The moment Sam Fender walked out on to the Hydro stage, it erupted.
It’s not surprising considering just before the gig started the hydro announced online that the evening’s gig was the largest indoor gig in Glasgow ever.
Opening strong with ‘Will we talk’ got the crowd up and excited with the unrelenting guitars and strings. At this point everyone knew they were in for a ride.
Speaking to the crowd he took the time to thank Glasgow as it was here that things first started to blow up. He commented that although it hurts his heart that Glasgow is a better crowd than his hometown Newcastle he can’t deny it. A quick jib to his Scottish born pal Lewis Capaldi was made at the fact that it was him that achieved the record breaking gig. Compliments mixed with profanities lead into ‘Getting Started’ another crowd pleaser.
Fender is known for using brass instruments in his songs like saxophones and trumpets and watching Johnny ‘Bluehat’ Davis effortlessly play those instruments in songs like ‘Mantra’ was quite a sight and elevated the concert to another level. This combined with Sam and his guitarist, Drew, bouncing off each other as Sam flew around the stage kept the crowd hyped throughout every song.
What comes across when Sam Fender performs is how proud he is of his roots. North Shields born, then moved to the Borders of Scotland his songs speak of his struggles growing up in a beautifully cathartic way. Before the opening chords of ‘The Borders’ he spoke about his time in Scotland growing up and how a lot of his first experiences were in Scotland making jokes about blaming Scotland for the bad decisions made.
Before launching into ‘Spice’ and ‘Howdon Aldi Death Queue’ he told the crowd ‘if there are any songs for a mosh pit, it’s these next two’. The aggressive beats and intense guitar matched the pit of the hydro and for the next 10 minutes it seemed everyone had lost their minds to the Sam Fender beat.
The crowd calmed slightly as ‘Get you Down’ played followed by his emotional ballad about his father, ‘Spit of you’.
The pace slowed slightly as Sam moved to the back of the stage. Blue light illuminated a piano which he sat at and began playing the meleconly opening to ‘The Dying Light’. People’s torchlights came on as everyone united behind the soft piano keys. Coming forward to sing the middle of the song the emotion and music swelled as he hit the final note and confetti cannons burst out to the crowd as the instrumental played out.
He surprised the crowd by starting his encore with an acoustic version of his song ‘Angel in Lothian’ a song about an area in the East of Scotland and the thoughts he battles with surrounding his childhood. A song that does not normally feature on setlists but an exception was made in Glasgow and it went down a storm. The reciprocated love between Scotland and Sam Fender showed strong that night as the crowd followed Sam seamlessly into ‘Saturday’ singing at his command and continuing the chorus rift after the song finished.
As the 14000 strong crowd sang his own music back at him unprompted the singer just stared out to each and every one. For such a large concert it was a beautifully intimate moment.
A touching moment before he launched into his final two encore songs where Fender spoke about Taylor Hawkins and the impact he and the Foo Fighters had on everyone in his band, specifically his own drummer, Drew Michael.
The last two songs were a perfect tribute to the rock legend. The drums in both Seventeen going under and Hypersonic Missiles seemed amplified in Glasgow that night as his two best rock songs played throughout the arena.
There was no doubt in Glasgow that night that Sam Fender is one hell of a performer and he will only be going up from here. A night to remember for many and it is clear Glasgow will always welcome Sam Fender back with open arms and hoarse voices.
Featured image – Sam Fender Instagram