Thirty-five years since their debut single, Dignity, and millions of record sales since, Deacon Blue are digging out all their old 45s – the Top 10s, the favourites, the sing-a-long rarities – and touring the UK & Ireland in September / October 2023. The band have always thrived onstage, but they’ve never played gigs quite like this: they’ll perform two sets, with no support. The first half will be an intimate acoustic show, and then they’ll go electric for a raucous trip across their hits.
Vocalist and songwriter Ricky Ross is raring to go on this celebration of Deacon Blue’s brilliant and loyal fans, roaring the Caledonian gospel from the South Coast to the Uplands. “We’ve decided to play a Greatest Hits show with a difference,” he says. “Yes, we intend to play all (or nearly all) the old 45s, but we also want the first half of the evening to be an intimate acoustic performance, the band gathered round the piano with acoustic guitars and whatever Dougie decides to hit. We’ll play some album tracks and reinterpret a few favourites from the back catalogue. We’ll take a short break then come back and make a lot of noise. We hope you can be part of that noise.”
Kicking off in the birthplace of pop (as Ross’s recent memoir attests, everything comes back to The Beatles), the tour will launch in Liverpool (at the M&S Bank Arena) – a city which has long held a special place in the band’s collective heart – before travelling the length of the land. Ross, co-vocalist Lorraine McIntosh, Dougie Vipond (drums), Jim Prime (keyboards), Gregor Philp (guitar) and Lewis Gordon (bass) will breathe new life into well-loved songs like Dignity, Loaded, Wages Day, Real Gone Kid, I’ll Never Fall In Love Again, Your Swaying Arms, Twist & Shout, Your Town, The Hipsters and City Of Love. And so many more.
The dates will culminate in a homecoming show at Glasgow’s OVO Hydro, a stone’s throw away from the Finnieston Crane, which defined their debut album, Raintown. It’s a suitably celebratory space for the final fling on a special tour of Deacon Blue’s greatest hits – and the rest – as they reel in the years and the ships and the songs, in the hurricane days and summers and suns, amplified and unplugged, surrounded by friends in cities of love.
REAL GONE KIDS
Ewen Vernal [bass]: played in Deacon Blue until the 1994 break-up and now plays with Capercaillie.
Graeme Kelling [guitar]: was a member of Deacon Blue until his death in 2004 from pancreatic cancer. There was a dedication to him on the album cover of The Hipsters. “He was the only one of us who was a true hipster,” Ricky says. “He was the cool guy with the Ray-Bans and the Katharine Hamnett jackets. He lived the life. Truly a day doesn’t pass without us thinking about him and very often talking about him and the stories that all come up.”