Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Here's to Local Heroes; Stars Shine at Sunday for Sammy Gig

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Here's to Local Heroes; Stars Shine at Sunday for Sammy Gig

Article excerpt

Byline: Sam Wonfor

ABURST of Local Heroism brought the house down at Newcastle City Hall last night as the Sunday For Sammy concerts thrilled a pair of sell out crowds.

Rumours and speculation are always rife as the biennial charity gigs approach, as to who will be present and correct on the surprise guest list. Previous years have seen the likes of AC/DC frontman Brian Johnson, Ant and Dec and Timothy Spall being revealed to a rapturous welcome.

And the gasps and cheers which went up yesterday as Newcastle-bred Mark Knopfler made his first appearance on stage, seemed to suggest that actor Tim Healy and his fellow concert organisers had managed to keep the big secret just that.

Not only that, but the former Dire Straits frontman had even more surprises up his sleeve... who knew he had a knack for comedy? Knopfler, as he was referred to by the cast, was the anchor of the three-hour show's running joke.

On he would come, belt out around 30 seconds of one of his most well-known tracks - Money For Nothing, Sultans of Swing and Walk of Life all featured - before being thrown off the stage by a variety of North East celebrities. Tim, his actress wife Denise Welch and footballing legend, Alan Shearer (who appeared via a pre-recorded segment on the giant 40ft screen which flanked the stage) all took their turns to dismiss his tuneful efforts, before telling him to: "play your hit, man".

After the third telling-off, he thrilled every Geordie in the place by belting out the anthemic Local Hero with the help of the accomplished North East-soaked house band behind him.

Anyone in the crowd who didn't feel the hairs on the back of their neck go funny when that saxophone kicked in should really see a doctor this morning.

Aside from the obligatory Run For Home finale (which also never fails to invoke the warm and fuzzy feelings), Local Hero provided the last element of a show which has to go down as one of the best in 10 years of Sunday For Sammy.

A pair of Auf Wiedersehen, Pet sketches, written by the show's writers Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais (who had flown in from Los Angeles), and starring Tim as Dennis, Kevin Whately as Neville, Christopher Fairbank as Moxy and Brendan Healy making a guest appearance as the Colonel, went down a storm. …

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