Dave Stewart on heading home to Sunderland to celebrate his 70th birthday in style with Fire Station gig

One of the city’s most-successful exports says he’s looking forward to heading home to celebrate his 70th birthday in style.

Dave Stewart, who rose to fame with Eurythmics, is to perform a one-off, exclusive night of music and stories at the Fire Station Auditorium on his milestone birthday, on Friday, September 9, which sold out hours after going on sale.

One of the most accomplished and respected figures in global music, Dave’s career as a singer songwriter, producer and musician, has spanned 40 years and he has sold more than 100 million albums.

The evening, entitled Sweet Dreams Are Made of This: My Life in Music, after one of his most iconic hits, will take the audience on a journey through Dave’s colourful life.

Dave Stewart is heading home to celebrate his 70th birthday

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    Dave was last in the city in May when he performed an invite-only gig to mark the launch of his latest album, Ebony McQueen, during which he visited the city’s new £11million Fire Station Auditorium.

    He said: “I thought The Fire Station was very impressive. The way that it had been implemented, you know, allowing the space to be used for various functions from theatre to performances, and the way it looked when I first entered was very impressive.

    "I also liked the fact that it’s a long, sideways building so it has a long enough bar for people like me. Haha, no.

    "I liked the fact that it had a good space to host functions and it has enough equipment in there that would match a lot of other smaller venues. It’s perfect for something like what I’m going to do, which is talking about my life in music, but also then interjecting performances within it."


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    Dave Stewart performs a special homecoming gig at Pop Records earlier this year, to launch his new album Ebony McQueen.

    Since Dave’s time growing up in Sunderland when heavy industry still dominated the skyline and music was seen as a very Bohemian way of life, Dave has witnessed huge changes in the city’s cultural landscape.

    “Overall I’ve been seeing a vast change in the last five years amongst people in their 30s who have grabbed hold of an opportunity of creating new places to meet: new venues like Pop Recs - I thought it was an amazing place,” he said.

    “I’ve always liked Fausto’s because I’m a coffee fanatic. You know, new restaurants popping up, new ways of looking at things.


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    "I think it’s the youth/the people in their 30s, early 40s who are now taking a hold of certain situations, remodelling old buildings and turning them into something new. The embracing of the arts has been a really great thing for me to witness.

    Dave performing at Pop Recs

    "Things like, you know, the old breweries being turned into theatrical spaces or dance spaces. Anything to do with the arts and the arts being brought into a city alters the city immensely.

    "In fact, there’s a great book, The Warhol Effect, I think it’s called, that explains that in the end the value of a coffee shop, a little venue, an art gallery, creates the beginnings of a community, and that community soon becomes more valuable than the great big buildings surrounding it, as proved in the East End of London, and has been proven in Williamsburg, New York, and is going to be proven again in Detroit. So I hope Sunderland goes more and more that way.”


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    Sunderland's Pop Recs unveils new outdoor terrace for al fresco food and pints

    Dave has long been passionate about supporting emerging artists, particularly those from his home city.

    The new £11m auditorium was built on to the side of the Fire Station and opened last year

    Recently, he’s been working with Sunderland singer songwriter Faye Fantarrow who’s been recognised as one of the North East’s most promising talents after winning the prestigious 2021 Alan Hull award for writing.


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    Speaking about why he wanted to work with Faye, he said: “Well, I’m always very interested in what somebody is saying in their songs and Faye’s lyrics were very interesting and quite unique in the way that she wrote about personal subjects but allowing people to sort of dive into the crux of the song by writing really amazing ‘hooks’, you know, very catchy bits to her songs.

    “Then obviously the sound of her voice is so unique. I was in the Alan Hull documentary for a little bit talking about Winter Song, and Faye won the Alan Hull award. And so I’m sure a lot of people are impressed with her songwriting.

    "And so once we started talking on the telephone, I knew she was going to be great. And in fact, I’ve just finished making her EP here (at Dave’s studios in Barbados) and she’s just leaving this moment to catch a plane back to London and Sunderland and it sounds amazing.”

    Dave will perform at the venue next month