Duke Special at Sage, Gateshead on 19th April 2015

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There are no two words in the English language more capable of striking fear into the heart of the repressed English man (and woman) than ‘audience’ and ‘participation’. At most gigs you can witness the odd extrovert who is prepared to sing along (usually at an embarrassingly loud volume), be the first to dance (usually badly) and provide spirited clapping (almost always outrageously out of time), but most are happy to sit or stand quietly and clap politely between songs, and generally hope that they’re never called upon to sing, dance or clap.

Imagine then the shockwaves that ran through the audience when Duke Special, at Sage Gateshead hall 2 last Sunday night, announced, somewhat sheepishly, that his voice is “wrecked – like a broken trumpet” and invited audience members, by way of self-nomination, to join him on stage to provide vocal duties on any of numbers that they so wished.

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