Stars shine for Sir Bobby Robson

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Stars shine for Sir Bobby Robson

Stars shine for Sir Bobby Robson

Posted: 19 Feb 2013

Stars shine for Bobby’s birthday

By Michael Hamilton

Picture by Tim Cleasby

A galaxy of stars staged a spectacular night of music, nostalgia and laughter at the Sage Gateshead to celebrate what would have been Sir Bobby Robson’s 80th birthday.

There were tears and laughter aplenty on an emotional rollercoaster of a night as his favourite performers came together to celebrate his life with song, interview and speech, as his widow Lady Elsie proudly watched with her sons.

Opera star Russell Watson closed the three-hour extravaganza with a rousing rendition of Land of Hope and Glory as a sell-out packed house gave the star-studded cast a standing ovation.

But the penultimate performance by Gosforth guitar genius Mark Knopfler was perhaps more fitting for football’s first gentleman.

His barnstorming version of the rousing Local Hero anthem, which Sir Bobby heard at St. James’ Park just before kick-off at every home game while Newcastle United boss, caught the back of the throat.

TV’s Jim Rosenthal and former Lindisfarne singer Billy Mitchell hosted the epic event, which will raise thousands for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.

South Shields singer Joe McElderry took to the stage twice to perform Don’t Stop Believing and a Bobby and Lady Elsie favourite Nessun Dorma. And Russell Watson duetted with classical singer Faryl Smith on Barcelona – also the name of one of Bobby’s famous other football clubs, of course.

All the action and performances, interspersed with archive footage of Bobby from early playing days at Fulham to 1990 World Cup agony as England manager, were beamed onto a giant football-shaped video screen centre-stage.

And there was poignant, never-before-seen interview footage, with him reminiscing about his love of music and football, filmed before he lost his brave battle with cancer in 2009.

The show’s masterminds ex-Lindisfarne musician Ray Laidlaw – also back behind his drum-kit for the night – and director Geoff Wonfor deserve to take a huge bow for the professionally-slick but never mawkish tribute.

From the world of football his ex-Toon captain Alan Shearer, current manager Alan Pardew, protégé Andre Villas Boas, now Spurs boss, Stuart Pearce, and current Magpie players Shola Ameobi and Steve Harper (showing potential as a comedy double-act) shared touching and funny Bobby stories and cherished memories.

Tyneside folk sensations the Unthanks, impersonator Alistair McGowan, TV comedian Paul Whitehouse, local comic Brendan Healy, soul singer Ruby Turner and the Northern Sinfonia orchestra completed the glittering line-up.

North East actor Tim Healy who starred in the 1982 TV movie The World Cup: a Captain’s Tale introduced sketches from the Alf Ramsey Knew My Grandfather stage play – both told the incredible tale of how amateur minnows West Auckland FC won the first World Cup in 1909.

Mark Knopfler said: “It means a lot to me to be part of this celebration of Sir Bobby Robson at the Sage.

“Thanks to the commitment and determination of Sir Bobby and generosity of thousands of people in the North, the foundation has achieved an enormous amount in the fight against cancer. May it go from strength to strength.”

To donate please go to:

http://www.sirbobbyrobsonfoundation.org.uk/


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