This was a big weekend for music…on the Saturday evening, The Pearlies in Stirling, on the Sunday, Gaga at the Glasgow Hydro. The stars were aligned.
Stirling was the first Pearlfishers show, since, I think I’m right in saying, December 2008 and their first sole-headlining show since longer. Davie Scott has played numerous shows in the interim as a single or in different formats, but this was a return as the parent band, whose “Open Up Your Colouring Book” album was a breath of air earlier in the year (and for me, it’s been a good year for music.)
The Maharaja, just a few minutes walk from The Tolbooth, provided the best Indian meal I can remember before the show and we had time for a drink in the delightful venue and to say hello to Duglas and Jim before The Wellgreen’s opening set.
A note for the hip here…if you go to The Tolbooth and stride directly toward the front row to take a seat, beware that there is a wooden lip at the front, which is great for falling over and allowing you a dignified crash into the seats…I just got away with it, I think…
The Wellgreen have doubled in number since I last saw them as a duo and the addition of more pieces (and indeed, a crucial third harmony) has added much to their appeal. Fantastic 12-string Ovation Balladeer in use.
The Pearlfishers played their best show ever, although I was corrected afterward by Davie who is of the belief the best Pearlies show ever is still to come (I hope this is a Platonic ideal rather than just a reference to the upcoming shows on 25 October and at Celtic Connections next year…)
There were no highlights; to say there were highlights would suggest that the sequence of the concert sometimes went below excellence and this was not the case. All corners of the Pearlfishers catalogue were aired; songs from the new record, (including the transcendent “Her Heart Moves Like the Sea Moves” as a first encore;) my all-time favourite “Up with the Larks” and the mysterious and majestic “Blue Riders on the Range” from its parent album; and climaxing with the second encore of the Carry On Songwriting celebration that is “Stella Painted Joy,” from the oldest group of songs played on the evening.
I took my chances after the show in negotiating the space from my seat to the stage – didn’t fall over anything this time – and picked up this set list.
Next show is at The Glad Cafe in Glasgow on Saturday.