Deacon Blue At Colston Hall
Bristol Post 13th December 2013

DISAPPOINTING an audience is probably not the best way to start a concert, but for the lead singer of Deacon Blue, Ricky Ross, this was unavoidable. With no fanfare he appeared on stage to announce that unfortunately co-vocalist (and wife); Lorraine McIntosh would not be able to perform due to illness. Although not ideal this probably endeared the band even more to the capacity Colston Hall.

Now on stage for the second time but as band leader, against a backdrop of the cover art for their most recent album The Hipsters, Ross was joined by the rest of the group. Three songs in the charismatic Scotsman had the mainly 40-somethings audience up on their feet.

Big hit Queen of the New Year was greeted by huge cheers as was the galloping drum intro of early Nineties Fleetwood Mac-esque single Your Town.

Earlier than expected, perhaps their biggest hit, the euphoric Real Gone Kid was played, encouraging crowd participation as they filled in for McIntosh, singing her vocal parts en masse.

A meandering monologue about drunken men on buses was delivered with great humour before launching into a track from their new Christmas EP. Ross forgot the release date causing several audience members to shout, '15th December', to the obvious enjoyment of the forgetful singer.

Having accumulated a decent back catalogue over the years, the hits followed thick and fast including fan favourites Loaded and the title track of their most recent album which featured an epic string riff and was as good as any of their earlier output during their chart bothering period.

After a good hour and a half the band exited the stage only to return a few minutes later for an expected encore which packed in many of their biggest hits including Dignity and When Will You (Make My Telephone Ring) culminating with their last top 10 hit to date, Twist and Shout.

Although obviously trying very hard to fill the huge gap left by the absence of their mainstay vocalist, you couldn't help but think that the evening would have been enhanced further by her presence.

On a positive note, if Ross ever decides to give up the singing he'd probably make a rather good stand-up comedian. 3/5 Simon Butler