||BIG COUNTRY MUCH MORE THAN ONE GREAT THING IN CHELSEA
It was a wonderland in Roman Abramovich's swanky west London venue as a band we thought were long confined to history not so long ago took to the Under The Bridge stage and delighted the roughly 400 gathered who held their hearts and enjoyed a trip down nostalgia road.
But of course, one major player is missing and in the true spirit of modern day Thin Lizzy, Grateful Dead and Queen, the show goes on as a tribute to an iconic late frontman and as with those aforementioned, this is a celebration of a life that spawned a boatload of superb hits and the best way possible to keep that memory alive.
It's easy to forget just how many great hits Big Country had when Stuart Adamson was at his peak and they were all aired tonight within a superb atmosphere and a prevailing sense of Scottishness.
Unusually, it's not frontman Simon Hough who is dishing out the banter from the stage but original guitarist Bruce Watson and he's superb at it too, providing many laughalong moments that delight the 400 or so gathered to enjoy this feast of Dunfermline's first son's greatest moments.
He tells a great anecdote about Kate Bush, who sang backing vocals on the title track of the album they are playing in it's entirety tonight: "I asked Kate Bush if she could join us on stage and she asked 'where are you playing?'
"I told her it was Chelsea and the reply was 'fuck off', so we didn't get Kate Bush but we got her sister, Gena."
Now apparently Kate Bush does not have a sister but if she did, it would probably be Gena because if you closed your eyes, you would have thought it was indeed Kate Bush singing those very same backing vocals.
And Hough, formerly with Denny Laine of Wings, is the perfect man to step into Stuart Adamson's boots for the same reason, as you can hear from the two videos of the evening right here. 'Chance' was the standout song of the night and the audience sang along with a gusto, producing a moment to savour.
The wisecracks from the jovial Bruce continued right until the end of the night and rather than play 'The Seer' in exact album running order, they juggled it round a bit which negated the usual problem of a band playing a famous work in full - the fact you know what is coming next.
As well as the classics from 'The Seer' which include 'Look Away', 'The Teacher, 'I Walk The Hill', 'Eiledon', 'One Great Thing' and 'Sailor', we were treated to rousing renditions of 'Harvest Home', 'Chance', 'In A Big Country' and, of course, 'Fields Of Fire (400 Miles)'.
Hearing these superb songs again was a real pleasure and it's hard to believe 'The Seer' was released thirty years ago as the tracks are far from dated and would stand up against any of today's current chart offerings.
Ably assited by guest bass player Scott Whitley, Bruce and Simon with Jamie Watson on guitar and original drummer Mark Brzezicki are keeping the fine institution of Big Country alive and along with it, the memory of Stuart Adamson.
They enjoyed incredible success in the 80s and after this stirring concert, that success could come around again.
There's a chance to see Adamson's pre-Big Country band, The Skids, who are hitting the road for their 40th Anniversary Tour next year (full dates here). What price Big Country and The Skids playing a gig together at some point? Tell then you heard it here first when it comes up screaming.
I Walk The Hill
One Great Thing
Hold The Heart
The Red Fox
In A Big Country
Fields Of Fire (400 Miles)
Big Country 2016:
Simon Hough - Vocals
Bruce Watson - Guitar
Jamie Watson - Guitar
Mark Brzezicki - Drums
Scott Whitley - Bass
Remaining Tour Dates:
Saturday 29th October: Concorde 2, Brighton
Thursday 10th November: The King's Hall, Herne Bay
Thursday 17th November: The Plug, Sheffield
Friday 18th November: Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
Saturday 19th November: Roadmender, Northampton
Saturday 26th November: The Globe, Cardiff
Thursday 1st December: The Flowerpot, Derby
Friday 2nd December: Waterfront, Norwich
Saturday 3rd December: Academy 3, Manchester
Tuesday 6th December: The Junction, Cambridge
Saturday 10th December: The Copper Rooms, Coventry
Tuesday 13th December: The Stables, Milton Keynes
Wednesday 14th December: Apex, Bury St Edmunds
Thursday 15th December: The Venue, Dumfries
Friday 16th December: Edinburgh University
Saturday 17th December: Òran Mór, Glasgow
Thursday 22nd December: Town Hall, Stonehaven
Friday 23rd December: Town Hall, Stonehaven
Friday 30th December: PJ Molloys, Dunfermline
Friday 3rd January: Pontardawe Arts Centre, Pontardawe
Tickets for all UK performances available right here
Stuart Adamson: 11th April 1958 – 16th December 2001