JLS made an epic return to Newcastle this weekend in their greatest hits tour. Since their rise to fame in 2008 after placing second on the X-Factor, the four-piece band has sold over six million records. The entire concert experience embodied the noughties with nostalgic hits which led the Newcastle crowd to go wild.

First, supporting act Shab wowed the crowd with pink strobe and futuristic styling. Since releasing her debut album Infinite Love Shab has generated a wide fan base hailing mostly from her native country Iran.

The Northern Echo: JLS at Utility Arena Newcastle

As a refugee who travelled alone to America at the age of 14, Shab learned to speak English while working three jobs. Utilising her experiences with the fundamentalist revolution in Iran, Shab has become a voice for women’s rights.

Her second time in Newcastle the American-Persian singer performed some of her new hit tracks like VooDoo and Pull it up. Shab engaged perfectly with the audience discussing love and the importance of self-worth in between songs. With two backing dancers the choreography was high energy and sultry all at once. Shab is definitely an up-and-coming star to watch out for.

Tinchy Stryder certainly didn’t disappoint as the second supporting act for the show. While Ghanaian-English rapper conquered the east London grime scene it's clear his popularity knows no bounds as classic noughties tunes like Spaceship had the Newcastle crowd up off their seats rapping along with the star.

The Northern Echo: JLS at Utility Arena Newcastle

With a simplistic DJ platform and dark clothes, the stripped-back set allowed the audience to focus on the lyrics of the tracks he performed on stage. The most popular track of the performance was the N-Dubz collaboration Number One, which led the space to be filled with nostalgia and truly took the audience back to 2009, in anticipation for the main event - JLS.

Appearing to roaring fans through four frames in the centre of the stage JLS opened with eyes wide shut. The atmosphere was coupled with dramatic smoke machines, trap doors and wide screens behind them that played cleverly shot scenes reminiscent of the band’s early-day music videos.

Taking place only a day before bonfire night Hulmes joked about the on-stage pyrotechnics being more impressive than any taking place outside. Gill also remarked that with Halloween past us we are entering the festive season, and so the arena was wished a Merry Christmas by the band.

The Northern Echo: JLS at Utility Arena Newcastle

Despite the fact that it has been 15 years since their rise to fame the boyband were still able to utilise their slick dance moves and sways that had fans swooning. Of course, all would not be a JLS concert without some classic Aston backflips.

It is safe to say the Newcastle JLS fanbase is very much alive with one concertgoer also celebrating attending her 39th JLS show. Newcastle fans can also boast to being one of the loudest crowds on their tour so far, alongside fans in Manchester.

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There was also a section of the performance highlighting the band's DJing skills, where Hulmes and Williams went head-to-head with Merrygold and Gill in a noughties DJ competition to add some more energy to the already electric atmosphere. With tracks from the band's X-Factor days such as Rihanna’s Umbrella and their first-ever recorded single Mary.

The Northern Echo: JLS at Utility Arena Newcastle

The performance ended in a touching tribute to the band’s roots with the on-screen stage playing a clip highlighting how the band was formed followed by an emotional encore performance of Love You More. The evening came to a close with Everybody in Love as colourful confetti rained down on the front rows of the crowd.

JLS Performed at Newcastle Utilita Arena on the 4th of November 2023.