REVIEW: Ne-Yo, Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle

Ne-Yo at Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle.
Ne-Yo at Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle.

Hats off to Ne-Yo, the man knows how to put on a show.

Despite the arena being only half full last night, pop’s favourite titfer-wearer put on a slick performance that showed what the other half were missing.

Maybe the fact the gig was only announced a couple of months ago was the reason for the empty seats. It certainly wasn’t down to his credentials as a performer.

His is a career that’s spanned a decade, ten million album sales, Grammy Awards and collaborations with some of the biggest names in the business including Rihanna, Beyoncé and Usher.

As you’d expect from an act of his calibre, he commands the stage with ease and had the audience in the palm of his hand with every tilt of his hat and thrust of his hip.

There wasn’t any gimmicks, fancy effects or endless costume changes - aside from swapping a black sequined jacket for a red one - it was all about Ne-Yo’s smooth vocals and equally smooth moves.

The tour follows the release of sixth album Non Fiction last year, but, like a true showman, he gave the audience what they wanted with a journey down musical memory lane.

Tracks which helped make his name, Let Me Love You (which he penned for Mario), So Sick, Closer, Miss Independent and Sexy Love went down a storm and had the audience swooning thanks to his velvety vocals.

Unlike other stars of his ilk, Ne-Yo’s tracks are all about the adoration of women. He’s the gentleman of his genre.

While the rest of the crowd were left green with envy, he invited four lucky girls on stage to get closer to the star as he seduced them with his singing. Far from awkwardly shuffling about in a bid to keep up, they busted out some fittingly energetic moves - but this is Saturday night in Newcastle after all.

The gyrations continued as he broke into his newer material which moves away from his R’n’B ballads, including dancefloor filler collaborations with Pitbull, which had everyone trying to master his moves. They failed. No one does it quite like Ne-Yo.

After he well and truly charmed the crowd he whipped off his hat, flicked it into the crowd and disappeared, leaving a trail of screams and hearts in eyes. He’s one smooth operator.