Tears And Testimonials
The Herald 21st May 1994

Deacon Blue Glasgow Barrowland

FAREWELL gigs by their very nature are uncomfortable, emotional events, and Deacon Blue's certainly fell into that category.

A Friday night at Barrowland in front of a second sold-out audience would appear fitting testimony to Scotland's best pop band of the past 10 years -- but many are unable to tell whether the band's parting shot is a time for condolence or celebration.

In the audience there are tears, and loudmouth record company people expel gallons of high-volume hot air during the quiet songs, while on stage there is an almost overbearing intensity which ensures Deacon Blue departs with one of the most brilliant live shows in its eight-year existence.

For a band that has thrived on its on-stage energy, this is a heads-down straight run-through of the many hits, which works as a result of its execution more than its content. In doing so it also highlights the reasons for their success and also their demise.

It is a mark of their skill at giving the audience what they want that means the last set centres heavily on their earliest and best material, songs like Chocolate Girl, The Very Thing, Loaded, and Love and Regret. Dignity is wheeled out for the tear-jerking, sing-along climax, before the coffin lid is finally shut with Southside Johnny's I Don't Wanna Go Home and their own Twist and Shout merging into the Beatles' song of the same name.

Splitting the band at the right moment may turn out to be Ross's greatest career move, and while Deacon Blue will not necessarily be buried on Iona with the Scottish kings, they left in considerable style.  The only fitting epitaph would be a win for Ross's beloved Dundee United in today's Scottish Cup final.