Deacon Blue: A New House Tour
Echo Arena, Liverpool Sunday 21st December
Spectators were treated to a pre-Christmas cracker last night as Scottish legends Deacon Blue rounded off their latest UK tour at Liverpool's Echo Arena.
Formed in 1985, the Glaswegian outfit is still going strong. Despite a five year split in the nineties and some stop-start reunions, things are busier than ever.
The band has racked up over six million album sales since its formation and the hits just keep on coming.
It was heartening to see such a diverse age range in the audience last night, just days before Christmas. This is both a testament to Deacon Blue's enduring appeal and their ability to evolve with the times.
Already with two number one albums and a dozen UK top 40 singles behind them, they show no signs of slowing down. On the contrary, the band is experiencing a remarkable rebirth following on from the success of their 2012 hit album The Hipsters.
The first things you realise about Deacon Blue is that Ricky Ross is a brilliant lyricist and the band are great as live performers. They play with a real passion and intensity which is infectious. You can't fail to be swept along with it all. The Arena was rocking.
Lorraine McIntosh is eye-catching as she dances and stomps her way through every number. She's not just a fine vocalist, she also plays guitar, tambourine, harmonica and even a drum.
All the old favourites were on offer last night. By the fourth song the large festive audience was on its feet and that's where it remained for the next two hours, cheering, waving, swaying and singing. Classics such as Dignity, Chocolate Girl and Loaded had people hugging and kissing whilst a rousing rendition of Real Gone Kid almost lifted the roof off. It's surprising how fresh everything still sounds. But this wasn't just about the golden oldies. There was a fine blend of past and present including several tracks from the band's latest album, A New House. They even found time for a few covers, most notably Dylan's Like a Rolling Stone.
As 2014 draws to a close, this has to go down as a contender for one of the best Liverpool gigs of the year. Deacon Blue tick all the right boxes and press all the right buttons. They endeared themselves to local audiences a long time ago and now a new generation of fans can be added to their list of admirers.
If allowed to I'm sure Ross and co would have stayed all night. They re-entered the stage for an emotional encore, complete with tinsel and lanterns and sang beyond their scheduled finish time. It was a fitting climax to a spectacular tour.
The songs from the new album are a breath of fresh air. Catchy, dynamic with great lyrics and wonderful melodies. From the vibrant Bethlehem Begins which opened the gig, to the bright, bouncy and optimistic title track A New House. It all feels very uplifting and energetic. The latest album reflects the band's new lease of life. There's a definite feel-good factor about Deacon Blue and long may it continue...