This evening sees us putting on our Sunday best (it's actually a Tuesday) and heading down town to City Hall to see everybody's favourite Glaswegian popsters Deacon Blue as they pass through on their 30th anniversary tour. Yes it has really been that long since Raintown, the album which many consider to be their magnum opus was released.
Touring with Deacon Blue are the folk outfit Blue Rose Code and they will be opening this evening's proceedings as people take their seats and the huge auditorium fills up. It's perhaps unfair to label BRC's main man Ross Wilson as a folk artist as his music encompasses many genres such as jazz and pop. He certainly writes accomplished music that is heartfelt and moving in the vein of his heroes John Martyn and Van Morrison. Also on the road with Wilson is virtuoso guitarist Lyle Watt who adds some impressive jangly guitar to the mix. Sadly I couldn't find out the name of the keyboard player/backing vocalist but these three musicians filled the hall with some beautiful tunes. Most memorable for me was Baby Blues which Ross pre-empted by telling us a story of his and his wife's post natal depression. By the time the band finish, the hall is filled to capacity (very nearly) and excitement is building for the main event.
As Deacon Blue appear on stage, an array of 5 huge video screens come to life. Combined with the house lights it's an impressive sight. The crowd are cheering then erupt into applause as the band launch into I Was Right And You Were Wrong. Despite the impressive venue the sound quality is a little disappointing. The balance between the vocalists seems to much in favour of Lorraine McIntosh and the guitar is barely audible. It's early days. Plenty of time for the sound-person to tweak some settings. Next is Raintown, followed by That's What We Can Do. Still no sound improvement. The band are awesome, don't get me wrong. The sound could be much improved, however the drums sound great. It's an all seated auditorium but by the time Twist And Shout (my favourite) is played, almost everyone is on their feet and it feels like a proper concert. The hits come thick and fast Wages Day and Chocolate Girl being the ones I can sing a long to. Ten songs in and Ricky Ross, who has been the consummate compère all evening, decides to precede A New House by telling us the story of him moving house as a child. The problem is that people in the audience are talking and it is most distracting. Ricky looks up into the gods and asks “Can I talk?”. For a moment, I feel embarrassed to be a Yorkshireman. At least I'm not from Sheffield. How rude. Eventually the culprits are removed from the building to some cheering.
The band play for hours. Two to be exact. Highlights for me were Ricky's tale of the bands stay in Harrogate (he wasn't impressed with that oversized retirement village) and a masterful cover of Bob Dylan's Like A Rolling Stone. The band retire for a minutes break and return to play Dignity and Fergus Sings The Blues amongst others. A third encore consists of the one song, Always On My Mind by Brenda Lee. It rounds off a lovely show from a wonderful band. Sadly marred by average sound quality and a rude audience. I hope they come back on their 40th anniversary.
(Bob Dylan cover)
(Brenda Lee cover)