[MUSIC ~ UK]
Governor Hindmarsh Hotel, Thu 26 Sep.
David Bowie’s The Laughing Gnome is the song chosen to welcome one of Scotland’s finest, Big Country, onto the Gov stage. There must be a story to that. After a bit of fumbling around, it appears that the band is good to go. “Time to rock ‘n’ roll…” says Bruce Watson, and the familiar signature processed guitar sound takes the audience into 1000 Stars, from the band’s debut LP. People are up and dancing early, something that is not wasted on Watson, who asks for the houselights to be turned on, which eventually happens. The second song is Flame Of The West, from Steeltown, the album this tour is celebrating. The vocal microphone fails during East Of Eden, forcing quick-thinking lead vocalist Simon Hough to move over to bass player Scott Whitley’s mic for the song. “Welcome to gremlin night,” quips Watson, and reminds the crowd about just how far away Australia is from the UK. Look Away gets folks singing along.
The mix is good; everything is discernible and, gremlins aside, the collective performance is great. Each of the five members executes their role brilliantly. Watson appears to be enjoying his night, sharing funny stories throughout the evening. The crowd are into it too. There’s dancing up the front, and a few tables at the back.
Steeltown is followed by the anthemic Chance, which has everyone singing again. The audience participation continues through Lost Patrol.
Jamie Watson breaks a string during Tall Ships Go, and has to leave the stage in search of a fix. He is joined by Watson Snr and Hough, leaving the rhythm section of Whitley and drummer Mark Brzezicki to perform an impromptu funk odyssey, demonstrating their considerable chops. An unexpected treat.
Guitar repaired, the band reappears and In A Big Country comes next, to whoops of joy from the masses. Wonderland and Fields Of Fire make for a big climax to the show. “And that, ladies and gentlemen, is rock ‘n’ roll!”
Brzezicki comes to the front of the stage, has a friendly chat and introduces the band members to the audience. There’s a heartfelt remembrance of Stuart Adamson, appreciated by all, and then the stage is empty. The lights come on, the recorded music starts, there will be no encore. Home time; somewhat abruptly.
This has been a great show from a fabulous band. Despite the sudden conclusion to proceedings, most folks are leaving happy.
Image courtesy of David Robinson