For many, Sam Fender’s second consecutive night at Victoria Warehouse was their first taste of live music in 18 months.
Few can remember the joys of standing in a crowd, hanging on to every lyric while holding a lukewarm pint which, at any moment, could go anywhere.
As soon as the lights dimmed and the stage was set, one of Fender’s five-piece band members stormed on, riling up the crowd ahead of their final night in the city.
The 27-year-old lead singer then breezed his way to the microphone, opening the night with Will We Talk.
His short-but-sweet set list was packed with hits from his first album, including The Borders, Dead Boys and Saturday, while making room for new singles Seventeen Going Under and Get You Down.
After briefly disappearing halfway through the set, Fender walked back on stage to perform a solo-rendition of Bruce Springsteen’s Dancing in the Dark.
The cover felt fitting considering the influence the American music icon has had on Fender’s guitar-based tunes.
During the interlude, Fender also played a previously unknown track The Wild Great Ocean – one of the sixty new songs he decided not to put on his upcoming album.
The Geordie artist eventually finished the concert with Hypersonic Missiles from his debut album, triggering mosh pits left, right and centre.
To a capacity crowd, the singer-songwriter ended the night thanking fans for supporting him during such a difficult period for the arts – and making his dream come true.
Socially distanced gigs filled a purpose, but Fender’s impressive performance to a full house reminds us what we have missed for so long.
Main image: David Dixon / Warehouse, Trafford Park / CC BY-SA 2.0