BIG COUNTRY - Leamington Spa    Assembly Rooms 14.10.17

JAYSON BURNS (PHOTO CREDITS: DAVID SANSONI)

 

Sadly missed Status Quo guitarist Rick Parfitt’s prophetic mantra was always ‘It’ll take more than death to kill me!’ and so it is that this supremely gifted incarnation of Big Country has survived the demise of that most talented of singer-songwriters, Stuart Adamson, to do justice to their rich back catalogue.

 

That they maintain the Scot-rocker’s legacy is clearly down to the stamina of founder member and guitarist Bruce Watson and long-standing drummer Mark Brzezicki. What should not be overlooked though is the guitar work of Watson’s son Jamie, the groove of bassist Scott Whitley and the powerful vocals of Simon Hough.

 

A partisan Saturday night sing-along crowd willing to pogo like it’s 1976 is treated to a greatest hits package with 1986’s top-tenner ‘Look Away’ an early highlight and the set gathers momentum with ‘Steeltown’ from the 1984 album of the same name, ‘Just A Shadow’ (from the same album) and the band’s third single, ‘One Great Thing’.

Watson senior is also the master of the one-liner and when he espouses his hatred of jazz – ‘A disease, like thrush!’ – he provides welcome comic relief to the high-octane rock on offer.

 

A crescendo is reached as ‘In A Big Country’, from 1983’s colossal album ‘The Crossing’, number eight hit ‘Wonderland’ and the song that brought them to mainstream American audiences, ‘Fields of Fire’, close proceedings but it is an encore of the band’s first single, ‘Harvest Home’ - the blueprint for the Celtic-rock sound that failed to chart but secured the Dunfermline rockers a support slot on The Jam’s farewell tour – that finally leaves the Warwickshire faithful satiated.

 

A great night then of melodic rock that preserves Adamson’s place in the pantheon of Scottish rockers and showcases the talent of the current members. Big Country continue to tour the UK with this greatest hits package before heading to Germany for a pre-Christmas jaunt.

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