LIVE REVIEW: The Stereophonics – Belfast SSE Arena, 15th March

LIVE REVIEW: The Stereophonics - Belfast SSE Arena, 15th March 1
Photo by Clair McAllister

As regular visitors to Ireland, The Stereophonics are well acquainted with Belfast, and up until now, they’ve always appeared to be a little too comfortable in their onstage performance, with it all feeling a little run of the mill. Until now.

The veteran Welsh rockers, who are generally called upon to grace the various Irish Summer festivals with their presence, took to the (exceedingly high) stage of the SSE Arena on 15th March, and wow, did they make their presence known. Arriving in front of the sold-out crowd amidst an impressive strobe display, Kelly Jones confidently strolled down the runway illuminated by the glow of single strip lamps, bursting into the captivating Chances Are. This paved the way for an entertaining first section of hits which included Have A Nice Day, Maybe Tomorrow, and the simply mesmerising Indian Summer, which was accompanied by a beautiful sunset display.

Photo by Clair McAllister

In preparation for the acoustic set, the arena fell into darkness, before a duo of spotlights gently rose into life, revealing a quaint set up at the tip of the runway, accented by a somewhat homely pair of lamps. The band made excellent use of their surroundings, performing 5 stripped back hits including the fan favourite – a cover of Handbags and Gladrags, and also the tour debut of Pick A Part That’s New.

The band ended their set with The Bartender And The Thief, before bursting back onstage with an absolutely mind-blowing encore of Mr And Mrs Smith, The Boy In The Photograph, and the much sought after Dakota, throwing the audience slightly with an alternative acoustic beginning, which quickly became the hit that the crowd knew and loved.

Photo by Clair McAllister

Playing for a solid 2 hours 15 minutes, the Welsh maestros earned their wages, limiting crowd interaction in favour of some serious musical grafting – a sentiment which did not go unnoticed to the adoring gathering. It cannot be denied that The Stereophonics have certainly freshened up their live act, along with surviving the curse of male pattern baldness, as they’re playing and looking better than ever, and out to convert the non-believers. 2018 is sure to be an exciting year for the underdogs of the alternative rock world.

Setlist

Chances Are

Caught by the Wind

C’est La Vie

More Life in a Tramp’s Vest

I Wanna Get Lost With You

Have a Nice Day

All in One Night

Superman

Geronimo

Graffiti on the Train

Indian Summer

Maybe Tomorrow

Acoustic B-Stage

I Wouldn’t Believe Your Radio

Pick A Part That’s New
(Tour debut)

Been Caught Cheating

Handbags and Gladrags
(Chris Farlowe cover)

Boy on a Bike

Mr Writer

Step On My Old Size Nines

Sunny

Just Looking

Traffic

A Thousand Trees

The Bartender and the Thief

Encore:

Mr and Mrs Smith

Local Boy in the Photograph

Dakota

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