Deacon Blue Clyde Auditorium
The Scotsman 6th December 2014

Clyde Auditorium, Glasgow

Star Rating: ***


THE all-seater Armadillo was presumably not Deacon Blue’s first choice of venue for a Glasgow homecoming in support of their latest album A New House. Ironically, The Hydro next door – which they headlined this time last year – stood empty on the first night of a double-header of shows, with Culture Club having cancelled.

The atmosphere felt stilted in spells, with a crowd who seemed to have overwhelmingly come for a handful of specific hits electing to mostly stay seated (in fairness, stray dissenters were harshly instructed to sit down by stewards). But these 1980s-vintage Scotpop one-time chart-toppers – more recognisable these days as familiar voices and faces off the telly and radio – made the best of the situation, and there was plenty to admire across their career-spanning set. Not least on matters sartorial – any band of 50-somethings still getting away with skinny jeans and short skirts have evidently looked after themselves well.

Husband-and-wife vocalists Ricky Ross and Lorraine McIntosh’s lithe and very complementary voices have similarly defied the ageing process, while their songwriting skills haven’t dated too much either, judging by new numbers Wild and the soaring, chiming Stars. There was a nice sequence of wet-weather-themed dedications to the typically rainy metropolis surrounding the Armadillo, focused on Deacon Blues’s classic 1987 debut album Raintown. There was a funny introduction to Fergus Sings The Blues, as Ross described Twitter trolling he’s endured from a man ironically named… well, you can probably guess.

As predictable as a Glasgow downpour, Real Gone Kid – played mid-set – and de-facto alternative national anthem Dignity at the end got the night’s runaway best receptions, and everybody on their feet at last. David Pollack