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I'll be back says Sting, after blast ruins City concert...

Geordie pop star Sting, whose concert at Newcastle City Hall last night had to be abandoned following an explosion and fire, today promised his fans that he would be back.

A new concert has been fixed for February 3 and fans with tickets for last night's cancelled event were assured their tickets would remain valid.

Sting - real name Gordon Sumner - told the Evening Chronicle today that he welcomed confirmation of the rearranged concert at the City Hall.

Speaking at his Tyneside hotel before setting off for Glasgow, he said he was disappointed that last night's performance had to be cancelled.

A blast in the hall's main fuse box caused a small fire and caused a power failure just 10 minutes before the Wallsend born star was due to go on stage before 2,000 fans.

Today Sting said: ''The crowd were very understanding. They waited for two hours only to be told there was no show. I just went on stage and sang two songs without a microphone. It was very emotional for me, I think the crowd appreciated it. I would hate to have sneaked out of the building. I would have felt bad about that.''

Staff used extinguishers to put out the blaze, and then struggled to repair the damage.

Disappointed fans, including Sting's mother Audrey, other family and friends waited as staff tried to get power from the neighbouring swimming pool and a mobile generator.

Road manager Tony Burfield, of A&M Records, said ''When The Tube was filmed earlier there was a generator in use and everything worked perfectly. As soon as we switched on for the concert the fuses blew. We then did all we could to try and get hold of the generator again. But by then it was halfway to Manchester on another job.''

Promoter Harvey Goldsmith said the replacement concert would take place on February 3, before Sting goes to Milan.

Sting played acoustic guitar and sang his old Police hit 'Roxanne' and 'One World Is Enough' with a wildly enthusiastic 2,000 fans joining in.

He told the crowd; ''Thanks for your patience - I will try and get back here as soon as possible.''

City Hall manager Peter Brennan said today that tickets for last night's concert would be valid for Sting's rescheduled performance on February 3. The show will start at 8pm. He said any ticket holders who could not make the rearranged concert and wished for a refund must apply next Thursday by either calling at the City Hall box office, or returning tickets by post.

The Wallsend milkmans's son was a teacher on Tyneside before rising to international fame with the Police. Sting's two Newcastle concerts - Thursday's went on without a hitch - were his first Tyneside public appearances since 1982.

(c) The Evening Chronicle by Simon Mills & Tim Pedley