Sam Fender brings his Hypersonic Missiles to the Open Air Theatre

Sam Fender – Scarborough Open Air – 27/05/22

It’s a sunny Friday night and we’re all in full spirit ready for the weekend in Scarborough, however it starts early as eight-thousand lucky people manages to snap up tickets in minutes of them going on sale to dance with Sam Fender at the Open Air Theatre.

Off the back of a huge arena tour last year in support of his latest album ‘Seventeen Going Under’ Sam and his band wasted no time in planning in their biggest shows to date at London Finsbury Park and Manchester Castlefield Bowl which are undoubtably going to be fantastic. But with those shows lurking, aside some festival slots and shows with The Killers at the Emirates, where else better to warm up than the seaside?

The crowd gathers slowly as most are out enjoying the beer garden weather before the show, but the Geordie Springsteen himself is on a little earlier than usual so the Open Air is still filling up as Sam Fender walks out on stage to an almighty roar.

The show is underway with the pounding drum beat intro to ‘Will We Talk?’ which has everyone bouncing and singing along instantly. The band hold themselves effortlessly on the huge stage and are as excited as the crowd with smiles painted across their faces. ‘Getting Started’ follows and keeps the momentum flowing nicely as Sam sings out ‘I’m Only Getting Started…’ and that he is. We’re only two songs in and it feels like a mini headline festival set with fans on shoulders, drinks flying and friends dancing together in the sun.

Those who caught Sam on his Arena tour last year won’t have many surprises tonight as the set is predominantly similar to the setlist played back then, however nobody will be complaining because the show is crammed with fan favourites from start to finish with his back catalogue of indie-rock chart toppers.

Mid set it really starts to liven up with ‘Spice’ and ‘Howdon Aldi Death Queue’ which have mosh pits opening in the crowd while blasts of CO2 cannons and even bursts of fire from the front of the stage to heat things up a little more. Unfortunately, with the rowdy crowd livening up a few people let the drink take charge and started fighting, but Sam was quick to intervene and shut the scrapping down by demanding them to split up before security got involved and pulled the culprits from the crowd who quite rightly got booed by the crowd as they left the show.

From here on it’s all friendly business as the crowd sing along together to ‘Get You Down’ helping each other up on shoulders for one of the fans favourites from the new album. The breakdown has Johnny Blue Hat taking the limelight with his Saxophone solo with his fans playing air Sax on their inflatables joining into the amusement on those around them.

Aside a solid live performance Sam even fills in the silence between songs engaging with the crowd with stories leaving us all laughing including flinging hotdogs off tent poles at festivals, and a mention of remembering his dad who was warning kids away from Jimmy Saville the last and first time Sam was in Scarborough.

As ever ‘Spit Of You’ is dedicated to his father and backed with somewhat of an emotional wall built with happy memories of photographs and footage of the band as children with their parents which is suitably moving for an equally touching song.

Sam double checks with the crowd jokingly if they know how an encore works to make sure no one leaves after ‘The Dying Light’ which finds the frontman up at the back of the stage on a piano flying the Newcastle flag. It’s an unusually stripped back part of a setlist which has moved quickly, but it’s a really moving track live and it’s completed with an explosion of blue fireworks above the stage.

‘Saturday’ & Seventeen Going Under’ both have the crowd singing to kick off the songs before they’ve even got going, and the frontman doesn’t need to push the crowd to get involved who are more than keen to make sure their favourite songs close out the night. There’s no better way to finish off the night than with ‘Hypersonic Missiles’ which sounds incredible live and looks just as fantastic with the stage glowing blue and blasts of CO2 cannons and fire flying from the stage.

It may have been seen to some as a warm up show for on paper for the bigger shows to come, but Sam Fender and co. make sure they play every show like their last. It’s a fantastic set and solid performance all around, and those who are attending some of his biggest shows to date will be rubbing their hands together knowing he could yet take it to another level.

Check out the full set of live photos of Sam Fender in Scarborough here!


Photo Credit: © Danny Peart Photography 2022

Danny Peart
Editor / Live Music Photographer / Journalist at Soundcheck-Live

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