All across Greater Manchester, babysitters must have been earning time and a half while a capacity crowd of parents stepped out to relive the glory days of their youth. The incentive was a flawless set of classic pop/rock courtesy of Scottish band Deacon Blue who are currently celebrating their 25th anniversary.
Rather than simply trading on their past, Ricky Ross and co have a brand new critically acclaimed album, The Hipsters, to perform and it injected a freshness and enthusiasm into a set that mainly consisted of the big chart hits from their 1989 album, When The World Knows Your Name. Inch perfect versions of Wages Day, Real Gone Kid, Queen Of The New Year, Fergus Sings The Blues and Dignity that roused the entire audience to their feet. It’s no wonder considering these songs were once staples of stadiums and arena tours and top 40 playlists.
Jim Prime’s keyboards still manage to conjure up the power of a full brass section on the main hook of Fergus before seamlessly switching into the clubby 90s Oakenfold and Osborne sound on Your Town. Ross even handed over the first verse of Dignity to the audience and so engraved it is in people’s conscience that it was sung back at him word for word. New material such as Stars and Turn illustrate Ross’ innate gift for a catchy hook and confirmed why he’s now the go-to songwriter for the likes of Will Young, Jamie Cullum and Ronan Keating. An acoustic version of Dylan’s Forever Young, where even drummer Dougie Vipond took a turn on the vocals, was offered as a departing hymn and seemed a heartfelt gesture of gratitude to those who have followed them through the years.
Deacon Blue played 11 October, 02 Apollo, Manchester