Live review: Far From Saints at Newcastle’s Tyne Theatre
Live, besides a ukulele making an appearance for one song, they’re not that much of a departure from the Welsh 49-year-old’s day job either, thanks to four extra musicians being added to the three-strong line-up of Jones, Lynn and Dwight Baker that recorded their self-titled debut album, a No 5 hit upon its release in June, to beef up their sound, steering them away from its alt-country leanings and more in the direction of the straightforward brand of storytelling rock that’s been his stock-in trade since 1992.
That might have been a case of better the devil you know but two things were conspicuously different on the sixth date of their inaugural UK tour, in Newcastle last night, November 19.
One was that they were playing at the 1,100-capacity Tyne Theatre and Opera House rather than a five-minute walk away at the 11,000-capacity Utilita Arena last visited by Stereophonics in March 2022 and the other was that they’ve only got 11 songs of their own – their ten-track debut LP and stand-along digital single The Weather Left to Go – to base a setlist on, rather than a dozen albums’ worth, forcing them to throw in a handful of covers to come up with an hour and a half’s worth of entertainment.
Very entertaining they were too and obviously enjoying the intimacy of a smaller venue as they worked their way through the entirety of that thus-far-modest back catalogue, although Jones did promise that some more songs are on the way.
Most notable among last night’s covers was one of the 1981 Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty hit Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around, previously sung by Jones and Lynn on the former’s 2019 solo tour, prompting the formation of Far From Saints later that same year, though they then went on the back-burner for four years, and it’s sounding every bit as good now as it did then.
They also gave another Petty song a go, American Girl, and the Allman Brothers Band’s Midnight Rider, as well as Lynn singing Cher’s Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down) and Baker leading a jaunty shuffle through Cheap Trick’s I Want You to Want Me.
Their tour continues to Edinburgh’s Usher hall tonight, November 20, and, 13 dates on, wraps up at Cardiff’s Utilita Arena on Thursday, December 7.