I remember when I switched from being married longer than when I was single. Being single feels like a lifetime ago. The Proclaimers were from my single days, and they have a big parallel with weddings.
Over the course of 25 years of DJ’ing, I had my reserve of songs that could bring people back to my dance floor, should I lose them for whatever reason. “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” is one of those songs that would always fill a dancefloor.
Yet, as I entered the Corona Theatre, about 5 minutes before Siobhan Wilson took the stage, the dancefloor was practically empty!
Then I looked up to the balcony to see it packed with people like Walmart on Black Friday.
It seems you could get a balcony ticket (Sold Out) or a floor ticket (packed…maybe Sold Out).
When Siobhan is not hanging out in Gordon Skene’s bedroom (Frightened Rabbit) recording tunes, she is normally making her mark on the Glasgow music scene.
Tonight, her smile would light up the room, and not quit till every last CD was signed and sold before she returns to Scotland.
“Are you excited for the Epic Legends The Proclaimers?” she said, that started a thunderous cheer. Humm…epic legends does capture what would come.
There was one fan, who seemingly passed the six-pack mark a while ago, that would make this whoop sound repeatedly during her set. At first, I thought she was doing a mating call for geese, but the absence of waterfowl dictated that it was an attempt at cheering, albeit annoying and at the most awkward moments.
Unperturbed, Siobhan pressed on.
Behind that endearing smile lies a voice that can penetrate you and grasp you by the heartstrings. It’s a soft voice, those in the first half of the room were captivated by it, while those at the back had the sounds of the bar patrons drowning out the words, yet the sound of her voice still found a way to brush lightly that part of your brain that recognizes talent.
After a few songs, she disappears into the backdrop, only to pop up behind a piano and say: “I’m still here!”
Many bands do a French sentence or two to connect with the crowd, but when Siobhan sang “J’Attendrais” behind the piano. I think we were all floored that her French was so good.
She explained that although she calls Glasgow her home, she did live in France for a while where she learned the language of love.
Her 30-minute set helped fill out the dancefloor and the smiles of those in attendance would not let up till the end of the night and beyond.
At the merch booth, after the show, she told me about the tour, and how tiring it is to be at the part of the story where you walk into the sunset, yet she still had a reserve of energy to meet the ones who were touched by her music.
Charlie & Craig Reid have been busy, releasing 11 albums to date, including The Angry Cyclist, for which the title track would open tonight’s show. Their 13 date tour across Canada started in Victoria BC and ended tonight in Montreal, a POP Montreal event.
Siobhan started us off with a smile, but add the Proclaimers to the mix and tonight’s guests will be smiling from ear to ear for days, if not weeks.
I dare you to attend a Proclaimers show and attempt to be angry. It’s impossible. Everyone in the theatre had a smile as wide the fish my uncle would always claim he caught.
By the time “Over and Done With” came, everyone was joyfully clapping along and swaying as if on a sailboat floating on the waves of sound.
There would be no bagpipes, Haggis or Kilts tonight, but the in-between song banter was clearly Scottish, making me wish they had subtitles.
“Letter From America” was a crowd favorite that didn’t let anyone stand still.
When I was speaking to the boys after the show, they said they are always surprised at the stories that come from the song “Let’s Get Married.” One of the others couples there said the song started them in their 12th year of marriage.
Between songs, our bird seeking Whooping girl would have her odd cheer drowned out by the applause from the fans…finally.
The young woman in front of me was clearly having the time of her life. It was much more enjoyable seeing her grasp her boyfriend’s head and sing along to the songs that were created more than a decade before she even saw the light of day.
In fact, the whole front row was dancing and singing the whole time, reliving nostalgia and letting the happiness soak into their pores, only to escape out from their hands that wailed into the air.
As the night progressed, the older hits just helped raise the level of happiness of the room to 11. “Sunshine on Leith” and “I’m on My Way” were epic, but the crescendo of the evening was a song that overshadowed every other song: I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles).
While I was hoping for a Canadianized version, I’m Gonna Be (804.672 KM) just doesn’t have that catchy refrain. It will, however, get you from Montreal to Fredericton…not quite all the way to New Scotland. That would be: I’m Gonna Be (1,243 KM) which was not in their repertoire tonight.
“I’m Gonna Be” started a Geriatric Mosh Pit, one of the most polite and happy mosh pit ever to exist. Young and old danced and sang. If you were in a coma and at the event, your feet would at the very least tap to the beat, but I can assure you that it wouldn’t be long before you stood up and danced and yanked that IV out of your arm.
Thunderous applause brought the band back from a very short break to end the night with 3 more songs. “Cap in Hand” “Make My Heart Fly” and finally “Joyful Kilmarnock” took us to the end, a show that slapped any frown into a smile.
Charlie and Craig have a late checkout tomorrow, so they will briefly visit our beautiful city in the morning, after some well-deserved rest. Then I guess they will be on their way…from Montreal to happiness – Ah-hah (ah-hah) ah-hah (ah-hah)
Over and Done With
Letter From America
Should Have Been Loved
Let’s Get Married
Spinning Around in the Air
Hate My Love
A Way With Words
Sky Takes the Soul
Sunshine on Leith
Life With You
Rainbows & Happy Regrets
I’m On My Way
Then I Met You
I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)
Cap in Hand
Make My Heart Fly
Joyful Kilmarnock Blues
Review – Randal Wark
Photos – Kieron Yates