Dec 16 2008 by Andrew Welsh, Perthshire Advertiser Tuesday
GIGS by Deacon Blue are relatively few these days, but when they arrive they tend to leave an indelible mark.
Since reforming almost a decade ago, the Scots popsters have generally operated on a part-time basis, but their latest surge in live activity has seen them embark on a highly successful UK tour with fellow Eighties troubadours Simple Minds, and play two shows in Glasgow, the second of which took in the Royal Concert Hall.
Having witnessed the band’s excellent performance at Perth Concert Hall back in July, Ricky Ross and co had much to live up to.
Strangely, the first half was a generally low key affair, following on from the tone set by support act Mercurymen, with the London-based acoustic trio’s sound all too often bearing an all too frequent and disturbing resemblance to that of James Blunt.
In front of a full house, the acapella opener The Very Thing worked, but normally powerful efforts Raintown and Every Time You Sleep were let down by the surprisingly average hall acoustics.
However, the band, and articulate songwriter Ross in particular, inevitably came into their own for Real Gone Kid, still an effective audience rouser almost 20 years on.
With co-vocalist Lorraine McIntosh (right) proving a typically stomping dervish of a foil for the singer, the seven-piece wisely launched into another past favourite, Wages Day, that kept the night’s mostly veteran fans on their feet.
With two relatively new guitarists in the ranks these days, plus ex-Danny Wilson bassist Ged Grimes, adding to keyboardist Jim Prime and footie presenter Dougie Vipond on drums, Deacon Blue have more than enough firepower in their arsenal to make up for a sluggish start.
Hitting their stride, When Will You Make My Phone Ring, with McIntosh providing a haunting reprise of Paul McCartney’s My Love, stood out as another timeless effort, while Ross provided a lengthy introductory anecdote that helped make Orphans all the more poignant.
The scarecrow-like singer gave us a homely Christmas card in a tale from the Highland glens, before launching into the infectious Fergus Sings The Blues, which led on to the gorgeous Homesick then the whirl of Queen Of The New Year.
A by now familiar encore of Walkin’ Back Home and the anthemic Dignity provided a suitably soulful finale to a show that celebrated past glories.