25th November 2012 Roundhouse London
Scottish rock band Deacon Blue shot to fame in 1987 with their hit album Raintown, letting loose their distinctive sound and Gorbals charm on the music world. 25 years later (yes really!) they finish their anniversary tour at London's Roundhouse to a near full house to give a performance that lead singer Ricky Ross says has been '25 years in the making.'
The two hour plus set started with the music of a roaring crowd that led into a haunting rendition of London Town with only Ricky and keyboard player James Prime on stage. The song is a very poignant one, especially tonight on the last night of the anniversary tour. It's a song about the past and the hope for the future coming full circle. Tonight it really was as if Deacon Blue had been reborn and the world had indeed begun again and they had risen from the ashes of their painful absence. Tonight they were on fire.
After the soft, understated opening the rest of the band joined them on stage, bounding with energy to perform the title song from their top 20 album The Hipsters. From that moment on, their well rehearsed, unrelenting performance had the audience captivated. It was as if they had never been away.
The classic songs like Real Gone Kid and Chocolate Girlall featured in tonights set including some of the new ones such as the bittersweet love song Turn and Laura From Memory, a memorial to Ricky's cousin who passed away. And despite the album only being released a month ago, still had the audience singing along. The set finished with another new song, Starswhich is one of the strongest songs from the album.
Their sound is still as distinctive as it ever was, even with two new additions to the to the bands live line up in. Featuring Gregor Philip on guitar and the 'too young and too talented' Lewis Gordon on bass. The vocals of Ricky Ross and Lorraine McIntosh (who deserves far more credit for her still simply stunning vocals) still leave you with goosebumps at the wonderful way their voices blend. If anything their vocals have matured and have an even richer tonality to them.
The final encore number was a cover of Bob Dylan's Forever Young. This gave all the band members a chance to show off their singing. I was particularly impressed with the bands dark horse, drummer Dougie Vipond, who whilst being an amazing drummer has a pretty good set of pipes too.
The band were supported on their tour by London based singer songwriter Azadeh, who showcased her talent to a appreciative audience. Her lyrics are painfully honest and her melodies are harmonious and melodic. An experienced musician with a soulful voice she is an artist to look out for.
I can honestly say that performance wise Deacon Blue's concert was simply one of the best live concerts I have ever seen, and I have been to many a gig in my time. No one would have believed that this band has only been playing the occasional gig for the most part of a decade. The cohesion of the band was water tight and the chemistry between them electric. I sincerely hope that they don't retire their microphones again, and we see a lot more of this awesome band up there where they are meant to be.