Singer on her mettle, if not her metal: Nanci Griffith live at the Sage Gateshead

She might have hit one bum note – literally – but Nanci Griffith was on excellent form on her visit to the Sage to plug her new album, Intersection.

The 58-year-old established a good rapport with the audience by introducing each song with an anecdote, offering an insight into the inspiration behind it.

One of the highlights of her 80-minute set was Bethlehem Steel, one of several tracks from her new album given an airing, but that was also where she struck her bum note.

Bananarama, of all people, had the good grace to confine themselves to making mention of the actor Robert De Niro’s apparent willingness to hang around and his grasp of the Italian language in their 1984 single Robert De Niro’s Waiting, but not Griffith.

The song was preceded by a story of De Niro’s butt, as it appeared in the 1978 film The Deer Hunter, apparently 47 minutes into the movie, we were informed with worrying accuracy.

Less accurate was the Texan’s claim that this noteworthy shot was filmed in Bethlehem in Pennsylvania as the movie was actually shot elsewhere in the state, in and around Pittsburgh, robbing the line ‘Robert De Niro will never run naked again, through the streets of Bethlehem’ of whatever poignancy it might have had among those yearning for another glimpse of the Taxi Driver star’s backside.

Other highlights included Across the Great Divide, Tequila After Midnight and her encore, Hell No (I’m not alright), described by Griffith as the first anthem of a career stretching back to the late 1970s.

ANDREW HUTSON