With the seats removed from the floor of the Royal Concert Hall to create a pit at the front, I had a funny feeling there would be more bald men than moshing last night, as Deacon Blue sailed back into town for their 25th Anniversary Tour.
The Scottish saviours had the venue sold out, sending an ecstatic rush as frontman, Ricky Ross and his tell-tale vocal, began proceedings from the opening track of their ironically titled new album, The Hipsters. In their own words, "Deacon Blue were never hipsters."
The signature piano overture of this album's title track introduced the full band to the crowd for tonight's second roar, whether the perks of being the lady of the stage, or something to do with a certain Scottish soap, the biggest cheer was reserved for iconic vocalist Lorraine McIntosh, who was shortly slinking around the stage like the best of them on Sauchiehall Street.
Keeping things fresh with their opening tracks, new songs sat well within their impressive repertoire, with the characteristic Deacon Blue sound still going strong, honed rather than tired, after their "25 year rehearsal for this show," the words of Ross in showman spirit. Throwing relentless energy at the slick show, allowing the non-stop sextet to race between the past and the present, lean back into the past, Circus Lights was the first track to start stealing the seated portions of the crowd to their feet, the nostalgia working like an anti-ageing elixir much better than the promises of these beauty shop bottles.
Retracting my previous statement, moshing by far bypassed the bald man count - and there were plenty- when mega-hit Real Gone Kid struck. Earlier in the set than one might have expected, McIntosh's opening backing vocal threw the auditorium to their feet, Ross carried out a partial stage dive, well, ran down into the front of the crowd during James Prime's sing-along piano riff, and the crowd thumped up and down on the balconies, a few extra pounds gained in the past 25 years suddenly nothing, as the weightlessness of their youth took over.
Regaining consciousness of their surroundings, and bashfully sitting down as the track which followed was less far up Glasgow's hit list, this led to the seated sing along of Love's Great Fears, with the whole band in fantastic form. A rare moment of brief silence between tracks, and we're talking split second here, allowed the Gok Wans of Glasgow to direct a verbal ring of shame at stylish McIntosh, who dared to show her bra straps under a backless dress. A shake of the head and a laugh had her back in her heavy leather which she'd only just removed- and these guys were delighted to be home in Glasgow! She'd have gotten away with her wardrobe choice in Paris or Milan, but no, not in front of the fashionistas of Scotland.
Driving the set to the encore, all the hits were there, well, Chocolate Girl was missing, but the set was sweet enough. The crowd took over vocal duties for an all upstanding Dignity, a euphoric Wages Day paved the perfect path for some really bad dancing, and Forever Young, a Bob Dylan cover to close, united the crowd and band, if they weren't all BFFs already.
Deacon Blue were on outstanding form at their homecoming show last night, their live performance 25 years young, rather than 25 years in the making.