Our resident blogger is back and this week Self Made Man laments the latest no-show from one of his all-time favourite bands…

…and manages to bring international airports into the equation. Read the views of our classic rock king right here, exclusively, every week. 

I’ve come to the conclusion this week that rock concerts are like holiday flights and music venues like airports.
And no, I haven’t finally flipped. Read on and you might even agree with my theory.
The catalyst for such enlightment was the announcement that Rush will be back in the UK next year to promote their Clockwork Angels album.
Excitement, however, was immediately tempered by the realisation that Rush would not be visiting Newcastle.
It’s not the first time they’ve given the North East a miss, nor are they the only band to do so.
AC/DC have ignored Brian Johnson’s home city since the Ballbreaker tour of 1997. It’s rumoured that the singer was so embarrassed by the fact the Newcastle Arena failed to sell out that night, he lost all enthusiasm to fight the region’s corner.
Rush went over two decades without heading to Tyneside _ from 1980 to their Snakes And Arrows Tour of 2007.
I saw them at Manchester in 2003 but I can still recall the genuine emotion which greeted their entry on stage at the Arena four years later. My mate Matt was struggling to hold back the tears as the first notes of Limelight cascaded down from stage.
Happily Rush were back in Newcastle last year and so naturally, we expected them to make it three tours in a row without giving this musical mecca a skip.
Disappointment was quickly brushed aside as four of us made alternative arrangements so Matt, Mick, Simon and I will be heading up to Glasgow on Thursday, May 30 2013 for the last night of the tour.
So what’s this got to do with aviation, you may well ask?
Well, I’ve realised that Newcastle Airport and Newcastle Metro Arena are similar in their pulling power.
You can fly to most of Europe’s top holiday destinations from Newcastle and even to Dubai but if you want to go to the United States, it’s a case of changing flights at Heathrow or Amsterdam.
And while we have reasonably good links with the Continent, there are still quite a few capital cities which are impossible to fly to direct from here.
Newcastle Arena is probably on the tour schedule of most major acts but in recent years, artists such as Roger Waters, Deep Purple (with their orchestra) and REM have all missed us off their itinerary.
And even on a scale down from Arenas, Michael Schenker is one act which springs to mind who decided against visiting the Carling Academy or City Hall.
If you live in London, just as you can fly almost anywhere in the world from Heathrow, the O2 Arena won’t be left off any schedule.
Mancunians too are also superbly served when it comes to flights and concerts while Glasgow and the Midlands are probably next in both services’ pecking order.
We can’t complain too much up here, however. I’m a ten minute taxi ride from Newcastle Airport and can be at the Arena in less than half an hour, even by public transport.
And in recent years, I can think of only a handful of occasions when I’ve had to travel outside the region to catch a flight
In many respects, we’re better served than the good citizens of Leeds, Liverpool, Bristol and Edinburgh _ cities significantly larger than Newcastle _ when it comes to concerts and flights.
And let’s face it, we’re positively spoilt compared to people who live in Carlisle, Aberdeen, Hull, Norwich, Truro or Swansea, all of whom must travel miles to attend gigs or fly abroad.
So all in all, I”m quite satisfied living where I do for concerts and flights and I’m quite looking forward to a day out in Glasgow, hoping it’s as enjoyable as the last time I went to a gig there to see AC/DC at Hampden Park.
I just hope that if Johnno and the boys do embark on another Arena tour in the UK, he forgives the good folk of Tyneside for 1997 and plays in front of his own people once more.

Ian Murtgah