Del Amitri, Queen's Hall, Edinburgh ***
“Sorry some of it’s been a bit under-reharsed,” offered Justin Currie by way of largely unnecessary apology, towards the end of Friday night’s second in a run of three acoustic shows which eased Del Amitri back into the routine of live performance. “It’s been impossible for various reasons.”
Everyone understands the tough time musicians have been facing, though, and only an ingrate or a fusspot would grudge a little rustiness now they’re back in action – besides, there were few real slips here.
Where Currie and fellow guitarist and composer Iain Harvie are the musical lifeblood of the band, Andy Alston (the third-longest serving member after the above pair) was also good value as part of a stage patter three-hander, a simple time-filling ritual which might have felt weirdly special to anyone hearing it again for the first time after a gap of a year and a half.
The set itself felt like part-high quality rehearsal, part-thank you to fans, taking in both hits and obscure tracks from throughout their career, and a live outing at last for this year’s 19-years-in-the-making comeback record Fatal Mistakes.
New songs rolled out included the tender, regretful falsetto of It’s Feelings, the downhome Americana of Mockingbird, Follow Me Now, and All Hail Blind Love, its themes of the common person against an unfeeling system separated only by the years between their composition from So Many Souls to Change.
The hits Driving With the Brakes On, Nothing Ever Happens, Here and Now and a tender Always the Last to Know were received with predictable joy, amid a long-delayed comeback which bore the reserved sense of a band getting back into the groove with a mixture of care and enthusiasm.
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