@Newcastle O2 Academy Newcastle, November 25 2016

What was that, Newcastle? That was stripped back rock and roll in its purest form. Four electric guitars, a base and drum kit. No backdrop, no special effects, no stage show, just plain and simple rock and roll – exactly how it should be!

Following the release of his first solo album earlier this year, Brian Fallon has embarked on his first major solo headline tour and fans hoping for Gaslight Anthem tracks will have been disappointed. This is a new chapter in Brain’s career and one that has delivered one of the best rock albums of 2016.

Without a single Gaslight Anthem song on his set list, Fallon opened with the title track from his debut album, Painkillers. From the opening lyric of ‘I feel you move…’ his unique, raspy vocals captured the Academy. This was a new man on stage, a far cry from the tired looking frontman that last played in Newcastle on the back of years of touring and a divorce hanging over his head.

Vocally, Fallon was a man reborn. A man unburdened from the constraints of a band and, as well as sounding great, he looks much healthier and happier than he has done in years as he enjoyed top class banter with the audience from start to finish.

This happiness was beautifully portrayed in Among Other Foolish Things as he smugly sang ‘love, love, love is all we need’ with a sarcastic look across his face with a shrug of the shoulders, as the crowd belted out the lyrics.

With cries for Steve McQueen from the start of the show, the Geordie crowd got their wish mid way through the set, as he strapped up his acoustic guitar and the Crowes exited the stage, before delivering the brilliant chorus of ‘I just wanted to be Steve McQueen!’

Although this was perhaps the most popular song of the night, it was Honey Magnolia when we really saw his true vocal talents, as his clever word play filled the rafters and spread warmly through the venue. This Springsteen-style track really highlights the new audience Fallon has opened himself up to, and with an almost sold out tour, the signs are looking very positive.

Even for those wishing to hear his previous work, there wasn’t a whisper of disappointment throughout, or after the show, with fans singing their way out the door. Fantastic from start to finish – if you missed this one, don’t miss out next time!