It’s been an interesting week in Glasgow. I’ve bumped into so many people who were at the Springsteen show and all of them (well nearly – Anne Marie – we’re working on you…) had a little spring in their step. That night seems to have drawn a rather lovely smile on the faces of the people of the West of Scotland. I’m so glad.
Gigs sometimes do that. They are technically not the best of what things might be but for some reason they focus the listener and the artist and bring them into a unique contract which forces both to need each other. It’s maybe not what you expected or perhaps what you didn’t expect but there’s a feeling that you were there with 50 or 50,ooo people who were all part of something very special. Many years ago my band played a gig in Hawkins in Dublin at which there was no more than 150 people present. However on my many return visits to that great city I have had so many conversations with people who claimed to be at that gig I’d be a millionaire if I’d had a quid for every person claiming to have been there. The reality is we love to belong, we enjoy seeing the special night becoming more special as memory fades and we feel ourselves members of a rather exclusive club.
I suspect there might be such an exclusive club forming over the night we recorded in May at Glasgow’s Royal Concert Hall. There on tour for the first time in nearly 40 years were Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell, swapping songs and harmonies as if there had never been such a long break. And what a break! Long enough for us to know how important Emmylou has been in the development of Country Rock through to Americana and for us to recognise the power and depth of Rodney’s songwriting. Marriages, presidents and country legends would rise and fall in these years and yet…..when these two singers hit that stage in Glasgow that night there was a feeling in the room that they had never been away. How lucky I felt that night when I realised what the opening few songs were; I knew for sure then that if they were doing these so early on we were in for something very special indeed.
Sitting out in Killermont Street was the BBC Mobile Studio with the combined talents of Niall Young, Chris McConnachie and Joanna Adams at the desk poised to record the whole thing. They did.
On Friday night we’ll play you highlights from that gig over two hours as well as a conversation I had with Emmylou and Rodney about their new album Old Yellow Moon and their current musical life together. If you’re now wishing you’d been there then all is not lost – you can hear it in the comfort of anywhere you can put a radio. Who knows, it might be in years to come you’ll just tell people anyway….I was there.
Join us if you can on Friday Evening at 8 on BBC Radio Scotland.
Yes really looking forward to this show which I am glad to catch befor heading off to see Springsteen yet again. Must say Hampden was a triumph over stadium setting for me.
Wonderful show, and a lovely memento of this tour, which remains one of my musical highlights of the year to date. That “unique contract” is one of the main reasons why I keep seeking out live music, I think, and perhaps also why I am increasingly—although not exclusively—drawn to the smaller, acoustic gigs. At their best, they approach human connection and communication in one of its most raw, open, and expressive forms. Thanks to all at the AC for preserving this one.