Gig review: Bay City Rollers

The Bay City Rollers. PIC: Toby Williams
The Bay City Rollers. PIC: Toby Williams
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Following last year’s record-breaking residency at Barrowland, it must have seemed an obvious decision to spin out the Bay City Rollers reunion for as long as possible. As one of only a handful of teenybop bands who could rightly be called a sensation – on both sides of the Atlantic at that – they could surely access legions of middle-aged Rollermaniacs primed to relive their hormonal youth.

Bay City Rollers **

Hydro, Glasgow

However, some of the old tensions which have fuelled rival touring line-ups down the decades quickly resurfaced, and the core trio of Les McKeown, Stuart “Woody” Wood and founder member Alan Longmuir only just about held it together to deliver this stilted farewell concert.

This was essentially a cheap club gig in an arena setting. The wonky sideshow slideshow didn’t help, neither did McKeown’s irredeemably cheesy stage presence, as he steered a cringey encounter with a competition winner and made slightly desperate plugs for last year’s festive album, A Christmas Shang-A-Lang, featuring “Rollerized” versions of defenceless Christmas classics. There was even a brief sit-in by band members held up by his not-so-quick change into a kilt.

Yet proceedings were ultimately sustained by the quality of their bubblegum tunes, from the scarf-waving ballad Give A Little Love via the doo-wop dreaminess of Please Stay to the stomping glam apotheosis of Saturday Night, plus the tightness of their backing band and the love in the room which made the closing Bye Bye Baby as much celebration as valediction.