|No Comeback Here, But
A Lot Of Dignity
Edinburgh Evening News 28th May 1999
Deacon Blue, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall ****
DEACON Blue were never cool. Wearing the band's tour T-shirt on your back didn't exactly scream trendy.
You wouldn't transport one of their albums in a public place without a carrier bag - and you certainly wouldn't wait in line to request one of their hits at any self-respecting club.
But they were always popular. Between 1987 and 1992 Deacon Blue sold a lot of records, had 14 top 40 hits, knocked Madonna off the top of the album charts and were fronted by the very attractive Mr and Mrs Scotpop, Lorraine McIntosh and Ricky Ross.
Last night, almost five years to the day since they played their farewell concert, they were back, reformed for a charity gig which sold out within one hour of tickets going on sale.
The twentysomething crowd which had so eagerly snapped up the tickets didn't come to be seen. They came to enjoy themselves and, for many, wallow in the songs which formed the soundtrack to their teenage growing pains. Nostalgia aside, expectations were high. The crowd felt nervous -would Deacon Blue be the same? Rusty? Past it?
Within seconds of the opening bars of Raintown all nervousness lifted in almost giddy excitement. There was a rollercoaster of time travel and goosebump inducing emotions as Deacon Blue launched into the music which played through this crowd's first everything: from teenage disco to snog, through love and heartbreak and onwards to leaving home and going out into the world.
Guitar player Graham Kelling said in his programme notes "We'll try not to trample on too many memories."
They didn't. But Deacon Blue have mellowed - somehow they seem cooler, almost as if having families and getting married has chilled the band members out.
They displayed a self-assured confidence as they played their way through Twist and Shout, Real Gone Kid and When Will You Make My Phone Ring with fine style, showmanship and passion.
They were evidently genuinely pleased to be back and the crowd jumped up and down, sang along and worshipped.
Fergus Sings The Blues was a major highlight - some of the chords made the hairs on your neck stand on end.
At one point Ricky Ross joked: "I'm 40 and I look fabulous." Yes he does. The whole band looked good and if they weren't linked quite so heavily in the public mind to 1980s pop anthems they could be any smart 90s band, a rival even to currrent Scottish favourites Texas.
There is a high groan factor attached to the recent spate of revival bands who have dragged out the eyeliner, ruffled shirts and bland pop songs to cash in on the nostalgia pound.
It's a charge not even their worst enemies could level at Deacon Blue.
Firstly, they are all doing very nicely without the band, thank you.
Ricky Ross has his own solo career and shares a family with fellow singer and wife Lorraine McIntosh - who also has her own band, Cub, and launched a film career in My Name Is Joe.
Jim Prime is in charge of setting up SMART, the new school of music and recording technology in Ayr.
And Dougie Vipond is probably Scotland's most famous drummer who isn't famous for drumming, being a presenter of such television shows as BBC's Holiday.
Secondly, the gig was to raise funds for the Glasgow Braeudam Link, a charity which provides support and holidays for families living in poverty.
Cue the song which is their signature anthem. Dignity was sung word for word by the crowd even before Ricky started.
But when he did the venue burst into the kind of camaraderie and affection usually reserved for songs like Old Lang Syne at family reunions. And a reunion it was. Between talented musicians, young Scots with shared memories and catchy pop songs.
Reunions are nerve wracking occasions. They are usually good fun, emotional and wonderfully indulgent. But you wouldn't want to have one that never ended.
Deacon Blue pulled off probably the best reunion I've ever been to. They were even quite cool. They should be declared a national treasure.
But please let them stop on this high, with dignity. Jane Molyneux