|Deacon Blue, Carling
The Herald 27th March 2003
ARRIVING at the opening night of the Carling Academy to watch a show that is marked by a simultaneously confusing sense of time and space displacement, it is worth remembering the one of the few constants in the 16 years since Deacon Blue's Raintown was released, is tonight's mode of transport, the 44 bus. If the opening of a new venue ought to be a time for looking forward, then tonight is characterised by a clash of past and present. The confusing part is being in a beautifully (though how long it will remain so has to be queried) thirties' cinema listening to a band running through a lively and faithful recreation of a record that is musically, socially, and politically synonymous with 1987.
The surprise comes in how little it seems to have dated and that Deacon Blue seem able to attract an audience many of whom cannot be present for purely nostalgic or sentimental reasons. They wave mobile phones and video cameras in the direction of the stage, the videos playing behind the band hark back to a less sophisticated and less stylish era. With songs that made their debuts in long forgotten Glasgow venues like Pi and Panama Ja, the problem is in the format rather than the performance. Even Pet Sounds and Porever Changes struggled with the lack of spontaneity when played in sequence, and while Raintown sits alongside A Walk Across The Rooftops in the Scottish pop albums of the eighties, it is hindered by its sequential performance.
Ricky Ross remains an admirable role model for anyone aspiring to sincerity in rock music, with an evangelism that is characterised by both belief and compassion. A series of later hits and covers con- clude the set and, while hardly an adventurous choice of opening act for the academy, it worked better than owners, sponsors, audience , and artists could have expected. John Williamson