Sea Of Swaying Arms
The Herald 2nd January 1992

Deacon Blue at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

Sea of swaying arms. Deacon Blue at Glasgow's Royal Concert Hall
Herald 2nd January 1992

WHOOPEE, another party! Ricky Ross reminds us that we're being  recorded for Radio One and introduces ''the best songwriter in Scotland'', fellow Dundonian Michael Marra. Can one man and a piano dominate the concert hall? Sure can. Those McGonagallian song titles (Mac Rebennack's Visit to Blairgowrie, King Kong's Visit to Glasgow) give an indication of Marra's reference points in a performance that is dry, witty, and warm. Ann Wood joins him to play some stunning fiddle.

As for the main event, unbelievers and the uncommitted get something to chew on this Hogmanay and it's not black bun. Previous unkind thoughts about Deacon Blue have centred on accusations of blandness and Ricky's tendency to confuse Glasgow with New Jersey in an attempt to camouflage his over-literate lyrics beneath a rock-star pose. Well, on this night we can wrap those doubts in a Springsteen poster and float them down the Clyde. Granted, the audience is fully committed to going mental whatever happens, but Deacon Blue are proving themselves to be one of the best live acts around.

The two frontpersons, who are sometimes guilty of forcing it, let their theatricality loose in a natural flow, gaining strength from a band that sounds exactly right in this surprisingly intimate venue. Lorraine receives the biggest cheer for her cover from the Sky solo. Ricky radiates a sincere confidence. This is not a stadium band and it doesn't need to be.