The front of the hall
|Former names||Newcastle City Hall|
|Location||Newcastle upon Tyne, England, United Kingdom|
|Operator||Academy Music Group|
The Newcastle City Hall (currently known as O2 City Hall Newcastle for sponsorship reasons) is a concert hall located in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. It has hosted many popular music and classical artists throughout the years, as well as standup and comedy acts. The venue is operated by Academy Music Group and named under a group sponsorship agreement with telecoms company O2.
Opened in 1927, the Newcastle City Hall was built as a part of a development which also included the adjacent City Pool. It has since become a venue for orchestras, rock and pop bands, and comedy acts, as well as for celebrity recitals, talks and civic functions.
In November 2012, Newcastle City Council announced that, as part of a wider cost-cutting process, the future of the City Hall and the adjacent City Pool was under review, with a number of options being considered including closure or handing over the venue to an external operator. Council leader Nick Forbes pre-empted the outcome of the consultations process by stating that the City Hall has "No long-term future". In response, a 13,000 name petition against closure was presented to Newcastle City Council on 31 January 2013 by members of the Facebook 'North East Music History Group'. The City Pool has since closed, although the City Hall remains open.
In 1928, to create the city's first dedicated concert venue, a Harrison and Harrison organ was built. A concert instrument, as opposed to a cathedral specification, it has been used for choral and orchestral concerts as well as organ recitals. It has 4,274 pipes, with a number of unique stops and has been described as "A Rolls-Royce" of organs.
The organ is currently in a poor state of repair, although as a result of its neglect, the instrument is probably the last and largest example of a Harrison tubular-pneumatic action (most other large organs were converted to electro-pneumatic action after World War II). The organ is also unusual in that it is unaltered, as most comparable organs have been modified, added-to or revoiced.
The British Institute of Organ Studies awarded it a Grade 1 Historic Organ Certificate in 2003, and it is classified as part of the hall's Grade II status.
In July 1970, Lindisfarne made their debut appearance at Newcastle City Hall. On 7 May 1971, country rock band The Byrds performed there as part of their 1971 UK Tour in front of a sell out crowd. This was the same tour that yielded the Live at Royal Albert Hall 1971 album. In December 1976, as a one-off gig, Lindisfarne played three sell-out concerts in the City Hall. This was repeated in the following years as Lindisfarne got back together, with 132 shows in total at the venue.
In 1981, Motörhead recorded the majority of the tracks for their live album, No Sleep 'til Hammersmith, at the City Hall. The album was #1 on the UK billboard charts for almost 2 months following its release that year. That same year, Slade performed and recorded their show, which was later released as a live album, entitled Slade on Stage. Emerson, Lake & Palmer recorded their live album, Pictures at an Exhibition, there on 26 March 1971. In June 1973, Wishbone Ash recorded tracks at the City Hall for the live album Live Dates. Roxy Music recorded tracks for Viva Roxy Music at the City Hall on October 1974