A rapturous crowd offered a hero’s welcome to Sam Fender this week when he returned to home soil for a sell-out show at Newcastle's Utilita Arena. Lauren White was there to soak up the atmosphere...

The star bounded on stage with fellow local bandmates Dru Michael, Dean Thompson, Joe Atkinson and Tom Ungerer, following sax player Johnny Bluehat’s rendition of NUFC anthem ‘Local Hero’.

Six flags adorning the football club’s crest were flown at full mast either side of the stage, just a month after Fender and Bluehat appeared outside St. James’ Park celebrating the takeover completion.

READ MORE: Sam Fender celebrates with Newcastle fans outside St James'

From the off, the show was electrifying, with Fender opening to his irresistible rock song ‘Will We Talk’. An instant warm up for an already buzzing crowd, the star could hardly believe the sheer volume of people singing his lyrics back to him. Turning to his bandmates, Fender exclaimed: “This is mad, this!”

The setlist was a combination of songs from his debut ‘Hypersonic Missiles’ and brand new ‘Seventeen Going Under’ - both of which secured Fender number one album in the charts.

The Northern Echo:

The 27-year-old told the crowd that the title track of his newest record is the closest he’s ever gotten to achieving a UK top ten single, and that doing so would “change things” for the band forever. Currently ‘Seventeen Going Under’ is at number two in the iTunes Chart.

New tunes ‘Get You Down’, a stirring guitar-led crescendo about a failing relationship, and ‘Mantra’, a laid-back attack on capitalism, enticed the crowd just as much as some of Fender’s older, already classics.

Those classics included the crowd-pleaser ‘Saturday’, with its anthemic chorus and unforgettable chords and ‘The Borders’ - Sam Fender’s personal favourite from his first album.

READ MORE: When Sam Fender had audience in the palm of his hand in Stockton

Of course, the concert ended with the song where it all began, ‘Hypersonic Missiles’. The audience adored every second, and on the final belt, an avalanche of confetti fell from the ceiling, making for one of the most incredible displays the arena has ever seen.

It was a special evening for all involved, not least because the pandemic had postponed the gig for 19 months, but because of the sheer joy etched on the faces of Fender and Co. up on the stage.

Durham politics and philosophy grad Lauren White is a trainee journalist @sheffjournalism. She is editor-in-chief @nebeep. She tweets at @lxurenwhite