Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Deacon Blue & the Ricky Ross Christmas Panto

You wouldn't expect a gig from a household name group to feature mention of Potato Scone, Stornaway Black Pudding and a range of unusual items added to by a live but comically drunken Santa, but this was Ricky Ross and Panto season was in full swing.

Having been unable to go along to the Usher Hall date around the corner from us on Deacon Blue's 25th anniversary tour, we made the sub-zero trip up to Perth for the 11th December gig there. The setlist order was substantially different from those published  for many of the tour dates, but along with the obligatory current release and some more than reasonable newer tracks, all the old hits were pounded out with the energetic commitment of a teen band given their big break. Evidence of this unfaded enthusiasm was clear from the fact that Lorraine McIntosh was singing along off-mic to every line of Ricky's solo lyrics in every song. A very dynamic Dougie Vipond  broke loose his drumkit at one point, James Prime (keyboards), Gregor Philip (guitar) and Lewis Gordon (Bass) completed the lineup

It was wonderful  for the mostly 40's plus audience demographic to be whisked back to their younger years with some emotional sing-alongs - but this wasn't the all too common aged group milking former glories - this was a top rate professional performance from start to finish. One of the highlights was a homage to Woody Guthrie (born a hundred years ago this year) which was wonderfully woven into "Loaded", but Ricky was in full Christmas mode and injected a huge dollop of humour into proceedings, his Christmas tale from the croft brought those Full Scottish Breakfast items references and mention of the Paisley version of Scottish dancing with swords (which has no dancing). This story turned out to be a comically contrived introduction to a full-blooded hammering out of "Fergus sings the Blues".

The venue, Perth Concert Hall, didn't quite live up to the standards of the performers, Scotland's newest Concert Hall it may be, but a virtually flat standing area should have been coupled with a higher stage level - a fairground style "you must be this height to see this gig" sign at the door wouldn't have been out of place. My wife though only slightly vertically challenged, had to rely on my reassurance that Ricky hadn't lost his boyish rugged looks.

The gig built to a crescendo as you would expect with the encore - a mass participation thumping out of "Dignity", "Chocolate Girl" and their cover of Dylan's "Forever Young". But the Ricky Ross panto still wasn't finished, now tinsel-clad the full band took part in a rendition of Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) originally by Darlene Love, and often covered of course, but the romantic would like to think it was chosen because U2 recorded their impromptu cover of it in Glasgow?

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