Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Deacon Blue

Stirling Castle - Dec 31st 2013

Well the weather was supposed to be dire, but we had a lovely pre-celebration curry at Fiona and Mick's, then wrapped up warm and headed up the hill to Stirling Castle for the Hogmanay 2013 celebrations:

And because it was a wee bit chilly, and there are a few pubs on the way, we missed the first act, local Stirling band Rail Fan, but did we care? Not very much :-)
In fact the weather was getting better - clear skies and not too windy - ideal for jigging on the esplanade and watching fireworks!

So we got there in time for Bags of Rock who were quite entertaining..

Bags of Rock - Scottish Death Metal
..but in the words of local music critic Duncan Wilson they were "pure Scottish Death Metal" and all the songs sounded remarkably similar. No matter, they were loud, the crowd were dancing and clapping and we had our hip flasks.

Kirsten had home-made alco-pops inside her jacket as she is not really a whisky drinker (you could tell by the funny faces she pulled after every swig from the offered hip flasks).

So, with eager anticipation we awaited the arrival of the headliners - Deacon Blue..

We didn't have too long to wait, as bounding onto the stage came part-time sports pundit and part-time drummer Dougie Vipond, and closely followed by the rest of the band.

I have to admit this picture is from T in the Park, not Stirling Castle but it kinda conveys the spirit of the event, though I suspect Lorraine McIntosh would not have lasted long dressed like that! Unfortunately my phone camera picture looks more like this below, mostly woolly hats:

They stormed on stage and went quickly into the first song and do you know, for the life of me I cannot remember which track they played first (hip-flask half empty by this point), but it went something like this:

"Chocolate Girl", "Real Gone Kid", "Wages Day", "Every Time You Sleep", "Love and Regret" and "The Hipsters".

The sound was really good, Lorraine sang in tune and they did a really great set.

It was just about 13 mins before midnight and suddenly Ricky Ross shouted "You've been great - thanks and goodbye". Everyone clapped and cheered fully expecting the obligatory encore to take us up to the bells, but no, instead the annoying man in the red tartan suit, Steve McKenna, was back on stage and doing some silly crowd sing-a-long numbers. WTF!

He finally introduced the next (and apparently final) act - it was Dougie Maclean to give us his patriotic song Caledonia.

"Ah but let me tell you that I love you and I think about you all the time
Caledonia you're calling me and now I'm going home
But if I should become a stranger you know that it would make me more than sad
Caledonia's been everything I've ever had"

Those people that knew the words were singing along and at one point even I felt compelled to vote YES for independence :-), but suddenly it was over and the crowd dried their patriotic tears. All the previous acts came on stage (except Deacon Blue) and we awaited the countdown to midnight....5, 4, 3, 2, 1 HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! We all shook hands and/or kissed.

The fireworks kicked off and they were impressive, not overdone like the Princes Street ones, just right.

Ah hell, but the annoying man in the red tartan suit was back, and what's this he's saying?

"Put your hands together for Deacon Blue" and there they were, returning to the stage for the long awaited encore! Woo hoo!

Immediately they went straight into "Queen of the New Year", followed by "Fergus Sings the Blues" - this was good driving rhythm stuff. Then they did "Dignity". The crowd were in good voice and managed a couple of unaccompanied verses on Dignity.

They wrapped it up with a stage bow and a big cheer from the crowd... and we headed to the pub again :-) before heading to Fiona and Mick's place for late night cheese and wines!

A lovely Hogmanay indeed.

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