Deacon Blue at the Echo Arena (21 Dec ’14)

My final gig of 2014 and another quick return to the Arena this time for Deacon Blue, having seen Peter Gabriel (see review here) and The Who (review here) there earlier in the month. This took me up to twenty gigs at the Arena in total, amazingly enough with four of those being for the Scottish popsters.

Deacon Blue ticket

Deacon Blue are big favourites of My Beloved Wife, whereas they’re more in the “they’re OK” category for me. However, they always put on a good show, and I actually bought their ‘best of’; compilation back in 1995, long before meeting the missus.

The day’s entertainment started off with a trip to Anfield for a 2-2 draw with Arsenal, meeting up with very rare gig companions John and Sharon in the King Charles pub after the match. We stayed there long enough to miss the support act, a Welsh folk rock duo called Zervas & Pepper, so perhaps we didn’t lose out too much. The refreshments consumed pre- and post-match, and then in the Arena (for a change), and the time elapsed since this gig, all mean that my recollections of the night are sketchier than usual, but here goes…

Deacon Blue started off with two songs from their latest album (“A New House”), with another couple of tracks from this release also featuring later. They also played a few numbers from 2012’s ”The Hipsters”, but fortunately the majority of the set was the hits and other songs from their 80’s/90’s heyday as we were unfamiliar with the new ones.

Deacon Blue

The first song I really knew was “Raintown”, the title track of their 1987 debut album, which was then followed by the double whammy of “Wages Day” and “Your Swaying Arms”, both of which had hit the Top 30 back in the day. Then came the title track off the new album, with second singer Lorraine McIntosh strapping on a guitar for this one.

Other oldies soon came along, including “Queen Of The New Year” and “When Will You (Make My Telephone Ring)”. In the latter I’ve always quite liked the lyric “I want you and everything”, but I have only just realised it’s actually “I want you in everything” which is still good, just a little sloppier it seems.

After 1993’s “Bethlehem’s Gate” came another couple of favourites – “Your Town” from the year before and then “Real Gone Kid”, the first of their three Top 10 hits, released in 1988. New song “I Remember Every Single Kiss” preceded the very early single “Loaded” before my favourite song of the night, a surprisingly good cover version of Bob Dylan’s “Like A Rolling Stone”, which I’d seen the man himself perform in the same venue back in May 2009.

I missed the intro to “Fergus Sings The Blues” by being at the bar, which tends to be a lengthy, amusing ramble, but was apparently somewhat curtailed on this occasion. Then came the last song of the main set, “That’s What We Can Do” from 2001’s “The Hipsters”.

The encore began with “Long Way Home”, which I have since discovered is a Tom Waits cover. I didn’t recognise it, but then it’s not on one of the thirteen (count ‘em!) Waits albums I own. They then rolled out a pair of big guns, “Chocolate Girl” and the ever-popular crowd singalong “Dignity”.

A version of “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)”, originally sung by Darlene Love on “A Christmas Gift For You From Phil Spector”, was followed by the closing “Twist And Shout”.

Deacon Blue

Overall, this wasn’t my favourite Deacon Blue gig, but I still quite enjoyed it, and after a couple of drinks in the lively The Liverpool pub and a fruitless trip for a curry on Renshaw Street we ended up going for a late night meal in Chinatown to end a good night out.

Tonight’s t-shirt
As I needed a t-shirt to wear to the match and then to the Arena, I went for my red Shack one which has a liver bird on it. Unfortunately, I can’t remember spotting any other band t-shirts on the night.

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