Richard Hawley Live – Sheffield Crooner Celebrates His City At Hometown Arena Show

Motorpoint Arena, Sheffield
November 6, 2015

“It’s not where you’re from, it’s where you’re at,” says a pseudo-philosophical Richard Hawley, tapping his forehead with a knowing wink. “Although it helps if you’re from Sheffield.” The revered singer-songwriter is playing his biggest ever hometown show and tonight he’s celebrating the city itself, shouting out local neighbourhoods after fiery opener ‘Which Way’. “Anyone from Pitsmoor?” he asks. “Anyone from Manor Top?” Someone replies with “Nottingham” and Hawley looks aghast. “Let’s play a fucking song,” he grumbles as the gorgeously nostalgic strings of ‘Tonight The Streets Are Ours’ sweep in.

Last time Hawley appeared at Sheffield Arena, he was guesting with former bandmates Pulp during the Britpop icons’ triumphant reunion swan song. Tonight, though, a curtain has been drawn to cut the arena in half and create a more intimate atmosphere for the singer to showcase eighth album ‘Hollow Meadows’.

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Unashamedly sentimental album opener ‘I Still Want You’ is dreamy and blissful as Hawley spends the chorus growling the title to make every mum in South Yorkshire weak at the knees. He quickly curtails the charm offensive with a tale about the taxi driver he met on the way to the gig: “He told me Sheffield’s been twinned with Las Vegas – they’re the only two places on earth you can pay for sex with chips.”

Cuts from 2012’s Mercury-nominated ‘Standing At The Sky’s Edge’ lend themselves perfectly to a room this size, with the thunderous Gallagher swagger of ‘Leave Your Body Behind You’ paving the way for a screeching, climactic solo; and a whirlwind ‘Down In The Woods’ jamming out into a wild crescendo. It’s tearjerker ‘Open Up Your Door’ that gets the biggest cheer when Hawley croons its first line, though, and a spellbinding ‘Coles Corner’ that has lovestruck spooning couples swaying throughout.

“Off to Fagans now for a pie and a pint,” says Hawley, plugging his favourite town centre pub before closer ‘The Ocean’. As he leaves the stages with two thumbs up and his own positive assessment of the show – “double reyt!” – no one can say he hasn’t earned it.

Richard Hawley played:

‘Which Way’
‘Tonight The Streets Are Ours’
‘Standing At The Sky’s Edge’
‘I Still Want You’
‘Leave Your Body Behind You’
‘Sometimes I Feel’
‘Open Up Your Door’
‘Tuesday pm’
‘Time Will Bring You Winter’
‘Down In The Woods’
‘Don’t Stare At The Sun’
‘Heart Of Oak’
‘There’s A Storm Comin’’
‘Coles Corner’
‘The Ocean’

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