The Proclaimers at Edinburgh Castle review: ‘An electric experience’

It's difficult to relate to those from further afield just how electric the experience of seeing the Proclaimers play live in Edinburgh is, Dave writes. Picture: Bill McBurnie
It's difficult to relate to those from further afield just how electric the experience of seeing the Proclaimers play live in Edinburgh is, Dave writes. Picture: Bill McBurnie
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Dave Pollock enjoys the perfect setting as The Proclaimers perform in their home town of Edinburgh.

The Proclaimers, Edinburgh Castle

* * * * * 5/5 stars

It’s difficult to relate to those from further afield just how electric the experience of seeing the Proclaimers play live in Edinburgh is. When the show happened to be taking place on a warm summer Saturday evening in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle before a sold-out crowd of several thousand (and their chosen club Hibs having won in the afternoon; there was a lot of green being worn), the setting couldn’t have been any more perfect.

In which case, all Charlie and Craig Reid and their band needed to do was turn up and do the usual.

Never the most demonstrative of bands, their stock-in-trade is delivering perfectly-realised versions of their by-now extensive back catalogue with a professional unfussiness which lets the folk-inspired pop quality of their songs breathe.

Streets of Edinburgh turned up in the setlist, unsurprisingly, as did a feverishly well-received Sunshine on Leith, with violinist Erica Nockalls carrying on like a pro after deflecting a flying Hibs top.

Amid a series of fan dedications from the brothers which were positively Glen Michael in their homeliness, Craig also chose this big stage to make one pointed political dig.

“This is for Donald Trump,” he noted before the celebration of Scots migration Scotland’s Story.

“I wonder if anyone ever told his mother with her Hebridean accent and English as a second language to go back home?”

Yet the occasional weightiness of their lyrics is wrapped up amid infectious songs, for example opening new track Angry Cyclist’s frustration at an age of rage, Letter from America’s tribute to those who left Scotland for economic reasons and Cap in Hand’s affirmation of Scottish independence. Alongside these songs, crowd-pleasers including Let’s Get Married, Life With You, Then I Met You and – of course – I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) were wall-to-wall, and concerned with lighter issues like love and life. Their catalogue will surely be remembered for generations, and grandchildren can be told of this concert.