……………Am having a bit of a nostalgia fest at the moment. The week before last we went to see the wonderful Turin Brakes in Brighton. Last weekend started with seeing Hue and Cry and then to top it off we went to see Deacon Blue in Southend ( or as the locals pronounce it with a triple f in the middle!!!!!) last Monday night. And I have to say they were great!
I started as a Deacon Blue lover in 1987 with the release of Raintown. And I’ve been a lover ever since. God knows how many times I’ve sung ‘Dignity’ or ‘Real Gone Kid’ or ‘Raintown’ or ‘Fergus Sings The Blues’ at the top of my voice at home or in the car or in the shower. And now 25 years later, they sound as good as they always did.
Sometimes these gigs listening to bands I loved as a younger man can be a bit hit and miss – occasionally they sound a bit out of sorts and can’t be bothered (yes I mean you Van Morrison and your truly shite performance at the Cornbury Festival this summer!), occasionally it all feels a bit dated ( Go West and Big Country), and occasionally it’s fantastic (Blondie at Isle of Wight Festival – oh to have as much ooomph as Debbie Harry when I pass sixty!!!). Deacon Blue was definitely up there with the best nostalgia fests I’ve had. The songs are still so good, and some of the new stuff from their recent album The Hipsters was great. They are great musicians, there’s a lovely camaraderie and feel between them and Ricky Ross is as good a frontman as he ever was – he works a crowd just enough with his mix of eloquent stories, hyperbole and deadpan humour.
So. 25 years on it could have been stale, flat, old and grey. It wasn’t (if am honest I think we, the audience might have qualified on all four counts though!) But Deacon Blue were fresh, loud, and going at a right old pace. Alas what they did for themselves and the music could only work its magic for so long on us – but for a couple of hours we were not quite as old, not quite as flat and not quite as grey as we all looked in the bars at the start!!!! Inevitably at a gig like this we are mainly of a certain age ( and then some). There’s a lot of grey, a lot of paunch and a lot of wrinkle in the room at these gigs! But I kind of like it – I certainly fit in that’s for sure!
But regardless of our weight and arthritic joints and the fact that we all look pretty much the same, us old folk still know how to enjoy ourselves. And that’s what Deacon Blue gave me and everyone else who was there last Monday – a chance to sing “Dignity” at the top of my lungs but in the company of others and the chance to be back in 1987 again for a couple of hours. And it was great to go back!!!!
And to finish a little bit of how it used to be when my jeans were more flared, my knees were more flexible and my hair was more….well……dyed if I’m honest! This is Deacon Blue, live in my home town of Greenock as part of the Tall Ship Race celebrations in 2011, singing ‘Dignity’, a song which in my humble op is about as near to a bloody perfect if we need a national anthem for Glasgow!