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Stereophonics, Forest Live Review 2019 - Earth moving performance from Wales' finest

PUBLISHED: 08:38 24 June 2019 | UPDATED: 10:58 24 June 2019

Stereophonics performing at Thetford Forest, June 2019. Picture: LEE BLANCHFLOWER

Stereophonics performing at Thetford Forest, June 2019. Picture: LEE BLANCHFLOWER

LEE BLANCHFLOWER

Much like their Welsh peers Manic Street Preachers and Feeder, the Stereophonics have quietly gone about their worldwide arena trekking playing to thousands each night for well over two decades now.

Stereophonics performing at Thetford Forest, June 2019. Picture: JASON NOBLEStereophonics performing at Thetford Forest, June 2019. Picture: JASON NOBLE

And while the lofty heights of perennial prime time radio may now be behind them, it doesn't make the five piece any less potent live.

Set amid the pleasant backdrop of Thetford Forest as the latest in Forestry England's Forest Live series of gigs (they followed Foals, Paul Weller and Jess Glynne) the British rockers were on fine form on Sunday night.

Opening proceedings were The Wind and The Wave, a mandolin and stomp box toting duo from Austin, Texas, plying their trade with gently lilting folk tunes.

A 45 minute set comprising a healthy mix of foot-stomping country and reflective Americana goes down a treat for an early evening warm-up.

Stereophonics performing at Thetford Forest, June 2019. Picture: JASON NOBLEStereophonics performing at Thetford Forest, June 2019. Picture: JASON NOBLE

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But once the Stereophonics hit the stage, it was to a rapturous welcome they were greeted like returning heroes.

Evergreen frontman Kelly Jones doesn't look like he's aged a day, and as his familiar rasp echoes out on the likes of Step on my Old Size Nines, it's like being transported back to the early 2000s.

Surprisingly, the holy trinity of Have A Nice Day, Maybe Tomorrow and Handbags and Gladrags - the latter performed as a 'pub gig' on the stage causeway - feature early on in the two hour set. But that just leaves ample opportunity for the band to stretch their legs with top tune after top tune.

An epic version of Mr Writer and anthemic Indian Summer are among the highlights, as is the Led Zeppelin-flavoured swagger of Vegas Two Times.

The Bartender and the Thief was nothing less than earth-moving thanks to a sold out Thetford crowd all leaping in unison, while song of the night is aptly a rousing singalong of A Thousand Trees.

And as the closing refrain of Dakota rings out through those thousands of trees, it's hard not to feel like those present have witnessed something truly special.

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