"You couldn't have asked for a better crowd" - Sam Fender's iconic gigs at St James Park one year on

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It has already been a year since the city was taken over by a certain lad from North Shields.

It takes a lot for an artist to sell out two consecutive nights at St James Park, but one year ago this week Sam Fender became the first local hero to be welcomed by a capacity crowd at the city centre stadium.

With just two studio albums under his belt, the North Tyneside singer songwriter was able to use his clear love for the local area, heartfelt lyrics and Springstten-esque songwriting to not only bring in fans from across Tyne and Wear, but the country in a celebration of North East music.

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The first show was announced nearly a year in advance on Friday, September 2 while another date was added due to huge demand five days later.

With support coming from Fender’s favourite local acts, the two nights of music felt like a true celebration of a modern North East scene.

Fans with tickets for Friday, June 9 saw local act Hector Gannet, Fender’s label-mate Holly Hunberstone and Inhaler kick off the evening while the show the following day started with was North Shields act Ernie, London’s Wunderhorse and Holly Humberstone once again.

Local companies also got in on the action with a Greggs collaboration seeing the brand’s Grainger Street shop transformed into a Fender: Unplugged event over the two evenings.

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Inside the Sam Fender and Greggs collaboration 'Greggs Unplugged.'Inside the Sam Fender and Greggs collaboration 'Greggs Unplugged.'
Inside the Sam Fender and Greggs collaboration 'Greggs Unplugged.'

Fans who gained access were able to enjoy further live music from Kay Greyson, Bugman, The Peevie Wonders, Cortney Dixon and Chintzy Stetson as well as food and special editions of Newcastle Brown Ale.

Back in St James Park, Fender welcomed two special guests to the stage, one on each night. The first saw his brother Liam - something the older brother is still struggling to come to terms with: “It was all a bit surreal if I’m honest!” he told Newcastleworld later that summer.

“I think because it all happened so fast, it’s all been a fairly meteoric rise to fame, but it was great fun. What an atmosphere, especially on home turf.”

Liam Fender at St James Park on night one. Liam Fender at St James Park on night one.
Liam Fender at St James Park on night one.

The two sang Bruce Springsteen’s I’m On Fire as part of the first of two shows – a song the two have fond memories of growing up.

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The following day saw another Geordie link-up when Dunston born AC/DC star Bryan Johnson made a suprise apeparance on stage.

Johnson arrived on stage to perform AC/DC megahits Back in Black and You Shook Me All Night Long.

Following the secind show, Fender took to social media saying: “The last few days have been insane. Sharing the stage with @brianjohnsontv was a dream come true.

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“When we first started seeing success with our band, me and Dean used to watch interviews of Brian to keep ourselves grounded - he is the prime example of a Geordie who has never forgotten his roots.”

The night was a standout night for everyone in attendance, and we looked back at the nights with a couple of fans in attendance.

“Sam Fender's performance at St. James' Park felt like a real bookend to his Seventeen Going Under release” said Ewan Gleadow, a former writer for NewcastleWorld.

“It meant so much to him to be on the stage at Newcastle United's stadium, and that emotional overload lent itself to the audience. I was up in the Milburn Stand and even from that far out you could tell what a special occasion it was.

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“His popularity has boomed and made performances like this a possibility for him and that can only be a good thing. You couldn't have asked for a better crowd on the night. Bring on the third album!” Alex Miller, who was also at the first night added: “Being in his hometown made it extra special; you could feel the pride and love in the air.

“It felt like we were all part of something truly special.”

Sam Fender St James Park setlists

The setlists for both shows were as follows:

Night one (Friday, June 9)

Will We Talk

Getting Started

Dead Boys

Mantra

I’m On Fire (Bruce Springsteen cover with Liam Fender)

The Borders

Spice

Howdon Aldi Death Queue

Get You Down

Spit Of You

Alright

Play God

The Dying Light

Wild Grey Ocean

Saturday

Seventeen Going Under

Hypersonic Missiles

Night two (Saturday, June 10)

Will We Talk

Getting Started

Dead Boys

Mantra

The Borders

Spice

Howdon Aldi Death Queue

Get You Down

Spit Of You

Alright

Back In Black (AC/DC cover with Brian Johnson)

You Shook Me All Night Long (AC/DC cover with Brian Johnson) Play God

The Dying Light

Wild Grey Ocean

Saturday

Seventeen Going Under

Hypersonic Missiles

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