It’s that time of the week again when Self Made Man offers his views on the world of classic rock.

And this week it’s Southern rock in Northern England that’s the focus of his famous musings. 

I should have known really. It was more in hope than expectation that I contacted the Gateshead Sage enquiring about tickets for Lynyrd Skynyrd’s gig in November.

I’d been abroad when tickets first went on sale a couple of weeks earlier so wasn’t too surprised when the voice on the other end of the phone told me the concert was sold out and had been within hours of the first announcement.

Optimistically, I still hold out some hope of getting my hands on a couple of returns nearer the time but the band’s first appearance in the North East for many years – one of only three dates in the UK – does beg one obvious question.

Why on earth did Skynyrd’s management choose one of Tyneside’s smallest venues for a gig when demand was always going to exceed supply?

For those lucky enough to have their hands on tickets, I envy them because they are in for a treat.

I’ve already listened to Lynyrd Skynyrd’s new album Last Of A Dying Breed, which is at least as good as 2009’s God And Gun, which was a spectacular return to form for one of the pioneers of Southern Rock.

Throw in their pledge to play all the old favourites (or should that be “good ‘ole?’) such as Sweet Home Alabama, Tuesday’s Gone, Gimme Three Steps and the classic Freebird and it promises to be one of the music highlights of 2012.

And the fact that The Sage isn’t big enough to accommodate all those who’d love to see the band shouldn’t worry the chosen few, who probably can’t believe their luck that they’re going to see such a great band at a stunning venue whose acoustics put their larger rivals to shame.

But the truth is Skynyrd should be playing at a venue with greater capacity, if not the Arena, then certainly either City Hall or the Academy.

In the North East, we are now fortunate to have four decent venues and each one should be a perfect fit for specific bands.

For instance, The Sage was ideal for 10CC a few months ago while bands like Whitesnake and  UFO  are bands who could easily sell out the City Hall or the Academy.

While it’s annoying when gigs sell out because demand outstrips supply, it’s not ideal when supply is the dominant factor.

The Australian Pink Floyd were a band I first saw at the Journal Theatre along with about 800 very happy customers.

Twelve months later, I saw them at the Sunderland Empire and a year after that, they had graduated to the Newcastle Arena.

On that occasion, the move appeared justified. While the Arena was no way sold out, it felt the right stage for a band with a spectacular light show and growing popularity.

However, when they returned there within a short space of time, the turn-out was significantly down and while TAPF were as good as ever, the sparse attendance did make it feel like less than an occasion.

Since then, the band have downsized to the City Hall, a move which has paid off for venue and band are a perfect fit.

Of course, if I do manage to see Lynyrd Skynyrd at The Sage, I’ll be in selfish mode, without a thought for the hundreds of rock fans who would have loved to see them live, perhaps for the last time in this region.

But right now the arrangement feels a bit like trying to throw an Olympics party in a telephone box.

Simon Rushworth