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     The Proclaimers At Eden Court Inverness. 3 June 

I have been a closet Proclaimers fan for as long as I can remember.  When I say closet it's not because I'm ashamed you understand. It's just that the wife absolutely detests them. To be fair it's not just the Proclaimers you can add Pulp and Faulty Towers to the list. So to keep the peace if I want to put on a Proclaimers CD, the options are: Wait till she goes out, play it in the car, wear headphones or get a divorce. Now most of you would think the last option was a bit over the top but to a diehard fan it would probably be the obvious thing to do. What can I tell you? she is the mother of my children and by the end of this year we'll have stuck each other for 21 years and I still love her. So it's mostly the headphones I'm afraid.

So when I found out that they were going to be in Inverness I was overjoyed a chance to listen to some of my favourite tracks live and at maxi-chat. So Pop along to Eden Court next time we're in town I thought. Wrong such is the following of the Reid Brothers that the tickets had sold out on the first day. And this loyalty from a fan base that had to wait almost Seven years for a new album So that was that. Until last Monday morning when Eden Court phoned " we've got you on the waiting list for tonight two tickets have come back do you still want to go" I don't know about Walking " Five Hundred Miles" but driving sixty was not a problem I can assure you.

TippiThe warm up act was a young Lady who went by the name of Tippy. What is it with single name artists these days? I liked Tippy and the audience gave her a warm enough reception although it was obvious that a few around us were preoccupied with the forthcoming main attraction. I would like to hear more of her material before passing judgement. But she can write songs, she can play the guitar and she has bags of personality. My teenage son thought she had a touch of the corrs about her. She reminds me a lot of Carol Laula another Scottish female singer songwriter who I had the great privilege to meet a few years back during a radio interview. Sadly she never quite had the career she deserved. It will be interesting to see how Tippy fares in a market where talent and original material count for less than image and promotion.  

By the Time the boys were due to come on there was not a seat to be had anywhere. A girl next to us asked if we had been to a Proclaimers concert before. "Oh your going to have a great time" she said with a smile "there will be lots of dancing you know". "Where" I enquired "right here she said" "Sure" I said. The audience seemed to represent people from all age groups and walks of life and was split equally between the sexes. There wasent anything about any of them which screamed Proclaimers well the ones without Hibs tops on at any- rate. I should explain that the Reid Twins are major fans of the team from Easter Road. And so are many of their own fans. Still its nice for them to wear their team colours at the concerts since it's not often that they have anything to shout about.[only joking honest] The proclaimers recently played in front of an estimated one Billion worldwide TV audience when they entertained the German and Spanish fans at the European Cup final at Hamden. It's just a pity that we didn't get a chance to see them as Home counties ITV were running the show in the UK.

By now things were getting to a fever pitch and as soon as they came on stage the whole place exploded. The sound was great and the performance of the twins and their support band was tight, extremely professional yet still involving and giving. They delivered a faultless set with a great mixture of old and new. All the standards were there "500 Miles", "Sunshine on Leith", "Letter From America" and "I'm on my Way" Interspersed with newer material "There's a Touch", "Sweet Little Girls" and "Act Of Remembrance" from their latest album "Persevere". We were on our feet dancing, swaying and clapping  for all we were worth like a bunch of born again numpties and then some. Your ticket may refer to a specific seat in reality this is just the space that you will dance in. The level of interaction between the audience and the stage was amazing and we soon realised what most fans already knew. You don't simply go to a Proclaimers concert. You are an integral part of the concert and as such the success of the night is in your own hands as much as it is with those on stage. The whole night was outstanding but two parts really made the hair on the back of my neck stand up: The legendary Phil Cunningham joining them for two numbers "Sunshine on Leith" and " Cap In Hand" great stuff. And the emotionally charged atmosphere that was generated by the though provoking track "Act of Remembrance" The concert climaxed appropriately enough with "Oh Jean" Which is probably the closest you will get to a musical orgasm. Stunning.

Steve Boyle

All Proclaimers Photos ©Colin Usher