Live albums aren’t always popular. I love them. Of course in the new era when hard copy is harder to market than downloads and streaming a DVD with a double CD disc is a tempting package. Just before Deacon Blue played Belfast in November I was thinking that it was time for a career spanning live record and film. Here it is!
What I like about live albums by artists who have been around for a while, and was therefore looking for in a Deacon Blue one, is that it brings all the records in a catalogue into the one sound. Over thirty years a band like Deacon Blue have given us various soundscapes. So, to take their very best songs and put them through the blender of the same concert brings a cohesion and opportunity to re-evaluate.
So here, live in their home ground of Glasgow Barrowlands you get Raintown, Real Gone Kid, Twist and Shout, Your Town (particularly Your Town) right through to the recent records The Outsiders and The Believers. A unifying of the variety, all soaked in atmosphere and hometown adrenalin.
What is unique about Deacon Blue live, thirty years in, is that this record is far from a greatest hits from way back in the day. Eleven of the twenty seven songs here are from a recent trilogy of superb records. It is not often a band of their longevity can sneak so many new songs into a live show. Particularly prominent is last year’s The Believers of which the title track, Gone, Delivery Man and This Is A Love Song are as strong Deacon Blue songs as the hits.
Over recent years I have reviewed a number of Deacon Blue gigs and the recurring theme is the hopefulness that comes through, across their entire catalogue. Never shirking the reality of the broken world around them Deacon Blue pump out positive vibes for something better into whatever venue they fill. Again we are back to The Believers a fulcrum for the main set here: “The believers, know its going to get better/you better/ believe it.”
This morning I preached to my congregation their call to take hope out into their world in the week to come. To make dry bones dance in their lives, families, on their street and across their nation. As I try to do that in my life and schedule, this new live album will be the soundtrack in my car, lifting me to what is possible from a world that is too often way short of its potential.
It is thirty years since I came across the 12 inch single of Dignity, in Caroline Records near the Cornmarket in Belfast took it home and became a fan. this is a wonderful career retrospective that reminds me why I fell in love with their songs and why I still cannot get enough of them. “Thinking about home… thinking about work… thinking about faith.” All wrapped up in the very best of rock tunes and poetry.