The band performed at a very special gig in London last year. For starters, the only way of getting tickets was by entering a Radio 2 competition. Those that received tickets were invited to submit questions that would be answered during the gig. And a lot more material was recorded than was broadcast on the night. So, what follows is a transcript from the night.
(Intro from Richard Allinson:) Hello. How do you do? Welcome to the radio theatre in Broadcasting House. My name's Richard Allinson and I work for Radio 2 - the most listened to radio station in Britain. And I've always been told not to start with an apology, but sorry for keeping you waiting. Fog - Glasgow - and apparently they can't take planes off from Glasgow. So it's been an absolute nightmare for the last few hours, but we are set and everything is ready to go for something really, really special. I suspect a lot of you are Ken Bruce listeners aren't you. (Two people cheer.) Well that girl in the front row is. So who the hell are you lot then? If you can transport yourself into Saturday December 18th this in when you'll be able to hear tonight's concert, gig, one off performance, special recital, call it what you will. Thank you for coming first of all and welcome to something really special, because, as you know if you're Ken Bruce listeners, you'll have had to answer questions about this band so you'll know that in 1985 a band sent me a record, and I didn't know anything about Deacon Blue, but I knew that Steely Dan had song a song called Deacon Blue and I thought that any band that names themselves after a Steely Dan song can't be all bad. It was Dignity and it was a massive hit, and the rest is all history. Why it all fell apart in 1994 we don't know but you'll have your opportunity to find out from Ricky because there will be a bit of a question and answer session halfway through the set tonight. Can we do a bit of housekeeping first? Anyone got anything mobile, anything cellular, even the vibrating ones - telephones - can you make sure they're off? Not because of the noise, but they do radiate and we'll pick it up with leads and stuff. And grab yourself a piece of equipment that may be useful to you because Saturday December the 18th you can hear this all over again. It all started or restarted I think in 1999 this May when Radio 2 broadcast a special one-off Deacon Blue reunion concert in Glasgow which was a charity event. Their now embarking on their first tour in five years, and the CD Walking Back Home is in a shop near you very, very shortly. One of those chart return shops with the funny tills. So every time you buy one it gets in the charts. The new single will be out soon and you'll hear that tonight - Jesus Do These Hands Still Feel The Pain. Watch out for the questions and answers later. Ralphy and Molly will be walking around with microphones, and as we're recording this for broadcast, if you have got a question, and Ricky will be taking questions from the piano, can you wait until the microphone is in front of your face, 'cos we'd like the radio audience to hear it as well. That's it from me. Put your hands together and welcome on stage, Ricky and Lorraine and James and Ewen and Mick - Deacon Blue.
Band come onstage and begin Twist and Shout
Thank you. Starts intro for Your Town.
You know something - this is not live, so I'm just going to put this capo on properly. Tunes guitar, and restarts Your Town
Thanks very much. Now you can see I've come prepared with your fantastically original questions. And the first person I'm going to call - I'm actually going to call them tonight, but I've just got a little present - I like to do a little bit of socialising during gigs - it's a chance to see people - Steve Edwards you're here aren't you Steve - First of all I've just got a little present - shame it's not visual on telly, you know a lot of people say to me, one of the questions that none of you have thankfully asked me is, 'Is it OK to tape gigs?' And um, of course it's not OK, you should never do that - what you should do is ask the artist very nicely and occasionally he'll give good quality bootlegs. Anyway, is Jim Unwin here? Feel free to change your question or tell us a joke?
Why did you split up?
Notice I took that question early. And you can see that Dougie's not here tonight. Hmm - No, there isn't really a straightforward answer to that question but I thought it would be quite good to err... I know a lot of people do ask the question. I think we got to the point where in '94 we'd done a lot of the things you can do as a band, and when you're in a band it's a bit like, if you can imagine a school trip you once went on, except instead of lasting ten days and having fun going skiing, it lasts eight years and you've done all the skiing, and you've started to have fights on the back of the bus. But I think being in a band is a kind of intense thing, and it's the same thing when you say well why did you leave school, or why did you leave home when you were 21 or 17 or something like that, and you come back a few years later and you're married and you have children and you want to see the grandparents and you get on fine, but at that point in your life, they hate you, and you hate them and I think for you the time had come when we needed a break from each other and we needed to do something else. And we also didn't have an album that we all wanted to make. I think the last we wanted to do was to start going to make an album and all falling out about it, and we never really reached the point where we all actually had big disagreements, so it was nice not to do that. And then in the intervening years - one of the first sessions I did, I worked with Ewen playing bass, he didn't play very well, unfortunately - no, he came to the studio to do some stuff - and Jim and I have worked together, and Lorraine and I have worked together on and off all the time, there was obviously things that many of us could do together - it was nice to have a break. Anyway, we got to a point where by accident we came together this year to do the show and things started to happen really quickly and one of the things that we did was we went into the studio really quickly and in August, we came back from holiday, the studio was booked and we were going to come in and do some songs - what would we do - and we were struggling to think of - there were so many songs written, but I didn't know whether all of them would be right for us as a band. So we started at a point where we did a song that was good for Lorraine and my voices - and this is the song- it's a song I've just grown up loving - from Gram Parsons - and it's one of the things we started with in the studio - it's a Boudleaux-Bryant song and it's called Love Hurts.
Thank you. Where's Michael? Michael Baker are you here tonight? They're always sitting in the middle of the row!
Highlight of your career Ricky?
Highlight of my career? Well, I'm glad you asked me that question, 'cos I'd like to tell you the story of my Hollywood career which um, may have passed some of you by. But it was good for me while it lasted. Those of you who keep a keen watch on the movies will obviously have known it, but just for Michael's sake. A few years ago we were, just towards the end of the time that the band were together, my manager said there's a guy from Hollywood, from some picture company, who'd like to phone you and have a discussion about a film which he's doing called 'Blown Away' and writing a song for it. And I was in the studio at the time, when a phone call came in, and it was this American voice, a female voice saying 'Hi, I've got Michael Goldspiel on the phone. Can I speak to Ricky?' I said that's me. So she said, 'I'll just put Michael straight on.' And there was a five minute delay, and then this very deep American voice came on. 'Hello. Who am I speaking to?' I was tempted at that point to say 'I don't know pal, because you phoned me.' But, anyway, it was this film Blown Away and he wanted me to write a song for it, and he said 'I'll send you a script' which was err, interesting, it was the American's perception of the IRA and the British, which as you can imagine, was not quite the same as ours, and there was a clip from the film, which was 30 seconds, and just a big American voice going 'Tommy Lee Jones... Jeff Bridges....' and then there was an explosion. And there was a few more credits and a series of explosions. And I couldn't make head nor tail of it. So, as you do these things, for those of you that want to have a Hollywood career, I will just give you a wee tip. What you say is you loved it, you just thought it was fantastic. You thought the script was brilliant and you thought the clip was particularly excellent, and you were so moved that you wrote this song which you had in your drawer for about ten days. Which is what I did. Anyway, this is my Hollywood career. And, I had this song which they loved so much that they put it on the end of the film and they loved it so much they wanted to make it the title song of the film, but unfortunately, they loved it so much that on the final cut, they cut it out. So, when we got back together, we'd actually had a stab at recording this song and this is the song, and it's called 'Jesus Do These Hands Still Feel The Rain'.
(Ricky, over piano) You know, it's really great to be here. My mother has had very little to do with my career so far, apart from trying to stop it! And a few years ago, when I got dropped from my record label, she said to me, 'You know maybe you should try being on Radio 2.' Gave me the best advice I've ever had. She also said to me when I was a young man, if ever you meet a drunk man on a bus, if you ever meet a drunk man not on a bus, just push him over, he'll fall over. I don't know if you've er, I don't if you've been in the number 8, in Dundee they call it Wells Fargo, it was a never-ending mission, it went round the city and if you didn't get off at your stop you came back to where you started. And one night, there was a guy singing a song - can you hear me? 'Cos I can't - Anyways, he's singing this song, which no-one wants to hear, but just at the time, the big highlight in Dundee when I grew up, they'd introduced electric doors on all the buses. People came from miles around, just to see. And he's singing this song, he's singing Chanson D'Amour, it's the most threatening and violent version you've ever heard - and he's singing it to the whole bus, and everyone's had enough, and he's jostled off the bus, and he's standing on the pavement and the electric doors shut right in his face. Breaks into I've Been Making Such A Fool
Thanks very much. I just want to do a couple of things here. One is to take this thing out of the piano, and tell you a little about where a come from- Dundee, and you may not have heard about Dundee, but I'm sure you've heard of the many wonderful things that come from Dundee, (laughter), that was a visual gag for those of you at home, no it's very famous for Jute, Jam and Junglism. There's actually been a big scandal in Scotland this week, I don't know if you follow the Sunday Post, but the Sunday Post carries a cartoon strip called The Bruins. The Bruins have gone a bit racy, Bob Bruin's been getting kissagrams round his club, and there's shock, horror and outrage. Anyway, the story I heard when I was growing up, which I'm sure is true, is, there's lots of famous journalists that work for this company called DC Thompson, and they print a couple of newspapers as well as the cartoons like The Beano, and the Beezer and all these kind of things and, a very famous journalist worked for them, and they've gone onto things, and this day, this particular journalist, James Cameron, who ended up being one of the chief writers on The Guardian, was getting fed up, writing for The People Friend or whatever it was, you may think that's a communist newspaper, but believe me it's not. There's not many communist newspapers that do recipes or features on Auchermucty. Anyway, he's getting fed up of this, and he goes to his editor, and says 'look, I've had enough. I've been offered a job on the Manchester Guardian. I'm going.' And his editor looked at him and said, 'Well I think you're making a big mistake. We were going to make you editor of The Dandy.' So this is a song from my hometown. Starts playing Back Here In Beanoland
Ok. This is going to show how semi-professional I am. The piano's making a very strange noise. That's the noise there! Now, we don't expect that of the BBC really, do we! So, we'll kind of have a wee question here. Has anyone got a question that they haven't sent in? Any question at all? We'll take two? They've got to be better than the ones we've got here!
What will you be doing on New Year's Eve this year? (At the time of the gig, rumours were rife that DB would be playing a Edinburgh's Hogmanay. The official announcement (that they weren't) was due the very next day!)
(Groans). Let's take another question! I'll answer that one in a sec, as long as it's not the same one.
Scoring a goal in the cup, or a number one single?
Do you mean me scoring the winning goal in the cup? I'd rather do that. But we'll be talking about football a little bit later on. But you know on the millenium thing. I got to tell you this. One of the nice things and downside things of being in a band and having to do lots of interviews, but I'm not kidding you, every single person that's interviewed me this year has said 'now I'm going to finish with one question, and I've been asking this question to everyone, bear with 'cos you'll not believe what the question is' 'Try me!' and it's, 'What are you going to be doing on the millennium?' The real honest answer to this is absolutely no idea at the moment, hoping that we'll have friends. The thing is we celebrate New Year in a large way in Scotland every year anyway, and we tend to have a good night whatever happens, and it very much depends, I'm sure there's one of two folks from Scotland here and they will bear me out on saying this, it depends on who first foots you on the night and how drunk they are at that particular moment in time. But a few years ago we had snow at Christmas, and we had a great party, and it just went on and on and on through the night, and I came down in the morning, and Lorraine was frying breakfast up for everyone, so that was kind of a good night, and there was so much snow that people didn't make it home. That's not a big invitation to come round to my house by the way (laughter.)
It does lead me on a little bit - that was a good question by the way - as it leads me on very nicely to this next song - 'cos this next song is about a good night - shall we just try that dodgy note - there was a night, ten years ago, outside Glasgow there is a place called Loch Lomond, about 40 minutes outside Glasgow you can be on the shores of Loch Lomond, and in Summer it is one of the most beautiful places in the world, and it's absolutely, fantastically tranquil, just still water, very, very cold water, but on this kind of really high summer night, when it's light until half past eleven at night, going out there it's a beautiful experience and the only noise at all that will disturb you is the sound of Gazza's speedboat! But if you put up with that, you're OK. But we were there ten years ago and it was just one of those great nights, and people often ask me what is your favourite song - and this is one of my stock answers was this song, partly because I love the song, and I just felt at home singing the song, and also because it reminded me that you get nights where everything seems to come together and there's a possibility that heaven not only exists somewhere very far away but it's also possible to have it right where you are, and create a kind of well-being and goodness - what Jewish people call Shalom, which is a wholeness, or just a great feeling, thing's well being - a friend of mine told me about shalom - and if ever that's expressed in any of my songs, it's in this one - it's called Bethlehem's Gate.
Thanks very much. I want to introduce a good friend of ours, who I've been working with over the last few years, Mr Mick Slaven. Mick and I, a year after Deacon Blue split up, we ventured out to Los Angeles for the summer and we met some really good people, and I had the experience of er - I never really played much guitar before, and I'd written a few of these songs on the guitar, and the people we were working with said, just sit down and play us the songs, I was kind of fumbling away. We were a couple of days into the session, and the guys that we worked with had employed another guitarist - they said 'we think we should get a rhythm guitarist and you and Mick should play with him', this guy bless him, a very nice guy called Dan, but he had one of these strange coloured guitars, that you were never quite sure of - it was bright green, and he was good at playing one or two heavy metal licks, but he wasn't so hot at keeping the rhythm going. And anyway, we had to lose Dan. He was taken out the back and shot! And they said 'the only problem is we're going to have to find someone else' and they looked at each other as if to say 'what we say now is going to surprise yo and we said 'fire away' and they said 'well there's Jeffrey'. We said 'who's Jeffrey?' 'Jeff Skunk Baxter' and well, I knew him, and Mick's 70's record collection is a little bit cooler than mine, and Mick wasn't too sure, but I knew that he played with Steely Dan, and The Doobies, and all those kind of things, so Baxter came into the studio, next day, unarmed, and stayed for a couple of weeks and we had great fun, playing with Mr Baxter. He went off occasionally, this is absolutely true - he'd go off for days occasionally, on what he insisted was FBI duty - we never quite worked out these days - he insisted he'd gone off on some military manoeuvres at one point - I think a lot of drugs in the 70s, you know what I'm saying! He told me one day, he said... 'Where you going tomorrow?' 'I can't tell you Ricky. It's confidential' 'Just vaguely, you know, Pacific, Atlantic?' ' Well, it's military manoeuvres in the Pacific' It's always good, the military take a lead guitarist with them just to check. I said, 'Is there any particular reason that you're going Jeff?' 'Well,' he pointed to his little effects pedal, 'the same stuff that goes into these mothers, is the same stuff that weapons systems use. And I did a lot of work on developing the boss effects pedal!' And then you realise that there's probably an element of truth in that, the guy's in the top of the military believe in Jeff Skunk Baxter. 'What do you think Jeff?' He was a lovely man and if he could be here he'd tell you himself! This is a song that we did, it's a wee diversion from Deacon Blue stuff, it's a song thatwe did and it's great. It's called 'What You Are'.
Has anyone got any football questions?
Did you say a prediction? Well of course by now when it's broadcast, it will be a result. Do you know, I'll just avoid this one actually, to be honest with you. I'm not sure it it's gonna be three or four. That's the trouble. But, that was really kind of corny 'cos I was just trying to cue up a wee introduction. I want to introduce Ewen Vernal, on double bass here. There was a few years when I was growing up where Scotland played England every year and when we were growing up there was no live games on the telly, so it was like a big thing, this Saturday afternoon in June when Scotland played England, and I was down in London in the mid-80's, just around about the time when people were seriously thinking that they were going to have to give this game a miss. I don't know if you can remember the details of this, but the Scots kind of moved the goalposts as it were during one of the final debacles, and eventually they decided that they wouldn't have the game every year. And I was down in London for the weekend and I had to get back, and I thought, well I'll not go back on the Saturday night, well I do support Scotland obviously, but I'm not kind of a travelling Russ Abbott lookalike, and life's hard enough when you're a Dundee United supporter without trying to support Scotland as well - there's only so much you can take, and I was kind of working my way back, and I thought all the lunatics will have gone home and I was absolutely right, so I got on the train at Euston, and they'd all gone home, except for one. And he purposely stayed behind because he was so psychotic! He was asking everything as they went up the train about there origins, particularly whether they were Scottish or English and he was quite obnoxious really and he was making allegations about Bryan Robson's wife that I don't think can be substantiated. Anyway this story kind of stuck in my head for a long time and we were working in this studio, in 1989 we went..., in 1988 we went all over the place trying to make a record... I had this mad idea that we could make a record with different producers and some of the things we could do with the guy that produced Raintown, Jon Kelly, and some we could do with the guy that we started out with Warne Livesey, and we also met this guy out in Los Angeles and by the time we worked with him we were convinced we'd never work with him again! We had quite a good holiday! And we came back, and we were working in CaVa studios where wee worked a lot of the time in the little room down the bottom of the stairs and I can't remember what was happening, but there was a drum machine running and Ewen started playing this thing and this song was recorded pretty well I think that night. And this is in fact Ewen and I's only songwriting collaboration, so if you do want to buy our particular greatest hits collection it's only on seven inch! But we're working on some more I'm sure. Anyway this is a song that came out of that whole Scotland-England thing, at the time a pal of mine was trying to write a Scottish national anthem 'cos the one we have is so bad and I thought I'd have a go myself and the most appropriate metaphor at the time seemed to be the title of this song, which is 'Orphans'.
OK. This is someone you know well, Lorraine McIntosh. Lorraine found this song for me again. I lost this song a long time ago, and she sort of encouraged me to do it and we were working on a record called Fellow Hoodlums at the time and Jim and I had to go home and leave the studio and do something. And by the time we got back, Lorraine and Dougie and Ewen and Graham had cut the track, it sounded great, so that's pretty well how it stayed. Anyway, I think Lorraine doesa much better job of this song that I do. It's called 'Cover From The Sky'.
Mr James Prime. Let's have a wee question. Where's Daniel? Daniel Waring?
When you were a kid at school, what was the best thing about school, what was the worst thing, and what did you want to be when you grew up?
Well it's so long ago I can hardly remember I've got to say, but I was one of these people that I didn't really enjoy secondary school. I loved primary school, I didn't really enjoy secondary school, 'cos most of the things that I did at school, that I liked doing, my school didn't consider to be terribly important, which is probably why I ended up doing this! But things, I would loved to have been a footballer but I had absolutely no skill in that area at all, and for a short time I thought it would be great to be a politician, because I met my local MP and I though that was very interesting. After that I had no idea whatsoever. Actually, I'm not being quite true of myself - this is going to sound quite ironic given my life - but for most of the time when people asked me that question at school, I said I wanted to be a journalist! I'd rather now have my head stoved in, than be a journalist! But, anyway when my children tell me that I'll tell them to leave home! But er.... Where's Jim? Jim Unwin?
I'll ask you another one now!
Oh did you ask your question earlier on? Oh ask me another one then!
I think everyone at the Albert Hall who saw you recently thought you brought the house down
Wasn't us honestly!!!
Have you got any plans to release a live album at all?
The reason that we've never done a live album, is because I think the concept is a bit dead. When we grew up live albums were big, but now everyone's got videos, the internet and bootlegs, and all that kind of stuff, so I always kind of think it's a bit of a non-concept. But, you never know. I've always resisted. I always think there's two kinds of albums that don't work, live albums and double albums; I've never heard a good double album, including our own - but that was my fault. Anyone else got a question? Any kind of rogue question? Yes?
Are you on the internet?
I am. There's a follow-on question to that. And you can contact me at an address called firstname.lastname@example.org . And you can send me an email. I can't guarantee that I'll reply! The only people that seem to be sending them are people that advertise internet sex which has it's comforts but there's one or two bits of genuine appreciation! Anyway, that's got nothing to do with this next song. I was hoping we'd get a question that would lead neatly into this. But there's no real introduction to this. This next song kind of evolved. It was on the original Deacon Blue demo, and we never quite got it together and then one day when Jon Kelly was routining for the first record we were in the rehearsal studio, and I just played him on the piano and I said 'how about this one. We should should consider this one' and he sort of encouraged us to do it. I'm kind of glad he did really. Anyway, who's going to count this one in Jim? Me? It's all live. It's incredible. We've got to talk about this at some point (pointing to some strange things hanging from the ceiling). Any suggestions? Director Generals tights? Anyway, this is called 'When Will You Make My Telephone Ring?'
I should really do this now? Has anyone got any requests, because it's a good chance to do them? (Numerous shouts of Circus Lights, Love And Regret, Town To Be Blamed) Oh. This is really ironic, because no way was that a genuine invocation. I was just hoping you were going to say the next song we're going to play. 'Cos whenever I say that you always say this song. (Someone says Chocolate Girl). Yeah exactly, you always say Chocolate Girl you see.
Where's Sarah? Sarah Tooley? Are you ready for you're guest spot? Oh you're on the balcony?
Are you trying to corner the American market?
I like that one. Yes.
Anyone else here? Oh, do you want a little more elaboration? Well I've got a kind of world domination plan, starting on the east coast of Scotland. But we're going to move there. I won't ask.... This is the one I want. Where's Colin? Colin Butler?
Which song took the shortest time to write?
This next song. This next song. Five minutes... Four.... Three... It was pretty short, it was. To be honest with you I think the song is... unfortunately, you labour and labour over a song and rather than it getting any better it's just gets worse and worse. I'm a great lover of Van Morrison, and he'd honed it down to just two chords. I'm going to try to hone it down to one eventually, get one good verse and one good chorus, and keep repeating that! But this is really probably the shortest song to write. In fact, at the time, I hardly had a piano worth calling, and we were in this little rented flat, and I had this really cheap old electric piano which I had, and I basically wrote it on that, took it along to the studio where we worked, played it, and we bashed it down really quickly. And this is it. This is the quickest, shortest song. And it's one of my favourites because it is that simple. I'll apologise. I think there's three chords in this one, but it was ten years ago, so I can probably beat that now. (Starts Wages Day)
You know when you start out writing songs, we haven't got enough that Jim and I wrote together, but we've written a good few songs together, but when you do start out writing songs you have no idea where they will go, and you get a first royalty cheque, and it comes in from places like Venezuela and the Ukraine, and you think 'I wonder what they made of that there?' but as things go on a bit the most interesting thing is what happens to a song. And this last song we're gonna do is kind of, I suppose, is a song that everyone kind of knows something about. And last year, a pal of mine, Phil, I hate to say this, but he's a Dundee supporter - he hasn't realised the beauties of the opposite team playing, but he was up at a dour relegation battle between Dunfirmline Athletic and Dundee, and he went into the pub afterwards and he was standing there, and he was suddenly aware that the whole pub were going into this song and when it came to the end of the song where it usually goes 'Sail It Up...' they all started singing 'Staying up... Staying up'. And he came back, and he told me this and I was really delighted that it had become a relegation anthem. It's the best possible way for this song to go! Unfortunately it didn't work. Dunfirmline Athletic went straight down! So there you go. But I kind of like the fact that a song becomes not just a song about what I've experienced, but it becomes a song that means something in people's lives and they go off and reinterpret it and find out it's own way. And I'd just like to say thank you very much for coming, I know a lot of you travelled to come here, and it's great to do a show a have time to talk and answer some of your questions hopefully a good few of them. And, on behalf of the guys in Deacon Blue we just had a brilliant time on that tour there and thanks very much for being out there and coming back and seeing us. Jim and I are going to finish with this song, which I think you probably know now. It's called 'Dignity'.
Band goes offstage to a standing ovation
Thanks very much. (Gestures to crowd to sit down.) None of us are getting any younger, lets face it! I said earlier on about favourite songs, and when I first worked with Jim we started writing, and he used to come demand bits of paper off me and I'd give him things, and he'd go off and scurry around, and work on these lyrics and very early on he came back with this song. And I still love playing this song and singing this song, and I still think that this is probably the best thing that we did. This is called 'Love's Great Fears'.