Gods Of Bland Sound Last Post To Inconsolable Fans
The Scotsman 20th May 1994

TONIGHT Deacon Blue, one of Scotland’s biggest rock bands, play their last ever gig at the Glasgow Barrowlands. They are back on home turf for the final date of a sell-out farewell tour, after announcing they are to split up. It promises to be an emotional occasion for fans. The band’s compilation album, Our Town — the Greatest Hits, is still number one In the charts. Songs like Dignity and Raintown seem likely to remain on British radio playlists forever.

According to those queuing outside Dundee’s Caird Hall on Wednesday night for their last Scottish date outside Glasgow, Deacon Blue has been, and always will be, Scotland’s greatest rock band. At the front of the long orderly queue, cutting across the town’s City Square, was a handful of die-hard devotees. It was freezing cold, but they had been hanging around for five hours, determined to make sure they got a place to stand right at the very front. Warmth came from a bottle of cider stashed in a Littlewoods bag. Jackie, from Govan In Glasgow, had ten gold letters studded through her ears. Her right ear read Deacon, her left read Blue. She had a gold necklace to match, a ring that spelt DB and a grey Deacon Blue tour T-shirt. Clutching a can of ready mixed gin and tonic, she said she was inconsolable when she heard the band was splitting up. “I was greetin’ for nights. I just went out to drown my sorrows.”

Nobody on the steps of the Caird Hall knew why the band had decided to quit after a decade or what Ross and his co-singer and wife, Lorraine McIntosh, are going to do next. Those dedicated followers wanted a bit more of an explanation than the one given by their label, Sony — that It was never meant to last forever. “I know the drummer’s gone to work on the television but I want a statement from Ricky Ross saying what the band’s doing. I dinnae really know why they’re splitting up but they’re letting us down,” said Nell, who had also travelled from Glasgow. Peter and his girlfriend Wendy had come up from Thetford, near Norwich. Peter had his dark blue silk Deacon Blue tour jacket made specially for the occasion. He said the couple would be at Barrowlands as well and, like a German fan, Carolin, had been to most of the band’s gigs. Carolin said she had met the others at the front of queues in various cities. “I’ve been to 71 gigs over four years in eight different countries. You get to know the people who go to all the gigs.”

Then, finally, the waiting in the cold was over. Once the instantly forgettable support band, The Dreaming, had been and gone and a swarm of roadies had fiddled with amplifiers, the mainstream gods of bland took to the stage. In black, minus the much- ridiculed U2 shades, Ross was his usual slightly hammy, uneasy self. A Dundonian by birth, Ross told the crowd: “It’s good to be back.” “We love Dundee,” yelled back a heckler. Half-hearted laugh from Ross, mumbled story about Dundee football club and on with the old favourites. McIntosh, a mad thing in an oversized white night shirt, seemed as deranged as ever but her candy-sweet voice was a magical anecdote to Ross’s throaty tones. And when it was over, the fans seemed content, if sad, as they spilled back out into the chill night and, for some, long journeys home. Alison Daniels