Ricky Ross used to tell stories whenever Deacon Blue played live, real stories about real people in real towns. When he wrote Loaded, he says, things were about as bad as they were ever likely to get. But now he laughs and says they’re worse. Possibly. Gone is the sensitivity of Raintown. It's torched melancholy magic dumped unceremoniously in favour of the easy way out, the BIG route to BIG success, and the first half of tonight’s set trips uncomfortably through much of the new album with audience and band engaged in a kind of staring game, just waiting for someone to give in. Only The World Is Lit By Lightning shows any real sense of conviction and it came as a welcome relief to the 8.000 strong crowd when they burst into ‘Real Gone Kid’ and the concert seemed finally to get properly under way.
Then the lights dim and Ricky announces: “This is our busking band.” As they take the Danny Wilson road to credibility with just a couple of acoustic guitars, an accordian and a skiffle drum. We call ourselves The James Brown Experience”. Why, I’ll never know, but one Happy Birthday to Ricky's mum and one of the highlights of the evening, their version of ‘Don’t Let The Teardrops Flow’ later, they regroup and ease into the ‘Raintown’ set, which is why everyone had come. He hardly even had to sing to ‘Dignity’ as they played what felt like the 24-inch spectacular with 10 minutes of pure stadium pomp, half of which consisted of an anything but dignified auto-pilot while Ricky went along the line namechecking the band. I’m sorry, but the only thing I could think of was the curtain call at the end of a pantomime. That might seem a bit harsh what they do they do better than anyone else — it’s just that what they used to do, and what they will do, is really so much better. Roddy Thomson