Arriving back in their spiritual home to another full house, the ever rolling roots soul revue that is The Waterboys seemed determined to live up to the name of their latest album, Where the Action is, front-loading their set with the glorious Fisherman’s Blues, a sonic tonic in turbulent times. The seven-piece band, fronted by benevolent dictator Mike Scott, led by example, surrendering themselves to its natural exuberance. Inevitably other songs in their two-hour set, including a faithful cover of The Rolling Stones’ Dead Flowers, failed to reach those highs.
The Waterboys, Glasgow Barrowland ****
The catchy, stomping London Mick, Scott’s freewheeling tribute to Clash guitarist Mick Jones, was characteristic of the instinctive nature of their latest material – so instinctive that the following ditty about Glasgow’s positive influence in Scott’s life sounded like it had been written in two minutes backstage. Ebullient organist Brother Paul, meanwhile, was the direct inspiration for rootsy rhythm ’n’ blues number Nashville, Tennessee.
All these tracks spoke of the vitality and power of music but it was fan favourite A Girl Called Johnny which amply demonstrated it, jammed out with forgivable indulgence across several false endings.
Rod Stewart’s Sailing was an unexpected but not unwelcome choice of cover which warmed the audience up for a final run at the extravagant romance of The Whole of the Moon and the simply stated How Long Will I Love You. Fiona Shepherd