The Waterboys / Barrowlands / Glasgow / 30.06.2018
with support from Freddie Stevenson
Concert Review and Photography by Kerrin Carr
Opening the show was Mike Scott collaborator Edinburgh based singer-songwriter Freddie Stevenson. Freddie has released three studio albums- 50 Songs (2018), The City is King (2011) and The Darkening/The Brightening (2015); his one ‘man and his guitar’ act performed an engaging blend of acoustic folk rock.
Fresh from their Edinburgh Playhouse show, rock and roll folk band The Waterboys- fronted by the lyrical romantic Mike Scott- have, since 1983, seen a number of different line-ups consisting of musicians mainly from Scotland and Ireland. And tonight the Barrowlands were treated to an outstanding show from an incredible, world class band including Mike Scott (vocals, guitar, piano), Steve Wickham (electric fiddle, mandolin, acoustic guitar), Ralph Salmins (drums), Brother Paul Brown (keyboards, backing vocals), Aongus Ralston (bass), Zeenie Summers (vocals) and Jess Kavanagh (vocals).
With the sun blazing high in the sky and two massive outdoor music events in Glasgow – TRNSMT in the East and Fiesta in the West, it was testament to The Waterboys’ long standing popularity and solid fanbase that the Barrowlands reached sell-out capacity. It was hot and very sweaty but that didn’t stop the jiggin’.
With minimal lighting, the dramatic spotlight let the music speak for itself. For me concert highlights included:
- A Girl Called Johnny – From the eponymously named debut album from The Waterboys (1983)– accompanying Mike’s rhythmic piano beats and vocal storytelling, Steve Wickman electrified with his dizzying fiddle fuzz
- Nashville, Tennessee– Taken from newest album Out of All This Blue (2017) and chronicling the adventures of keyboardist Brother Paul Brown, Nashville had a glorious bluesy gospel feel
- Still A Freak – From album Modern Blues (2015), a soulful vocal solo showcased the dazzling voice of Jess Kava
- Santa Fe – Another new track from Out of All This Blue (2017), a story about lovers’ separation and hopes of togetherness – a beautiful example of how Mike can vividly paint splashes of emotion using melody and simple words
- Don’t Bang the Drum- from album This Is The Sea (1985) a stripped back and dramatic version – Steve again leaving the audience in awe of his magnificent fiddling
- Fisherman’s Blues – from the album of the same name Fisherman’s Blues (1988), the encore and a definite fan favourite- played with gusto, with Mike leading way and the ‘hoohoo’s’ harmonised in sync by Zeenie and Jess; this epic country-folk ‘Irish knees-up’ track was played with vigor and intensity.
The Waterboys have a long and high quality back catalogue; no way was the two hour show long enough to fit all fan favourites and inevitably some would have left feeling slightly disappointed. For me, personally I would have enjoyed hearing more from my favourite album 1993’s Dream Harder. My mum, Linda, must be ‘thee original’ Waterboys fan and I grew up listening to their music; more fully appreciating the wonder of tracks such as Glastonbury Song and The Return of Jimi Hendrix later when discovering music for myself. Having said that, overall the Barrowlands show was superb and the set was balanced, with a good mixture of past and present; a show packed with top-class songs from start to finish.
The Waterboys are continuing their summer 2018 tour with shows in July and August- taking in Spain, Norway, Germany, UK, Poland, Ireland and the Netherlands.