Music Review: The Waterboys - ‘local boys done good’

Mike Scott of The Waterboys.
Mike Scott of The Waterboys.
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Chris Mackinnon reviews The Waterboys gig at Edinburgh Playhouse.

* * * * * * 
6/7 stars

Edinburgh born Mike Scott has been on tour or in the studio for most of his adult life.

He started out in the early eighties before forming the Waterboys in 1983 and after a couple of low key albums, they released This Is The Sea in 1985 which provided them with their 1st UK top forty placing.

The original line up was Scott, Anthony Thistlethwaite, Karl Wallinger and various friends making up the numbers. Thistlethwaite and Wallinger moved on in the 80s and 90s respectively and Mike carried on the project.

There’s a lot to choose from tonight and they start on a belter, Medicine Bow from the 3rd album. All The Things She Gave Me took them back to 1984 and then back up to date with If The Answer Is Yeah from 2017, heralding the first of several singalongs.

As befitting a good Celt, Scott likes a preamble between numbers and before We Will Not Be Lovers gave tribute to the mighty Velvet Underground for inspiring his love of a “two chord song”. Quite a use of two chords mate.

Prior to Nashville, the song that is, there’s a long, amusing chat about the origin of working with “Dr Paul” on keys although sadly no explanation as to why he was donning a sort of multi-coloured partly hi-vis style outfit.

A few more oldies, a 20 minute break and their return brought a lengthy version of Nearest Thing To Hip, a lament to closed vinyl emporiums which became another sing-along, including lyrics that can’t possibly be repeated here.

A glorious high point was Santa Fe, a song about unfulfilled romantic promises and lost love and soon after this the act reduced to just Scott and long time collaborator Steve Wickham on fiddle for Raggle Taggle Gypsy and a superbly pared back Don’t Bang The Drum.

A tiny break and then straight into the two biggies. The Whole Of The Moon, inevitably, had the crowd up on its feet and gave rise to the two highly animated backing singers to lead on the chorus and they ended with a stonking Fisherman’s blues. Of course they did, it would be rude not to. Local boys made very good indeed.

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