REVIEW: Metro Radio Live, Metro Radio Arena

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METRO Radio Live certainly lived up to its reputation of hosting the biggest pop party in the North East.

Thousands were entertained at Newcastle’s Metro Radio Arena for a staggering three hours by no less than thirteen top pop acts, five of which came from the X Factor.

The stellar line up included some of the biggest stars in the UK, including cheeky-chappy Olly Murs, Leona Lewis and North East favourites Amelia Lily and Little Mix.

Deafening cheers from the crowd began as Metro Radio’s Steve and Karen took to the stage to welcome everyone to the sold-out show, before London-based band Lawson kicked off the pop-party in style.

Their top-ten hit Standing In The Dark guaranteed the first of many sing-a-long moments for the evening.

New-comer Angel brought his unique vibe to the mix while Scouting for Girls worked the crowd into a frenzy and bagged a sing-a-long to breakthrough hit She’s So Lovely.

R&B girl band Stooshe were a pleasant surprise - the trio showcased stunning live vocals with a cover of TLC’s Waterfalls and popular single Black Heart.

Rising star and teen heartthrob Conor Maynard blasted away any Justin Bieber references with his energetic performance of Can’t Say No and Turn Around.

Rapper Labrinth added some swag to the evening and showed there’s more to him than meets the eye as he performed Express Yourself, Beneath Your Beautiful and Earthquake.

After a short twenty minute interval the party continued as McFly rocked out to Five Colours in Her Hair before doing more mature material, Love Is Easy and Shine A Light. After the band announced it was Dougie’s birthday, fans lapped up the lads banter and gifts of drumsticks, sweaty towels and guitar picks, that were thrown into the crowd.

Flipping things back to urban R&B, Misha B gave it her all with Home Run but for some reason it didn’t seem to have the desired effect on the audience, who were at their quietest.

I was left wondering if this talented lady’s career may be short-lived?

Multi-platinum selling artist Leona Lewis was sensational as she did a stripped-down acoustic set which included new track Lovebird.

It was hard to believe her position in the line-up, it would have been nice to see her higher up the bill ahead of DJ Fresh who, granted, turned up the tempo with Hot Right Now and left the audience wanting more.

The party was in full swing as feisty Boro-babe Amelia Lily strutted on stage shouting, “it’s good to be home Newcastle” before thrashing out her top ten hit, You Give Me Joy and new single Shut Up (And Give Me Whatever You Got).

Little Mix, which stars South Shields girls Jade Thirlwall and Perrie Edwards, also claimed it’s “good to be home” and thanked everyone for their support.

Together with Jesy Nelson and Leigh-Anne Pinnock, they went on to steal the show, as they performed DNA, new song Change Your Life and number one single Wings.

With pitch-perfect vocals and slick choreography, it’s easy to forget these girls were put together on a talent show.

Essex lad Olly Murs headed up the evening and until he thrust and shimmied his way across the stage to screams and cheers I had never seen the fascination with him.

Credit where credit’s due, he did his thing completely solo with no need for backing singers or a band and opened with Dance With Me Tonight before closing with Troublemaker.

• Metro Radio Live will be back next year on Friday November 29, 2013. Tickets are one sale now from £25 and are available online, from the booking hot line number 0844 493 6666, and in person at the Metro Radio Arena Box Office.

Marie Westmoreland