On A Wave Of Nostalgia
Sunderland Echo 23rd May 2001

Deacon Blue. Newcastle City Hall 22nd May 2001

RUMOURS of poor ticket sales proved unfounded last night as the North East's 30 and 40 something brigade turned out in force to honour on of the finest pop rock bands of the late 1980s.

Charismatic front man Ricky Ross was preaching to the converted and he knew it long before the band's debut hit Dignity was sung word for word by a crowd stretching all the way to the back of the venue and spilling upwards into the balconies. Deacon Blue were not one of the biggest bands of their era - their biggest chart hit, Real Gone Kid, reached only number eight in 1988. But they were influential and exerted a massive pull on the affections of those fell for their blend of smart lyrics and catchy melodies.

As befits a band named after a Steely Dan song, Deacon Blue produced pop and rock tunes with a slightly jazzy feel but gave them an edge by allying the tunes to tales of working class life and pride. Having broken up in 1996, they began reforming in 1999 and last night they played as if they'd never been away. Their fans have grown older with them. Everywhere there were impressive examples of early '90s haircuts, plenty of beer bellies and very respectable looking middle-aged couples who looked as though they'd finished work early at the civic centre.

Ross and his seven band members received a rapturous reception although the concert didn't really take off until half-an-hour in when the anthemic Real; Gone Kid was followed by the equally spirit-lifting Wages Day. Ballsy rock tracks were counter-balanced by more soulful songs - a slow rendition of Love and Regret being interpreted by a lilting version of Motown hit Just My Imagination, going down wonderfully.

By the end of the evening the audience were afloat on a wave of nostalgia for the good old days of their youth and the happy satisfaction that their favourite songs have stood the test of time. Graeme Anderson