In A Class Of His Own
The Sunday Mail 30th March 2003


There were many magic moments in a show which raised the curtain on Scotland’s newest music venue.

But one stood out above all others – the second chorus of Deacon Blue’s classic 1989 single, Real Gone Kid.

For a split second, singer Ricky Ross looked out over a sea of bouncing bodies chanting the song’s “Woo-ooh-ooh” refrain and stopped him dead in his tracks.

He seemed overwhelmed by the sheer energy coming back from his audience. In that instant, everything clicked – the music, the lights and the passion of a live show.

Deacons Blue’s fine songs have almost become part of the fabric of Scottish life. It’s cool when Bruce Springsteen sings about the boardwalk in Atlantic City.

Know what – it’s cool too when Deacon Blue date stamp a period in Glasgow’s evolution with lines such as “The Campies over Christmas/I still dream of Memphis.” In Fergus Sings The Blues.

Fabulous images of the city – many taken from Oscar Mazarolli photographs – were flashed up on a huge video screen. As the band launched into Dignity, his classic shot of “The Glasgow Boy’s” looked down on the auditorium.

The focus of the set was a performance of their Raintown album. From the haunting opening strains of Born In a Storm through all 11 tracks, it was stunning.

Highlights included Jim Prime’s piercing piano introduction to the title track and the emotion-charged harmonies of Ross and wife Lorraine McIntosh on He Looks Like Spencer Tracy Now.

The Raintown recital was so inspiring I’m baffled why it never occurred to them to do it before. Wages Day and a sublime Chocolate Girl, before closing with an encore which included Twist And Shout and Queen Of The New Year.

The band set out to do something special for this opening and boy did they achieve it. Billy Sloan