Glasgow SECC
The Herald 8th May 1989


LINGERING in the warm night air on the waterfront, there was the
suspicion that Ricky Ross and his band might be trying to be just too clever for their own good. Either that or they are not quite clever enough.

Unless you count the anti-poll tax gig in Edinburgh (and I don't think we can), this was the first outing for the new stadium-model Deacon Blue. Like the reception that greeted the new LP, it has had the critical thumbs up (as an idea) but a lukewarm reaction from the fans I've spoken too. The album may yet prove a grower with the thousands who've bought it, but the stage show needs radical surgery.

The strength of the band's original music was its alluring musicianly complexity, promised (or threatened) by the very fact that their name is a Steely Dan title. The new music sounds much simpler in structure and I remain far from convinced that that's a good thing. Live, there was little evidence of structure of any kind. If Deacon Blue want to play the rock 'n' band they'll have to do it louder and faster than this.

At well over two hours, this should have been a good value gig, but there were depressing longueurs. An accordion-led acoustic ''busking'' section was followed by another slow number and then another long punchline-less story from Ricky. Tellingly it was only the seated area which seemed to be having a good time, and they were making it known by a footstomping aural equivalent of ''the wave'' which was truly terrifying to be in front of.

There were some fine moments -- the last two singles, A Ricky/Lorraine duet of Bobby Gentry's I'll Never Fall In Love Again, a rousing version of Southside Johnny's I Don't Wanna Go Home, and a Little Feat-type arrangement of Chuck Berry's Promised Land -- but they seemed to be a long way apart. A rethink is required, methinks.