The Big Picture Live
Q Magazine January 1991
From unlikely lads with a debut album of finely wrought vignettes in the Steely Dan tradition to an authentic arena rock band with a repertoire of thumping great singalong anthems is a journey that took Deacon Blue but two years And here's a heaving, swaying SECC in their Glasgow hometown to prove it. But there is a multitude of non-believers baffled at the rise and rise of Ricky Ross and crew.
While unlikely to be converted to the cause by this video, sceptics might learn a lot about the mechanics of transforming fine brushwork to the broad sweep needed to make an impact on the big canvas. Songs that originally turned on a delicate blue melody are rejigged into primary blocks by Graeme Kelling's swingeing guitarwork and the steady application of toe-tapping mid-tempos. If a faster tune, like Real Gone Kid, requires the crowd to clap harder to keep up, then its chorus is one of those triumphant sky-punchers that makes sweating a pleasure.
Focusing all this uplift, singers Ross and the other half Lorraine Mdntosh are the Bruce and Patti of Glasgow Ricky combines beneath that floppy fringe the sincerity-oozing street poet of broken hearts and bruised hope, and the unbridled, leather- trousered rock'n' roll ham. Lorraine's role is more restricted, mostly to singing "Yeah! " and dancing in an equally affirmative manner. The Bez of the group, she provides some much-needed love interest to an otherwise rugged rock machine.
Not surprisingly, flatulence is their vice. Taking a tune like Loaded off the boil and then putting it back on again may stoke the drama for a while and lead to a final earth-moving (and far from premature) climax. but it also deprives two other equally good songs of a place in the set. Deacon Blue offer terrific value for money, true, but sometimes more means less. Mat Snow