@ Newcastle o2 Academy, December 20 2009

Kicking off with the timeless Mayfair, there were moments when this rowdy Academy affair could have been taking place two decades earlier in the much missed venue which inspired Spike’s rock and roll dreams.

There were all the tracks off the classic A Bit Of What You Fancy record, all the moves by the Quireboys’ ever youthful frontman and all the nods to a native Newcastle crowd which still welcomes this band home like returning heroes.

Time stood still while those present merrily drowned in a sea of late 80s nostalgia.

Perhaps the venue wasn’t as full as it might have been but there was ample room for all those folk who couldn’t squeeze into the smaller venue upstairs 12 months earlier. And in any case this was the biggest home crowd the Quireboys had entertained for a decade.

And entertain their jubilant fans they did. From start to finish this was one beaming smile of a gig with dual guitarists Guy Griffin and Paul Guerin once again proving why they’ve become permanent fixtures in rock’s premier league. Trading riffs and swapping solos, the pair are the glue which binds the Quireboys together – allowing talisman Spike the freedom to perform the way only he can.

Steaming through the first third of their set in a bid to build up early momentum, the boys handpicked crowd favourites from their increasingly beefy back catalogue before launching into the ABOWYF set. Tramps And Thieves sat neatly alongside Mona Lisa Smiled and of course the magnificent Mayfair got the party going in fine style.

But all of these fist pumping standards were simply the warm-up to an emotional run through of ABOWYF – the debut album shaped in LA and the record which fell one place short of topping the UK album charts.

A soulful, meandering version of I Don’t Love You Anymore was the aficionado’s highlight of choice but There She Goes Again was simply stunning. Extracting Sex Party from its rightful position and saving it for the encore was almost too calculated for a band which hasn’t always played to its strengths. But it worked. And how.

With the acoustic driven Halfpenny Dancer taking centre stage in 2010, ahead of its full release in March and a supporting tour to follow, this could be the last time for a while that Tyneside’s rock brigade witness Spike and his pals in all their electric glory. And glory is the only word to describe a fabulous conclusion to a triumphant tour.