Ben Haenow was in the North East on his first headline UK tour last weekend at the O2 Academy.

If you don't remember, Ben was crowned the winner of X Factor 2014, had the Christmas number one with 'Something I Need' and then released 'Second Hand Heart' featuring Kelly Clarkson, closely followed by his self titled debut album.
Since then Ben has parted ways with Syco, but that hasn't stopped him touring the UK this April, with Newcastle being his second date.

I always love the atmosphere of a gig in the Academy... there's something more real and intimate about it than in an arena, and this was a gig which most definitely did not disappoint.
There was no big production, no flashing lights, no fireworks and no dancers, just a live band and Ben's raspy, gravelly, some may say (myself included) sexy vocals, and that's all that was needed, he owned the stage and the crowd from beginning to end.

After support act James Plimmer, Ben burst onto the stage with a couple of his album tracks and his most recent single before blasting out a cover of The Beatles 'Come Together', which you may remember him performing on XFactor.
This was followed by a few of the more powerful rock/pop tracks from Ben's album before he simplified things with an acoustic performance of the beautiful 'Every Tear' which was backed up by his brother Alex on guitar.

The crowd was really mixed, there were teenage girls, groups of women (who showed their appreciation by throwing underwear onto the stage!), groups of men and couples of all ages ... it was really nice to see how diverse Ben's music really is and how he still has a strong group of fans backing him.
Although it felt as though everyone in the crowd were familiar with Ben's album tracks, he kept things varied with a fun cover of Marvin Gaye's 'Heard It Through The Grapevine'... I'm still disappointed he didn't cover any Maroon 5 songs though, I had my fingers crossed for a medley!

The encore came too quickly, it really felt like Ben had only been onstage for a matter of minutes... The extremely loud crowd made it clear that they hadn't had enough yet, stamping their feet and chanting 'we want Ben!'.. He couldn't contain his happiness when he came back to finish the show, claiming it was the best crowd he had ever performed to.
The show finished with the number one single 'Something I Need', which the crowd sang back at the top of their voices, making Ben a little emotional... it was a brilliant way to end, although I could have listened to him singing for much longer!

The 'One Night Tour' is happening right now, so if you want to see Ben before it's too late you can buy tickets here, he's still got dates in Croydon, Ipswich, Birmingham, Bristol and Sheffield.
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