I love love love love Newton, and I think everybody in the world should. He is funny, has amazing talents, sees the world as it is and puts it into beautiful songs. It’s been a while since I have seen him, Cornbury Festival 2010, so there was no chance I would miss him this time.

Neil and I got tickets for the Oxford show, much to the envy of my daughter….!
We know the venue quite well, so we leave as soon after work as possible.
The drive was fine, and as we pass the o2 Oxford Academy we couldn’t see a queue at all, result!
Parked the car, wandered down to the venue, still, nobody. We ask one of the security guys where the queue would be, he points to the main door and said just down there. I look down at the barrier, it actually says “priority queue”, I have never seen one in Oxford, quick check with the man, and yes, it is a priority queue……and we are the very first!! I’m excited now, centre front for Newton Faulkner, I text it to my daughter Jane in Paris, she says “blow him a kiss”, well, my guess is I could properly reach out and give him a kiss, the venue is small and I’m sure the barriers will be close to the stage. We timed it perfectly today, people are arriving and long queues are forming on either side.
The doors open, bag checked, ticket shown…..and the race is on. Both sides, priority and main doors are opened simultaneously, not having used this entrance before it takes me a little longer to find my way, I still get to the centre front….exciting!
Next to me is a young man, Liam and his friend Jess, Liam is just as excited as I’m to see Newton, for Jess, it will be the first time. She won’t be disappointed.

There are two support band tonight, first up are Union Starr, a couple of guys on a couple of boxes with a couple of guitars. As they came on the stage they looked around the crowd asking if one of us would be willing to film their set. He chose a young girl at stage left and passed her the camera. They call themselves Union Starr, and usually there are a few more band members, 7 in all I think. But today we just got the two boys, and I have to say, I really enjoy their set. They are funny, chatty and musically talented. Before they went off stage the camera was retrieved and the young lady got a free CD….nice touch! We are impressed and would tell anyone to catch them if they play at a venue near you. I do get a set list too, good start, like it!!

The second support band is Emily and the Woods, a pretty young girl; it is her, her guitar and a shy looking young man. Emily is managed by Lottie Faulkner, Newtons other half, and the young man is in fact Emily’s brother Ben.
She has some nice tunes and lyrics, she has a good stage presence and talks just enough. Emily introduces her brother and explains that he is not always on stage with her, and we even get treated to a smile from him. We did especially like her cover of Landslide by Fleetwood Mac, Emily and the Woods you did well, worth keeping an eye on. Ben actually jumps off the stage at the end to pick up a set list that was thrown and dropped…..that was a lovely thing to do 🙂

One thing really irritates me about people though, they arrive early stand near the front and continuously chat though the support bands, how disrespectful is that to the performer on stage and the people that actually want to listen to them? Just behind me I had one of those guys, a squeaky irritating voice on top of it…..poor Emily must have found that very distracting.

More people have arrived now and it is starting to get warm with so many bodies pushing forward. It just shows, everybody loves Newton, and so they should!! His little stage set-up is a little bit further back; he comes on stage with no shoes on, just socks. I love the way he shortened his long deadlocks at the front, assuming so they don’t interfere with his guitar.
He is surrounded by an array of instruments, a few guitars, a drum, a keyboard and an old fashioned globe, one of those that used to be used as a mini bar. I’m curious to see how he is going to play all of them at once. Newton starts with “Pulling teeth”, and by the time he sang “people should smile more” every single person in the room belonged to him. Newton is an amazing entertainer, he chats in between songs and it feels as if you are in his living room for a little jamming session. At some point he turns around and opens the globe (yes I was right, it is one of those bar things), he hasn’t got any spirits in it but a tea pot and mug with a big N on it…..brilliant, he fills up the mug and takes a sip before closing the globe again. Every so often he returns to take another sip of tea, love love love it. He plays many many of the old favourites, “Teardrop” “Catch me if you can” “I need something” “Pick up your broken heart” and a track called “Bricks” that is out on EP soon. Liam next to me knows all the lyrics and sings along happily and I think Jess loves it too; even Mr. Irritating Voice has finally shut up. I also know now why he isn’t wearing any shoes, he uses his feet to play the drum and the keyboard thingy, at the same time he sings and plays guitar……you guys out there don’t ever tell me again you can’t multi task, here is living proof. Newton also mentioned doing a Flamenco version of a song, ahhh, not with this guitar though, he points a a different guitar and tell us fans to remind him when he picks it up next time. Sure enough when he put his hands on it a while later everybody shouted out “Flamenco”……see we were all glues to every single word Newton said.
Newton does a cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition”, awesome! I can see the words for it taped down on the pedal board in front of him. All together he plays 17songs, finishing with “sugar in the snow”.
Far too soon it is time for Newton to say goodbye, how come that time went so quickly? This has been an amazing night, Newton, with your energy and fantastic lyrics and skills you are worth every penny.

Thank you for an amazing evening, we have bought tickets to see you at Shepherds Bush meanwhile…..and you are at V-Festival….wooohooo!!!

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About FrontRowStef

Following months of putting in the necessary hours of research, I have been bullied into writing a blog about my gig experiences! I can’t claim in-depth technical musical knowledge, or a massive CD collection, but, I know what I like and what doesn’t sound good in a live setting. I’m not intending to write great reviews about bands, but more of stuff that happen to me while out and about. Like when a dear friend of mine pointed out that it looks like I’m putting my towel down when I hit the barriers at the front and claim my spot with my jacket draped over the railings. What does he mean? Is it because I’m German? Enough introductions, you will get to know me sooner or later! Oh and apparently I’m going to be referred to as Front Row Stef, simply because that is my rightful place!

4 responses »

  1. Martina Weidmann says:

    This sounds soooo goood ….. I now want to see him really !! When did you say he is playing when the luck is on my side I might just make it !

  2. Anonymous says:

    LOVE the tea pot and mug in the globe idea!

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