylor James as Willard. The scene in the country and western bar
where he is taught to dance and the rousing ?Mama says? will have you in stitches. Whilst most of the musical and dance numbers are exciting, some get very tedious. You can hear people around you groan everytime the kitchen table is brought on for a scene in the Moore?s house. This usually leads to a drab vocal solo by either Ariel?s mother or father played by Marilyn Cutts and Oliver Tobias. Both admittedly accomplished vocalists but unfortunately extremely dull. The ?somebody?s eyes are watching you? trick where Ren is followed around by Ariel's friends for the greater part of the show also begins to grate on your nerves after the fifty seventh time of them doing it. The worst however, has to be the Ren and Ariel duet ?Paradise?- a song that the phrase ?pass the sick bag? was coined for. The special effects man seems to get a little enthusiastic with the smoke machine and covers the stage so we can barely see them. Unfortunately it has no effect on the sound and we can still hear them screeching away. Better luck next time. I won?t even go into the atrociously bad American accents, as quite frankly you have to hear them to believe it. Footloose is entertaining if you take it for what it is - a cross between Grease 2 and Clueless, with even worse acting. It does however have some brilliant choreography and some of the dance numbers alone are worth the ticket price.
that is the correct pronunciation for those of you who dont know......!! They are having their 75th anniversary this year. It is a beautiful building and has theatre, live music,comedy and opera and classical stuff...I saw Rush there in the 1970's.Sometimes it is full of hippies....young ones and old ones, often the clientel are ladies and gentlemen in their fine evening clothes,ready for a night at the opera or ballet.......... and there are also lots of things on the for the teenies. This year they have amongst others in their line up of star popular attractions, the ever youthful Donnie Osmond[at the arena]. Peter green, Ronan Keating , Blue, and Darius for the girlies. Busted, for the lads. Dionne Warwick for the conniseur. Motorhead, for the darby and joans!!and the Monsters of Rock festival!![at the arena] For nearly 40 years the City Hall hosted concerts by major British Orchestras featuring conductors ie Sir Malcolm Sargent and soloists like Yehudi Menuhin.Local choirs and societies hold their annual concerts here.[my sister was part of a huge choir here once] In the 60's there was an explosion of pop music and the hall was soon holding events featuring The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis, as well as the Newcastle Band "Animals". Many shows featured five or six acts such as Gerry and the Pacemakers, Gene Pitney, The Kinks and Marianne Faithful on one bill could be seen for 10/6 (52p) or less. '' The City Hall has continued to host almost every rock and pop "great" since the 60's as well as seeing the first tours of future legends. Throughout the 70's, 80's and 90's the City Hall has maintained its position as one of the best and most used 2000 seated venues in the country, and one of many artists favourite "gigs". Bruce Springsteen rates the City Hall show in 1981 as one of his three best shows and bot
h Dire Straits and Elton John insisted on starting world tours in the Hall.''[see web site] As well as music the City Hall has a tremendous reputation for comedy .Peter Kay is on soon, but as in every other venue he is completely sold out! i would say the most famous event of all has been Lindisfarnes ''farewell gig'' that they seemed to have done EVERY Christmas forever.It was always a standing joke in the area, and also a sell out too. Newcastle is a great place and really worth a visit , and the City hall is a credit to the area, having taken some enormous risks in their diversity of choice of performers.But it has really paid off. They are at present looking for any memories or memorabilia for their [75th]anniversary celebrations, and are asking you if you have any memorabilia to contribute then you must contact Peter Brennan on 0191 2221778 or submit the details on the City Hall website at www.newcastle.gov.uk/cityhall. I havent got anything apart from a few great memories.