Deacon Blue – Olympia Theatre – Review and Photos
Deacon Blue played The Olympia Theatre tonight, September 18th.
A curious and enthusiastic crowd of trendy middleagers wait for Deacon Blue. They want that retro music happiness to hit them. The band descend upon the stage taking their fans on a momentous journey from past to present.
Opening with “Laura From Memory“ from their most recent album “The Hipsters”, unknown to most as an opening track, wasn’t quite the opener fans expected. ”Raintown“ however came to the rescue, bonding fans and band instantly. A rollercoaster of well loved and much appreciated 90’s hit took off. “Your Swaying Arms” charmed with it’s lilting harmonies, “Queen Of The New Year“ building momentum for the highlight of the first round of rollercoaster retro. “Chocolate Girl“ got a rapturous response. An alluring tale of romance and ruin performed to perfection by Ricky Ross’s searching soulful voice. It’s clear that many of this fortyish crowd have waited a long time to experience it live. Even Joe Duffy, comfy in his plush side stage box sang a verse or two. Next stop “Love and Regret“ embellished with Lorraine McIntosh’s supporting vocals and tinkly charming keyboards from Jim Prime. Onto “Your Town“ from the 1993 album “What Ever You Say, Say Nothing”. A different musical direction at the time, it was soaked up seamlessly by the crowd. “Real Gone Kid” with its decisive drums, punctuating keyboards and edgy guitars rocked it on. “Stars” and “She’ll Understand” both from “The Hipsters” though enjoyable, they asked a lot from the audience. Ross happy to banter between songs as he slowed the rollercoaster and softened the tempo. “Orphans “ an oldie b side unknown to many hushed the tones into three more tracks from “ The Hipsters”.
The set list was a menu sprinkled with old and new. And the new is as good as the old it appears. However it wasn’t until “Loaded” that the torque kicked in again. A beautiful encore began with the Bacharach and David “I’ll Never Fall In Love Again”, a well known cover by Deacon Blue it paved the way for “Dignity”. This song captures the ultimate universal working class faith in hope and hard work. It’s a masterpiece. Ross’s articulate encounter resonating deeply with the fans almost twenty five years after its original release. An eclectic oddity of a Beatles mix mash confused the crowd slightly when “Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight / The End” appeared. The band by the look of it just love playing it. “Twist and Shout“ followed by “Wages Day“ carried the sentiment. A raw and honest crescendo of acoustics wrapped up “Wages Day”. Mel, from the audience, was plucked out and brought on stage to jam with the band. It was all guitars, tambourines, hugs and bows. Deacon Blue want you to know that they have new songs, new hopes and no doubt, new fears. They charmed their loyal fans like a child charms his parents. If you adored the old stuff give “The Hipsters“ a shot. Deacon Blue – they still have it. They still rock it. They still want it. They sound great. They look great. Despite their own doubts, I think they may actually be “ Hip”.
Review by Ciara Sheahan
Photos by David Doyle