Stereophonics – Live Review – Scarborough Open Air Theatre

Stereophonics at Scarborough

By @Steve Crabtree, July 2018

On yet another glorious evening (I’m writing that sort of thing a lot lately), Scarborough Open Air Theatre played host to yet another giant of the British music scene recently.

Welsh rockers Stereophonics were the latest big-name to sell out here.  And with a crowd of mainly mid-30 to mid-40 year olds, we were clearly in the mood for another big show.

Stereophonics at Scarborough

“One of the coolest British frontmen”

Stereophonics came on to heroic applause at 8.:45pm, and kicked off with ‘C’est La Vie’. Lead man Kelly Jones had everyone eating out of his hand early doors, taking his place on a ramp leading in to the audience, and it was a fantastic intro which felt great in the fresh, summer air.

‘Caught By The Wind’ and ‘A Thousand Trees’ quickly followed. The ‘Phonics showing us why they’ve had such a long and successful career.

Back in the day, I enjoyed some of the Stereophonics very early hits. But in an era where there was a huge array of spectacular guitar bands, they didn’t stay on my radar.  I’d have been a fool not to have come along to see them tonight given the chance though. People speak so highly of their live act, and so far, it was clear why.

Stereophonics at Scarborough


They were class. The band, mainly all in their mid-forties still look relevant, and front man Jones is easily one of the coolest British front men we’ve got.

In an energetic setlist, the soothing ‘Have A Nice Day’ toned the mood down temporarily and sat nicely in the air as the sun went down. And ‘Indian Summer’ had the entire crowd in awe with a contender for song of the night.

The performance was tight. Full of energy, and their stage presence incredible.

We were treated to a beautiful version of ‘Handbags and Gladrags’, ‘Mr Writer’ and ‘Just Looking’.  With a hit-fuelled set, they closed up with the deliciously jarring ‘The Bartender And The Thief” which had the light show to match.

But, of course, they weren’t finished there.

Stereophonics at Scarborough

“Darkness and strobes”

The crowd ordered more, and the band threw themselves back on stage and gave us a four-song encore under darkness and strobes. ‘Chances Are’ proceeded the amazing ‘Local Boy in the Photograph’ (which everyone sang along to). ‘Mr and Mrs Smith’ went down well, especially when drummer Jamie Morrison appeared on the ramp on the second drum kit of the evening to wallop out an incredible drum-solo.

Completing the show was a pulsating, grinding version of ‘Dakota’ much to everyone’s delight. And with that, the band took their bows, with Jones staying around a while to lap up the adulation. Well deserved it was too.

The Stereophonics have been the latest to send everyone home with the adrenaline running and a smile of their face. And If I were the venue organisers, I’d be getting worried!  The legends and big hitters they’ve had at Scarborough this summer have been nothing short of phenomenal. They’ve raised the bar very high.  How will they follow this year’s programme in 2019? It’s going to be tough!

Images: Cuffe & Taylor and Steve Crabtree


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