Saturday 6 June 2020

Stereophonics at Westonbirt review: Welsh rock the wet could not wipe out

A sell-out sea of raincoat- and welly-wearers rocked out to Stereophonics at Westonbirt Arboretum, in a sensational Forest Live concert the British summertime downpours didn’t dampen.

The throngs arrived early

The first chance to see Stereophonics live at Westonbirt Arboretum was snapped-up by gig-goers from Gloucestershire and beyond – with tickets to see Kelly Jones’ iconic British band selling out within minutes.

Despite days and days of rain beforehand – and the weather forecast looking decidedly damp for the Thursday 14 June 2019 concert – the throngs arrived early at the muddy Forestry Commission attraction, near Tetbury – optimistically laden with picnic blankets, hampers and camping chairs.

And before the support band, the meteorologically-sounding Austin duo The Wind and the Wave, took to the stage it seemed like the dry skies might, just might, hold out…


Hit-after-familiar-hit


But, by the time the rock guitars, stadium lighting and Kelly’s unmistakably-gravelly voice were all blaring out across the sea of Westonbirt’s raincoat and welly-wearers, the drizzle had descended. With hoods firmly up, the dancing audience seemed undeterred.

Smashing out hit-after-familiar-hit, the outdoor concert featured a classic back catalogue of Stereophonics’ anthems and impressive guitar solos – including ‘The Bartender and Thief’, ‘Local Boy’, ‘Handbags and Gladrags’ and ‘Have a Nice Day’, all rousing the most raucous of sing-alongs from the Westonbirt crowds, before an energetic encore finale of ‘Dakota’.

But, one of the unlikely highlights for the SoGlos team was the rendition of ‘Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around’ (a Stevie Nicks’ ballad written and performed with Tom Petty) that Kelly and The Wind and the Wave’s frontwoman Patty Lynn performed as a bluesy duet. Quite a memorable and unexpected treat.


An ultra-professional performance

Ridiculously big bar queues and muddy home-time carpark chaos aside, as regular Westonbirt concert-goers, what Stereophonics’ concert lacked in terms of that warm and friendly picnicking atmosphere, was made up for in the sheer professionalism of the stage show.

With almost 25 years of rock concert and festival headlining under his individual belt, Kelly Jones gave the slick, ultra-professional performance you’d expect from this veteran of the British music scene, very much supported by the Stereophonics’ additional members.

The capacity crowds of almost 10,000 gig-goers – and the SoGlos team included – all pleased to have experienced Stereophonics live in the most unique of Gloucestershire venues.


SoGlos loves…

The calibre and sheer variety of the Forest Live concerts continues to impress, with a game of guess-the-Westonbirt-acts an annual pastime in the SoGlos office.

With concerts from the likes of Stereophonics, Jack Savoretti and Paul Weller in 2019; and George Ezra, Paloma Faith, Olly Murs and Tom Jones in previous years, we already can’t wait to discover who will be playing Westonbirt Arboretum in 2020.


For more information on the Forest Live concerts visit forestryengland.uk.

By Michelle Fyrne

© SoGlos
Sunday 16 June 2019

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