Walking Back Home Tour
October/November/December 1999

This page was created during the Walking Back Home Tour 1999, and served as a forum for reviews of as many of concerts from the tour as possible.Reviews from the most important people in the world, you the fans!!!
It also includes reviews and articles from local and national press


Tour Dates
October 1 - Ayr Gaiety Theatre
October 7 - Portsmouth Guildhall
October 8 - Bristol, Colston Hall
October 9 - Liverpool, Royal Court Theatre
October 11 - York, Barbican Centre
October 12 - Birmingham Symphony Hall
October 13 - Ipswich Regent
October 14 - Nottingham Royal Centre
October 16 - Cambridge Corn Exchange
October 17 - Manchester Palace Theatre
October 18 - London, Royal Albert Hall
October 19 - London, Royal Albert Hall  
October 21 - Sheffield City Hall
October 22 - Newcastle City Hall
November 11 - BBC Radio Theatre London
November 19 - Dundee Caird Hall
November 28 - Belfast Ulster Hall
November 29 - Dublin, The Point CANCELLED
December 18 - Stirling Albert Halls
December 19 - Aberdeen Music Hall









Press News

Rock Aye Anew For Deacon Blue The Daily Star - 28th July 1999
Music 365    - 27th July 1999
Reformed Deacon Blue Find Dignity - Daily Post (Merseyside) 24th August 1999
Singing The Blues  -Sunday Times - 12th September 1999
Deacon Blue To Record Six Years After Split
 - Sunday Times - 12 September 1999
Back And Blue  - Birmingham Evening Mail 13th October 1999
Ipswich Regent Theatre - The Times 15th October 1999
Real Gone Grown Ups - Belfast Telegraph 29th November 1999


ROCK AYE ANEW FOR DEACON BLUE
The Daily Star - 28th July 1999
By Ben Todd.

SCOTTISH rockers Deacon Blue have hit the comeback trail.

The tartan band who enjoyed a string of hits in the 80's with songs like Real Gone Kid, Chocolate Girl and Fergus Sings The Blues split in 1994.

Earlier this year they got back together for a one-off charity gig in their home town of Glasgow.Tickets sold out in an hour.Two more concerts north of the border followed.And crowd reaction was so positive the band were persuaded to go back on the road again.The group's original line-up including lead singer Ricky Ross, have signed up for the comeback but so far there are no plans to record a new album.The band will play a 12-date English tour begining in Portsmouth on October 7th and ending In Newcastle on the 22nd.


Music 365 Jul 27 1999
Deacon Blue have reformed for a twelve date UK tour.


The Scottish band, who rose to fame in the late Eighties with such ditties as 'Dignity', 'Chocolate Girl', 'Wages Day' and 'Real Gone Kid', split in 1994 following a number one album and over 5 million record sales in the UK alone. They recently got together again to perform a charity concert in their home town of Glasgow. The show sold out within the hour and as a result two more concerts were added that went the same way.

According to their press release "such a good time was had by all, they decided to treat the rest of the UK to their unique blend of searing Scottish rock and take the show on the road". The original band members Ricky Ross and Lorraine McIntosh (vocals), James Prime on keyboards, guitarist Graeme Kelling, bass player Ewen Vernal and Douglas Vipond on drums will be joined by Mick Slaven on guitar for this tour.

Full dates are: Portsmouth Guildhall (October 7), Bristol Colston Hall (8), Liverpool Royal Court (9), York Barbican Centre (11), Birmingham Symphony Hall (12), Ipswich Regent Theatre (13), Nottingham Royal Concert Hall (14), Cambridge Corn Exchange (16), Manchester Palace Theatre (17), London Royal Albert Hall (18), Sheffield City Hall (21) and Newcastle City Hall (22).

Frontman Ricky Ross says "When we split in '94 we felt we'd gone as far as we could as a band. Time makes you appreciate what you had and what you've got and we had such fun performing at the Glasgow shows, we thought let's get together and do it all again - we're really looking forward to this tour!"


Reformed Deacon Blue Find Dignity
Daily Post - 24th August 1999


IT seemed unlikely. But a rock band really has reformed for a special tour with all the original band members in place. Unlike other nostalgia tour bands who often retain just one or two originals, Deacon Blue will have all six founding members.
And that is quite astounding considering that it is five years since the band played together - a lifetime in many band histories. The group broke up in 1994 shortly after its Greatest Hits album hit the number one spot. Lead vocalist Ricky Ross explained: "When we split in 1994 we felt we had gone as far as we could as a band. But time makes you appreciate what you had and what you've got. " The Scottish-based band is playing in just 12 venues on its October tour, with Liverpool's Royal Court Theatre the third date.

It was Ross, now 41, who helped create the band in 1985 after a spell as a youth club leader and teacher. He had played with another group, Woza, while teaching part-time until he came up with Deacon Blue, named after a track from a Steely Dan album. It was originally a five-piece with James Prime on Keyboards, Douglas Vipond (drums), Graeme Kelling (guitar), and Ewan Vernal on bass. But Ross's girlfriend, Lorraine Mclntosh, later added her vocal talent to the line-up.

Their first single, Dignity, was released in 1987 alongside their first album Raintown. Both were to feature in the charts on re-release the following year to much acclaim. Most of the group's hit numbers were written by Ross but when the band recorded I'll Never Fall In Love Again and three others by American writer Burt Bacharach as a single, the disc hit the number two in the singles chart. For Liverpool, they made a special appearance at the 1990 John Lennon Tribute Concert staged at the Pier Head when they performed Hard Day's Night.

The band's success continued into the 1990s - particularly with touring and album sales when they surprised the music world by deciding to quit after chalking up five million record sales in the UK alone. Then, earlier this year, the band had another surprise when they got together for a one-off charity date in their home town of Glasgow.

The show sold out within an hour and two extra concerts had to be added which sold equally quickly. Now the band will be back for its mini-October tour. "We had such fun performing at the Glasgow shows, we thought let's get together and do it all again," says Ross, "We're really, looking forwards to this tour. " . Deacon Blue at the Royal Court, Liverpool, 9 October.
Deacon Blue, Scotland's most successful rock band, is back together. Singer-songwriter Ricky Ross tells why the band split up in 1994, and why they are giving it another go

Photograph: Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert

Singing the Blues

A couple of years ago I met a priest whom I knew from my time teaching in Maryhill. "Ricky!" he said, "I was there when you died and ascended to heaven!" I was confused. "The Barrowlands, in May '94. I was at your last ever show. Saw you being taken to join the choir invisible!"

Disbanding Deacon Blue sometimes felt like that: a kind of death. The six of us were together for almost a decade. We were a family, and our music touched a great many people. Even today, if I walk down the street or into a pub, I can be greeted with a word-perfect version of Dignity, our first hit single.

Playing music's a bit like playing football: what can you do that will ever be as good? This is not how it felt before Deacon Blue split up. I found myself wishing I was a school teacher again. It was a terrible time.

Some of the reasons for the split were positive. My wife Lorraine (a fellow band member) and I were expecting another baby and the thought of taking two children on the road would, at that time, have been too much. Ironically this is about to happen in a few weeks, though now both can walk, talk and sleep.

The pleasure of making music was being destroyed in 1993. The then head of our label (thankfully no longer there) Columbia Records, was notorious for his crude approach to marketing. He tried to insist we call our Greatest Hits "All the Best!" because: "That's the kind of thing you Scots say!" I pointed out that Paul McCartney had already done that. Nothing got through to him . . .

At the more intimate level of the band itself, things were going wrong. The phrase "musical differences" is a bit of a joke. It was hard, though, to imagine Deacon Blue going into the studio wanting to make the same album. We always consulted each other about things, and it was my job to create the consensus. It was laborious and exhausting. I wanted to be an individual again.

By 1994, my stress levels were at an all-time high, while my creative energy was at an all-time low. One rehearsal for our last tour got very ugly. I lost patience with one of the guys. I cannot even remember why. All my frustration came out in the ensuing argument. I wanted to give up there and then, but someone suggested we should sit down and talk it out. It wasn't hard. I had already made up my mind to end things. I was happy to apologise, realising there were no real issues around any more. Over the next couple of days, the band started quietly looking around for new sources of income. We were forced to announce the split publicly when Scottish Television hired our drummer, Dougie Vipond, as a presenter.

The break-up was eclipsed for me by a greater loss, that of my father. The day remains vivid in my mind. My team, Dundee United, were making their customary dogged progress to cup final humiliation. We were still 1-0 down to Aberdeen after 90 minutes at Hampden in the semi- final when big Brian Welsh headed in an equaliser. On the Tuesday of the replay I had my strip on to rehearsals. I was to go home with Lorraine for dinner, before heading to Hampden via the Victoria Infirmary. My dad had been in hospital quite a lot over those last months. My short stop was to be an informal visit to tune in his radio so he could enjoy the match live.

When Lorraine took the phone call, I knew something was wrong. By the time I got to the hospital, my family were gathered in a waiting room and my father was dead.

The next few weeks were a blur. All the Deacon Blue guys came to the funeral and were fantastic in the immediate days after. I was numb. All I wanted to do was to finish the tour and get back home. Within a week of my dad's death we were on stage in Ireland, and I was in the strange position of bidding farewell to people I'd never met, having missed the chance to bid a real farewell to my father.

The last twist happened the day after what Fr Willie called our "final ascension". At 4.44 p.m, a whistle blew at Hampden Park and Dundee United won the Scottish Cup for the first time. I'd been there for six losing ties, the first and last spent in the presence of my father. The crowd at the Dundee United end sang Dignity. I'm not exaggerating when I say it felt like an era had ended.

IT'S five years since that last concert. I've played a lot of solo shows in that time that were particularly enjoyable - the most frightening and most rewarding things I've done. Getting up on stage alone is quite different from being in a band, even as the lead singer. You must create a bond between yourself and the audience. Sometimes I'd stand in the wings beforehand, afraid of going on. But I was always glad I did. Generating warmth out of nothing, on your own, is incredibly fulfilling.

I developed a habit of walking out after the show and chatting to some of the audience in the bar. Some nights I felt I'd given everything but blood and nobody could expect more. I'd be confident, relaxed and composed as I casually signed an autograph and posed for a photograph. Then the question would come: they loved the show, they enjoyed the album and thanks for doing that song tonight but . . . is there any chance of the band getting back together?

Moments like that put my back up at first. Then I would relax: they were only paying a compliment. Deacon Blue played songs that I wrote and sang - not much to resent there. My answer was always truthful: "There's no plan, but you never know. There might be a gig some time".

Then, one day, it just happened. Braendam House and Glasgow Braendam Link are two linked charities that support many isolated families whose lives suffer under the stress of living in acute poverty. They approached me to organise a fundraiser featuring various artists in May 1999. I worried if this would be enough to sell all the tickets.

So I phoned round Deacon Blue: Dougie, Jim Prime on keyboards, Ewen Vernal who played bass and Graeme Kelling on guitar. Would they be up for playing for an hour to finish the show? Everyone agreed right away - Lorraine was already on board. Soon we'd changed the venue from the King's to the Royal Glasgow Concert Hall. Two thousand tickets sold out within an hour and a half. An offer came in to do two extra shows at the Clyde Auditorium.

There were still sensitivities, however. I knew I would feel happier with a second guitarist. Most Deacon Blue tracks had at least two guitar parts and in 1994 it was always in my mind to reproduce this sound for the live show. The musician I wanted was Mick Slaven, with whom I'd recorded and written songs since the band split up. I was worried about how our original guitarist, Graeme, would feel about the change. I needed to make sure.

As we met that morning I was apprehensive. It was quite a heart-stopping moment. I did not want Graeme to take it as a personal slight. But his response was: "Sure! Is that all?". I was immensely relieved. Some musicians would get very egotistical and defensive about such a request. But Graeme was just keen to enhance the live sound for our audience; I think it says a lot about his character. The only thing left to see was if we could all be in a room together - and if it sounded any good.

The six of us had not occupied the same space since we stepped off the stage of the Barrowland five years ago. I think the nearest we came to a reunion was when four of us went to Graeme's stag night. There was bound to be some tension. Maybe we all hadn't been in touch as much as we wanted. But families are like that. If one of us had been knocked down by a bus in those five years, the whole band would have cried at his funeral, said he was a great guy and been genuinely devastated.

That first day was tense and, at times, hilarious. Ewen walked in, having listened to the tape of the songs we were going to perform, on his way up to Glasgow from Ayrshire. Mick's girlfriend Emma was overdue with their first baby and any incoming telephone call was met with apprehension and expectation. Lorraine arrived last. We were all finally together again.

It was strange, seeing them there with their instruments. Musicians almost become indistinguishable from their drum kit, their keyboard or whatever. Looking round the room, it was like rebuilding a long-abandoned house, putting the furniture back in exactly the same place.

Maybe we picked the right songs, maybe we'd all forgotten how it sounded before, but it seemed to me we were singing and playing better than ever. Certain songs hadn't ever sounded as good: Ragman, The Wildness, Loaded . . . memories just flooded back. I'd get caught up in the moment, then the song would stop and we'd shuffle around like the west of Scotland men we are, and wait for someone to crack a bad joke. We lapsed back into our dumbed-down student humour. Jim was notorious in the early years for disappearing at odd times - or at least that was what the rest of us decided. When somebody said "Where's Jim?" we rolled around on the floor, uncontrollable with laughter. The new member, Mick, was perplexed.

The first, charity show required a great deal of thought - we had a host of turns for the first act. I've never enjoyed a Deacon Blue gig so much: the audience felt high. We seemed so relaxed that, at times, I felt I was in a particularly enjoyable dream. Lorraine often told me of her recurring nightmare, where we are playing to a baying crowd without the correct instruments or line-up. This was the opposite of that.

The next two shows were great fun: even bigger crowds and the uncertain feeling on the third night that this really might be the last time we perform together. We'd played to 8,000 people in one city in a week. Not even on our last tour in 1994 had we had such a demand for tickets. Within days, the promoter MCP asked us to commit to an October tour of the UK. Irish promoters requested us to come over in November. I started to explore the possibility of producing a new, retrospective album. When I returned from holiday in August, we had sold out our first Albert Hall show and added a second. A recording plan and budget were agreed.

Within a fortnight, we were in Park Lane studios in Glasgow where, in 1986, we made our first demo tapes. Nothing I've worked on has been turned round as quickly. We mixed the songs just last week. The result is Walking Back Home, a 17-track collection of love songs. Walking Back Home itself was written about a Dundee Hogmanay in 1979 and seemed to be the right title for the tour and the album. It includes some of the best things Deacon Blue ever did, but which never found the right home.

I could not have recorded these songs as an individual artist. When I made my first solo record I wanted to try new things. I wanted to get away from the epic "big sweep" of Deacon Blue, but some songs need that treatment. One such track is called Jesus, Do Your Hands Still Feel the Rain. It was commissioned for a Hollywood film called Blown Away, shortly after we made the decision to split. The studio loved the demo, but when they received the master tape a few weeks later, they decided they didn't want it in the film, after all, so we had a Deacon Blue song nobody had heard before. When I heard Jim play it, it almost made me weep. He is such a beautiful pianist that I heard the song anew. It is all about loss, and though it was written just before my father died, it could so easily be about him. Jesus was recorded in the new session, along with an old classic, Love Hurts, and a new song called Plastic Shoes.

I've had little time to stop and reflect. Five years has made a difference. We now have a common understanding about what made us good: the ability to play together seamlessly, like an orchestra. Deacon Blue, however, no longer governs our lives. All the other people in the band have successful new careers. Jim is setting up the Scottish School of Music and Recording Technology, which will open soon in Ayr. Dougie has a television career and presents the Holiday Programme. Ewen is the regular bass player with Capercaillie. Graeme was involved in researching Pete Irvine's book Scotland the Best! and also works in television. Lorraine has her own acting career and recently appeared in the BBC drama, Life Support.

The $64,000 question: is the band back together for good? Well, we're bringing out a new album and we're going on the road, but nobody is abandoning their new lives. If we enjoy playing the shows, then we'll maybe do some more and get back into the studio. If that happens I'll be pleased. I'm just glad we're getting a chance to play all these songs together one more time, without the shadows that overcast our final tour. Those feelings of dread have gone. Music is again better than working.

Another priest story: the brother of our school chaplain in Maryhill was the Catholic chaplain to Barlinnie. He invited me to go up to the prison one day to launch a visiting/support initiative. I felt a little awkward arriving as I knew nobody. Soon I found myself talking to Billy McNeil, who's as nice a man as you can ever meet. I knew he was no longer directly involved in football so I asked him if he was working. "I've never worked, Ricky," he answered, brilliantly. I want "never to work" too.

Walking Back Home by Deacon Blue is released on Oct 18. Deacon Blue play Aberdeen Music Hall on Nov 18 and Dundee Caird Hall on Nov 19

The life and times of Deacon Blue

1985: Ricky Ross forms the band, recruiting Graeme Kelling, Ewen Vernal, Dougie Vipond, Jim Prime and Lorraine McIntosh. They take their name from a song by Steely Dan

1987: Release first album Raintown on CBS Records. It is compared to Bruce Springsteen's early work and Celtic rock such as The Waterboys and U2. The evocative tracks include Dignity, their first hit single, about a Glaswegian binman who dreams of escaping the drudgery of his job by sailing to the Hebrides

1989: Their second album, The World Knows Your Name, knocks Madonna off the No 1 chart position and in Scotland, outsells any other rival act by eight copies to one in the first week of release. By the end of the year they are performing sell-out shows at Wembley Stadium

1990: Ross and McIntosh marry in a hotel by Loch Lomond. The band claim to be uncomfortable with their stadium-rock image, and take most of the year off. They reappear in September with an EP, Four Bacharach and David Songs, which becomes their biggest single hit - reaching No 2 in the charts

1991: Fellow Hoodlums is released, producing one Top 10 hit, Twist and Shout

1993: The band collaborate with dance gurus Paul Oakenfold and Steve Osborne on their last album Whatever You Say, Say Nothing. After re-election of Tory government, Ross helps found Scotland United, the cross-party group campaigning for a Scottish parliament

1994: The band splits after a sell-out tour and differences. Ross's father dies, leaving him devastated. Vipond joins Scottish Television as a presenter

1996: Ross releases a solo album, What You Are, recorded in Los Angeles, and takes to the road solo.

1999: Ross asks rest of band if they will reform for one-off fundraiser. They agree, and sell out the Royal Concert Hall in less than two hours of tickets going on sale. Several more concerts are planned. An album, Walking Back Home, to be released later this year



On top of the world: from left, Ricky Ross, Lorraine McIntosh and Dougie Vipond are hitting the road again

Photograph: Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert

Deacon Blue to record six years after split
By Marcello Mega

DEACON BLUE, one of Scotland's biggest rock bands, is re-forming to make its first album for six years and to go back on the road for an 18-date British and Irish tour.

The album, a collection of love songs called Walking Back Home, will be released to coincide with a sell-out concert at the Albert Hall in London on October 18. Deacon Blue will play in Dundee and Aberdeen in November.

The story of the band's split and its revival is revealed in The Sunday Times today by Deacon Blue singer-songwriter Ricky Ross. He tells of the differences and the stress that led the band's six members to pursue separate careers in 1994 after selling 5m records in Britain alone.

The band came together for a "one-off" charity concert this summer that led to two more shows. Ross says: "Not even on our last tour in 1994 had we had such a demand for tickets." The reception they received was enough to convince the band to put aside past differences.

"Five years has made a difference. We now have a common understanding about what made us good," says Ross.

Such a comeback would have seemed unlikely in 1994. Ross says of the band's final days together: "The phrase musical differences is a bit of a joke. It was hard, though, to imagine Deacon Blue going into the studio wanting to make the same album. We always consulted each other and it was my job to create the consensus. It was exhausting. I just wanted to be an individual again."

The stress Ross endured at that time was heightened by the death of his father on the evening that the team they supported, Dundee United, was to play Aberdeen in a Scottish Cup semi-final replay. Dundee won the match and went on to beat Rangers in the final, their first triumph in six final appearances spread over 20 years.

The occasion was even more poignant for Ross because the crowd at the Dundee end sang the Deacon Blue hit Dignity.


BACK AND BLUE Birmingham Evening Mail 13th October 1999

FIVE years is a long time in any-one's language,but in the pop industry it can spell curtains.Deacon Blue proved last night that quality will usually endure.The Scottish outfit-fronted by husband and wife vocalists Ricky Ross and Lorraine Mcintosh-split up seemingley for good in 1994,he for a low key solo career,she to try her hand at acting.The original line-up,reformed for a one off gig in May,are now back doing what comes naturally,and doing it well.

Ricky,who fulfilled an ambition to appear again at Symphony Hall,led the band through a string of old favourites from Real Gone Kid and Fergus Sings The Blues to Dignity which resulted in a mass singalong.But there were also delightful offerings from the new Walking Back Home love songs compilation including a cover of Love Hurts and the brilliant new Jesus Do Your Hands Still Feel The Rain.

Fine support was provided bt irish folk-rock band Celtus for whom good things are predicted in the future. by Tony Collins



Deacon Blue Regent Theatre Ipswich
The Times 15th October 1999


OCTOBER has been the month of the comeback. We have had the return of the Eurythmics and Margaret Thatcher, and now Deacon Blue who, like the others, once took up permanent residence in the popular consciousness, and who are back again, reliving their glory days.

In a ten-year career that ended in 1994, Deacon Blue counted sales in the millions. Despite this commercial success, the band never quite established themselves in rock's pantheon. But when they re-formed earlier this year for a charity show in Glasgow, it sold out almost immediately and prompted the idea for this tour, during which they play two nights at the Albert Hall. This suggests that, although Deacon Blue may be only a footnote in rock's fickle history, they occupy a more permanent place in the lives of their fans.

Their devotees are rewarded with a two-hour show that supplies a string of favourites and a smattering of new songs. The show opens with singer Ricky Ross crooning Born in a Storm before the rest of the band (the original line-up, supplemented by guitarist Mick Slaven) join him for Raintown. The less familiar numbers stand out as less bombastic than the crowd- pleasing stalwarts, with their echoes of Van Morrison and Bruce Springsteen, of Blue Nile and U2.

It might be tempting to accuse the band of cynical exploitation - there is, after all, a new compilation album, Walking Back Home, to coincide with the tour. But such mean sentiments have to acknowledge the palpable enthusiasm of Ross and the animated participation of backing singer Lorraine McIntosh. These two make an odd pairing. He stolidly declaims the songs while her voice swoops and soars. Only when they duet on a version of Love Hurts do they seem to inhabit the same musical universe.

Whatever the band's motives, the fans accept them wholeheartedly. They sing along, unprompted, to Dignity and Loaded. Their enthusiasm falters only once, when Ross celebrates the latest twist in the saga of Augusto Pinochet's extradition. The applause that greets this is muted, tentative. Where once there might have been cheers, there is now the nervous twitch of middle-aged politics. Tunes survive better than ideology on the comeback trail. John Street


Real Gone Grown-Ups
Belfast Telegraph 29th November 1999


Deacon Blue, Ulster Hall

REMEMBER your first ever concert? My friend Grainne does. And last night all the memories came flooding back as Scottish rockers Deacon Blue came to town.The years might be catching up on lead singer Ricky Ross and Co but the voices and lyrics are as sharp as ever.

The crowd were more mature than the majority of the concerts I have been to but that didn't stop them enjoying themselves.It took a couple of songs for band and crowd to warm up but once the first bars of Real Gone Kid echoed around the hall, the night took off.Showing an ability to switch instantly from teak tough rock to tender reminiscence, the band had the crowd eating out of their hands.And it all built to a stunning climax with a rousing rendition of Dignity, Ross relegated to backing vocals early on as the crowd returned to their youth.

Then came the encore packed with memories - Your Town, Queen of the New Year and my personal favourite Chocolate Girl.Deacon Blue, who split up some years ago and reformed for this tour, say that this is their farewell.Those there last night hope that's not true. Bit if it is they certainly signed off in style.Peter McVerry


Reviews

October 1 - Ayr Gaiety Theatre
Just A quick word to say that last nights gig was fantastic. Some of the highlights for me were the “new” songs – ‘It Makes no Difference’ (cover version) and ‘All I Want’. As you would expect, the old songs were superb as usual – if not better than ever before! Well done guys, enjoy the rest of the tour ! Derek Hemphill.

October 7 - Portsmouth Guildhall
You don't miss something till it's gone......Absence makes the heart grow fonder.....What a gig !!!!

DB came on stage at 8.45pm and went off after a three song finale at10.30pm.They are up for it big time,and seemed genuinely appreciative of the sell out crowd .They started slowly with 'Born In a Storm' and 'Raintown' but soon had the audience of 20-30 something's eating out of their hands with the old favourites.

DB's music is timeless and they can still hold there own with the best of them. Last time I saw them was on their farewell tour in 1994 in Portsmouth and I remember how gutted I was that there were breaking up , but they are back -Yes ....bigger and better then ever !!!

In summary-superb,brilliant and totally enjoyable as there songs seem as fresh as ever and was summed up by the reaction of the audience and Ricky's words of 'This is amazing' and ' I wasn't sure if you'd come' - no fear of that mate-Your songs mean as much now as they ever did. Portsmouth done the blues proud and the Deacon Blues done good son. Oh yeah...Don't know if you others up and down the country will be as loud and rockin as we were ... Jamie Webb


Well, what an amazing evening, five and a half long years after seeing Deacon Blue bid Farewll at the Guildhall, they were back, and were they back or what! Back like they've never been away, starting slowly with "Born in a storm", straight into "Raintown" and onward through just about every single ever released, performed with absolute passion to an equally passionate crowd.

The new material is great, the old singles are even more spectacular, what else can I say, if you are lucky enough to be going to see them, enjoy, we all did!! David Smith

October 8 - Bristol, Colston Hall
My missus and I drove from Cardiff to Bristol last night to see the band for the first time. Over the last 30 years I must have seen thousands of bands but last night was, without doubt, one of the finest (if not the finest) gigs that I have ever seen. It was a priviledge to be there. Thanks very much for a brilliant set and for God's sake don't split up again at the end of the tour!!
Mike Toozer


Just a few words on the Bristol show last night. It's five years on and the band showed that they can still cut it with the best! It was a superb show - all the hits, with three of the new songs also thrown in.

As is often the case, the Colston Hall atmosphere left a little bit to be desired - you really need a standing venue to get the best out of a show. However, the band seemed really appreciative of the crowd, and seemed to be enjoying the adrenalin rush of playing to a full house again. As Ricky said 'it's good to see you all again, but where were you all when I was down at the Fleece & Firkin a few months back?'.

The playing was really tight although, in my opinion, the drums seemed a bit too high in the mix, and I also felt Mick Slaven's guitar work was a bit intrusive at times. However, these are very minor gripes from what was overall a stunning show. The harmonies between Ricky and Lorraine were superb, especially on Love Hurts.

Ricky told a nice story before Orphans, about a train ride back to Glasgow on the weekend of an England-Scotland football international. For the benefit of younger members of the audience he explained that 'this used to be an annual event until Scotland moved the goalposts - literally'!!

I'm not sure if it's a clue to the future, but when introducing the last song (I'll Never Fall in Love Again), Ricky said something along the lines of 'don't fall in love with a rock 'n' roll band, because one day they may not be there for you'. Is this a hint that they won't be staying together? I certainly hope not, because however good the solo material is, you just can't beat the sound & atmosphere of the full band playing together!!  It's great to have them back! David Andrews

October 9 - Liverpool, Royal Court Theatre
Wow, that blew me away then, that was the best concert I have ever been to. Man, even the band were blown away. From the very first song - Born in a storm - Raintown, to the last song. The old classics were even better than I remember them - Fergus sings the blues got the crowd going mad, and so did Dignity, Ricky pretty much left us to sing it ourselves. Forgive me if my grammar is shite, I'm on a high here - literally got back 5 mins ago. If you were at that concert you'll know what I mean.

I was right at the front, and I could see everyone at the back and on the balcony, it was amazing - such an intimate concert, the band responded to the crowd and the crowd went crazy with the band. The band looked in good health and they seemed to be really having a good time. Ricky said at one point that if they never are able to come back again (as DB) he said thanks and to give our type of unique - Liverpool reception to other bands. He said that it will be a night that he will always remember....same here mate.

The crowd sang every word to all the songs, danced and gave plenty of energy to the band, even the people 'sitting' on the top row were up and dancing around. We all came together and sang 'our' songs, the ones that everyone knows - pretty much most of the Deacon Blue stuff. There were certainly a lot of stuff from Raintown which was nice, and the rendition of Spencer Tracy was moving - superb. Wow, I've waited such a long time for this night - 7 years, and they didn't let us down.

The new songs were great especially 'Walking back home', I think that would be a great song to release from the new album.

When the main selection of songs had all been played, the band said thanks for making such a memorable night, and then they went off. You should have heard the noice the crowd were giving off - solid clapping for about 5 mins and foot stamping, the noice was mind blowing, I would like to know what the band thought of the night. Anyway they came back and played an encore of three songs. I couldn't name all the songs that were played - coz there were so many songs played and my head is not thinking straight just yet. What an event! I noticed people taking photos, any chance of putting them on the web?

By the way I was standing at the front but to the left just in front of Lorraine. Anyone that went to the concert please let me know what you thought of it. Were you equally blown away.

Anyway less of my unstructured gibbering, I would like to thank everyone who was there especially the band for making it such a special night. I will never forget it. And if any of you guys from the band read this, all the best for the future in whatever direction you wish to take, I am going to buy the new album, and if we never meet again, then thanks for the night - it was special.Yours blown away Booble


A great moment in life.
Saturday 22nd April, 1989.
Liverpool Royal Court Theatre.
Deacon Blue Concert on the Over the Land and the City tour.

It was the second time that I had seen the band live. The first time, at the same venue, had been fantastic. They had been supported by Fairground Attraction at around the time that both Chocolate Girl and Perfect were released by the two respective bands.But this second concert was something else. It was a week after the Hillsborough disaster, and halfway through the concert, Ricky stopped,gave a short spiel about Glaswegians feeling close to Liverpudlians,saying that he wanted to do something to help, and the band started to play You'll Never Walk Alone. It obviously wasn't a football thing; it was a city thing.

The whole audience was up as one, joining in, and even towards the end, when the emotion of the occasion caught up with Ricky, he carried on with the singing, and, in my opinion, the song was sang with more emotion, more feeling, than it had ever been sang by any one, or group of people before. Ricky was not the only person with tears in his eyes and a lump in his throat at the end of it, and in a small way, he helped a few people through a very difficult time, just by showing that we cared to him.

I now work as a school teacher in the East End of London, and at the beginning of this week, as I was trying to teach children how to write poetry, the word 'passion' was mentioned. This word is a singular definition of Ricky Ross, Deacon Blue and their music. As I returned to the Royal Court last Saturday, that much was obvious. They're an inspiration. Thank you.Graham. Davies

October 11 - York, Barbican Centre
First i would like to say i thought D.B where fantastic. Words can't explain how good it was to hear and see such a wonderful singer/songwriter such as Ricky and the rest of the band live.But I felt quite strange upon leaving the concert. It took four or five songs to warm the crowd up. I dont think York is a particularly good venue, its like a big sports hall so the acoustics are poor, and it is half standing and half seating on an upper balcony which reduces the atmosphere. Ricky pleaded with the audience after playing Circus Lights "am i the only one making any effort?" I think the fact that flyers where being distributed for Rickys solo tour in March says that the reunion is only temporary.

At one point after about five songs including Raintown and Loaded someone shouted "play something we know!". I think there were a lot of hits fans present who were less familiar with album tracks than us hardened fans. Ricky seemed concerned about the lack of participation from the audience and quipped "are you lot waiting for a Val Doonican concert!" It is difficult to move in the upper seating area through lack of room so you can not stand up safely as I have experienced before at a Del Amitri concert at York.

I think no new material means no new fan base and archive tracks and re-releases on an album might be good for us long term fans but will not create a new fan base to propell them back to the dizzy heights of the 80's and 90's. It would seem strange for a band who were about to reform to put together a greatest hits/archive collection and not put out a new album and use a tour to promote it.I hope I am wrong, but I cannot see this lasting longer than the current tour.It does seem such a waste of pure talent, excellent ability and a strange but pure chemistry,but I think the band will revert back to their solo careers.I am just thankful I had the chance to see one of the finest bands ever live. They are a group of real people singing and playing about real feelings and emotions not just a group of pretentios egotistical rock stars like a lot of bands around today.
Stephen Miller


Last night, in York, was the fifth time I'd seen Deacon Blue. It's been five years and five months since I last saw them - and it was worth waiting for - it was absolutely the best gig I've ever been to.At the start of the night the crowd must have been hard work, just giving polite applause for the first few numbers, and hardly giving any feedback to Ricky's commentary. But by the end of the night the band had us jumping and clapping and cheering and screaming  for more.

The band were on stage for almost 2 hours, and covered every one of my favourite songs,  the older tracks still sound brand new, the new stuff is great, and I love the way they slip  one of somebody else's songs into the middle of a favourite DB track. Last night "Love Hurts"  and "My Girl" sounded like they were written for Deacon Blue. Lorraine is still the maddest, most energetic singer I've ever seen, and she's gonna do serious damage with that tambourine !

We may not have sung as loud as the Liverpool crowd (or so Ricky says), but by the time we got to "Dignity" the band looked pleased with our efforts... I hope they were, I can't praise them or thank them enough for coming back.
Keith Lovatt (& Stephen Mcfarlane)

October 12 - Birmingham Symphony Hall

Just got back from the Birmingham gig and im literally blown away.Ive seen DB live seven times now and I dont think I've seen Ricky or the band enjoy themselves so much as they did tonight.Every song was perfect and Ricky's and Lorraine's vocals were unbelievable we were even treated to Ricky singing with no mic or backing as he did back in 94.I still can't believe how 25 songs and 2 solid hours of music can pass by in what seemed like minutes.So my advice to anyone who's going to the upcoming gigs is savour every moment because as I walked out I couldn't help feeling I'd just seen an old friend for the very last time.Rob Nicholl


The concert was simply brilliant, the best performance I have ever seen from the band (there have been seven previous ones)... This is not just the five year wait talking.Much of the old material from the first three albums (including half of the tracks form Raintown and all of the hits from When The World) was re-visited, which contributed greatly to a fantastic night.If this (God forbid) was the last time I will ever see them live then it was a much more fitting finale than the 'laboured' perfomances of the 1994 greatest hits tour.Robert Savage

October 13 - Ipswich Regent
What a night at the Ipswich Regent earlier tonight. DB were on for about an hour and 50 mins, the crowd loved every minute of it and the band really seemed to appreciate us. It was as if they hadn’t been away – they haven’t lost any of their old touch and I have to say it was as good as I've seen them. I’d forgotten how gorgeous Lorraine was as well! It didn’t take long before the whole crowd were on their feet and it was as if it was a relief to Ricky and Lorraine to see so many people showing so much enthusiasm. I bought the album on Monday and have been listening to it whenever I can – I’ll probably appreciate songs like Jesus and All I Want even more now. I just hope that’s not the last I’ve seen of the band together. Seeing Ricky without the others next year just won't be the same - for us or Ricky. Mike Ray

October 14 - Nottingham Royal Centre
When I read the review from York when Ricky questioned the crowd about wanting to  be at a Val Doonican concert I was a worried man but was determined that the Notts contingent wouldn't let the band down.

Luckily as 'Born In A Storm' faded into 'Raintown' everyone was up on their feet and really rockin'. I thought after Glasgow in the summer that it may well have been it for Deacon Blue on tour, I hope that all my shouting and cheering then, added some tiny assistance in persuading them back to do a full tour Ricky dealt amiably with the banter over the Scotland V England play-offs and when two members of the audience decided to join the band, uninvited, during 'Real Gone Kid' for a boogie.Ricky pulled them in and had them singing towards the end!!!

I  was lucky enough to have the pick of the seats and even managed acknowledgement from the great man himself who was merely a few feet away.Being so close allowed me to really appreciate the supreme musicianship of the whole band not least Mick Slaven who made his guitar play like a dozen.And the camaraderie shown between the rest of them demonstrated how much they were glad to be 'back with the living'.

There can't be many bands who can have the confidence to play entire albums live, over the course of a tour and know that the audience will love every one of them.But such is the strength of the song writing of Messieurs Ross & Company.They can guarantee to delight any audience.

Highlights for me this time were 'Circus Lights' which as an acoustic number on 'Ooh Las Vegas' brought home to me the versatillity of the songs however performed.Also 'When You Are Young'. a real potboiler, and as fresh now as it would have been 8 years ago if released on 'Fellow Hoodlums'.

More hints of Deacon Blue making a full album together were sown by Ricky during the gig,lets hope my blistered hands and feet pay off for a second time....... Richard Waldron

October 16 - Cambridge Corn Exchange
We had the best time last night at Cambridge and the gig was a loads times better than we'd expected. The crowd were great, except for a few middle-aged couples who only wanted to sway, we wanted to JUMP!! I don't know why they bothered to come. It was just fantastic to hear all those brilliant songs again, listening to 'Our Town' now just isn't the same. DB are better live.

PLEASE please please please let there be another tour. Some of these songs may be over ten years old but they just sound better and better.

One or two of the new songs have potential but I still can't get enough of 'Real Gone Kid'. The band seemed a little overwhelmed at times by just how pleased we were to see them, but five years is a long time and last night was a gig I thought I'd never see!!. Gail

October 17 - Manchester Palace Theatre
Wow, Wow ,Wow,.....In 1994 I saw DB in Blackpool and it was the best gig I have ever seen.I don't think a gig will ever come close to beating it, but tonight DB came mighty close!!

The Manchester Palace was very full, but not very lively for a long period,but that just seemed to make Ricky try even harder.

I think the special moments in a DB gig have been when they slip off into an old classic during one of their own tracks.Your lucky if they do this once but tonight they did it during Love & Regret, Loaded and twice during Chocolate Girl.Everything sounded great, they even did that no mic trick during the wildness again.

I could go on all night, it was great.Good news for the folk still waiting to see them, they seem to be getting better, tonights set was better than Liverpool last week, it was just a shame they couldn't get the Liverpool crowd to come too!!. Neil Parry

October 18 - London, Royal Albert Hall
First of all I have to say that the band were brilliant – what a difference Mick Slaven makes. It allows Greame to do his thing and adds volume to their sound.

The disappointing factor was the audience. I am Scottish and this is the first Deacon Blue concert I have been to out of Scotland and the atmosphere from the crowd was tame. I stood up and started dancing as soon as Raintown started and a man behind me was shouting at me to sit down. No way to act at a Deacon Blue concert!

The crowd then got up for the end of Loaded and all of Real Gone Kid and were up and down for other songs.

Ricky’s comments between songs were good and he was actually quite comical, I thought that Lorraine did not interact as much with the crowd as she has done before (to a receptive crowd in Scotland), lack of enthusiasm from a seated London crowd. The band were great, they just did not go mad like they did on 1/6/99 in Glasgow

Highlight….”Jesus….” was brilliant live, most of the other songs they did were unchanged.

I have tickets for Dundee, and being Scotland, and also standing downstairs I am sure the atmosphere are what Deacon Blue will expect and deserve.

Celtus were really good, all they need is a break with a hit and they could go far, their music at times sounded like the soundtrack to Titanic! Definitely a band to keep your eye on! All in all it was a great night - well done to them all. Ali

October 19 - London, Royal Albert Hall  

No Review
October 21 - Sheffield City Hall
No Review
October 22 - Newcastle City Hall
What a night! I've been to see DB twice before, once in 1989 (when I was 15) and twice in... I don't know when, but it was at the City Hall (Newcastle). The first time was Whitley Bay Ice rink and I thought that was the best night ever. I was sooooo wrong! This time was definately the best. I'm not going to pick out certain songs which were specificly spectacular (cos they all were!) and I know there are alot of die hard fans of DB out there and I like to include myself in that, who think certain songs sounded better etc.

The fact is, the concert as a whole could not have been better, the atmosphere was hellish and I was up dancing after the first song, although I was in the front row.It took others 3 song to catch on, but there was no sitting down after that! Met the gang after the show (my dream come true!) although we were rather pissed! Then went back to their hotel and drank ourselves stupid. I can't think of a better night ever! Although I don't think it was their ideal night (cos we were so loud and drunk!), but I had to write this because today I went back to that same hotel today and had my Christmas lunch and it brought back so many memories. Thanks again DB, hope you have a great Christmas! and a super New Year (more gigs please!) Hi again Ewan! luv Phillippa O'Neil x

November 19 - Dundee Caird Hall
WOW - what a night in Dundee last night - after seeing them at the three gigs in Glasgow earlier in the year, the band seem to be a lot tighter on stage and the performance last night i think reflected that. We had standing tickets about 6 bodies from the front, slap bang in front of Ricky. What a view!! Highlights for me were a great performance of Real gone Kid and Raintown also Loaded, Spencer Tracy and The day that Jackie jumped the jail. Dignity was as good as ever, no surprise there. Just need to get tickets for Stirling now!!!

The support band - Swiss Family Orbison were quite good too - so all in all it was a great night - made the journey to and from Glasgow well worth while. The only thing that was weird was because it was my first DB gig outside of Glasgow - it was weird to hear Ricky say (after the crowd had sung the first verse of Dignity) that it was great singing you dundee and tayside people!! I am so used to it being Glasgow People!!! Stirling here we come and may it go on and on and on!!! Lucian

November 28 - Belfast Ulster Hall
No Review
December 18 - Stirling Albert Halls
What a brilliant Christmas prezzie! Tickets to my first Deacon Blue concert. In fact it was my first concert ever and it was a night I'll never forget! After travelling 4 hours in the snow, I arrived with my mum and dad at the Albert Halls in Stirling at about 5.30 pm, 2 hours before the doors were due to open. I joined the queue round about 10 past 7 and stood in the freezing cold (I forgot my Santa hat!) for 20 minutes waiting for the doors to open.

At last, we were allowed in and after buying a programme and a t-shirt we found  our brilliant seats on the balcony, directly above the stage! The support band, Swiss Family Orbison, were on first. There were only two of them playing and from where I was sitting, I could see Dougie (well, I'm pretty sure it was him!) dancing and singing along in the wing.

The time between Swiss Family Orbison going off and DB coming on was awful! I was so nervous that I felt like it was me who was going to be playing for all these people! Finally, all 7 band members were on the stage and as they started 'Circus Lights' I thought I was going to cry! My emotional spell only lasted until half way through 'Raintown' because by then I was singing along like everyone else.

They played all my favourites including 'When Will You,' 'Twist and Shout,' and the ones that really got the crowd going, 'Real Gone Kid,'  'Fergus Sings the Blues,' and 'Wages Day.' One of my dreams had always been to sing along to 'Dignity' so when it came on, I nearly started crying again! It was an amazing experience!!!

When the band went off for the first time, everyone was standing up clapping, cheering and chanting and they all came back on again to end with 'Christmas and Glasgow,' 'I Don't Wanna Go Home' (very appropriate!) and 'Merry Christmas (Baby Please Come Home).

At the very end, Ricky was shouting Merry Christmas at everyone and no-one shouted it back. So, Ricky, Lorraine, Ewan, Dougie, Jim, Graeme and Mick, if you're reading this, Merry Christmas!!! It was a great ending to the millenium for me, and a night I'll remember for the rest of my life! I hope there are many more to follow! Laura Boyd

December 19 - Aberdeen Music Hall
No Review