We left Perth in early Spring sunshine, heading down the east coast, past Lindisfarne - the island, not the band. No fog on the Tyne today! - bypassing Berwick upon Tweed, and rolling in to Gateshead around 2pm.
We have performed in some beautiful venues on this trip. This is one of the finest.
The Sage contains three performance spaces; a 1,700-seater, a 450-seater and a smaller rehearsal and performance hall. Structurally it is three separate buildings, insulated from each other to prevent noise and vibration travelling between them. A special 'spongy' concrete mix was used in the construction, with a higher-than-usual air capacity to improve the acoustic, and the three buildings are enclosed, but not touched, by the now-famous glass and steel shell.
Critics say it resembles a large slug, or a shiny condom, but in today’s sunlight it stands as a proud testament to the musical history and legacy of the North East.
Below the concourse level is the Music Education Centre, where workshops, community music courses and day-to-day instrumental teaching take place in over 20 individual, sound-proofed rooms, one of which is also a recording studio.
Simon, Nick, Ron and I drop our gear in the dressing room and take off for a walk over the stunning Millennium Bridge and in to Newcastle. We spot Terl sneaking a quiet coffee in Starbucks and cajole him into joining us for a stroll. I think he really wanted some peace and quiet! Life on the road doesn’t always allow for ‘me time’.
After the show we jump in the van and get a head start for Birmingham, driving the hour or so to Scotch Corner where we spend the night in the Holiday Inn. Danica heads off to bed early as she is leaving early, by train, to sing at a friend’s wedding tomorrow, before joining us in Birmingham…. busy times.