SUCH is the diversity of music available to see in Newcastle at the moment meant that it was possible to see Thrash titans Slayer at the Metro Radio Arena last week and at the other end of the spectrum, the legendary The Osmonds at St. Nicholas Cathedral a few days later and every conceivable genre of music across the city in its multitude of venues over the intervening days. There truly is something for everyone at this thriving time for music in the North.

Set in the stunning 14th century St. Nicholas Cathedral, it`s hard to imagine a more beautiful or appropriate place for their Christmas show and with atmospheric lighting, candles and decorations this was just the night to get everybody in the Christmas spirit.

Following the official retirement of Wayne and Alan after their emotional final show in Hawaii a couple of weeks ago it`s now down to Jay and Merrill to fly the flag for the longest running and most successful boy band of all time. The boys may now be men but the fun and energy of a show by The Osmonds is still a big draw for their devoted fans.

With a set based on Christmas favourites from their latest album, Very Merry Rockin` Good Christmas, including Winter Wonderland and Run Run Rudolph and a rather fine take on Little Drummer Boy that allowed Jay to show some serious chops on the drums. It`s no wonder that none other than Led Zeppelin`s John Bonham invited him up on stage at Earl`s Court in the `70`s to accompany him on Stairway To Heaven. Quite an endorsement.

Throughout the evening of Christmas cheer that also included Merry Christmas Everybody by their `70`s contemporaries Slade and Wham`s classic, Last Christmas, The Osmonds dropped in a fair few of their own hits.

One Bad Apple complete with video clips of their own `70`s cartoon show brought memories flooding back and Love Me For A Reason had a multitude of hands swaying in the air and featured a rather effective video showing the brothers providing backing vocals, while Let Me In brought a collective wistful sigh from the star struck crowd.

Both Jay and Merrill constantly engaged with the crowd, telling stories and cracking jokes and Merrill spent as much time in the crowd as much as he did on stage much to the delight of the selfie hunters in the audience.

What made this show more astonishing is that Merrill tragically lost his son, Troy, just a few days earlier and the show was dedicated to his memory.

Dipping into their vaults for a superb medley of songs from their ambitious album, The Plan just showed what a talented group of writers, singers and performers The Osmonds were and of course Crazy Horses, with Jay on lead vocals, rocked as hard as any Metal group and sounded magnificent. Quite how the 14th century masonry of the cathedral handled it is another question. Just as well that Silent Night brought the show to a more sedate, serene and very Christmassy end.

Mick Burgess