IT could -- perhaps should -- have been a disaster. A brand-new, possibly Barrowland-busting venue run by a London-based company opens in Glasgow. To deflect attention from their English lager sponsor, they hire the none-more-Scotch Deacon Blue for the opening night to highlight their tartan credentials.
It's certainly a canny strategy, but it's unclear whether the band announcing an intention to play their debut album Raintown in its entirety was part of the original plan. Brian Wilson performing Pet Sounds, I can accept. Arthur Lee playing all of Forever Changes -- which he'll do at this very venue on Tuesday night -- that's fine, too. But Raintown? That's a bit of a stretch.
But rumours of slow ticket sales prove to be just that -- it's hard to imagine how you could fit any more people in this 2500-capacity hall. And while things sound horribly 1980s to start with, by the time they hit the strident Loaded -- preceded by a passionate anti-war rant by well-preserved singer Ricky Ross -- the energy levels have rocketed to fever pitch. Even the security staff -- usually humourless automatons -- are discreetly bobbing their heads to the thumping Dignity.
Once all of Raintown is out the way, Deacon Blue are free to chop and change for the encore; Real Gone Kid, a cover of Van Morrison's Angelou and (inevitably) Fergus Sings The Blues, which Ross curiously introduces as 'the new national anthem'.
This evening, with the entire room singing along, it actually sounds more appropriate than Flower Of Scotland.
Whatever the reasons for getting Deacon Blue to christen this beaut-ifully restored and pretty darn impressive venue, they play with a fire and passion that transcends any political manouvering.
But the long-term impact of the Academy on the vibrant Glasgow music scene -- be it beneficial or damaging -- remains to be seen.