On an evening when sub-zero temperatures raged on Wearside, the best place you could be on such a night was indoors. However, that didn't stop guitar virtuoso Tommy Emmanuel's loyal fanbase from descending upon Sunderland.

Perhaps, there was a certain degree of irony in the location, that being the Fire Station on such a cold evening, where a sold-out crowd and feverish music provided warmth and entertainment for those gathered. Whilst support act, US-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Molly Tuttle did a thorough job of warming up the audience with her wonderful brand of Americana and wonderful guitar playing to boot.

By his admission, it was the first time Tommy Emmanuel had performed in Sunderland. So, he could be excused for addressing the audience upon arrival as "Hello Geordies". The artist quickly corrected his faux pas and was forgiven the moment he picked up his acoustic guitar. Although he did joke about playing songs by other Tyneside luminaries such as Mark Knopfler or Hank Marvin, much to the audience’s amusement.

Perched on a stool on the edge of the stage and sporting a dark suit jacket, the antipodean guitar great got the show underway with four back-to-back instrumental numbers. His incredible and somewhat groundbreaking style of play in places is reminiscent of greats such as Django Reinhardt.

The many guitarists in the audience were transfixed by the artist’s very move. Tommy’s playing is not only in a league of its own, but it’s also highly entertaining. The guitarist loves to fool around whilst performing, and whilst overseeing his virtuoso playing, you have to watch what both hands are doing. He plays so fast that he often combines sleight of hand with guitar trickery. Whether playing percussion on the body of his guitar or accentuating a note by simply pointing a finger at a spot on the fretboard, the artist delivers a show that is somewhat different to most traditional solo guitarists.

For the guitar aficionados’, part of the show seemed to turn into somewhat of a workshop as Tommy walked the audience through his guitar settings and pre-gig routine. He declared that he was feeling the mojo in the room, which in turn brought a calmness to the artist, which he enjoyed, allowing the guitarist to give his best performance. And that he did.

The show featured a nice balance of instrumental guitar compositions along with songs with vocal accompaniment. Highlights included a spellbinding performance of Somewhere Over The Rainbow, a cover of the Delmore Brothers Deep River Blues, his take on Martin Taylor’s One Day, and Never Too Late.

Tommy joked, "Are there any Rolling Stones fans in? Good, here's some Beatles for you," before proceeding with a unique medley of the Fab Four's greatest hits. Tracks including, I Feel Fine, Please Please Me, While My Guitar Gently Weeps and Day Tripper all featured in the mix and worked so well in this arrangement.

As the artist hurtled towards the finish line, he invited Molly Tuttle back to the stage, where the dynamic duo performed several tracks together. Molly featured on Tommy's latest album Accomplice Two, and collectively dipped into that release with a cover of Townes Van Zandt’s White Freight Liner Blues. The pair also shared the stage during Salt Creek, St Anne’s Reel, and a harmonious rendition of A Crooked Tree.

Tommy Emmanuel holds a rare title, that of CGP, or Certified Guitar Player. An acronym bestowed upon him by the late great Chet Atkins. And throughout the evening, the headliner certainly lived up to that very title and so much more.